LET ME SHOW YOU HOW TO TURN YOUR DRAWINGS INTO CUT FILES!
I thought it would be fun to turn my kids drawings into cut files and put them on a shirt for them. They thought this was a really cool idea, so we tried it out and it turned out great. I will show you how to draw the right image to get the best result, and how to turn it into a cut file in Cricut Design Space. I will also show you how to apply the vinyl onto the shirt.
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Quick links to information in this post
How to draw your image
It’s best to draw a black and white image. We used white cardstock and a black sharpie. This provides the best contrast so its easier for Cricut Design Space to delete the colors you don’t want. You could first draw it in pencil so you don’t make mistakes, and then go over the pencil with black sharpie. You don’t want super thin lines because those are harder to cut out. Sharpies provide a nice thick line.
Scan this into your computer or take a picture with your phone as a JPG or PNG file.
How to convert images into cut files?
Once you have your drawing saved on your device, open Cricut Design Space and open a new project. I will be showing you how I did this on my desktop, so if you use a mobile device, these steps will be slightly different. Upload the saved drawing into Cricut Design Space. When you get to this screen where you select how complex the image type is, choose moderately complex.
Next, I cropped the image to just my drawing so I don’t have very much excess around my drawing.
Select the wand tool and your cursor will turn into a plus sign. Select all the white areas to delete them from the image. This will leave only the black.
It looks like it’s ready, but if I click on the preview button at the bottom, I can see tiny little spots scattered everywhere that didn’t get deleted. So now, I’m going to select the eraser tool, adjust the size, and delete any little dots that are hiding. Unfortunately, every time you select a dot to erase, it goes out of preview mode. So you need to click preview every time you want to see where the next spot is to erase. Continue this until you are happy with the result.
Select continue and choose the cut file option, not the print and cut option.
Select your new file and load it onto your canvas. It might come in pretty large. Change the size in the top menu.
Now, I don’t just want this black outline to cut out. I want all the insides to be colored and cut separately and then I will layer all the pieces onto the shirt with heat transfer vinyl.
I’m going to start by duplicating my drawing.
Grab that duplicate and select the contour button underneath the layers panel. This is how we are going to hide cut lines.
Select hide all contours at the bottom. You’ll notice in the layers panel all the layers turned gray, except the top layer.
When they turn gray, it’s like those cut lines are hidden or turned off and they won’t be cut. Now, I’m going to turn on the cut lines that I want to cut by selecting the layers I want to reveal. I’m starting will the yellow face, so I want the inner circle selected, the outer heart eyes, and the outline of the mouth. Then I need to select the top layer that was left on, in order to get just the yellow face that I want. Then “x” out of the window to see your results. Change the color to one that matches to the color of your vinyl.
Duplicate the black outline layer again and repeat the same process with all the other layers you need to create.
I’m going to create a red layer with the eyes and tongue, and then a white layer for the teeth. This next image is when I was trying to make the red eyes and tongue, but I forgot to turn off that top layer that is left on in the contour window. If you make a mistake like I did, open the contour window again and you can make changes.
Once I turned off that top layer in the contour window, that gave me the eyes and tongue only.
The last layer I need to do is the white teeth.
Send your design to the Cricut and cut it out, but don’t forget to mirror everything, otherwise it will turn out backwards.
Another note before cutting your vinyl. You should have the carrier sheet for each layer of vinyl be the same size as the biggest layer’s carrier sheet. And have each design centered on the middle of the carrier sheet. When you go to place each layer of vinyl on the next layer, you need the carrier sheet to cover the previous layers of vinyl to protect it from the easy press. I didn’t do this. My carrier sheet was smaller than the previous vinyl layer, so I used parchment paper to cover all the vinyl. But, it left a shape of the smaller carrier sheet on the vinyl. So it’s best to have the carrier sheet for each layer to cover everything throughout the layering process.
How to layer heat transfer vinyl onto shirts?
Once the vinyl is all cut out and weeded, it can be applied to the shirt. When layering heat transfer vinyl, start from the bottom up. The order I went in was yellow, black, white, red.
There is a little bit of a difference when you are layering vinyl on a shirt, than if you are just applying one layer of vinyl.
Preheat your easy press according to the recommendations at help.cricut.com. Preheat the fabric with the easy press, and then place the first layer on the shirt.
Apply generous pressure onto the first layer for 3-5 seconds. I have a waist high table, so I like to stand on a chair so I can press directly over the shirt with a lot of my weight. This won’t set the vinyl yet, but it will adhere it to the shirt. Let the carrier sheet cool enough until it’s warm and then carefully peel it away.
Lay your next layer down, lining it up, and adhere it to the shirt by applying generous pressure for 3-5 seconds and peeling the carrier sheet away when it’s cool enough. Make sure that the carrier sheet is covering all the vinyl. The vinyl can’t come into direct contact with the easy press.
Repeat this process for any other layers that you have. When you get to your last layer, apply pressure for 15 seconds. Turn your project over and apply pressure from the back for another 15 seconds.
After taking the carrier sheets off, I like to do one more press with just parchment paper. This is personal preference. When looking closely at the vinyl, I like to see the texture of the shirt show through the vinyl a bit, and when I press with the parchment one more time, I am able to achieve this.
A few notes from my experience. I think my yellow layer shrunk a bit because my black and red layers did not match up exactly with the yellow. It was like the yellow got squished vertically by 1/8″. My yellow was sport flex iron on, so I don’t know if that is why. So I cut my eyes and mouth out of my black layer and placed those on individually. They fit perfectly inside the heart and mouth holes on the yellow. The black circle around the head had to be cut in half so i could trim just a tiny bit of the black off so that it would line up at the bottom. I also cut the red eyes from the mouth so I could place those individually. I’ll have to pay attention when I use all everyday iron on and see if it does the same thing. But besides that, everything fit perfect. I’m really happy with the result.