Recently my husband competed in the Best Ranger Competition (BRC). This extremely grueling event assesses the best 2 man team of the elite Army Rangers. The 10th Mountain Division of Fort Drum, NY (his current post) sent three teams to compete in BRC 2013. In order to show our support, I made t-shirts for the wives and mothers of the competitors using iron-on transfer sheets and my Cricut Expression 2.
• blank t-shirts
• iron-on t-shirt transfer
• drywall tape
1) Start off by designing your phrase/design in the Cricut Craft Room (CCR). This is a free program that works with all cricut machines. If are new to CCR, let me know and I’ll do a separate tutorial on it. I used Housewife Font (from the Suburbia cartridge) and Cricut Alphabet (included with machine). I rotated the letters in the last phrase to create an arch.
2) Once your design is complete, plug your computer into your cricut, and click the “CUT” button. Set it to vinyl settings and lower the speed to 1. Also, I highly recommend using a new blade. These transfer sheets were not made to be cut in a cricut, so you have to go slow with a sharp blade.
Even with these precautions, sometimes a letter doesn’t cut properly. Simply return to the CCR. Copy the letters you need to redo and paste them into an open space. Delete anything else on screen so it doesn’t attempt to cut the same thing twice. Before cutting, ensure the mat is lined up the same direction. If your letters are still having uses after all of that, try replacing the blade.
Once you are happy with your layout, remove the excess. Keep a razor knife on hand in case something didn’t cut all the way through the vinyl & backing layers. Now for the greatest trick ever: place drywall tape over all of the letters to hold them together. This lady from Clever Someday is the genius (and my hero) that came up with the drywall tape technique.
3) When ironing transfer paper or vinyl, it works best on a hard & heat resistant surface versus your ironing board. Also, read the instructions for your transfer paper. Mine came with a waxy paper specifically for ironing the transfers. Finally, don’t forget to remove the backing from each letter. You can easily check if you missed any by looking for a glossy texture on the bottom side under a light.
Place your letters (tape and all) on the shirt and lay the wax paper over top. Lightly iron over this “sandwich” once. Test your letters by gently pulling back the tape. If they are not sticking, replace tape & wax paper, and iron again. Once they adhere, remove all of the tape and iron once more for good measure. Something I noticed after washing my shirt, the letters had a bit of a grid pattern on them from the drywall tape. It might be a necessary evil, but still try to minimize ironing over the tape & remove it as soon as the letters stick!
4) To show unity for their unit, I added the 10th Mountain Division patch and a Ranger tab to the front of each shirt. This was a tedious step as each patch required a different thread color. I simply attached the large patches to each shirt with straight pins and sewed them in place. Then, I switched out my bobbin and thread, attached the next set of patches, and sewed them on. Repeat one last time for the third (and final) patch.
You can print on this transfer paper to create colored pictures. A cool idea I might try on a later project is to print a full page background pattern on the transfer paper before cutting out my letters. But now it’s your turn to post your projects! You can make shirts for your child’s boy/girl scout troop, an office softball team, to promote a church function, or just for fun. The possibilities are endless!