So I can't believe my two girls have actually started kindergarten and preschool. Seriously, where has the time gone?! As a first time school mum, I wanted to create a keepsake for them to celebrate their new milestone and since every year is going to feel like a another milestone; I felt like this tee concept (credit and thanks to Sophia from @twinsandablog for this idea) was perfect! Now we can watch them grow into these as they get older, the other bonus is that they get to wear the tee everywhere before the new school year starts!
This was actually my first Cricut project, it's not perfect but I’m super happy with how it turned out. I also did something a little different compared Sophia's original hand stamping concept, on the back of the shirts we have "When I grow up, I want to be..." and each new year we'll just ask you what you want to be! Now in addition to watching them grow into the tee, we can also track their ambitions as they grow up.
The Tutorial part (kinda)
Now one of the best features about the Cricut is that the machine actually tells you what to do step-by-step. Seriously, what else can a girl dream of right? Once you have your concept and idea thought up, it's a pretty straight forward process.
So.. since this is my first arts and crafts tutotrial, well actually my first tutorial ever, please just let me know if there's anything that's unclear so I can address it. Let's start off with
WHAT YOU NEED:
Cricut Explore Air 2 Cutter Machine
Cricut Easy Press 2
Cricut Easy Press Mat
Cricut Tools (Basic Set)
Cricut Infusible Ink Black Transfer Sheet
Infusible Ink Tee Shirt
Cricut Light Grip Mat
When you first register you Cricut machine, you get a 1 month free subscription to Cricut Design which is a place where you can gather all kinds of premade designs and templates. It's acessible via the desktop as well as a phone app, yep, pretty neat right?
1. THE DESIGN:
I chose the following graphic from the Cricut library.
You can change edit the years as well as well as colours, I then added a "Text"object to personalise the tee with my kids name directly under the graphic. Designing and playing around with different combos is definitely the fun bit - be creative!
One of my favourite parts of the Cricut is that you can actually set previews based on templates to help you visualise what theend product will look like, I picked Women's T-Shirt in Size M since I thought this would be a good fit for the girls once they hit the end of high school.
As you can see, on the back side of the shirt, I added more 'Text' objects so that each year I can print out what my kids have told me they'd like to be when they grow older. Both girls told me they wanted to be Nurses, this is most likely because of when Micah was in the Westmead Children's Hopsital - they absolutely adored the nurses who were looking after Micah.
With the design done, the next part is to CUT it out, you start this by clicking on "MAKE IT"
I'm not sure why it created different mats with my design by default, but you can merge everything into one mat to try to save material. Here's what I ended up with once I merged everything into a single sheet each for the front and back designs.
NOTE: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make sure you ensure the whole thing has been mirrored. I made this rookie mistake and wasted a whole sheet.
Now with the design done, we move onto the Cricut Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet. Each box contains 2x 30.5cm by 30.5cm sheets with transfer paper inside. At roughly $25 per box at Spotlight, they're not cheap so try to salvage any off cuts that you can for your next project! I ended up using Black Noir for this project.
What you do next is stick the Infusible Ink sheet onto the cutting mat, the "COLOUR" side should be facing up and the grid backing should be placed directly onto the sticky part of the cutting mat is. Load the cutting mat (with invisbile ink sheet attached) into the Cutter Machine, click on the flashing arrow button and then follow the prompts. EVERYTHING is literally listed step by step within this program, so it should be pretty straight forward.
3. PREPPING THE SHEET:
With the Cricut having done its cutting thanggg, the next step is to PEEL the whole sheet away from the cutting mat - the sheet should remain whole with all the new cuts in it.
Once removed, there's a little technique to 'roll up' the the whole sheet until you hear this crackling sound. I personally had some problems understanding this part, but after watching a few YouTube videos it made much more sense.
The purpose behind it is to 'loosen up' the backing to make it easier to peel away the part of the Infusible Ink that ISN'T a part of your design, this is where the Cricut Tools set come in handy.
You might end up with some white leftover backing around the cuts, but I wouldn't worry about them too much as they didn't seem to affect my end product much.
4. THE PRESS:
So with your beautiful design all cut out and ready to imprint onto your tee, this is the final step. First of all, what's the Easy Press 2? It's a big heat press that you can use to bond heat activated vinyl to shirts, pillows, hats, and more! This machine is the best!
This https://cricut.com/en_us/heatguide link was very useful for this part of the process. When you input the adhesive material and fabric material, it will tell you what temperate you need to set the press to and and for how long it should be applied.
1. Place the Cricut Easy Press Mat on a flat surface
2. Place the T-shirt on top of the Press Mat, in between the middle of the T-shirt I placed a large piece cardstock so the ink wouldn't bleed through
3. Use a lint roller to remove any fibres, this will prevent lint from being pressed into the blank which will cause the dye in the lint to infuse unwanted blue speckles into your blank.
4. Place your design on top and then the transfer paper (this is the baking paper material that comes with Cricut Infusible Ink) on top of the deisgn
5. Then you are ready to use the Cricut Easy Press. Make sure you preheat it for 15seconds before you hit the Cricut button on the press. It will beep when the time is up!
Also please check the heatguide link above to see if a warm peel is allowed for your adhesive/material combo!
And voilà, here's what the shirt ended up looking like and of course; my kids being kids. I must warn you, the addiction is real when you have a Cricut. I'm going to totally be obsessed with this thing!
Next project: last minute valentines idea?!