A Step by Step Beginners Guide for Creating a Custom Shirt with the Cricut Explore Air 2

No more window shopping and dealing with sticker shock! You can easily use your Cricut Explore Air 2 to make the same graphic t-shirt you saw online or at the store in a few simple steps! Learning how to use iron-on vinyl with your Cricut Explore Air 2 will blow your mind. I’m so shocked at the amazing Cricut crafts I can make with the Cricut Explore Air 2. Today I’m going to feature a step by step guide to help you make a custom shirt with your Cricut machine using iron-on vinyl.

How to Use Iron-On Vinyl for Custom Shirt

HTV Heat Transfer Vinyl Custom ShirtPIN IT!

Pick your Design

    You can make your own design or used premade options in your Cricut Design Space account. If this the first time you’re using iron-on vinyl for a custom shirt, consider picking an easier design until you’ve mastered using your Cricut Explore Air 2 for custom shirts.

List of Supplies

    If you’re going to choose a premade option for your custom iron-on vinyl shirt using Cricut Design Space, you’ll love that they already have a list of supplies needed featured with each project. If you’re making your own design you can also use their list as a cheat sheet to get the materials you need.

    Personally, I have done this nifty trick to create my very FIRST custom shirt! Just in case, I will list down the items I have personally used to achieve this “Cutest Bachelor” toddler shirt.

  • Cricut Explore Air 2
  • Cricut Easy Press 2
  • Cricut EasyPress Mat
  • 100% Cotton Jersey Shirt (pre-shrunk is best!)
  • Weeding Tool
  • Scissors
  • Brayer Tool
  • Premium Vinyl
  • Standard Mat

Change the Color

    If you’re working with a different color material than what the canvas shows in the Cricut Design Space, look to the right hand side, click on canvas, and change the color of your custom shirt view. This will ensure you’re able to match colors that will work with your specific custom shirt color.

Change Color of Vinyl

    You’ll notice that the iron-on vinyl color is already assigned in the Cricut Design Space. This color may not blend well with your custom shirt color or perhaps you want to change your iron-on vinyl color. You can do this with a few clicks. Simply click on the “layers” option on right hand side of your screen, click the white box for the layer you’re looking to adjust, and then click the color of the vinyl you’re using.

Save Your Design

    If you’re not satisfied with the color combinations and have updated your iron-on vinyl color on your custom shirt using Cricut Explore Air 2 Cricut Design Space, it’s time to save your design. Click save and name your project something so you’ll remember what this particular custom shirt design is.

    For this particular design, I have saved it and made it shareable. So if you wish to create the “Cutest Bachelor” custom shirt design, you are more than welcome to check it out and give it a go! “check it out here

Start Cutting

    Now that you’ve saved your project, you’ll see a green Cricut symbol in the Cricut Design Space area. Click this button to start the cutting process with your custom shirt using iron-on vinyl. You’ll now see the “cutting mat” displayed on your screen, be sure to select the correct cutting mat size so that you can see that your iron-on vinyl design will fit within the cutting mat area.

Load your Material

    Before telling Cricut Design Space to start cutting, make sure you load your material on the cutting mat of your Cricut Explore Air 2. You’ll want to place the liner side down when using iron-on vinyl with your Cricut machine. Once you’re confident that your material is all set on the cutting mat in your Cricut Explore Air 2 machine, click cut on your computer screen.

Cricut Explore Air 2PIN IT!

Confirm Settings

    The Cricut Design Space and Circuit Explore Air 2 will blink to confirm that you have the material dial set appropriately for the material you’re using. Make sure you have the material set for iron-on vinyl so that the design will be cut accurately. Once your material is loaded in and dial set properly, your Cricut Explore Air 2 will blink the Cricut symbol citing it’s ready to cut. Hit the Cricut button on your machine and watch your machine to go work.

Get Ready to Make your Custom Shirt

    Now that your material is cut, it’s time to remove the negative part of your iron-on vinyl cutting and leave the font on your cutting mat. Use your Cricut weeding tool to remove any small pieces from the design so that you’re left with the design that you’re going to iron onto your custom shirt.

Set the Iron

    Make sure your iron is set to cotton or linen setting for best results using iron-on vinyl with your Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine custom shirt. Place the weeded part of your design onto your custom shirt. Use the iron to heat the vinyl that’s on your shirt now so that the design will stick. This process usually takes 15-30 seconds just to get the vinyl to start to stick.

Cricut Easy Press 2PIN IT!

Finalize Iron-On

    Now you’ll want to find a dish towel to set over your iron-on vinyl design and use 30 seconds of pressure over the dishtowel so that your custom shirt vinyl design will stick firmly without ruining the shirt or sticking to your iron. Flip your shirt over again and push with medium pressure for 30 seconds on top of a towel again to finalize your custom shirt using Cricut Explore Air 2.

Before and After Pressing

Cricut Easy Press 2PIN IT!

Cricut Easy Press 2PIN IT!

Once your vinyl material has cooled down you can remove the plastic covering from your iron-on vinyl. Do this process slowly to make sure the iron-on vinyl is stuck firmly to your custom shirt. Some process needs to be done while the vinyl plastic is still warm, while otehr has to cool down completely. For your quick reference, make sure to refer to Cricut’s official “Heat Guide” to help make the most of your creations. Now you’re done with creating your own custom shirt using the Cricut Explore Air 2.

cricut iron on shirtPIN IT!

Have fun using this simple guide to make more and more custom shirts for your friends and family!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.


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