Ultimate Guide to Vinyl
Learn about the different types of vinyl, how and when to use each type of vinyl and where to buy vinyl! Lets get rid of the confusion so you can start creating amazing things!
When you start out with your new Cricut and get ready to create your projects, you can get overwhelmed with all the choices for vinyl. In fact, one of the questions I get asked frequently is What type of vinyl do I use for my project? For all of my project tutorials, I link to the materials I use. But what if youre trying to create something without a tutorial? Well, let me help you out! Ill answer that question and many more.
Quick Links to Information in this Post
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read my full disclosure policy.
Q: What type of vinyl do I need for my project?
A: First, let me explain the two main types of vinyl. There is Adhesive Vinyl and Iron-On Vinyl (also known as Heat-Transfer Vinyl or HTV).
Adhesive vinyl is just like a sticker. The vinyl has one side that is pretty it might be glossy or matte, it might have a pattern, glitter, holographic design, etc. This is the side that you want people to see. The other side of adhesive vinyl is sticky. The sticky side has a paper backing or liner on it. To apply adhesive vinyl to your surface, you would peel off the backing and stick it down onto the project surface. The pressure you apply will cause the adhesive to stick. My DIY Customized Starbucks Cups is a project that uses adhesive vinyl.
Iron-on vinyl (or heat-transfer vinyl or HTV) has a liner or carrier sheet covering the pretty side of the vinyl that will eventually be seen. The liner/carrier sheet is usually clear. The other side of iron-on vinyl has adhesive; however, the adhesive is not sticky to the touch. The adhesive is activated by applying heat to it. Learn more about Which Side of Iron-on Vinyl Goes Down.
So the quick answer to which vinyl do I need for my project is that it depends on what material you will be putting the vinyl on.
Q: What is adhesive vinyl used for?
A: Adhesive vinyl can be used on these surfaces:
Adhesive vinyl is great for smooth, hard surfaces.
Q: What is Iron-On Vinyl used for?
A: Iron-on Vinyl (HTV) can be used on these surfaces:
Iron-on vinyl is great if the surface can tolerate the use of heat.
Q: Which adhesive vinyl is the best to use for my project?
A: In the Adhesive Vinyl category, there are different types permanent vinyl and removable vinyl.
Removable vinyl is a perfect choice if you want a temporary design. Removable vinyl is great for decorating walls like with my Large Wall Decals. This vinyl can be removed without the need to repaint your walls. Cricut removable Premium Vinyl can be removed without leaving a residue for up to 2 years making it best for labels, indoor signs, and window decorations.
Permanent vinyl is good for designs that will be outdoors or items you might wash frequently. Car decals, outdoor wooden signs, and drinkware are often decorated with permanent adhesive vinyl. Cricut Permanent Premium Vinyl is permanent for up to 3 years and is also water-resistant and UV-resistant. I use permanent vinyl for projects like my DIY Vinyl Decal Tumblers, wood Welcome Porch Sign, nail decals, and DIY Vinyl on Mugs. I also use premium vinyl as a stencil when I do etched glass projects.
Other types of adhesive vinyl include:
Q: How do I know what type of vinyl I have?
The first step is to look at the paper backing sheet. Some products will have the product name printed on the backing.
If the name isnt printed, you can peel the backing sheet and the vinyl apart, which one is sticky? If the vinyl is sticky then it is adhesive vinyl. If the carrier sheet is sticky or even just slightly tacky and the vinyl isnt, then this is iron-on vinyl.
Q: How do I use adhesive vinyl?
Step 1. Cut the Adhesive Vinyl
When you cut adhesive vinyl on your Cricut, you will place it with the vinyl side up and the paper sheet or liner down on the mat. You do not want to cut all the way through your backing.
Step 2. Weed the Adhesive Vinyl
After cutting your vinyl, you then need to weed or remove all of the pieces that you dont want. Here are some tips to help make the weeding process easier.
Step 3. Apply Transfer Tape
Youll want to use Standard Grip transfer tape for most projects and StrongGrip Transfer Tape only for Glitter Vinyl.
Step 4. Apply Your Design to Your Project Surface
Use a Cricut Scraper or brayer to help ensure that the vinyl is adhered well.
Step 5. Remove Transfer Tape
Enjoy your new project!
Q: How do I cut Iron-On Vinyl?
