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Best Cricut For Making Shirts (2020): Cricut Machines and Materials for Making Shirts

Cricut has made making shirts more accessible to the average consumer through its line of the best DIY cutting machines and heat presses. The best Cricut machines for making shirts are the Cricut Explore Air 2 cutting machine and the Cricut EasyPress 2 heat press. While the Cricut Maker is the most powerful Cricut, we picked these Cricut machines for making shirts as they allow you to create a wide array of shirt designs at a reasonable price. Read on to learn more about making shirts using these Cricut machines.

The Best Cricut For Making Shirts Comparison Chart

ModelCricut Explore Air 2Cricut EasyPress 2 (9″ x 9″)
Cricut Explore Air 2Cricut EasyPress 2
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Best Cricut ForCutting Vinyls and Iron-OnsHeat transfer projects using Infusible Ink and most iron-on materials for shirts and more
Weight21 lbs5.7 lbs
Max Working Area12″ x 24″9″ x 9″
Cutting VersatilityCuts 100 materialsN/A
ToolsCompatible with Deep-Point Blade and Scoring StylusCricut EasyPress Mat (sold separately or in a Cricut EasyPress 2 bundle)
SoftwareDesign SpaceN/A
ConnectivityBluetoothN/A
ColorsBlue, Cherry Blossom, Matte Black, Twilight, Mint, Persimmon, RoseRaspberry, Mint

Making Shirts: Cricut Infusible Ink vs Iron-On/HTV

You can use the Cricut Infusible Ink or Iron-On Vinyls when designing and making shirts

best cricut for making shirts (2)
Using the Cricut Infusible Ink (left) vs Iron-On Vinyl

Before we deep dive into the features of the Cricut Explore Air 2 and the Cricut EasyPress 2 and why they’re the best for making shirts, it is first important to know what kind of materials you’ll be working with when making shirts. These materials that can be cut using the Cricut are the Iron-On Vinyl/HTV and the Infusible Ink.

Among the most common materials used for making shirts is the Cricut Iron-On Vinyl, or if you get a non-Cricut brand, they’re called heat transfer vinyl (HTV). HTVs or the Cricut Iron-On has a heat-activated adhesive on the back. When heated, the glue at the back allows the vinyl to stick to the shirt or other fabrics. You will feel that the Iron-On/HTV is slightly embossed from the fabric. Among the Cricut Iron-On Vinyl materials for making shirts include Everyday, SportFlex, Glitter, Holographic, Patterned, and Foil Iron-On.

infusible ink vs iron-on vinyl or heat transfer vinyl
Cricut Infusible Ink (left) vs Iron-On Vinyl or heat transfer vinyl

The Cricut Infusible Ink is another material you can use for making shirts or decorating other products such as coasters, totes, and more. As the name implies, this ink infuses with the fabric or the material when heated. Unlike the Iron-On Vinyl or HTVs, it becomes one with shirt fabric and doesn’t peel, crack, or wrinkle. You can choose from an array of Cricut Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets, Pens, and Markers to design your shirt. However, the Cricut Infusible Ink doesn’t work as well with black or dark-colored fabric compared to Iron-On Vinyl or HTVs. In addition, HTVs are more versatile and affordable than the Cricut Infusible Ink because there are more brands that carry them.

Cricut Explore Air 2: Best Cricut Cutting Machine for Making Shirts

The Cricut Explore Air 2 lets you design and cut big shirt projects that use Cricut Iron-On Vinyl or Infusible Ink

Sample Cricut Iron-On Vinyl on shirts (left) and the dial of the Cricut Explore Air 2 (right)

With a cutting area of 12″ by 24″, you can create big shirt designs using the Cricut Design Space and cut them on the Cricut Explore Air 2. It boasts a 400-gram cutting force so it can cut Cricut Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets, Iron-on Vinyl, and HTVs easily. In addition, the Explore Air 2 lets you cut around 100 types of materials and is compatible with more tools should you need to use your cutting machine projects outside of making shirts. Its Fast Mode also allows cutting more efficiently with this Cricut.

