One of our favorite materials to work with is Cricut Iron On.
But it’s also one of the most complex and easy to mess up — no wonder why most beginners and first-time users shy away from it!
We’ve already done a general guide to using heat transfer vinyl, but we thought it was about time we got down in the weeds and got specific about how to use Cricut Iron On vinyl.
So, we’ve compiled this huge list containing everything we know about this material — including Cricut Iron On Glitter! — so you can get started right away with some super cool creations of your very own.
Let’s take it away…
- 1 What is Cricut Iron On?
- 2 Types of Cricut Iron On
- 3 Cricut Iron On Instructions
- 4 Alternative: Cricut Infusible Ink
- 5 Do I Need the Cricut Easy Press?
- 6 Conclusion
What is Cricut Iron On?
Cricut Iron On is the company’s very own heat transfer vinyl (HTV).
Like the name suggests, it’s vinyl that you’re planning to adhere to fabric — whether a t-shirt or cushion — or sometimes even wood or metal.
Just like with normal vinyl, you’ll create your iron-on design in Design Space, cut it using your Cricut machine and then, using either an iron, heat press or the Cricut EasyPress, adhere it to your fabric.
HTV is widely available relatively cheaply from a number of stores, both online and in person, but if you have a Cricut machine, it’s well worth sticking to Cricut Iron On Vinyl.
This material has been tested and optimized specifically for Cricut cutters and will always be the best fit for your machine. Unlike cheap HTV which you can buy anywhere, Cricut Iron-On is always the same thickness and same high quality, guaranteeing the best, most accurate cuts.
Types of Cricut Iron On
Cricut have created an array of different Iron-On vinyls to fit a range of different projects.
Let’s have a look at the merits and differences between them.
The Cricut Iron On Glitter vinyl is probably the most popular of their HTV range and you’ll quickly be able to see why — these bad boys are SPARKLING.
There are a total of 31 colors of Cricut Iron On Glitter available, with everything from aqua glitter to white glitter, from glitter bronze to glitter multi pink.
You can really go crazy here.
They come in rolls measuring 12 by 19 inches and can be used with all Cricut cutters.
You’ll occasionally be able to buy them in bulk on Amazon in rolls of 12 inches by 120 inches.
Very reasonably priced, the Iron On Glitter is high quality and doesn’t start disintegrating after a couple of washes like cheap glitter HTV.
Cricut Printable Iron On
An absolute god-send for those of us that like to use Print Then Cut, the Cricut Printable Iron On allows you to print our your designs using a printer, and then have those designs cut into HTV.
It’s absolutely ideal for custom projects.
There are two types of Cricut Printable Iron On available: light and dark. You guessed it, these are for designs that will eventually be adhered to light materials or to dark ones.
They come in a pack of 4 sheets, measuring 8.5 by 11 inches.
UPDATE: Cricut Printable Iron On is no longer available. Dang it!
Another popular niche in the Cricut Iron On game is foil HTV — ideal if you’re looking for something a little shiny and different but don’t want to go the whole hog with glitter.
Cricut Foil Iron On vinyl is available in 12 different colors and can be used with all Cricut cutters.
It comes in a roll measuring 12 inches tall by 24 inches wide.
Cricut Iron On Lite is the standard Cricut HTV material and will probably be the one you use most often in your craft cutting.
It’s available in rolls measuring 12 inches tall by 19 inches wide and is available in a whopping 41 different colors.
It can, of course, be used with all Cricut cutting machines.
If the Cricut Iron On Glitter isn’t showstopping enough for you, the Holographic Sparkle Iron-On is likely to be right up your street.
It comes in a roll measuring 12 by 24 inches and is available in five different colors:
It can be used in every Cricut cutter.
Cricut Iron On Instructions
So, now you’ve bought your Cricut Iron On, you’re likely going to want to get on and actually use it.
As it tends to be a little more expensive than regular vinyl, crafters are often worried that they’ll end up wasting their material by getting something wrong so end up putting it off forever.
However, as long as you stick to the instructions, you’ll never go too far wrong when you’re working out how to use Cricut Iron On vinyl.
Take a look at how easy it is in this tutorial video:
Just follow our steps below.
Step 1: Design
As always when it comes to vinyl cutting, your first step will be to create your design.