A: Place the iron-on vinyl with the carrier sheet/liner side down on your mat and the adhesive or backside of the vinyl facing up. Also, make sure you mirror your image. If you cant tell which side is the carrier sheet, look at the way it curves the carrier sheet is always on the outside as it is rolled on a tube, so it will be on the outside of the curve.
Q: How do I know which side of the Iron-On Vinyl goes down on the mat?
A: I have a whole tutorial with lots of photos that answers this question in depth. So take a look at my post about Which Side of Iron-On Vinyl Goes Down to learn more.
Q: What heat source can I use for iron-on vinyl?
A: You can use a heat press, Cricut EasyPress, or household iron.
Q: What size should I make my iron-on vinyl design?
A: There are charts online to help you size your design; however, most of those charts list the maximum size that you can make a design. In most cases, you dont want your design to be the maximum size. Typically, I size my designs on womens shirts at around 8 to 9 inches, 10 inches at the most.
I prefer to take a shirt that has a design that is sized the way I like it and then I measure that design.
Q: Which machine can I use to cut vinyl?
A: You can cut vinyl on all three of the current Cricut machines (Cricut Maker, Cricut Explore, and Cricut Joy).
Q: What setting do I use for cutting my vinyl?
A: You will use the preset or custom material setting that is appropriate for the type of vinyl you are cutting.
Q: Which mat do I use to cut my vinyl?
A: I usually use my Cricut StandardGrip Mat for cutting vinyl. A new Cricut LightGrip Mat will also work as long as its sticky. I have a great blog post where I discuss Cricut Cutting Mats which mat to use and how to keep them sticky!
Q: Which iron-on vinyl should I use if Im layering my project?
A: I recommend using Cricut Everyday Iron-On or Siser EasyWeed HTV for layering. I have a tutorial to help you layer iron-on vinyl shirts.
Q: Can I layer adhesive vinyl?
A: Yes, in fact, I layer vinyl with my Large Wall Decal project and my DIY Glitter Ornaments.
Q: Where can I get skin tone iron-on vinyl?
A: I used Cricut Everyday Iron-On Neutrals Sampler with a medium brown and dark brown. I also used Siser EasyWeed HTV in Cream or Tan.
Q: Can I layer with Glitter Iron-On Vinyl?
A: Yes, you can layer with Glitter Iron-On Vinyl; however, it has to be your top layer. You cannot layer anything on top of Glitter Iron-On Vinyl.
Q: Should you prewash shirts before applying an iron-on vinyl design?
A: Its up to you. If youre selling or giving it as a gift you probably wont want to wash it. However, some people prefer to prewash to get rid of any sizing and to shrink the shirt. If you arent sure, go ahead and wash it. I really like the Bella Canvas tutorial
Q: If I use a household iron, what settings should I use?
A: For a household iron, use the highest temperature setting which is usually the cotton/linen setting without steam. You can find settings and times for using Cricut Iron-On vinyl at https://jennifermaker.com/easypress.
Q: Which side of adhesive vinyl goes down?
A: You will cut adhesive vinyl with the pretty adhesive side up and the paper backing/liner side down on your cutting mat. You will cut through the vinyl and leave the backing intact.
Q: Can I use adhesive vinyl on shirts?
A: You can; however, the adhesive vinyl will come off with wear and when you wash it. Because the fabric is not a hard smooth surface the vinyl will not adhere properly.
Q: Do you mirror adhesive vinyl?
A: Usually you would not need to mirror the design. However, if your design is going to be placed on the underside of a clear surface, then you would want to mirror it before cutting. An example of this design is my Customized Serving Tray with Vinyl or our Paper Flower Shadow Box with the vinyl on the inside of the box.
Q: How do I apply Iron-On Vinyl (HTV)?
Step 1. Cut your Iron-On Vinyl
Use a clean green StandardGrip mat to cut your iron-on vinyl. Its very important you put your iron-on vinyl SHINY SIDE DOWN on your cutting mat. And remember, all iron-on designs must be mirrored before cutting!
Step 2. Weed the Iron-On Vinyl
Weeding is the process of removing all of the pieces of vinyl that you do not want to transfer.
Step 3. Apply the Iron-On Vinyl
Follow the steps for your specific material and project. This will include pre-heat, heat, and post-heat steps. You will use an iron, Cricut EasyPress, or a heat press to apply your design to your project. You can find settings and times for using Cricut Iron-On vinyl at https://jennifermaker.com/easypress.
