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How To Create This Popsicle Summer Shirt Using Layered Vinyl

How To Create This Popsicle Summer Shirt Using Layered Vinyl main article image
Posted on May 9, 2021 by Francesca E

Making shirts with the layered vinyl technique does not have to be hard or intimidating. I’ve seen so many shirts with layered vinyl SVGs that I put off creating at home because I thought layering vinyl was going to be a really complicated process, and I was afraid of wasting shirts or material. But once I got started I realized that with a few simple tricks layering vinyl is just as easy as making any type of vinyl t-shirt. 

Since it’s been finally getting warmer outside I wanted to start making summer shirts and projects in fun bright colors. I love making seasonal projects and really getting into the theme of each month, that’s one of the best parts about working with vinyl at home. 

For this project I created an SVG with alternating colors in each popsicle. I really wanted to showcase how easy it was to create layered vinyl with different colors and shapes. Each popsicle has a unique design that once you’re done with this tutorial you will see how easy it was to put it all together. 

What you’ll need:

One t-shirt. I love the Bella Canvas brand shirts. I think the cotton sticks really well to the vinyl and the t-shirts have a soft vintage feel even before you wash. With these shirts you do not have to pre wash to get the layered heat transfer vinyl brand to stick, but if you are using another brand of shirt follow the manufacturer suggestions on pre washing. When I buy cotton t-shirts I usually buy them oversized because they will shrink after a few washes. I purchased the orange Bella Canvas brand shirt at my local craft store because I wanted something bright and fun. But choose whatever color goes best with your personal style. 

For the vinyl, I chose Cricut Heat Transfer Vinyl in three alternating colors, pink, purple and blue. These came in a set with one sheet each which is perfect because you really don’t need too much vinyl for each layer. I also purchased these at my local  Michael’s craft store. 

The free Popsicle SVG design from Creative Fabrica.

What you’ll do:

Upload the popsicle SVG into your Cricut Design Space. 

Measure how large you want your popsicles to appear on your shirt. I measured 11 inches across because I wanted the popsicles to appear very large. Creating a larger graphic is also easier when doing the layered vinyl technique. Set your SVG to the size you want it to appear on your t-shirt. 

On the right-hand side of your Cricut Design Space you will see the SVG is automatically set up in layers according to colors. Clicking on the ‘eye’ icon will hide each layer separately. Leave the first layer on, and click the remaining layers off. You should be starting with the pink popsicle layer. 

Using the pink vinyl, or whatever color you chose for this layer, cut out the design. You will not have to mirror the design since there is no text, and it won’t matter if your layers show up in reverse or not in the final image. 

Once you have cut out the pink layer, weed the vinyl until you have the shape on your clear transfer paper and set aside. 

Repeat this technique with the remaining colors of the popsicle. Highlighting each individual colored layer and cutting them all out separately. 

After you have all your vinyl weeded and ready to go you will see that each colored layer is sort of like a puzzle piece with each shape fitting into the other. 

Take the bottom most layer and place it on your shirt how you would want it to appear. I started with the blue layer and pressed that first. Do not press the full amount. Instead, press for five second increments at a time. It’s ok if the vinyl is not completely stuck to the shirt because you will re-press with each layer. Wait for the vinyl to cool and carefully peel the clear contact paper off the vinyl leaving the first layer on your shirt. 

Next you will take the pink layer and repeat the process. Before you press your vinyl make sure to align the pieces so the pink layer fits over the blue sprinkles. Repeat this process with the purple layer and again with the popsicle sticks making sure to press only for a few seconds each time. When you are pressing each layer, do not put direct heat onto the vinyl, this will melt the vinyl that is already on your shirt. If you have to press exposed vinyl use one of the previously used clear transfer sheets and place it over the exposed vinyl to protect it from direct heat. 

Once you have all your pieces pressed take a piece of clear transfer paper and place it over the entire design. Press everything together for just  a few seconds to get a final seal. 

Tips and tricks:

Cricut brand Heat Transfer Vinyl can be a little daunting to use. Make sure you are doing a cold peel with each layer pressed. A cold peel is waiting for a few minutes for the clear transfer paper to cool down before peeling off of your vinyl. If you try and pull the contact paper off while it’s still hot it can tear the vinyl under neigh. You do not have to use the cold peel technique for other brands of vinyl, but I have found this works well for the Cricut brand. 

Sometimes Cricut Design Space adds additional layers of lines that are unnecessary for the final cut. Make sure before you begin to cut to check all the layers and leave any unnecessary layers not visible in the cutting process. 

This layered vinyl technique is sometimes referred to as the no bulk technique. There are various ways to create the layered effect using Heat Transfer Vinyl, but this is by far the easiest technique and has the best results. 

Wash and wear your layered vinyl t-shirt just like you would any other shirt. If your vinyl starts to come up at any time simply use the clear transfer paper, and re-press for an additional few seconds. Because of this I usually keep a few pieces of clear transfer pieces from each shirt project. 

For more Cricut projects, inspiration and vinyl techniques follow Creative Fabrica’s blog, The Artistry.

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