Have you ever seen the artwork that is created for laundry rooms (or other room/chore) with the official definition of laundry and then a cheeky one underneath as an additional definition? I have always wanted to create one of those but didn’t really have a place to put it. Then, when we were told this months challenge for the Cricut Design Space Star was fashion and gear, I knew right away how I could use this idea but with a twist – define my daughters names and place them on a canvas tote bag using iron on vinyl.
The process was easy – all I used was my tote bag and iron on vinyl. As for tools, you will want your Cricut Explore (or similar cutting machine), your iron, and the weeding hook. Do not even try this process without a hook – there is no way to get all of those little pieces from inside the A’s and E’s without a hook. That said, it seems like a slow and monotonous project, to weed the unnecessary bits of vinyl from the letters you want to keep. However, you would be surprised – I sure was! The Explore makes such a smooth cut that the extra bits peel off with no trouble at all. Start to finish, it took about 15 minutes to weed the entire thing, which isn’t bad at all.
The first thing you will want to do is create your text. There are two ways to do this:
- Open up a new project in Design Space and simply type your text, formatting and aligning as you go.
- Create your text in a photo editor (photoshop, gimp, or even picmonkey), save as a.png image on a transparent background, and upload the image into Design Space.
I chose to use method 2, because while Design Space does offer a lot of control over the spacing and size of your text, it doesn’t have a “justify” alignment – the alignment that is used in dictionaries and newspapers to make text aligned on both the left and right margins. (Note: the font I chose was Essays 1743.)
Once you have your text ready, it’s time to cut that baby out. Place your iron on vinyl face down on your mat (and hopefully yours is stickier than mine appears to be with the way it is peeling up there!), and hit the Go! button in Design Space. When you are on the preview menu, don’t forget to mirror your image! Seriously… don’t forget. You will ruin a lot of vinyl that way. Not that I know or anything… let’s just say I wish Design Space had a huge flashing alert before you cut that said “Are you sure this isn’t an iron on image? Are you SURE you don’t want to mirror this image?” because it could save
me someone a lot of wasted vinyl!
After you weed (that means take out the little pieces of vinyl that you don’t want in your final iron on) using your hook, make sure that none of the little pieces have made their way back onto the clear liner of the vinyl. They are full of static, so you’ll want to do a double check before you place the image down on your bag to start ironing. Whatever is left on the liner WILL be ironed on to your bag, so make sure it’s only what you want on there.
Now it is time to iron. Use the cotton or linen setting (or whatever the highest setting on your iron is) and heat up the bags for about 15 seconds. Place your vinyl centered on the bag, with the clear liner up this time so the text reads in the proper direction. Place a thin cotton cloth over the vinyl so that the heat doesn’t melt the liner, and press down for about 30 seconds, making sure to lift the iron instead of slide it as you move across the vinyl. Flip the bag over, and repeat, but only for about 15 seconds. Remove the cloth, and pull the liner back slowly – if any pieces don’t adhere properly, put the liner and cloth back down, and press again for about 10 seconds.
I love how unique these personalized tote bags are, and they hardly took anytime at all to create. They’ll be perfect for a beach bag, or once beach weather ends, a library bag or soccer bag to keep packed and ready.
If you don’t have a Cricut Explore yet, you’ll want to get one – I have owned several cutting machines and this one blows the competition out of the water, in quality, versatility, and user-friendliness. Plus, they have a sale on the Cricut Explore right now – you can buy a bundle for under $270 (or a machine for under $250!)