5 Easy Steps To Make Your Iron-On Project Stick

May 17, 2017 • Contributor: Cricut Marketing Manager Lauren Duletzke

If iron-on projects are your favorite, like mine, I know how frustrating it can be to cut your project, adhere it with an iron and something goes wrong… maybe one of your letters warps because your iron is too hot or worse, you wear your awesome DIY shirt and the design starts to peel off. Permanence with iron-on is possible (I promise!) and today I’m going to walk you through 5 easy steps to get the best results on your cotton t-shirts.

Before we get started I want to discuss a few things to get us prepped for a solid iron-on experience. I’ve learned the importance of two things to make my iron-on projects super permanent…

  • Know my fabric: Figure out what fabric you’re working with (if it has a tag, read it!), know the right temperature for the fabric (most irons have temperature settings), and wash instructions.
  • Know my iron-on material: When picking your iron-on make sure you know what you’re working with. At Cricut we have 3 different types of iron-on: iron-on lite, glitter iron-on, and foil iron-on. Here’s three quick things you should consider when using these iron-on materials:
  1. Iron-on lite: Be careful with too much heat.
  2. Glitter iron-on: Super strong and can take higher heat.
  3. Foil iron-on: Lower heat + longer time settings and make sure it’s fully cool before you remove the plastic.

OK, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s make a t-shirt! I cut out this design for my t-shirt on the new Design Space (it’s amazing if you haven’t played around with it yet!). 

(Also, if anyone is interested in the design I created, I used Arial Black font for the “Weekend” and Opposites Attract font for the “I Love You.” You can find both fonts in Design Space. And some of you may be wondering why I didn't connect the letters... I actually prefer the style without connected letters 😉 ... I used a circle to help me curve my letters just slightly by lining up the bottom of the letter with the circle edge.)


DS Image


Make sure you wash your t-shirt first before you start applying your iron-on design.


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For cotton, make sure you’ve put your iron on the cotton setting (with this iron it’s setting 6) and warm up the part of your shirt where you’ll be placing the iron-on design.


Iron on shirt


Because I’m using iron-on lite and foil iron-on in my design, I am ironing them separately. I’m starting with my iron-on lite “Weekend” design in white.

Put down a thin cloth over your design and instead of ironing flat across the design, try the method of press and push (meaning you press down on the iron over a spot on your design for a few seconds and then move it to the next spot and repeat). After I hear my iron beep, I check my design by pulling the corner of the plastic back and slowly rolling it all the way off my design.


Iron on shirt

TIP: Keeping the plastic tightly rolled when you pull it off helps protect the design from coming up while it’s cooling.

Now I iron my foil-iron “I Love You” design in silver. I’m going to turn my heat down to 4 and press down a little longer before checking if it’s done. After I’ve checked the corner of the plastic and it seems finished, I let it fully cool (I know you just want to rip it off but wait, it’s worth it!). I peel of the plastic and voila!... my design came off the plastic perfectly.


iron on
iron on


Now remember this tutorial is about permanence, so don’t go putting on your t-shirt just yet. Put your thin cloth over your finished design again, turn down the heat a bit and press along your design for about 20-30 seconds. This steps makes sure that your design is completely flat (just in case you missed anything). Now take your cloth off and let the t-shirt cool… and you’re ready to go!


iron on


Make sure after wearing your shirt that you wash and dry it inside out to protect the iron-on material.

…And for a fun step 6, you can cut your shirt like I did to make it even more unique! I love to wear my DIY crop shirts to yoga or around town on a casual day. Super fun and people always ask me where I got it!



iron on

Now go out there and make some really cool t-shirts...


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30 thoughts on “5 Easy Steps To Make Your Iron-On Project Stick

  1. Thank you for this excellent and helpful video. Wish you did a design using the glitter foil as well. Maybe next time.

  2. Thank you so much for your detailed instructions! I bought lots of iron on vinyl since I got my Cricut in November but have yet to try it because i’m scared it will go wrong. Your tutorial has made me feel like I can do this, so will be having a go at the weekend!

  3. Thank you so much for these tips! I was having trouble with the foil not coming off of the plastic backing and then looking wrinkled. Now I realize that I just needed to use a lower heat setting and allow it to cool before peeling off the backing!!

  4. Mary J. Rinaldi we can definitely do a glitter iron-on tutorial next time! Stay tuned…

  5. So for the iron-on lite you really only push and press for 3 seconds (a few) – or should it be longer. I think my problem may be overheating it.

