How to Use Iron On Vinyl with Cricut 

One of my favorite things to do with my Cricut is make t-shirts!

I made these gender reveal ones when we announced that Oliver was going to be a boy:

And then we made these fun Disney shirts when we went to Disneyland:

And today I made this fun t-shirt to show off my proud #boymom status:

There are so many options – I can’t wait to do some projects in the near future with some pillows. I love the different types of iron on vinyl as well – I mean, foil iron on?! SO FUN.

So, I thought this would be a great first tutorial to share with all of you. In fact, I even did a video tutorial – sorry it’s not the greatest quality!

If you aren’t a video person, though, here is a picture/text tutorial instead 🙂


Iron On Vinyl

T-shirt, pillow, or other fabric

Cricut Machine (I use the Cricut Explore Air)

Cricut Mat

Weeding Tool

Iron or Heat press – Cricut recently release the EasyPress, which makes this process SO much easier. It’s small, portable, and works amazing with heat press items!

The Quilt Mat Ironing Pad – okay, this is optional, but it will make your life infinitely more easy! You can use it with the EasyPress or an Iron! You can get 15% off with the coupon code CLARKS15.


Step One: 

Create your design in Cricut Design Space – I recommend using a thicker font and pictures that are fairly simple.

I LOVE using the Canvas feature in Design Space for iron on projects. They have so many options. For this particular project, I selected the “V-Neck T-Shirt” option. It made it so I got the correct size and could visualize my project easier. The set canvas button is in the bottom left of the screen.

Step Two: 

Determine if you want to use the same color vinyl for your project or multiple. If all of the parts of the project will be the same color, select each item (on a PC, hold down CTRL as you select each element; on a Mac, press command) and then select “weld” in the layers menu.

If you will be using different colored vinyl for different elements, just proceed on.

Step Three: 

Press “Go”. You will be taken to a page where you can review the items about to be cut. If your elements aren’t welded together, you’ll see multiple cuts shown.

At this point, you will want to select “mirror image (for iron-on).” This is very important – unless you don’t mind your design being backward on whatever you are putting it on 🙂 Then press “Go” again.

Step Four: 

Now, you are ready to cut! You will want to change the dial on your machine to “Iron On”.

Step Five: 

One of the hardest parts when I first started cutting with iron on material was knowing which side to place down. It doesn’t seem like it would be hard, but it was a serious struggle! With iron on vinyl, there is a clear, smooth sheet on one side – this goes face down on the mat.

Step Six: 

Put your mat in the machine and load it in. Once it’s loaded in, press the flashing Cricut button on the machine, and let the magic happen!

Step Seven:

Once the machine is done cutting, cut off the piece of the cut vinyl. Then, weed out any small pieces from the design (carefully weed with thin fonts) and then pull the rest of the excess material up.

Step Eight: 

Now it’s time to iron the vinyl on! Make sure that you’ve pre-washed that material you will be adhering the design to.

First, you will “preheat” your material by ironing for about 15-20 seconds over the area that you will be adding the vinyl to. Your iron should be on the cotton/linen setting.

Step Nine: 

Place your vinyl (vinyl side down) onto the preheated area and flip over your shirt. If you are ironing on to a pillow, you can place a piece of a thin fabric over the vinyl. Iron  over the back of the shirt (or fabric) for about 20-25 seconds.

Step Ten:

Let the vinyl cool for about 20 seconds before flipping it back over. Very carefully remove the plastic from the vinyl. If you find that pieces are coming up, try and iron a bit more.


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    • Haha, well, when you have a small office space, there's not really a lot of other places to use it ;-) And don't worry, the baby was fine. My husband was right next to me as well, and I would not have let anything happen to him. Thanks for the concern though!
  • Thanks! I just got my Cricut on Mother's Day and was apprehensive to try anything with it. I feel a lot more comfortable to try this after seeing your blog.
  • Just got my Cricut and this tutorial is so helpful! I just have one question though, can I use a steam iron? Sorry total newbie lol
  • Thank you so much. This video was great! You explained everything so clearly and had so many helpful tips. Best video I have watched!
  • I hav an old cricut expression. What can i design my projects with and how how to i transfer to my machine? Do you know???
    • Mine usually doesn't come off quickly. I have some Disney shirts we made last year that have had many, many washes, and it has yet to come off :) This seems to be pretty similar with most of our items.
  • What setting do you have the blade set to. Having a problem where it's cutting through both layers. If the adhesive and vinyl.
  • This may sound silly but I too am a newbie, how do you keep the vinyl in place if you're applying heat actually to the back side of the shirt?
    • Not silly at all! Usually the HTV material should have a plastic sheet which is slightly sticky, so it should stick to the shirt enough for it to stay in place :)
  • Hello Katie, I just watched your video with the iron on vinyl for the T-shirt. I was told about cricut by a friend. I am mainly looking to use the machine for say, iron on vinyl for bags and cards for my future business. If you do this sort of thing, will you be doing a tutorial for anything like this, would love to see this aspect in action. Thank you Cathy
    • I can definitely try and do this! I am hosting a Facebook Live around 2:30 PM MST on our Facebook page today at 2:30. Let me see if I can try and find a bag that I could demo. Feel free to join in -
  • Hi Katie. I just received my cricut air explore 2 as a surprise for Christmas. I also received a cricut easy press. I've made several cute shirts using cricut iron on glitter vinyl for my granddaughters. How do you wash these shirts so the vinyl doesn't come off, inside out and warm water and low dryer??? Thanks for answering:)
  • Thank you for the video tutorial. It was easy to follow. I am nww to cricut and i am anxious to learn as much as possible.