How to make iron-on tee shirts. Are you ready to DIY iron-on tee shirts? How about DIY baby onesies? The process is the same for both tee shirts and onesies. Grab tips for creating iron-on designs or where to purchase iron-on designs, and tips for making your iron on tee shirts come out like a pro. Are you planning your iron on t-shirts? You can make them anytime but, they also make great Christmas craft ideas too.
Who doesn’t love a custom made tee shirt?
DIY Iron on Tee Shirts
Maybe you remember mentioning my oldest daughter is having a baby? She is due late October. I thought I better make her a few homemade baby shower gifts. She lives across the other side of the country from me. Insert sad face. I’ll send her the shower gifts but, I get to fly out to help her when she has her baby girl. Insert happy face.
She already has two little boys and can use an extra hand. You might remember a long time ago I made several designs for Christmas iron-on onesies for iron-on Christmas gifts. I feel like it’s been forever since I shared any Cricut crafts but, I’m making up for it today!
Let’s get started with today’s DIY iron-on t-shirts and handy tips for making them!
How to make iron-on tee shirts and onesies designs
- Start by creating the design or purchasing a pre-made design. (I’ve done both)
- If you make your own design you can use fonts and images you have on your computer or from the design program at Cricut in Design Space. (Cut your images for free (basic and vector). Images can be .jpg, .gif, .png, .bmp, .svg, or .dxf files
- Looking for detailed tutorials? You can go to Cricut.com scroll down to the bottom to section that shows Learn Now click on it and search for any of their tutorials
Sign in OR Sign up for free account in Cricut Design Space
You will have access to upload your image files or fonts and have access to any files you want to purchase. Or use previously owned cartridges if you already are a Cricut cartridge owner. (There are so many design files to pick from!)
If you want Cricut Access to use any of their files at any time they have plans. I tried it once but, wasn’t using it enough to warrant a subscription for me. I defaulted to purchasing only the file I needed .99 (or whatever price I paid under 1.50) right now. The design I purchased this time is in the image above. ” I love you to the moon and back”
If I start making more things I might consider a subscription again. It was awesome I was just too busy to use it. I just wanted you to know that it’s there if you are looking for fun designs and fonts to add to your t-shirts, iron-on, or vinyl designs on a pay one price deal.
- Remember if you are purchasing files to make them compatible with the program you are using for design, and or cutting.
Other places to purchase design files for iron-on projects
- Etsy .svg files (custom iron ons) (custom iron-on design files)
- Creative Market .svg files
- Creative Market Graphic .svg files
How to Use Cricut Design Space
Once you have your design you can add it to different size templates (I picked the size of my baby onesie) Then arrange or make design how you like it on the mockup tee shirt template. (like a true blogger I have way too many tabs open. I shut them down before continuing to work on my tee shirt designs. You don’t want to crash your computer before you save your work. Wink, wink!
- Inside the Circut Design Space I used the basic design of a Star (#M36989A) and Moon and Stars (#M39889) that I purchased.
- After signing in you can go here and click to make it. Use my design for free (Note you will have to purchase the star, and or moon and stars to use design just as shown fonts and all. Unless you have a Design Space Plan) I think the images were .99 or close to it.
How do you use Cricut Design Space? Or Design Images for iron-on?
- Sign up or in for free account in Cricut Design Space
You will have access to upload your files, and have access to any files you want to purchase. Or use previously owned cartridges. (There are so many design files to pick from!)
If you want access to use any of the files at any time they have plans. I tried it once but, wasn’t using it enough to warrant a subscription. I defaulted to purchasing only the file I needed .99 (or whatever price I paid under 1.50) right now. If I start making more things I might consider a subscription again. I just wanted you to know that it’s there if you are looking for fun designs and fonts to add to your t-shirts, iron-on, or vinyl designs.
Tools you will need for DIY tee shirts or baby onesies
- Cutting machine (I have a Cricut Air 2) (The newest model is the Cricut Maker) This page explains all the differences between each Cricut machine and what they an do!
- Cricut Cutting mat (This is what you add your iron-on design prior to cutting out the design in your Cricut cutting machine.
