DIY Back to School T-Shirts

back to school shirts
back to school shirts

LEARN HOW TO MAKE ADORABLE CUSTOMIZABLE BACK TO SCHOOL T-SHIRTS USING HTV AND YOUR CRICUT

I cannot tell you how many times my kids have walked into school wearing the same outfit as other kids. Now, it is bound to happen since we, in a community, tend to shop at the same places. However, I want my kids to stand out. So, I designed these Back to School T-Shirts for them to wear on their first day back!

I designed two different styles. A unicorn and a dinosaur. Both designs can be customized with your child’s grade and school year, making them designs you can use for many years to come!

In this tutorial, I’ll give you my step by step instructions and tell you what materials I think work best when making this project.

TBH Crafters Club Members can download the SVG cut file for this project in the File Library.

Not a Member? Click here or the link at the bottom of the page to join!

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BACK TO SCHOOL T-SHIRTS – MATERIALS LIST

back to school shirts

Awesome Back to School T-Shirts with layered HTV

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

These t-shirts are so fun and a great back to school project! You can customize the grade your child is in for that perfect fit!

Materials

  • My FREE Back to School T-Shirts File
  • Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV). I am using SIser Easyweed and Glitter HTV.
  • T-shirt blanks. I am using Gildan toddler and kids sizes.

Tools

  • A way to cut out your vinyl. I am using my FABULOUS Cricut Maker! This project will also work for the Cricut Explore Air 2! You could use the Cricut Joy for smaller sized t-shirts!
  • Cricut StandardGrip Cutting Mat (green)
  • Cricut EasyPress 2 (or any other heat press)
  • Cricut EasyPress Mat
  • Cricut Weeding Tool

Instructions

The SVG Cut file contains two designs, Dinosaur and Unicorn.

HOW TO MAKE THE DINOSAUR "ROAR" T-SHIRT

STEP 1 - DOWNLOAD THE SVG CUT FILE

Download the SVG Cut file for these Back to School T-Shirts (#26) from The File Vault. Get access by joining the club.

STEP 2 - UPLOAD THE SVG FILE TO CRICUT DESIGN SPACE

If you aren't familiar with uploading SVG files into Design Space, take a look at my quick and easy tutorial here. If you are on your smartphone, here is my tutorial on using the Cricut App.

STEP 3 - UNGROUP THE SVG FILE

The file will upload into Cricut Design Space grouped together. You will want to hit the UNGROUP button to separate the layers.

back to school shirts

Next, UNGROUP the additional grades. This will allow you to personalize the design with your child's new grade.

back to school shirts

STEP 4 - PERSONALIZE THE T-SHIRT WITH YOUR CHILD'S GRADE

To change the grade, select the appropriate text.

back to school shirts

Then, move it into the design.

back to school shirts

Once you have added the grade you want, highlight the remaining grades.

back to school shirts

Click the red "X" to delete them.

back to school shirts

STEP 5 - MEASURE YOUR T-SHIRT BLANK AND SIZE ACCORDINGLY

Measure your t-shrit to determine the size of your image. Once you have your measurement, highlight your design.

back to school shirts

Then, change the sizing in the toolbar.

back to school shirts

To ensure your t-shirt cuts properly, you will need to attach the black layers together. To do this, highlight all BLACK layers listed in the LAYERS panel.

back to school shirts

Select ATTACH in the lower right hand corner.

back to school shirts

Now, click the GREEN Make It Button.

back to school shirts

STEP 6 - PREPARE YOUR MATS AND MAKE MATERIAL SELECTION

Choose your material. I am using Siser EasyWeed HTV so I am choosing Heat Transfer Vinyl (Non-Cricut).

MAKE SURE TO MIRROR EACH MAT BEFORE PROCEEDING!

STEP 7 - LOADING YOUR MATS AND MAKING THE IMAGE

When placing the HTV to your cutting mat, you will notice a shinier side of the vinyl. This is known as the carrier sheet which you will be pressing your EasyPress 2 against. Make sure this side is facing DOWN. The side you will be cutting is, usually, slightly dull looking. This side needs to be facing UP.

