Thursday, August 21, 2014

Craft: Forever Summer Surfboard T-Shirt (Cricut Explore Tutorial and Free Template)

I'm sure you've heard of the Cricut Explore™. I have been meaning to play with it for sometime so I was thrilled to be invited to participate in their Cricut Design Space Star (#DesignSpaceStar) competition. They have put together teams of bloggers for a monthly competition to inspire you with design ideas. This month's focus is Fashion and Gear and my team, Team 12 (#DesignStar12Love), chose the theme "Endless Summer." I love that iconic movie poster.

It is that time of year when we are wishing summer wouldn't end, right? Inspired by that I designed a graphic surfboard t-shirt for Audrey to wear back to school and I've got a tutorial and free template below so you can make one too.

I love the combination of pink, orange and yellow with black text. I cut freezer paper templates for the orange and yellow surfboards and then cut Cricut Iron On Glitter in Black for the type. Once I learned how to use the  Cricut Explore™ and their Cricut Design Space™ software (this was my very first project!), which didn't take long, I was amazed how slick the process was. My girls and I all gathered around the machine to watch it cut.

I haven't used other cutting machines in the past because I've been waiting for one that would make it possible for me to upload my own designs. Cricut Design Space™ makes this pretty easy. I have to admit it took me a bit of trial and error figuring out the best way to create and upload the files. But once I arrived at creating an .svg file (I used Illustrator to create a layered file and then saved it in this format) it was a breeze. Tip: don't forget to convert any text to outlines so it is supported in Cricut Design Space.

Now that I've finished my first project I can't wait to play around with Cricut Explore™ again.

Check out the great projects the rest of Team 12 made. There are some really great ones! I love this color scheme! You can also search #DesignStar12Love on your favorite social media outlets.

Gifting Sweet: DIY Dry Brushed Earrings
The Celebration Shoppe: DIY Clipboard and Coffee Mug
Three Little Monkeys Studio: DIY Wood Veneer Earrings
Little Retreats: Temporary Beach Tatoos
The Road to the Good Life: Picnic Blanket Tote
Small for Big: Geo Necklaces DIY
Clever Pink Pirate: Stenciled Splattered Tank Top

Disclaimer: Cricut provided me with a Cricut Explore machine and invited me to participate in their Design Space Star competition. This post contains affiliate links. The opinions expressed here are genuine based on my experience. I only review products I use and believe in.

Click for the tutorial and file below.


You'll need:
To make your t-shirt:

Download the Summer Forever T-Shirt file. This is a .svg, which contains layers for each color in this design.

Within Cricut Design Space™ you can select your "canvas" if you wish. I wanted a preview of how my shirt would look so I picked a child's t-shirt and colored it pink. I loved this feature, by the way, as the software makes it possible to display all sorts of canvases and change their attributes.

You will need to select the "upload image" option to add the Summer Forever TShirt file to Design Space. (Note that the text is a mirror image since you'll be cutting this on iron-on glitter vinyl.)

You will see that the software automatically displays all of the individual elements in the Layers panel. If you proceed with cutting, the program will group these elements to make the most efficient use possible of your materials. That's a great feature for conserving space on your material, but since we are cutting a stencil, we want these to be grouped and cut as they are laid out, so…

You will need to select all the elements of one color, such as the black type, and hit the button at the top of the Layers panel to “Weld” them together. 

Do this with all of the orange elements and all of the yellow elements as well.

You will now see three icons, representing the different color layers, in your Layers panel. You will want to check the preview and be sure the layers are organized correctly. You will want the text layer in the Front. You can move it by selecting it on your canvas and right clicking to move it to the front.

You will see that the default action for each of these layers is "Cut" (rather than write or score). This is what you want. The Cricut Design Space™ software does it all for you from here! Your three different cuts (black type, orange surfboards and yellow stripe) are organized to cut on individual mats, or the same mat if you peel off your material and reuse it.

Simply follow the instructions for using your Cricut Explore™ and cut out the black text from the Cricut Iron On Glitter in Black. Then cut out the two stencils (one for the orange and one for the yellow elements) from Reynolds Freezer Paper. Be sure to place the freezer paper with the glossy side towards the mat.

Iron the freezer paper for the orange surfboards onto your t-shirt, shiny side of the paper against the shirt. I use the high heat setting and keep the iron moving.

Insert cardboard or parchment paper inside the t-shirt to prevent the paint from bleeding through and then using your orange fabric paint, carefully dab or brush on paint in the holes created by your stencil. Let the paint dry thoroughly (I let it dry for 4 hours). Then peel off the freezer paper. 

Iron the shirt, with a layer of parchment paper over the painted image, to set the paint.

Then iron on the stencil for the yellow stripes lining it up with the surfboards you painted previously. Tip: my shirt seemed to contract a bit in the painted areas which meant I had to stretch the fabric in some places for the lines to match up exactly.

Paint the yellow stripes, let the paint dry and then peel off the freezer paper. Iron your shirt to set the paint.

If you haven't yet, remove the extra glitter material from around your text on the Iron On Glitter. (I cut around the lettering first so I could save the sheet to use for another design.) 

Following the instructions on the Cricut Iron On Glitter, position the text across the surfboards using the Design Space preview as a guide. You'll need to iron the shirt briefly, then iron on the Glitter, and iron it again from the reverse side. Wait for it to cool and then peel off the plastic liner. 

Tip: I protected the Iron On Glitter plastic liner with a sheet of parchment paper over it and found it was still possible to get the liner too hot. Mine contracted and wrinkled a bit. Luckily I was able to peel off the liner and keep the text on the shirt--it hadn't adhered as well as it should. Then I covered the text with parchment paper and ironed it again briefly and presto, it looked perfect! The lesson here is to keep your iron moving and not iron for longer than the short time recommended.

Enjoy your t-shirt!


Kim@Snug Harbor said...

We have a cricut and we haven't even begun to scratch the surface on what we can do with it. They definitely need people to do tutorials LIKE THIS!! HUGE help! Thank you. I have pinned this.

Your daughters are natural models.

Kim @ The Celebration Shoppe said...

The shirt is so cute and your little one is darling!

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