Q: Where Can I Purchase Vinyl
A: I purchase most of my vinyl from Amazon or Cricut. I also buy vinyl from my local big box craft store; however, I usually cant find all the colors and styles in person.
Here are some other online stores. I have not shopped at these stores and only list them as a resource. Including a store below is not an endorsement.
Note, free shipping notes are as of the date of this post. Please check the stores website for more information.
If you have any other questions about vinyl, please let me know. You can email me at [emailprotected], and Ill be happy to answer.
Want to remember this? Save this Ultimate Guide to Vinyl to your favorite Pinterest Board!
Filed Under: CricutSours: https://jennifermaker.com/ultimate-guide-to-vinyl/
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.
Inside: How to Use a Cricut EasyPress 2
I love to embellish things! Yep, whether its machine embroidery, appliqué, or vinyl, I like to add a little personalization.
The one area that I have never done well with is iron-on vinyl (sometimes called HTV or Heat Transfer Vinyl).
With my other machine I could never get the vinyl to stay on a t-shirt or bag. And, if my project did manage to stick to the fabric, it would start peeling away after one wash.
It turns out I was not applying the right amount of heat for my project. Iron-on vinyl needs a specific amount of heat + time properly applied to the base material in order for the vinyl to properly set.
The Cricut EasyPress 2 has solved this problem in a beautiful way.
What is the Cricut EasyPress 2?
In order to get iron-on vinyl to stick to things like pillows, t-shirts, and bags you have to apply heat. But, a regular iron just doesnt cut it. The heat is too uneven so the vinyl never really sets. A large heat press could do this but these are big and get really hot.
Cricut has beautifully solved this dilemma with the EasyPress 2. Its the combination of a traditional heat press with the convenience of an iron. When used correctly, it will give you consistent results. This version of the EasyPress heats up faster and performs better than the original version.
Image via Cricut
The Cricut EasyPress 2 is lightweight, portable, and easy to store. It comes with a Safety Base and has an automatic shut-off.
Best of all, it takes away all of the guess work on heat temperature setting and heat application time for your project. Just follow the heat and time settings found here, wait for the EasyPress 2 to beep, and your project is set!
Supplies & Materials
This site contains affiliate links which won't change your price. As a Cricut affiliate we earn from qualifying purchases.
How to Use the EasyPress 2
Choose an SVG design for your project. This can be from the Design Space shop or one previously purchased.
Choose the type of iron-on vinyl you want to use. Cricut has a variety of amazing iron-on vinyl products such as glitter, foil, holographic, SportFlex, plus many more.
For my project I downloaded a simple Thanksgiving project from the Design Space shop and will be applying it to placemats. Im using the Everyday Iron-On Classics Sampler for my vinyl.
Image via Cricut
Using a Cricut Maker or Explore Air, cut out the design onto one of the Everyday Iron-on vinyls.
Once the design is finished cutting, remove from the machine and peel away the uncut vinyl. Be sure to weed out the negative spaces.
When the design is completely weeded it will be ready to apply to your project.
Notice the leaf on the right. See how well the Cricut Maker cut out the teeny-tiny little openings.
Time to heat up the EasyPress 2.
If you use a project from Cricuts Design Space it will include the heat setting and time. If youre using another project, visit Cricut to find the correct settings for your project by choosing your EasyPress + heat-transfer material + base material. Click the button for either the Cricut Mat or towel and your heat settings will show.
Turn on the EasyPress 2 and choose the correct heat setting and time for your project. A green light will show when its ready to use.
Use a flat surface and place your project on the EasyPress Mat. If you dont have the mat, set project on a thick towel.
Do not use an ironing board because it could absorb too much of the heat.
Be sure everything is on a stable surface that allows you to comfortably hold onto the EasyPress while applying the vinyl design to your project.
Place the EasyPress onto your project and apply firm pressure.
Hit the Cricut button and the timer will begin to count down.
When it beeps, remove the EasyPress and set it onto Safety Base.
Note: If youre making a larger project, move the EasyPress to the next section and repeat. When finished, return to Safety Base.
Carefully remove the transfer sheet. I prefer to start at one corner and peel at an angle.
I like to peel away the transfer sheet while the project is warm. This usually gives me the best results.
Be sure to go slowly.
If you find that something isnt adhering well, then repeat the process.
Thats all there is to it!
The EasyPress 2 also works great with Cricuts Infusible Ink.but thats a project for another day.
