If you’re looking to create custom t-shirts using your Cricut machine, the Print Then Cut method is a great option.
With this technique, you can design and print your own decals or designs onto transfer sheets and then apply them to your shirts.
However, there are a few important things to keep in mind to ensure that your prints come out vibrant and your transfers adhere properly.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of making print then cut t-shirts with your Cricut, step by step.
Choosing the Right Paper and Quality
Before you start printing your designs, it’s important to choose the right heat transfer vinyl (HTV) and adjust the print quality settings.
For HTV type, you have two main options: dark heat transfer vinyl or light heat transfer vinyl.
We recommend dark heat transfer vinyl due to its higher quality and vibrance.
If you have the option for transfer medium, choose iron-on transfer.
Next, adjust the print quality to the highest setting available to ensure vibrant colors and avoid banding (horizontal lines) that can sometimes occur with inkjet printers.
Loading the Printer and Printing the Transfer
Once you have your transfer sheet ready, it’s time to load it into your inkjet printer.
Make sure you load it with the correct side facing up.
To determine the correct side, look for the lines on the back of the transfer sheet.
The front side is where you want to print your design.
Before printing, it’s a good idea to do a test print to ensure that your printer is set up correctly.
Once you’re confident in the printer’s alignment, go ahead and print your design onto the transfer sheet.
Cutting the Transfer with Cricut Design Space
After printing your design, it’s time to cut it using Cricut Design Space.
1. Open the software and click on “Browse All Materials.”
2. Search for “printable iron-on” and select the appropriate option based on whether you’re using light or dark fabric.
3. Adjust the pressure setting to “more” for a clean cut.
4. Place your printed transfer sheet on the cutting mat, aligning it as straight as possible.
5. The Cricut machine will use the black lines on the sheet to determine where to cut.
6. Once the machine detects the lines, it will begin cutting.
Weeding the Transfer
After cutting, it’s time to weed the transfer.
For light-colored fabric transfers, you’ll want to keep the backing in place and remove the excess material around your design.
Carefully remove the material using a weeding tool, ensuring that your design remains intact.
Applying the Transfer to the Shirt
To apply the transfer to your shirt, first, fold the shirt in half and iron it to create a crease down the center.
This will help you align your design.
Place the transfer on the shirt with the backing facing up, ensuring that the lines on the transfer align with the center crease of the shirt.
Using an EasyPress set to the recommended temperature (300 degrees Fahrenheit), press the transfer onto the shirt for the recommended time (between 15 to 30 seconds).
Make sure to move the EasyPress around to cover the entire design, especially if it doesn’t fully fit under the press.
After pressing, immediately peel off the backing while the transfer is still warm.
For dark-colored fabric transfers, the process is slightly different.
Peel the transfer sheet off the backing, making sure to keep the entire design intact.
Place the transfer on the shirt, aligning it as desired.
Use the EasyPress to press the transfer onto the shirt, following the recommended temperature and time.
Again, peel off the backing while the transfer is still warm.
Comparing Light and Dark Fabric Transfers
There is a noticeable difference between transfers intended for light-colored fabric and those intended for dark-colored fabric.
Light-colored transfers tend to result in a washed-out and rough appearance, while dark-colored transfers are vibrant and smooth.
Even if you’re using a white shirt, it’s recommended to use the dark fabric transfers for better results.
Washing and Care Instructions
To ensure the longevity of your print then cut t-shirts, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for washing and care.
Typically, you’ll need to wait at least 24 hours before washing the shirt.
When washing, turn the shirt inside out and use cold water.
Make sure to include a full spin cycle to prevent the shirt from soaking in water, which can affect the transfer.
If you need to iron the shirt, always do so with the shirt turned inside out to avoid damaging the transfer.
Creating custom t-shirts with the Print Then Cut method is a fun and creative way to express yourself.
By following the right steps and using the appropriate transfer sheets, you can achieve vibrant and professional-looking results.
Remember to choose the right paper, adjust the print quality, cut with precision using Cricut Design Space, and carefully apply the transfer to your shirt.
With proper care, your print then cut t-shirts will come out looking stunning, and with proper care they will last for years!