If you’ve spent any time browsing our site or subscribe to our newsletter you’d likely be familiar with our adorable line of vector graphics from designer Tay Silver. Most often commonly these files are used to create paper die cuts for scrapbooking and vinyl die cuts to create that fabulous wall art that seems to be everywhere. Well a few months ago photos started popping up in the PC gallery of cute little kids wearing Tay’s designs on t-shirts! GASP! Well knock me over! They were so adorable, so professional – I was so impressed. Well I knew we had to get a tutorial on that ASAP. Luckily, Michell Western, the crafty lady behind these fantastic t-shirts was kind enough to take the time to share her secrets with us so enjoy!! ;)

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Product Credits:
Candy Canes BlockART: EPS, SVG, JPG, PNG format
Halloween BlockART : EPS, SVG, JPG, PNG format
Winter Wonderland BlockART : EPS, SVG, JPG, PNG format

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Turn Vector Graphics into Vinyl Decals for T-shirts using your Digital Die Cutting Machine: Project and Tutorial by: Michell Western

Did you know that you can use the same adorable vectors designs that you use to make signs for your house or die cuts for scrapbooking to make a cute shirt for your kids or even for yourself? All you need is some iron-on vinyl, your cutting machine and a t-shirt. To make the shirt requires just a few different steps from what you would do to make a sign.

Iron-on vinyl is different from the vinyl you use to create home decor crafts. Clothing vinyl is designed to stick to cotton, canvas, and other fabrics when heated to the correct temperature. EnduraTex is a great brand from signwarehouse.com. EnduraTex does come in different grades of vinyl so be careful and read the description and make sure you are getting something that you can work with. I personally use Enduratex HotMark 70 for my solid colors. It is very thin, weeds easy. There are also fashion vinyl that are my favorite (zebra print, leopard print, camo, etc). And last but not least, my number one use is EnduraTex Galaxy Glitter. You will have to do test cuts because all machines are different and each vinyl type and color requires different settings. The Galaxy Glitter requires a much thicker cut since it’s a very thick vinyl.

Tay has a wonderful tutorial on how to cut vinyl with your Cricut, Silhouette, or Wishblade Machine. If you are unsure, just check her post.

I use a Cricut to cut vinyl but the same steps can be done with the Silhouette or Wishblade. It’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it!

There are 2 main things to remember:

(1) Mirror your image 
(2) Flip the vinyl

Ok, lets get started…

1. Open up the program to a new page

2. If you are using the Sure-Cuts-A-Lot program, (a third-party program for Cricut machines that allows you to import your own images without using cartridges) Go to File and Trace Image, use the Browse button to locate the vector you are wishing to cut. If you are using a Silhouette, use the auto trace button.

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3. Open the vector and you might have to adjust the size. If you already have the shirt picked out that you plan to use, measure the chest so you have an idea how big you can make the image. My sample is going on a 24 month shirt, so about 7”x7”.

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4. After you have the image to the size you need, be sure to FLIP or MIRROR the image.

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5. You are now ready to cut. Make sure that you have the side that you would peal facing up.

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If it’s a solid color vinyl, the color side is normally not the side you peal so it’s usually the lighter side. The glitter vinyl is a little trickier but is the side that is textured.

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(You can do the vectors in which ever color you like. You do not have to double colors to have a cute shirt, sometime solid white really stands out. If you do choice to multi color the vector, there are a few ways to do it. One way is to just cute the whole vector in each color. If you are doing a group of the same shirts this is a great way otherwise, you are left with unused vinyl. Or you can break up the design and cute each layer as you need it. In the Sure-Cuts-A-Lot program, click on vector, at the top of the page, go to object, then select BREAK APART. You can now move each piece of the vector.

Now you have the vector cut, wedding is the same with the vinyl. If the vinyl did not cut all the way through, then you need to adjust the settings on your machine to cut deeper.

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Iron or Heat Press

You can apply the vinyl using either your iron or a heat press. You can also you an iron press if you have one. Using the iron does take longer and I have found that the heat press shirts last longer and do not peel off.

1. Place your shirt on either your ironing board or heat press plate making sure it is straight.

2. Place the vector design on the shirt so you can see how things are going to line up. (this is much easier if you have the design in one color)

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3. Start with your first layer, place it in place on your shirt. If you are using an iron, you can use a couple sheets of computer paper and iron over the paper, this protects the shirt and the vinyl. If you are using a heat press, then a Teflon sheet is recommended.

4. Iron or press your first layer. (Heat Press requires less time (about 5-10 seconds). Ironing probably about a minute, just making circles over the vector.

5. Allow cooling and try to peel off the plastic. The vector should stay on the shirt. If the vector looks like it is coming off and is still hot, allow cooling a little bit longer. If the vector is already cool, you need to iron it longer.

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6. Now that you have removed the first layer, continue this step with each additional layer.

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7. After you have added all the layers, I recommend heating the shirt one last time to make sure the vinyl has a good stick to the shirt.

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8. Find a cute model to show off your shirt.

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Just for fun I’ll show you the other shirt I created (below) using the exact same design but in different colors. You can see how different it looks. Depending on what color fabric and vinyl you use you can get a completely different look. You can easily customize any of Peppermint Creative’s designs to your taste.

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Enjoy!!

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