Mandalas are so popular right now and for good reason! Learn how to make an easy iron on vinyl shirt using a beautiful heart mandala SVG design! Plus, get a great tip for making it easier to weed glitter iron on vinyl.
Iron on vinyl shirts are so fun to make! And glitter iron on … oh, it’s just SO pretty! But the beauty comes at a price, and it can be tricky to cut and apply. But not to worry — I am going to show you how to do it step by step, from beginning to end, by making this gorgeous heart mandala SVG shirt with you! Using glitter iron on vinyl is one of the most requested projects as so many people want to make T-shirts. Cricut is perfect for T-shirt making, as it cuts out iron-in vinyl designs like a champ. My beginner friendly, step by step t-shirt tutorial is perfect if you are brand new to using iron on vinyl! Another incredibly popular post is my Print Then Cut Iron on Transfer T-Shirt tutorial but print then cut can be a little challenging for beginners.
Watch my full step-by-step video tutorial on how to Make a Glitter Iron On Shirt with a Cricut!
For this project, we’ll be working with GLITTER iron on vinyl, also known as heat transfer vinyl, or HTV. Iron on vinyl is a special type of vinyl that has a heat sensitive adhesive that will stick to fabric and other surfaces when pressed down with a heat source like an EasyPress. You can use an iron but there can be issues with uneven heating when using an iron.
Iron-on vinyl comes in various colors, patterns, and textures to create a unique completely personalized pattern. Glitter iron on vinyl is one of the most popular types of iron on vinyl, as it’s sparkly and shiny with a little glam and a lot of bling!
So to make our glitter iron on vinyl shirt, I’m using Cricut glitter iron on vinyl, which I adore. You can use any color — just go for high contrast for the best effect. I recommend a light-colored glitter iron on vinyl with a darker shirt, or vice versa. This heart mandala SVG design is perfect for this glitter iron on vinyl shirt!
This is a pretty intricate design which is why I label it as best for beginner to intermediate. Glitter vinyl usually requires a little more patience to work with because it is a heavier texture compared to normal iron on vinyl and it can be harder to see the cut lines when weeding. But I have a great trick to make weeding vinyl much easier on your eyes. For this trick, you’ll want a basic ball point pen, like a Bic or Papermate pen.
The T-shirt itself can be cotton or polyester or any combination of those. This maroon shirt here is a Hanes Nano V-Neck which is made of 100% cotton (and super comfy, if I do say so myself). But any shirt will work here.
For this heart mandala SVG iron on vinyl shirt, you will need a weeding tool and some time. Weeding means to remove all of the vinyl that we don’t want transferred to our project when we iron it on or use a heat press. So that means we remove all the extra little bits.
To transfer the glitter vinyl to the shirt, I am using the Cricut Easy Press, which works like a champ, and I’ll show you the exact settings I used for it. You can also use a household iron, but keep in mind that the heating can be uneven and unpredictable … yet still possible! You’ll also want a pressing pad or a folded towel.
Let’s start with the supplies you need and then I’ll show you how to make your heart mandala SVG glitter shirt! This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read my full disclosure policy.
Materials Needed to Make a Heart Mandala SVG Glitter Vinyl Shirt with a Cricut
- One (1) 12″ x 10″ sheet of glitter iron-on vinyl (I used pink Cricut Iron On Vinyl)
- One (1) t-shirt (I used Hanes Women’s Nano V-neck T-shirt in Maroon and Silver)
- One (1) basic Bic or Papermate black or blue ball point pen
- A way to cut your vinyl (I used the Cricut Maker cutting machine, but you can also use a Cricut Explore, a Cricut Joy, or a craft knife)
- Cricut green StandardGrip cutting mat
- Painter’s tape (as needed to keep your vinyl on your cutting mat)
- Weeding tool
- Cricut EasyPress, household iron, or heat press
- Cricut EasyPress Mat (optional)
- Parchment paper or Teflon sheet (if you have a polyester shirt)
- Design #284 – My free heart mandala SVG cut file (available in my free resource library—get the password at the bottom of this post)
How to Make a Glitter Iron-On Vinyl Shirt with a Heart Mandala SVG
- One (1) sheet glitter iron-on vinyl pink
- One (1) T-shirt - I used Hanes Women's Nano V-neck T-shirt in Maroon
- One (1) basic Bic or Papermate ball point pen in black or blue
- Design #284 - My free Heart Mandala SVG design file (available in my free resource library—get the password by filling out the form at the bottom of this page)
- A way to cut your vinyl (I used the Cricut Maker cutting machine, but you can also use a Cricut Explore, Cricut Joy, or a craft knife)
- Cricut green StandardGrip cutting mat
- Weeding tool
- Iron, heat press or Cricut EasyPress
- Cricut EasyPress Mat (optional)
- Parchment paper or Teflon sheet (optional)
- Painter's tape or masking tape (optional)
STEP 1: GET MY FREE HEART MANDALA SVG
Get my intricate heart mandala decal in my free library — look for design #284. You can find the pattern by searching the page for design 284 and then click it to download an SVG cut file.
