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Step two in a series of Cricut tutorials on making a heat transfer t shirt. In this tutorial, watch a video on cutting and weeding vinyl iron on. Updated on January 16, 2020.
Hi Friends!! We are in the middle of a three-part blog series on how to make a DIY shirt with a Cricut from start to finish. Making your own custom shirts is one of the easiest ways to use your Cricut.
In step one of the Cricut tutorials, I showed you how to create a file in Cricut Design Space and I also gave you free SVG files.
Now we are moving on to actually using our Cricut! Woo Hoo!! It really isn’t as hard as you think.
In this step, I’ll show you all about cutting and weeding vinyl (iron on or heat transfer vinyl!). Follow these heat transfer vinyl Cricut instructions and you will have your iron on vinyl ready to apply to your project in no time!
Different Types of Vinyl
First off, let’s talk about the names of vinyl because they can be confusing. There are two major types of vinyl: adhesive vinyl and iron-on vinyl.
Adhesive vinyl has different varieties including removable (or indoor) vinyl and permanent (or outdoor) vinyl. Cricut carries both removable and permanent vinyl. Another brand I like is Oracal. Oracal 631 is vinyl that you can remove easily and Oracal 651 is permanent/outdoor vinyl.
Even though it is called permanent, it can be scraped off or come off in high heat. That’s why do not place objects with vinyl on in microwaves or dishwashers!
Adhesive vinyl can be used on tons of different surfaces, including glass, wood, mugs, tumblers, walls, car windows, etc. You cut the SVG files or images out normally and will use transfer tape to place them on the surface. If you’d like some tips on how to apply vinyl lettering so that it’s straight, make sure to check out my applying vinyl to a tumbler post.
Iron On Vinyl
Iron on or heat transfer is vinyl (or HTV) that needs to have heat applied to it so that it adheres to a material like fabric or wood. HTV is most commonly used for
Spoiler Alert: Heat transfer vinyl (HTV) and iron on vinyl are the same exact thing!! Cricut just calls their vinyl “Iron On” while most other companies call it “heat transfer vinyl”.
My favorites?? I usually work with Siser Easyweed or Cricut brand that I get off Amazon or Ebay. If Cricut products are on sale at Joann, Michael’s or Cricut.com, I will buy some of the specialty iron on vinyl like glitter, holographic, patterned, and metallic. Most of these can also be found on Amazon too.
I always check the prices between those four companies before I purchase products. Every so often Joann Fabrics will have their Cricut products on sale for 40 or 50% off so I stock up then! Crafters always buy what they don’t need just because it’s on sale, right??!!!
Iron on vinyl needs to be cut on MIRROR setting because the plastic backing acts as the transfer agent. You will be flipping it over and applying heat to the plastic side so that the vinyl itself melts into the material.
You can click on the “mirror” setting in the Prepare screen and also the final cut screen.
Let’s Continue on with our Iron On Vinyl Shirt Project
Make sure to check out the previous post so you can see what we’re working on! There is a free “God Bless America” SVG cut file that I will be showing you what to do with after you have everything in Cricut Design Space.
At the end of the last video, I showed you how to change everything to “mirror” setting before you cut. Make sure to check that out if you don’t know how to do it.
I have a full video of these steps below, but I’ll also write them for you, in case that’s easier for you!
Just a reminder, these are the products I used for this project that you can get on Amazon. Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links from Amazon and/or Cricut. I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my links
Cutting HTV with a Cricut
As I said before, make sure that you have clicked the “mirror” setting in CDS on the page when the mats show up. This will flip the image over.
Click continue and connect your machine. Then select your material. If you are using a Cricut Explore, turn your knob to “Iron On”.
If you are using a specialty iron on, turn your dial to “Custom” and search for the type of vinyl on the drop-down menu. If you are using a Cricut Maker, select “iron on” or whatever type of iron on you are using in the drop-down menu
Make sure to place the vinyl on your mat SHINY SIDE DOWN. I use a light grip mat for HTV but you could also use an older green mat that has lost some stickiness. Press the vinyl down flat with your hand or a brayer.
The Cricut’s arrow light will blink when it’s ready for you to insert your mat. Make sure your mat is placed all the way up to the rollers. When you push the blinking light, the rollers will grab the mat and pull it in and stop.
The cut light will then blink when it’s ready to cut. Push it and watch the magic! The Cricut will tell you when it’s done on the screen and also the arrow light will flash again. Unload the mat, add your next iron on vinyl, and do it again.
Make sure to watch the video up above or sometimes it moves to the side or bottom as you scroll!
What is Weeding Vinyl?
Weeding vinyl just means taking the excess pieces of vinyl out. You will use a tool to pick out the small pieces in between the cut lines. I like to use my Cricut weeding tool but some people like dental probes or pointers.
You will weed both iron-on vinyl and adhesive vinyl. I think iron-on vinyl is easier to weed because it is still adhered to the plastic backing and you can pull on it pretty hard without it coming up. And remember it will be backwards when you are weeding out the letters and pieces because it was cut on mirror setting.
I like to open the project in Cricut Design Space on my laptop or tablet and look at the image so I know what’s supposed to be weeded out.
Tips on Weeding Vinyl – Iron On / HTV
Weeding vinyl is pretty straight forward but weeding lines and intricate cuts with adhesive vinyl can be troublesome. Regular vinyl adhesive and iron on vinyl use the same method.
Siser Easyweed is super easy to weed, actually easier than adhesive vinyl! I like to keep the backing on a sticky mat or place it back on one if I’ve taken it off and start from the top left corner. Cut the extra vinyl off so you don’t waste it, just make sure you don’t cut part of your image!
I think using natural light is the easiest way to see the edges. You can also use a bright pad.
If I’m weeding vinyl at night, I’ll grab a desk light and put it on the side. Glitter iron on is probably the hardest to see the edges on, especially if you have an intricate cut.
Cutting your iron on with the correct setting should make weeding easier since it’s tested best to cut that specific depth.
Sometimes I have great success weeding with scotch tape. Check out my tutorial here on weeding with tape! For some reason, it doesn’t always work and I can’t figure that out yet! I have also heard of people using a lint roller but I haven’t had success with that yet.
I always turn my iron on over and look at through light to make sure I’ve gotten all the little parts out of the letters before I apply it to my material.
Cricut tips for weeding adhesive vinyl: You can also do what’s called reverse weeding when working with adhesive vinyl. Reverse weeding is placing the entire image on the transfer tape first (before you remove any excess vinyl!). Then flip the transfer tape over and weed the extra vinyl off the transfer tape. The small little shapes or letters will stay stuck on the transfer tape.
I hope these tips help with weeding HTV.
In the next tutorial I will teach you how to iron on vinyl.
Thanks so much for stopping by and have a creative day!