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6 Best Cricut Machines for Making T-Shirts

T-shits have a knack for always being a wardrobe favourite, even during the colder seasons, and we all have to admit that we have way more than we can wear. Given the popularity of this clothing article, it’s pretty obvious how we’d like ours to stand out, and the best way to make this happen is to simply make our own custom T-shirts, or at least have someone create one for you.

cricut shirt maker

Of course, we all know about custom T-shirts where you take a plain white or black T-shirt and just print something on the front or the back.

Unfortunately, most printed T-shirts are sensitive to washing, and they should only be worn on special occasions, otherwise, the printed picture will fade or break within less than a year.

Because of that, you should also consider T-shirts that are customized via embroidery or with sewn-on designs since you won’t have to worry about washing them at all.

How Do I Create T-Shirts Using a Cricut Machine?

When creating custom T-shirts, there are two directions that you can take:

  • Printed designs
  • Embroidery or sewn-on designs

Each comes with its own pros and cons, with printed designs being a lot more flexible in terms of what images and colours you can use, while sewn-on designs are far more resistant to washes in the long run.

Printed design space

Anyway, if you want to get a job done right, you have to do it yourself, and if you’re the crafty type, then you’re probably aware of what a Cricut machine is and how you can use it to create all sorts of homemade goodies, T-shirts included.

Well, Cricut makes many models that are still officially supported, and we decided to rank them all based on how good they are at creating T-shirts., and their machines can create both types of T-shirts.

As far as criteria go, we will be looking over the machine’s capabilities, price, and more in order to determine which Cricut device is the best T-shirt maker machine.

What Are the Best Cricut Machines for Creating T-Shirts?

1. Cricut EasyPress 2

Cricut machine making t shirts easypress 2

Topping off our list of best Cricut machines to create T-shirts is the Cricut EasyPress 2, an amazing product that can be used for pretty much any type of heat-transfer project that you can think of.

Heat transfer vinyls (HTVs) can be created in a number of ways, but no matter how amazing, colourful, or complex the design is, getting the image printed on the fabric can be a bit complicated.

We’re pretty sure that a lot of you have probably read online tutorials and saw that HTVs can be applied at home using traditional irons, this process isn’t ideal, and you may end up doing more harm than good to both the HTV and the fabric.

For starters, irons don’t have an even surface since most modern-day models have holes in the sole where the vapors come out. More so, the shape of traditional irons is not ideal since it is not made to maximize the coverage of the traditional square-shaped surface of HTV templates.

Lastly, a great source of headaches is the fact that head distribution on the surface of the iron is never the same, especially given the aforementioned steam holes, so you’ll spend a lot of time running the iron across the surface (you’ll basically be ironing out your clothes) just so that you are sure that the HTV is evenly printed.

That’s no longer the case if you decide on using the Cricut EasyPress 2 since it is a machine that is optimized for use with HTVs.

The machine itself is very safe to use since there’s no way you can accidentally burn yourself with it. More so, the design is very ergonomic, and the materials it’s built out of making it very lightweight, so creating T-shirts will never seem like an actual chore or manual labour.

Besides, Cricut has their out smartphone app where you can control precisely the machine’s temperature and time, all based on the properties of your HTV and the materials your T-shirt is made of.

Compared to traditional irons, the Cricut EasyPress 2 has an evenly heated ceramic-coated plate making it ideal for basic T-shirts, pillows, aprons, and more.

Speaking of which, depending on the size of the heating plate, the EasyPress 2 comes in 2 sizes:

  • Small press machine – 9″ x 9″
  • Medium press – 12″ x 10″

The heat distribution on the plate is even, meaning consistent, high-quality transfers, and this also makes your transfers last longer through countless washes.

Lastly, the Cricut EasyPress 2 is compatible with all Infusible Ink products along with other major brands of iron-on materials and HTVs.