If you're not sure how to upload an SVG cut file to Cricut Design Space, watch this helpful video training series I made. If you're on an iPhone or iPad, here's how to download and upload SVG files to the Cricut Design Space app.
This is what the heart mandala SVG looks like in Design Space when you import it:
OPTIONAL: My Heart Mandala SVG is sized to fit a women's t-shirt (9"x9"). To resize the image to fit a standard t-shirt using a Design Space shirt template, click on the Template tab on the left column and search for or scroll down to select a t-shirt template.
Select the type and size of t-shirt in the top menu. Then click and drag the heart design over the t-shirt template. Drag the handle in the lower right corner of the image box to resize the heart and fit it to the template.
TIP: It can be very hard to see the cut lines on glitter iron-on vinyl. One trick is to draw the cut lines with a ball point pen before cutting. This trick works with most iron-on vinyls that are mirrored because the lines are drawn on the back adhesive side. To draw lines, duplicate your heart mandala image in Design Space by clicking on the image and selecting “Duplicate” at the top of the Layers panel.
Click on the new layer and select “Pen” where it says Operations in the top menu.
Now you have a cut image and a draw image. Select both by shift-clicking on both layers on the right side. Click on Align at the top and select “Center.”
Both images will now be lined up perfectly. With both images selected, click on “Attach” at the bottom of the Layers panel.
STEP 2: Draw and cut the Heart Mandala SVG
Now all we need to do is draw and cut! Click the green Make It button in the upper right corner. Be sure to toggle the MIRROR tab to on (green)—all iron-on designs must be mirrored before cutting!
Click the green Continue button.
Now set your materials and tools. Click on Material Settings and search for Glitter Iron On Vinyl. Choose it and then click More Pressure to ensure it cuts all the way through. Now you’re all set!
When prompted to load your tools, insert a standard ball point pen in the pen holder if you are drawing the cut lines to help with weeding. If your pen needs a snugger fit, just wrap the lower part of the pen with masking or Washi tape.
Make sure your pen is not touching the mat—it should float just above.
Place your iron-on vinyl SHINY SIDE DOWN on your cutting mat. Learn how to tell the difference in this tutorial.
Press Go! It takes Cricut Maker about 25 minutes to cut the Heart Mandala design. Double that time if you are also drawing the design with a pen.
This is what your your glitter iron on vinyl will look like when using the ball point pen to outline the cut lines:
And here's a comparison between glitter iron-on vinyl with the ball point pen lines and without!
STEP 3: Weed the Heart Mandala iron-on decal
Remove the vinyl from the mat by peeling the mat off the vinyl. Now we remove all the background vinyl bits we don’t want on the shirt. It helps to have a copy of the design nearby to refer to. On the heart mandala design we want to keep the parts in black and weed (remove) all other parts.
Start by peeling the unwanted vinyl (on the cut non-shiny side) off the shiny carrier sheet. You want all the bits you want to keep to stay on the carrier sheet. You can use a weeding tool to help separate the layers if needed.
TIP: as you weed, move all the little discarded bits to the side and away from your work area so they don’t get mixed up!
Be patient, and use your weeding tools to help lift the little pieces. It helps to start pulling up pieces by placing the tool along the cut edges and corners and pulling up the vinyl. Trim your decal and remove the outer edge.
Weeding takes about an hour.