Head on over to Cricut Design Space and either create your design in there or download something suitable from their image store.
If you’re using your own image as a design, remember that you need to upload the file first into Design Space.
Once it’s uploaded, make sure that it’s the correct size and shape.
Step 2: Mirror Image
Arguably the most important step, this is the little detail that so many people miss and end up wasting their material for.
Click the green GO button on the right at the top of the screen.
This will open a small preview screen on the left, from which you can select how many copies you need, the material size you are using, and most importantly, a tick box that reads: Mirror Image (for iron on).
Tick the mirror image box.
If you don’t, or you forget, your image will be back to front by the time it comes to ironing it onto your fabric.
Once you’ve ticked, click the GO button once more.
Step 3: Select Material
This will open up another screen for you to select the material you’re using.
If you have the Explore Air 2, you can turn the dial on the front right of the machine to ‘Iron On’, in between Vinyl and Light Cardstock.
If you’re using the Cricut Maker, you will need to select Iron-On manually from the drop-down list that appears in this screen.
Step 4: Load Material
At this point, make sure that you’ve loaded your Cricut Iron-On into the cutter in the correct manner.
It needs to be placed onto the cutting mat with the plastic backing down and the vinyl side up.
Load the mat, press the up-down arrow button on the left to secure the mat and then press the flashing Cricut button in the middle to start the process.
Step 5: Weeding
Once the design has been printed, you will need to once again press the up-down arrow button to release the cutting mat.
Drawing it out of the machine, it’s now time to weed your design away from the spare material and the mat.
Step 6: Protecting
Now, turn your design over so it’s in the right direction with the plastic backing facing up, and place it in the exact spot you want to adhere it on your fabric.
Then place the Iron-On Protective Sheet over the top of it, covering it completely. This is to protect the vinyl and the fabric from the heat of the iron and to ensure that the heat is distributed evenly over the design.
If you don’t have the Cricut Protective Sheet, you can alternatively use a thin piece of fabric for more or less the same effect.
Some people choose to iron straight onto the plastic backing, but you’re opening your design up to uneven heat and potential singing.
Step 7: Transferring
Using an iron (make sure the steam function is off) or the Cricut EasyPress, press down on the design under the fabric.
Hold it there for around 10 seconds, before moving it to a new position.
To test if the vinyl has fully stuck yet, lift off the protective sheet and tentatively pull at the plastic backing.
If the plastic comes off and the vinyl stays stuck to the fabric, well done — you can peel the entire plastic backing off and leave it to cool.
If the vinyl doesn’t stay stuck, no worries, you just need to spend a little more time with the heat. Put the plastic backing back down and the protective sheet back on and apply the iron again.
How long this takes will depend on the heat strength of your iron and the size of your design, but it will be at least a few minutes. Don’t be afraid to keep testing the plastic to see if it’s ready.
Step 8: Cooling
The final stage in ensuring that the vinyl is fully stuck is leaving it to cool completely before moving it.
This ensures that the Cricut Iron On has fully adhered.
Alternative: Cricut Infusible Ink
Infusible Ink is an alternative transfer system that Cricut introduced in 2019.
As opposed to Cricut Iron-On which works in a heat transfer system, Infusible Ink is a sublimation transfer system that delivers professional results. You can read all about it in our Complete Guide To Cricut Infusible Ink.
Do I Need the Cricut Easy Press?
In a word, no.
A normal iron works fine when you’re using Cricut Iron On vinyl.
But it’s definitely a very useful tool and worth investing in if you use a lot of HTV.
You won’t need nearly as much trial and error to test the plastic backing. Once it’s done, it’s done — all the way through.
It’s also a lot safer to use than a traditional iron with much less opportunity to burn yourself. If you’re a little clumsy, or if you’re crafting with younger kids, the Cricut Easy Press is definitely preferable to an iron.
It’s also very reasonably priced so is a great option for crafters who don’t want to splash out on a traditional heat press machine but want something a little more sophisticated and reliable than a normal iron.
So now you know everything there is to know about Cricut Iron On.
All that’s left to do now is actually use it — let us know how you get on!
For more tutorials and guides aimed at helping you get the most out of your machine, be sure to visit our How To section.