  6. Love, love, love your step by step. I’m a newbie to vinyl and bit intimidated, but I’m gonna try it tomorrow .

  7. I would like to know if you can use iron on vinyl to put an initial on a small vinyl purse. I’ve used vinyl on fabric, but I’m afraid I’ll melt the vinyl purse if the iron is too hot. I’d like to use the glitter or metallic vinyl. I’d appreciate any advice or suggestions. Thank you!

    • You can iron on multiple layers of vinyl, so you could carefully do this on a purse. I would suggest doing some tests of vinyl on vinyl first to make sure your iron will not be too hot. Placing a dish towel or similar fabric on top of your purse after you have placed the iron on where you like can also help protect it.

  8. Thank you for this tutorial! I’ve read both good and bad reviews ((many spoke of lifting) on trying to use iron on with a basic home iron, which has kept me from trying it and saving for a heat press. I may have the nerve to try now; I really think a heat press would not be used enough to warrant then cost. I do have a couple questions though.

    1: you mentioned your iron beeping and then moving on to another spot. What brand iron do you use? I’ve never had an iron that beeps and think that would be very helpful especially with this type of project; and

    2: you mentioned a pressing cloth. Is this a silicone pressing cloth or like an old fashioned flower sack towel? Do you dampen it like in applying iron on interfacing or use it dry?

    Thanks for your help; I look forward to hearing a little more.

    • You do not need transfer tape for iron on. With this material, you mirror your image and weed out the extra. It comes with a backing that will allow you to move it over to your material in one piece for ironing.

  9. Thanks for sharing, I have only made 1 t-shirt design and it was a fail. I’m a little worried now that the canvas portion is not in the new update. I used the canvas part for pretty much all my projects as possible. Do you have any tips for the new update since canvas is no longer an option. I have only had my machine some months and I do not use it as much, I had gotten use to the old version now I feel lost.

  10. I’m with Kia. With the canvas option gone I feel soooo lost. Can we please get that back?

  11. While beta testing the new Design Space I requested the canvas function to be added – they did it, I used Design Space last night and it has been updated to include the canvas feature – thanks for listening to your users Cricut.

  12. You are amazing- great steps and pictures as which most don’t. Keep on moving and teach dummies like me.

  13. Thanks for the tutorial. I had used a towel over my design, but it didn’t work. So, then a thin cloth is best. So, you only put the iron-on for a few seconds and when you are finish you iron for the 20-30 seconds.

  14. Why do you make so few Mystery Boxes? It’s very frustrating for us when it is sold out in minutes. Please make a larger quantity so more of us have the opportunity to purchase it. Thanks

  15. What about if you’ve worn the shirt and washed the shirt several times and now the lettering is starting to peel?

    • You can try to reattach it by placing parchment paper over the design and ironing it again on the same settings you would use for the initial attachment.

  16. I have done a couple of iron ons now and had pretty good luck with them sticking but is there anything I can do if I have already take the clean off but have a couple of letters that just won’t stick?

  17. Pingback: Die Cutting 101: What is a Die Cutting Machine? | ✄ Cut, Cut, Craft! ✄

  18. I have my first t shirt order and this seems like it will help me out ALOT! I have a cricut explorer and just need to know if I wasn’t gold letters on my black t shirts do I use Gold Vinyl…Gold Foil…or Gold Iron On…Im so Confused and want it to come out right!

    • You need to use iron-on for shirts to help it last the longest. There is gold foil iron-on if you want that look.

  19. HI there, I am an online retailer, I had the printer make me several shirts with the gold foil, but I am getting complaints from some customers that the corners of foil are peeling up. Is there a way to salvage an already completed job? Meaning, can I put multi use paper or fabric over the foil on shirts that haven’t sold yet and try ironing them for a stronger adhesion? Thank you so much. I’m in this for some $ and don’t want to abandon yet.

    • Hi. Did you do a cold peel on this? That could potentially affect the adherence. Also, did you use an iron, our EasyPress, or a heat press?

  20. I made several shirts and I notice that the glitter iron after second wash is starting to peel off. I didn’t wash shirt first but I will for now on. So nothing I did wrong that it is starting to peel

    • Hi. Does it still peel on shirts that you washed first? What are you using for the heat to attach it and on what surface?

    • Hi. The Craft Room software for the first Cricut has been sunsetted, so you would need to use cartridges to use your machine.

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