Thursday, March 26, 2020

How to Create Detailed Shirt Designs Without Layering HTV

This post contains affiliate links where I will receive a small commission for purchases.

Recently I received a request to create a new birthday outfit to fit a fruit theme from Hey Bear on YouTube. My answer was immediately, yes of course! Cricut Access has tons of options to choose from like these gems below, but they weren't exactly what I was looking for.

Cute Watermelon: Miss Kate Cuttables - Summer Cartridge

Strawberry: Simply Charmed Cartridge
Each collection had it's own variation of cute fruit, but none of them had a full matching set of all the fruit that I needed. I went to my go-to source for outside design and found a set of Kawaii Fruit that was perfect for the idea that I had in mind. Herein lies the problem, they were not an SVG set.

Here's the solution, all you will need is a standard ink jet printer and Avery Dark Fabric transfer sheets. They do offer light fabric transfers, but I don't recommend those. They leave a clear glue-like substance over the image and the negative portions of your print instead of a smooth clean look. 

So here are the steps that I took to turn general PNG graphics into the design shown above. 

Step 1 

Upload the individual files into Cricut Design Space. Be sure to use the Complex option so that you don't sacrifice any quality of the original image. 

Step 2

Arrange the individual graphics any way you'd like. You can also add in text like I did. Your images should have already been set to print then cut when uploading, but you can tell within design space as well if that's the case. As you can see on the right, you will have to change any text from Cut to Print.

Step 3

Once you have all of your images in place you will need to FLATTEN your design so it will print as a whole piece. This is VERY IMPORTANT or your machine will attempt to cut out each individual image instead of everything as one piece. 

Step 4

Now you're ready to Make It. Load the Avery Transfer Sheet into the printer. You will NOT need to Mirror your image if you're using the dark fabric transfer sheet I've recommended. If you use one for light fabrics, you will need to mirror the image. When you click Send to Printer you will want to make sure that Add Bleed is flipped to on as well as the Use System Dialog. This is where you're going to adjust the printer settings from just a standard paper to Matte Brochure or Professional Paper

Step 5

Wait a couple minutes until the ink has dried. Then place the printout on your Cricut mat and it will cut the image out for you. 

Step 6

Weed as normal. I highly recommend having this Cricut weeding tool set though, because the piercing tool is great for breaking the seal of the polymer from the paper backing without damaging the image. 

Click here to order now.

Technically, you can pull up the transfer as one large decal, however, if you're using a heat press vs. the Cricut Easy Press I would recommend using a heat transfer tape because the decal will start to curl almost immediately when it's near heat. I have also found that the best heat setting is roughly 315 degrees for 30 seconds. The heat actually embeds the ink into the polymer. 

You can tell if it's properly applied if you can see the fabric fibers in the polymer. 


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