How to make a t-shirt with your cricut cutting machine

How to make a t-shirt with your Cricut Cutting Machine

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Today we are going to be going through how to make t-shirts with your Cricut Cutting Machine from the beginning to the end.

One of the many reasons people buy a Cricut, myself included, is to make amazing beautiful t-shirts for themselves and the ones they love. And the Cricut is definitely a great investment for making t-shirts because it cuts iron-on like a pro.

If you haven’t explored t-shirt making with your Cricut machine yet, you should definitely give it a shot!

For this project, we are going to be using iron-on or HTV (heat transfer vinyl) and yes they are the same thing. If I only knew that when I first started out, it would have made my life so much easier! LOL

How to make T-shirts with your cricut cutting machine with a free SVG cut file

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Making a custom t-shirt

Before we get into this exciting t-shirt tutorial I want to give you an overview of what we will be doing.

I am giving you a FREE SVG file to work with so we don’t have to go spend hours looking for one.

Make sure you remember where you are saving it to so you can find the file to upload into design space.

  • Practice Makes Progress SVG

So we will upload it into Cricut Design Space together, get it ready to cut, cut it, weed it and finally heat pressing it onto our shirt.

We are now ready to get started so make sure you download the SVG file. 😉 And follow along.

Materials needed for this Project

Cricut Design Space

Alright so once you have that SVG downloaded, the one I provided above, we are going to log into Cricut design space and start a blank canvas.

Still learning Cricut Design Space? No problem at all Check out my Ultimate Beginners Guide to Cricut Design Space

Uploading the File into Cricut Design Space

So you have now downloaded the SVG file and have Design Space open with a new canvas started. On the left side panel there is an icon called upload (where the square is), click on that. That will take you to a screen like this.

Next, we are going to click on the Upload Image Icon that the arrow is pointing to. It will then take you to a screen that has a browse icon. Click on that and locate the SVG you saved.

Once you have located the file, select it, and then you are taken to a page that will say Name and Tag Pattern. You can rename it or place a tag on it for easy finding later on. Then once you are done hit save in the bottom right-hand corner.

Now that new SVG file will be saved in your recently uploaded images. Select the practice makes progress SVG file and insert it onto your canvas. (that little aqua button in the bottom right corner)

Practice makes Progress will now show up on your canvas area in Cricut Design Space.

Resizing the SVG for your t-shirt

The Practice makes Progress SVG cut file will need to be resized to fit the shirt you are putting it on. So let’s go ahead and size it to the size of your choice.

2 ways to resize your SVG for your t-shirt

  1. The first way to resize your SVG is by simply selecting it and and dragging out the bottom right corner.
  • Second way to resize is by going to the top panel and directly putting in the size that you want. See image below

NOTE: There are templates you can work within Design Space that will help guide you in this process if you are unsure of the size.

I have a whole article on Templates- Working with Templates in Cricut Design Space

Quick steps for templates

  • Left side panel there is an icon called templates click it
  • Look for the shirt template
  • Change the size and color to what you are working with

NOTE: Templates are only guides. They are just there as a reference and will disappear when you hit the make it button.

Just for fun-real quick

Hit the Make it button and notice what your mat looks like. A bit of a mess right? So let us go back to our canvas because there are a few more things we need to do.

Welding the SVG together for our t-shirt

First, let’s notice that our SVG currently has three layers to it.

Let us go ahead and select the SVG on our canvas and head down to the weld icon located in the bottom right corner and hit weld. Now if you look at the layers panel it is all one layer.

Yes, they do look the same, but each one of those will tell your Cricut machine something different.

Just for fun I went ahead and hit the make it button so you could see the difference. Remember we have to let our Cricut machine know what to do. And welding it together informs your machine that it should be one solid cut.

Hitting the Make it Button

Oh, we are soooo close, I am getting super excited for you!

So we are now ready to cut this beauty! Let’s head up to the Make it button, top right side panel-aqua button. (your button colors may be a different color) It was green, but design space had an update.