Should you want to up your crafting game and don’t mind spending a bit more, you can opt for the Cricut Maker which offers 10 times the downward force of the Explore Air 2. If you want to cut fabric and use them to design shirts, the Maker is an excellent choice. However, if you only want to cut Iron-On Vinyl, HTVs, or Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets, the Cricut Explore Air 2 is more than enough. It is also more cost-effective (it is on sale at the time of writing), so you can spend more on buying materials.

Cricut Explore Air 2

Cricut Explore Air 2 for Making Shirts (1)

Cricut EasyPress 2: Best Cricut Heat Press for Making Shirts

This portable and lightweight heat press makes excellent heat transfer results more convenient, even for beginners

Even heating yields better heat transfer results

While the regular iron we use at home may work for smaller vinyl or Infusible Ink projects, making shirts with bigger designs requires something a better heat press device. This is where the Cricut EasyPress 2 comes in.

The EasyPress 2 can get as hot as 400ยฐF in two minutes. Its heat plate has edge-to-edge heating so the heat is even when placed on top of your shirt and the vinyl or Infusible Ink. In addition, Cricut also offers a handy heat guide to make sure your temperature and time settings will yield the best heat transfer results. Through these, Cricut removes the guesswork when transferring Iron-On, HTV, or Infusible Ink.

There are various sizes of the EasyPress 2. We picked the 9″ x 9″ as the best Cricut heat press for making shirts for its mid-range size. You can work on a wide range of shirts and projects as shirt designs typically measure 8″ x 8″. If you intend to make extra shirt designs for extra-large or bigger sizes, the Cricut EasyPress 2 12″ x 10″ is the ideal size for these.

Cricut EasyPress 2

Cricut EasyPress 2

Making an Iron-On Shirt Using Cricut

This tutorial by Cricut shows one of the best and easiest ways to make an Iron-On T-shirt using a Cricut cutting machine

This Cricut tutorial is best for beginners in making shirts using Iron-On Vinyl or HTV. Its step-by-step guide is easy to follow from beginning to end. It shows how to design the shirt for free using the Cricut Design Space and gives specific steps up to the heat transfer part. The tutorial also gave advice for the best Iron-On Vinyl results and how to make it last on the shirt.

Get the Best Cricut Machines For Making Shirts

The Cricut Explore Air 2 and the Cricut EasyPress makes customizing shirts convenient, easy, and cost-effective

Cricut Explore Air 2

Cricut Explore Air 2

Cricut EasyPress 2

Cricut EasyPress 2

Whether you want to make shirts for profit or as gifts, the Cricut Explore Air 2 and the Cricut EasyPress 2 will help you create excellent-quality customized shirts. They are the best Cricut for making shirts to start with as they make cutting and transferring Iron-On Vinyl, HTV, or Infusible Ink easy and efficient. When you want to take your crafting to the next level, you can easily upgrade to the Cricut Maker or a bigger Cricut EasyPress 2.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ Which Cricut machines are best for making shirts?

The best Cricut machines for making shirts are the Cricut Explore Air 2 cutting machine and the Cricut EasyPress 2 heat press.

๐Ÿ“Œ What materials do you need when making shirts with Cricut machines?

One of the most important materials you need for making shirts is the Cricut Iron-On Vinyl. When heated, the glue at the back allows the vinyl to stick to the shirt or other fabrics. The Cricut Infusible Ink is another material you can use. It infuses with the fabric or the material when heated.

๐Ÿ“Œ What can you do with the Cricut Explore Air 2?

The Cricut Explore Air 2 lets you design and cut big shirt projects that use Cricut Iron-On Vinyl or Infusible Ink

๐Ÿ“Œ What can you do with the Cricut EasyPress 2?

The Cricut EasyPress2 is a portable and lightweight heat press that makes excellent heat transfer results more convenient, even for beginners

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Rhodaline Escala-Phelps
Rhodaline Escala-Phelps

Managing Editor and Team Leader at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about people, product comparisons, culture, and current events.