Pros:

  • Compatible with most iron-on materials
  • Can be controlled via a smartphone
  • Efficient project transfers
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Not very good for bulk operations
  • Works best on flat surfaces

You can get the Cricut EasyPress 2 from the official Cricut website, as well as third-party retailers such as Amazon. We recommend that you check both of them out since they have the occasional sale, and the discounts are so high sometimes that it would be a real shame to miss out on them.

2. Cricut Explore Air 2

Mint cricut

The next entry on our list is the Cricut Explore Air 2, a consumer-grade cutting machine from Cricut, and currently one of the best computer-controlled cutting machines designed specifically for home crafters.

For those of you interested in creating T-shirts, the Cricut Explore Air 2 is ideal for creating sewn-on patterns and embroideries since, while it cannot be used as a heat press, it can be used to cut the pieces of vinyl needed later, so if you use it together with the EasyPress 2, you’ll be able to create completely unique custom T-shirts form A to Z.

The cutting size is 11.5 inches x 23.5 inches, which is more than enough for any T-shirt design, and since it can cut 100+ materials, you can diversify the way your T-shirts will look and feel even more.

One great thing about this machine is that it is extremely silent, but if you don’t mind a bit of extra noise, you can turn on the Explore Air 2’s Fast Mode, and it will perform all the tasks at twice the speed without any loss in cutting quality.

The Explorer Air 2 is compatible with 6 tools for cutting, writing, foiling, and the Bluetooth wireless technology allows easy device control via smartphone or PC.

Besides, if you want to go crazy and unleash your imagination in terms of what will end up sewn or printed on your T-shirts, you can take advantage of Cricut’s free design app for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS called Design Space.

Because the model isn’t all that new anymore, with newer models coming out year after year, the price tag is a lot lower right now than it was when it was first released.

However, just because the model is a bit older compared to our other entries, it has delivered time and time again throughout the years, and we’ve even gone and made a complete review to see whether it was worth buying or not.

Pros:

  • Consumable materials are cheaper compared to competitors.
  • The cutting size is more than enough for all T-shirt sizes
  • 6 different cutting tools that suit all your needs
  • Features Fast Mode for 2x cutting speeds
  • Compatible with over 100 materials
  • Comes with a free design app
  • Can be controlled wirelessly
  • Easy-to-use

Cons:

  • Using Design Space will require a constant Internet connection

Just like with the Cricut EasyPress 2, the Cricut Explore Air 2 can be purchased from both the official Cricut website, as well as their official Amazon page.

Note: We recommend that you check out both places since they have flash sales with massive discounts now and then, and you can even get certain products at less than half the price.

3. Cricut Maker 3 

Cricut machine making t shirts maker 3

Cricut is a very versatile manufacturer when it comes to what machines they make for the common household user, and they feature 3 major families of cutting machines:

  • Cricut Maker
  • Cricut Explore
  • Cricut Joy

All Cricut cutting machines can do almost the same tasks, with the most notable difference being that of size, cutting power, cutting sizes, and overall purpose (bulk cutting vs. occasional cutting).

Well, the Cricut Maker machines are the biggest and most powerful of the Cricut cutting machines, and while at first glance they seem like overkill for someone that just wants to make a T-shirt, they are made specifically for those that are interested in large projects (e.g., 100+ T-shirts).

It has a maximum cutting length of 12 feet (3.6 m), and a maximum supported material width of 13 inches (33 cm), so you can use a single cutting session to create the cutouts and pieces of vinyl for multiple T-shirts simultaneously.

Besides, if you were impressed by the fact that the Explore Air 2 could cut 100+ materials, you’ll be amazed that the Maker 3 can cut 300+ materials, ranging from the most delicate of fabrics to harder materials such as cardboard or leather.

The list of compatible is also much longer, featuring 13 tools for cutting, writing, scoring, foiling, and embellishing, and if you are familiar with the Cricut Maker machine, then you’ll be happy to know that the Maker 3 is also twice as fast, with 10 times the cutting force.

More so, it is also compatible with Cricut’s Design Space, so creating designs or choosing them from a catalogue of premade ones will be easy.