And, I have found a couple of other great ways to use this awesome tool.
It can press quilt blocks like nobodys business AND can flawlessly fuse appliqué designs.
Imagine the possibilities!
How to Make a T-Shirt with a Cricut Beginner Friendly!
Learn how to make an easy T-shirt with a Cricut! This is a great project for beginners and I show you how to do it step by step.
One of the reasons many people buy a Cricut is to be able to make T-shirts! And its easy to see why the Cricut is perfect for T-shirt making, as it cuts out iron-in vinyl design like a champ. My Print Then Cut Iron on Transfer T-Shirt tutorial is a big hit and my heart mandala shirt also draws a big audience! These can be a little challenging for beginners. So I want to dial it back a bit and do a very easy tutorial on how to make a T shirt with a Cricut for you!
A couple of months ago I did a full-color Print Then Cut Iron on Transfer T-Shirt tutorial which was a big hit, but print then cut can be a little challenging for beginners. So I want to dial it back a bit and do a very easy tutorial on how to make a T shirt with a Cricut with you!
For this project, well be working with iron on vinyl, also known as heat transfer vinyl, or HTV. Iron on vinyl is a special type of vinyl that has a heat sensitive adhesive that will stick to fabric and other surfaces when pressed down with a heat source like an iron or an EasyPress. I will show you how to use BOTH in this video.
Now the cool thing about the Cricut is that you can cut out a design or name from iron-on vinyl of various colors, patterns, and textures to create a uniquely personalized design. And if you do it right, your shirt can be machine washed up to 50 times before you start to have issues. I will show you the RIGHT way to do it in this video so you get great results the first time!
Because the thing is, theres a bunch of things that cango wrong the first time you make a shirt. You need to remember to mirror, or FLIP, the design, put the vinyl on your cutting mat with the right side up, weed the right part of the design, preheat your shirt first, set your temperature right, press long enough, and remove the carrier sheet at the right time. The good news is Ill be right here with you while you make your shirt to make sure you do it right!
Here is a full step-by-step video tutorial on how to Make an Iron-On T Shirt with a Cricut:
Lets start with the supplies you need and then Ill show you how to prepare an iron-on vinyl T-shirt design! This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read my full disclosure policy.
Materials Needed to Make an Iron-On T-Shirt with a Cricut
Quick Links to Information in this Post
How to Make an Iron-On HTV Design for a T-Shirt with a Cricut
Step 1: Find or Make Your T-Shirt Design
Go to Cricut Design Space, click on New Project, then click on Templates in the upper left corner. Choose Classic T-Shirt and pick a style, size and color. The template will help you size your design so it looks good on your T-shirt.
Youll find many designs for iron-on T-shirts right in Cricut Design Space. Click on Images and browse the Image library for ideas. If youre a beginner, I recommend you stick with simple, one-color designs that do not have lots of small detail.
If you want to use my free Craft Heart design I used in this tutorial (Design #), you can download the free SVG cut files from my free resource library. Its available as both a PDF (for hand cutting) and an SVG/DXF (for machine cutting). If youre going to cut it out on your cutting machine, upload the file to your design software. If youre not sure how to upload an SVG cut file to Cricut Design Space, watch this helpful video training series I made.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you’re not sure how to upload an SVG file to Cricut Design Space, or you’re having issues (such as getting a message that says “unsupported file”), please watch my free training series, SVGs Made Simple. It will help you SO much!
Heres what my Craft design file looks like uploaded to Cricut Design Space:
You can resize the image to fit the T-shirt by using the resize handle in the lower right corner just click and drag.
When you are ready, click the green Make It button in the upper right corner. You must then toggle the MIRROR to on (green) all iron-on designs must be mirrored before cutting!
Step 2: Cut Out Your Design in Iron-On Vinyl (HTV) on Your Cricut
Its super important you put your iron-on vinyl SHINY SIDE DOWN on your cutting mat. Learn how to tell which side to cut iron-on vinyl in my tutorial here!
See video for more details!
Step 3: Weed Your Iron-On T-Shirt Design
Its now time to weed our iron-on design. So weeding means to remove all of the vinyl that we dont want transferred to our project when we iron it on or use a heat press. So that means we remove all the extra little bits.