- Iron on Transfer Paper (Pick your favorite colors)
- Iron on Protective Sheet (Helps protect your tee shirt and iron on when ironing onto the fabric) I highly recommend using this! Protect your iron-on projects from damaging heat and distribute heat evenly for secure adhesion.
- Cricut EasyPress (or) Iron (What is an EasyPress? It’s a Heat Press for transferring iron on to tee shirts. It has settings for various fabrics.
- A Pressing Mat (They come in two sizes) If you don’t have one try using a folded towel)
- A weeding tool (This is what peels the unwanted iron-on from the sheet that you lay your design on the tee shirt. See image below) If you are serious about Cricut crafts just invest in a toolset vs. the one weeding tool it has the scraper and other tools you need for creating and making iron-on or other projects.
- Tee shirts or baby onesie in the sizes and colors you need (I love 100% cotton tee shirts or 100% onesies and I pre-wash them to get the sizing out of the fabric and pre-shrink assuming they might shrink by just a little)
How to make iron-on tee shirts
First pre wash your tee shirt or onesie. Make sure it’s dry and pre press the fabric to ensure it has no wrinkles where you will put the iron on design. Gather your supplies and add them to a clean surface. (the process is the same for either!)
Mirror Your Image for Tee Shirts
IMPORTANT!! Before cutting your design remember to MIRROR YOUR DESIGN IMAGE. Your image and iron on letters will be in the wrong direction if you forget!! It won’t look correct or readable on your tee shirts or onesies. In Design Space that is easy to do with the click of a button, with a reminder just before printing.
Cut out your iron-on the design using your cutting machine. NOTE: Before you cut your design make sure you use the scraper tool to get out any / all the air bubbles and have laid the iron on completely flat and adhered to your cutting mat. You can see an air bubble at the edge in the image. This was nowhere near the design I was cutting.
Weed Your Tee Shirt Design
When your design is cut. Use the weeding tool to separate the design from unwanted iron-on material.
When the design is weeded you can carefully pull off the rest of the unwanted material from your design.
Now your design is ready to iron on your tee shirt or onesie. Heat up your EasyPress if you didn’t iron out wrinkles remember to before you iron on your design. Pull out your protective sheet to place over your onesie (or tee-shirt).
How to add iron on to your tee shirts
- Your surface needs to be flat and protected *use an ironing mat or folded towel under your tee shirt or baby onesie
- You might need to add a towel or wash rag inside the onesie to make the tee-shirt the same level as the sleeve seams (and ensure the design and heat press meet the material evenly)
- Use an acrylic ruler to make sure your design is straight as possible, lay design the way you will read it (see image below) make adjustments before ironing on (with heat press or iron)
- Follow your heat-press directions (It will vary by materials used (standard iron-on, metallic, glitter… and whether you are using a pressing mat or towel)
- For setting recommendations go to Cricut.com scroll down to the bottom to the section that shows Learn Now click on it, then click on Cricut EasyPress interactive reference guide. It will show you temps and times. Put in your materials and it will give you temperatures for heat pressing.
- For mine used as shown above, I preheated for 5 seconds, then applied heat for 30 seconds and Post heat the back (leaving liner on!) for 15 sec. Let it cool almost all the way, and peeled off liner from design. (100% cotton material, pressing mat, protective liner)
How to remove the film and leave the design on the tee-shirt
When just about all the way cool or cooled completely remove the liner from tee shirt design. PRO TIP: If it’s still too warm it will peel the design right off the tee-shirt. If you make a tee shirt tag me on social media @DearCreatives or pop by our Facebook page and share a photo of your project with us!
Gift it, make a bunch of tee shirts or onesies for a baby shower. Just insert baby!
We hope this helps you get started making iron-on tee shirts and onesies! This tutorial can be used for making any type of tee shirt, even for adults. Just pick the size tee shirt template you need in Design Space and follow these same directions and tips.
Just getting started? Or looking for gifts for the holidays?
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- Access Exclusive Sale: Take an extra $10 off Cricut EasyPress™. Valid 9/19 – 9.25.
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Looking for more Crafts?
- Back to School Crafts (DIY mini journal)
- Fall Crafts (autumn banner)
- Easy DIY Projects
- Sewing for Baby? Sewing