Once you have placed your vinyl onto your mat, load the cutting mat into the machine by pressing the flashing ARROW button.

pride t-shirt

You will know the machine is ready to cut your material when you see the flashing "C" button. Press that to start the cut.

pride t-shirt

Once your Cricut is finished cutting the layer, the ARROW button will flash again. Press it to UNLOAD the mat.

Carefully remove the vinyl from the mat.

Repeat this step until all layers have been cut.

STEP 8 - WEED YOUR VINYL

I will say that most of the time, I do weed on the mat. This is helpful because the cutting mat can act as a third hand to keep the vinyl from curling when you are trying to weed.

You will want to only remove the vinyl NOT the carrier sheet as this will protect your vinyl once its time to press it!

STEP 9 - PREHEAT YOUR EASYPRESS 2

According to the Cricut EasyPress Heat Guide, found here, the temperature should be set to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Set that temperature by pressing the temperature icon. Once the temperature starts to flash, you can increase it using the arrows.

STEP 10 - PREPARE YOUR T-SHIRT BLANK

While your EasyPress is coming up to temp, prep your shirt. I like to first fold the shirt in half. Then lightly press the shirt using the EasyPress. This will help me line up the image to ensure I have it straight.

back to school shirts

back to school shirts

Note: The EasyPress does not have to be fully to temperature yet because you are just wanting to create a guide for your image as well as iron out any wrinkles.

STEP 11 - PRESS YOUR T-SHIRT

Before applying your image, you have to heat your shirt. The Cricut Heat Guide from above states you should heat the shirt for 5 seconds.

STEP 12 - APPLY IMAGE TO SHIRT

Place your design face down with the carrier sheet facing UP. Make sure to line up the center of your design with the line you creased down the center of the shirt.

back to school shirts

STEP 13 - PRESS LAYER

According to the Cricut Heat Guide, you should press your layer for 15 seconds.

back to school shirts

STEP 14 - REMOVE CARRIER SHEET

Slowly lift press off your design making sure to lift straight up.

The Heat Guide says to remove the carrier sheet with a cool peel. This means to wait until the shirt is cool to the touch. Remove the carrier sheet by carefully pulling from one corner. Pay attention to any lifting of the vinyl. If this happens, replace the carrier sheet and press for a few more seconds.

back to school shirts

STEP 15 - REPEAT FOR REMAINING LAYERS

Add your remaining layers, one at a time, folliowing steps 12-14.

back to school shirts

back to school shirts

STEP 16 - FLIP YOUR SHIRT OVER AND PRESS

Once you have pressed your final layer and removed the carrier sheet, flip the shirt over immediately.

back to school shirts

You will want to press the back for 15 seconds which is stated in the Cricut Heat Guide.

back to school shirts

Flip your shirt over and you are done!

back to school shirts

HOW TO MAKE THE UNICORN "SPARKLE" T-SHIRT

STEP 1 - DOWNLOAD THE SVG CUT FILE

Download the SVG Cut file for these Back to School T-Shirts from my FREE Resource Library. Click here to get access to the library.

STEP 2 - UPLOAD THE SVG FILE TO CRICUT DESIGN SPACE

If you aren't familiar with uploading SVG files into Design Space, take a look at my quick and easy tutorial here. If you are on your smartphone, here is my tutorial on using the Cricut App.

STEP 3 - UNGROUP THE SVG FILE

The file will upload into Cricut Design Space grouped together. You will want to hit the UNGROUP button to separate the layers.

Next, UNGROUP the additional grades. This will allow you to personalize the design with your child's new grade.

back to school shirts

STEP 4 - PERSONALIZE THE T-SHIRT WITH YOUR CHILD'S GRADE

To change the grade, select the appropriate text.

Then, move it into the design.

back to school shirts

Once you have added the grade you want, highlight the remaining grades.

back to school shirts

Click the red "X" to delete them.

STEP 5 - MEASURE YOUR T-SHIRT BLANK AND SIZE ACCORDINGLY

Measure your t-shrit to determine the size of your image. Once you have your measurement, highlight your design.

Then, change the sizing in the toolbar.

back to school shirts

To ensure your t-shirt cuts properly, you will need to attach the layers of the same color together. To do this, highlight all BLACK layers listed in the LAYERS panel.

back to school shirts

Select ATTACH in the lower right hand corner.

back to school shirts

Repeat this for the remaining colors.