Preparing your mat

Here you can change your material size to the size you are using. I usually always leave it at 12 x 12 but some don’t like doing that!

NOTE: if you do use the whole 12 x 12 material, once it is cut you can always trim off the part that was not used before you weed it to use for another project! That question comes up a lot.

VERY IMPORTANT- The mirror icon needs to be on (mirrored) because we are working with Iron-on (HTV).

The image below shows you what these steps look like and where to look.

NOTE: If you are working with patterns, like a buffalo plaid, please check the instructions. I treated the pattern Iron-on like any iron-on with one of my projects only to find out they treated it as a vinyl UGH… I was a bit upset.

Once everything is the way you want it, let’s hit continue, and that takes you to the Material Screen that looks like this. See the image below.

Material Screen

So on the left, we can see that we are cutting a 12 x 12 mat and that our mirror is on! WOOHOO

Now we are going to select the everyday Iron-on material, which for me was right below the browse all materials, but you may have to browse for it.

Did you know you can star materials you use all the time?

Did you know if there are materials you always work with, you can star them as your favorites so that you don’t have to look for them each and every time?

If you move your mouse on top of the material block a star appears in the right top corner. Star it and it will be there each and every time you come to this screen:)


So we are now ready to cut our Iron-on (HTV)

Getting our mat and material ready

We are going to grab our light blue mat or green mat, the choice is yours. If you need more information on Cricut cutting mats you can check out my article on The Differences between the Cricut Cutting Mats-All you need to know

Next, we are going to place our iron-on (HTV) shiny side down on our mat. THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!

If you place it the wrong way you will be cutting the transparent film and not the Iron-on material. And Yes my friend, I have done this many many times.

Loading the mat into our cricut machine

Make sure your Cricut has the fine point blade and we are ready to load our mat in our machine.

The arrow light will be flashing, so let’s press that and it will load the mat. Once that is done, your Cricut button will be waiting to be pressed. OFF your mat goes to be cut by this Awesome machine.

Design Space will then let you know when it is done cutting, when you get that prompt go ahead and unload your cutting mat. Up next- Weeding

Weeding the SVG for our t-shirt

If you used material bigger than what you cut and have extra, NOW is the time to trim off the extra material.

We are now going to take our weeding tool and get rid of what we do not need. So our design, the words, will be the only thing left on your cutting mat.

Relax and enjoy this process. Weeding can be super fun and relaxing if you allow it to be.

Applying the Iron-on (HTV) to T-Shirt

NOTE: Cricut suggests that you always wash your t-shirts before applying anything to them. I have honestly done it both ways and haven’t seen a difference yet, but I do usually wash my shirts beforehand.

Alright, so we have cut and weeded our design and are ready to heat press it onto our t-shirts. WOOHOO

So we are using everyday Iron-on vinyl and Cricut recommends that you set your heat press to 315 F and press it for 30 seconds. So let’s set our heat press to 315 and wait for that to heat up.

If you are working with different materials, I highly recommend using Cricut’s guide to help you with the settings for the material you are using.

Step 1

Once your heat press is heated up, let’s take that shirt and press the part that the design is going to get all the wrinkles out. Let’s say about 5-10 seconds. Now that all of our wrinkles are out we are ready to move on to step 2.

Step 2

Let us take our design and lay it on the t-shirt in the desired spot. Once you are happy with where you want the design to go, let’s take our heat press and press it for 30 seconds. Then check to make sure it stuck.

NOTE: Some crafters do flip the shirt over and heat press for another 10-15 seconds. That choice is up to you. Sometimes I do that and sometimes I don’t.

Step 3

Once your design adheres to the shirt let it cool for about 10-30 seconds and begin peeling the transfer sheet away from your shirt and design.

Congrats to you! You just made a awesome t-shirt!

I sure hope this article taught you some things and that you enjoyed our time together! Please share the love! I spend many many hours on these tutorials so please share if you enjoyed this!

I would love to see your creations so please drop a comment with a picture once you shared this article.

Thank you so much for creating an amazing t-shirt with me:)

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