To get started, you want to begin peeling the vinyl away from the edge. Alas, the vinyl never really wants to come free very easily. So what I do is make a small knick in the corner with my craft knife. You dont want to cut all the way through. Just cut through the iron on vinyl layer on the matte side (the cut side). And then its easier to peel off once youve made that cut, I find. So I have just knicked the corner right here:
And now I can get my fingernail under the edge of the vinyl easier because of that little knick. If you have any problems, you can use your weeding tool to kind of pull it away like this. Once you have it started, you just continue to pull it away from the carrier sheet. And your design will stay on the carrier sheet and the part that you do not want will pull away, just like this.
Now if you look at it your iron-on design, youll see that not all of it has been removed, right? So weve got the parts inside the heart and the wings, and the letters as well.
Tip: Always keep your little scraps off to the side, away from your work area so that they dont get mixed in with other things.
You just be patient and if you need to, you could use your tweezers to get the little bits off without hurting the letters. Here we have weeded our whole design.
See video for details!
Step 4: Transfer Your Design to Your T-Shirt
First, if you are using a Cricut EasyPress, refer to the Cricut EasyPress Interactive Quick Reference Guide which will tell you how to prep your material and EasyPress, how to apply and how to care for the finished product. This takes the guesswork out of the process. You can view the guide at jennifermaker.com/easypress.
If you are using an iron, youll want to preheat your iron to the cotton setting or the appropriate setting for your material.
Position your design on your shirt. For this project we want to center it on the front. To find the center of your shirt, fold it in half by matching up your sleeves. Using your EasyPress or iron, put a little crease on the fold. Now, when you open your shirt you know exactly where the center is because there is a crease. Just line up the center of the heart with the crease. I also choose to put the design in the top half of the shirt.
Preheat your t-shirt, then put your design in place.
Heat the design using your iron using medium pressure or for the EasyPress apply gentle pressure.
If your transfer sheet is sticking to your iron, you can cover your design with parchment paper to protect the surface of your iron.
For this project, my design was larger than my EasyPress. So I had to slide my EasyPress over to heat the design in two sections.
Per the EasyPress Heat Guide, I had to turn the shirt over and apply pressure to the back.
Wait and let the design cool to a warm temperature. Then pull the carrier sheet off your design.
Please be sure to check the Cricut website for the application instructions for your material. For Everyday Iron-On, view the settings here.
Watch our video to see this step in detail!
Step 5: Take Care of Your New T-Shirt
To learn the proper way to care for your new shirt, allow 24 hours after applying your vinyl before washing. Turn your shirt inside out before washing without bleach. This design should least at least 50 washes.
You can view the care guide at jennifermaker.com/easypress.
See video for details!
Answers to Your Questions About Making Iron-On T-Shirts
Q: Why is my vinyl design pulling away from my shirt when I try to peel the carrier sheet?
A: This could happen for a couple different reasons. First, it could be a little too soon to pull it away and youll want to let the design cool down a little bit more and then try again. If that still doesnt work, heat the design a little bit more. Those are typically the two reasons it isnt working.
Q: I heard that Im supposed to see the texture/fibers of my shirts through my iron on vinyl; is this correct?
A: From my testing, the only time that I can get the fibers to show is when I applied too much heat. My research shows that you dont always have to see the texture for it to be applied correctly. If my vinyl is applied correctly, I can feel the texture of the fabric when I run my hand over the design, but I cannot see the texture.
Q: Is it bad to overheat my design?
A: Yes, too much heat will harm the adhesive and cause your design to peel after you wear or wash it.
Q: Can I combine and layer colors of vinyl or different vinyls?
A: Yes, you can! Just so long as you dont try to put anything over Glitter, Mesh or Flocked Vinyl. I have a tutorial on layering iron-on vinyl if youre ready to take your projects to the next level. Read my Layered Iron-On Vinyl Tutorial and learn to make a Cute Totebag.
Q: Is there another way I can design my t-shirts so it lasts longer?
A: Yes, I suggest using Infusible Inks if you want a longer lasting design. I have a Cricut Infusible Ink T-Shirt tutorial you might enjoy!
Get my free Craft SVG cut files for your T-shirt
If you make a shirt with your Cricut, please share a photo in my helpful Cricut Facebook group or tag me on social media with #jennifermaker.
Want to remember this? Save the How to Make a Shirt with your Cricut Tutorial to your favorite Pinterest board!
Filed Under: Cricut, DIY Crafts, Vinyl ProjectsSours: https://jennifermaker.com/make-t-shirt-cricut/
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