Now, click the GREEN Make It Button.

STEP 6 - PREPARE YOUR MATS AND MAKE MATERIAL SELECTION

Choose your material. I am using Siser EasyWeed HTV so I am choosing Heat Transfer Vinyl (Non-Cricut).

MAKE SURE TO MIRROR EACH MAT BEFORE PROCEEDING!

STEP 7 - LOADING YOUR MATS AND MAKING THE IMAGE

When placing the HTV to your cutting mat, you will notice a shinier side of the vinyl. This is known as the carrier sheet which you will be pressing your EasyPress 2 against. Make sure this side is facing DOWN. The side you will be cutting is, usually, slightly dull looking. This side needs to be facing UP.

Once you have placed your vinyl onto your mat, load the cutting mat into the machine by pressing the flashing ARROW button.

pride t-shirt

You will know the machine is ready to cut your material when you see the flashing "C" button. Press that to start the cut.

pride t-shirt

Once your Cricut is finished cutting the layer, the ARROW button will flash again. Press it to UNLOAD the mat.

Carefully remove the vinyl from the mat.

Repeat this step until all layers have been cut.

STEP 8 - WEED YOUR VINYL

I will say that most of the time, I do weed on the mat. This is helpful because the cutting mat can act as a third hand to keep the vinyl from curling when you are trying to weed.

You will want to only remove the vinyl NOT the carrier sheet as this will protect your vinyl once its time to press it!

STEP 9 - PREHEAT YOUR EASYPRESS 2

I am using a combination of glitter vinyl and Easyweed for the unicorn shirt. According to the Cricut EasyPress Heat Guide, found here, the temperature should be set to 330 degrees Fahrenheit for the glitter vinyl and 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Set that temperature by pressing the temperature icon. Once the temperature starts to flash, you can increase it using the arrows.

STEP 10 - PREPARE YOUR T-SHIRT BLANK

While your EasyPress is coming up to temp, prep your shirt. I like to first fold the shirt in half. Then lightly press the shirt using the EasyPress. This will help me line up the image to ensure I have it straight.

back to school shirts

back to school shirts

Note: The EasyPress does not have to be fully to temperature yet because you are just wanting to create a guide for your image as well as iron out any wrinkles.

STEP 11 - PRESS YOUR T-SHIRT

Before applying your image, you have to heat your shirt. The Cricut Heat Guide from above states you should heat the shirt for 5 seconds.

STEP 12 - APPLY IMAGE TO SHIRT

Place your design face down with the carrier sheet facing UP. Make sure to line up the center of your design with the line you creased down the center of the shirt.

back to school shirts

STEP 13 - PRESS LAYER

According to the Cricut Heat Guide, you should press your layer for 30 seconds for glitter vinyl and 15 seconds for Easyweed.

back to school shirts

STEP 14 - REMOVE CARRIER SHEET

Slowly lift press off your design making sure to lift straight up.

The Heat Guide says to remove the carrier sheet with a cool peel. This means to wait until the shirt is cool to the touch. Remove the carrier sheet by carefully pulling from one corner. Pay attention to any lifting of the vinyl. If this happens, replace the carrier sheet and press for a few more seconds.

back to school shirts

STEP 15 - REPEAT FOR REMAINING LAYERS

Add your remaining layers, one at a time, folliowing steps 12-14.

back to school shirts

back to school shirts

back to school shirts

STEP 16 - FLIP YOUR SHIRT OVER AND PRESS

Once you have pressed your final layer and removed the carrier sheet, flip the shirt over immediately.

back to school shirts

You will want to press the back for 15 seconds which is stated in the Cricut Heat Guide.

back to school shirts

Flip your shirt over and you are done!

back to school shirts

back to school shirts

back to school shirts

I just KNOW your kids will love these unique shirts! Mine almost couldn’t wait to try them on while they were still warm!!

Post a photo in the comment section or tag your projects on social media @thebeardedhousewife using the hashtag #beardedhousewife! I’d love to see how your little one rocks his or hers!

Love,

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back to school shirts

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