STEP 4: Transfer the Vinyl to your T-Shirt
Prewash your t-shirt without fabric softener or make sure it is preshrunk. Place your t-shirt on a firm surface such as a Cricut EasyMat (not an ironing board). Using your EasyPress set to 330º (or an iron on a setting between Cotton and Linen), preheat the shirt for 5 seconds.
Place the iron-on decal on the shirt with the shiny side facing up so the adhesive layer is directly against the shirt.
If you are using an iron, cover the decal with a piece of parchment paper or Teflon sheet to protect a polyester shirt (this is not necessary with a cotton shirt). Since this is a fairly large decal (9 inches), press each third of the design for 20 seconds with medium pressure without sliding the iron. If using an EasyPress, follow these recommendations for your materials.
For this project using Cricut glitter iron on vinyl, I pressed the decal on for 30 seconds with an EasyPress at 330º.
Flip over your t-shirt and add more heat (15 seconds with an EasyPress).
When the carrier sheet and vinyl feel COOL, peel the shiny carrier sheet off. If areas of the design lift up after applying, replace the carrier sheet and repress for 10 seconds.
Wash and dry your t-shirt inside out using cold or warm temperatures. Avoid bleach. With gentle care your shirt should last 50+ washes!
Special thanks to the JenniferMaker Design Fairy Team, specifically Design Fairy Kelly, for helping me design, assemble and make the Heart Mandala T-shirt.
Answers to Your Questions About Making Glitter Iron On Vinyl Shirts
Q: I don’t have a ball point pen. Can I use a Cricut pen?
A: The ball point pen will not transfer or bleed onto your shirt. While we haven’t tested a Cricut pen, we suspect it is more likely to do this and do not advise you use anything other than a basic Bic or Papermate pen.
Q: Can I also use that cool pen tip with infusible ink sheets?
A: No, as infusible ink is cut with the infusible ink side up and any residual ballpoint pen ink could be transferred along with the infusible ink.
Q: My glitter iron on vinyl is really dark. Is there another color of pen I can use?
A: Flip over your glitter iron on vinyl and test with another color to see if you can see it. If you can, use that instead!
Q: I don’t want to spend so much time to draw the lines in with a ball point pen first. Do I really have to do this?
A: No, not at all. This is just a little trick to help those who find it hard to see the cut lines! Most people do not use this method and manage to weed their glitter iron on vinyl anyway!
Q: Why is my glitter vinyl design pulling away from my shirt when I try to peel the carrier sheet?
A: This could happen for a couple different reasons. First, it could be a little too soon to pull it away and you’ll want to let the design cool down a little bit more and then try again. Remember, Cricut Iron On Vinyl is a COOL PEEL. If that still doesn’t work, heat the design a little bit more. Don’t be afraid to do this!
Q: I heard that I’m supposed to see the texture/fibers of my shirts through my vinyl; is this correct?
A: From my testing, the only time that I can get the fibers to show is when I applied too much heat. My research shows that you don’t always have to see the texture for it to be applied correctly. If my vinyl is applied correctly, I can feel the texture of the fabric when I run my hand over the design, but I cannot see the texture. And with glitter iron on vinyl, it’s going to be even harder to feel the texture of your shirt because the glitter iron on vinyl is thicker than the other stuff. This is especially true of glitter iron on vinyl, as the glitter texture will hide the shirt texture.
Q: Is it bad to overheat my vinyl design?
A: Yes, too much heat will harm the vinyl’s adhesive and cause your design to peel after you wear or wash it.
Q: Can I combine and layer colors of vinyl or different vinyls?
A: Yes, you can! Just so long as you don’t try to put anything over Glitter, Mesh or Flocked Vinyl. I have a tutorial on layering iron-on vinyl if you’re ready to take your projects to the next level. Read my Layered Iron-On Vinyl Tutorial and learn to make a Cute Totebag.
Q: Is there another way I can design my t-shirts so it lasts longer?
A: Yes, I suggest using Infusible Inks if you want a longer lasting design. I have a Cricut Infusible Ink T-Shirt tutorial you might enjoy!
Get my free Heart Mandala SVG cut files to Make a Glitter Iron On Vinyl Shirt!
I’d love to see your glitter vinyl shirts using the my beautiful heart mandala SVG, and I hope you’ll share a photo in my helpful Cricut Facebook group or tag me on social media with #jennifermaker.