With so many amazing features, you’re probably wondering why isn’t the Cricut Maker 3 above the Cricut Explore Air 2 on our list. Well, the truth is that while the Cricut Maker 3 is great for cutting materials that can be later used for making T-shirts, it is mostly designed with commercial use in mind.

The machine is much bigger than the Explore Air 2, weighs more, and is much louder and, probably the biggest downside so far, it is much more expensive than the Explore Air 2.

While we do admit that the machine is indeed perfectly capable of doing pretty much anything in terms of cutting, we wrote the article with the common user in mind.

That being said, for someone that may want to create a custom T-shirt once a month, or maybe even multiple T-shirts for a special occasion once a year, the Cricut Maker 3 may be a bit much, both in terms of capabilities and price.

However, if you’re planning on creating T-shirts for a living, then, by all means, the Cricut Maker 3 is probably the best cutting machine that you can get.

Pros:

  • Consumable materials are cheaper compared to competitors
  • The cutting size is more than enough for all T-shirt sizes
  • 13 different cutting tools that suit all your needs
  • It is the fastest of all Cricut cutting machines
  • Compatible with over 300 materials
  • Comes with a free design app
  • Can be controlled wirelessly
  • Great for commercial use
  • Easy-to-use

Cons:

  • The machine is far bulkier and heavier than other Cricut machines
  • Using Design Space will require a constant Internet connection

If this product piqued your attention, know that you can buy the Cricut Maker 3 from the official Cricut website or third-party retailers such as Amazon. You should check both of them out since one may be having a sale, and with this machine costing around ~$400, every dollar counts.

4. Cricut Explore 3

Cricut machine making t shirts explore 3

Long-story-short when it comes to the Cricut Explore 3, it is a middle ground between the Cricut Explore Air 2 and the Cricut Maker 3, since it is still made with the average user in mind, but it’s a bit bigger and comes with a few extra tools up its sleeves.

For starters, the Cricut Explore 3 is a bit larger, but it also has a much large cutting size, with a maximum material cutting length of 12 feet (144 inches).

Besides, the Explore 3 can handle Smart Materials, while the Explore Air 2 cannot, and it can also work without a cutting mat, unlike the Explore Air 2 that needs one at all times.

If speed is something you’re interested in, then the Explore 3 overshadows the Explore Air 2, featuring twice the cutting speeds.

Yet again, you’re probably wondering why the Explore 3 is below the Explore Air 2 on our list, especially since, from a performance standpoint, the Explore 3 is clearly an upgrade.

Well, while the Explore 3 is indeed the better choice, it does have some of the caveats of the Cricut Maker 3, meaning that it is mostly aimed at commercial use or at least more than the Explore Air 2.

That being said, the extra tools and features are worth the extra money (around $100 extra) only if you’re planning on frequently cutting materials for your T-shirts or if you plan on engaging in larger projects as well, such as creating banners.

More so, the Cricut Explore 3 is only currently available in one colour (Mint green), while the Cricut Explore Air 2 is available in 3 different colours ( Mint green, Blue, and Lilac).

Pros:

  • Consumable materials are cheaper compared to competitors
  • The cutting size is more than enough for all T-shirt sizes
  • 6 different cutting tools that suit all your needs
  • One of the fastest cutting machines available
  • Compatible with over 100 materials
  • Free access to Cricut Design Space
  • Can be controlled wirelessly
  • Doesn’t need a cutting mat
  • Supports Smart Materials
  • Easy-to-use

Cons:

  • Design Space needs a constant Internet connection
  • The price tag is a bit big

Did the Cricut Explore 3 get your attention? If it did, you can get it from the official Cricut website or third-party retailers such as Amazon, where you can get them at amazing discount prices, sometimes even at half the price!

5. Cricut Maker

Cricut machine making t shirts maker

If you’re dead set on making your own T-shirts, and you want to do it not just for yourself but for your friends and family as well, you might as well go for a Cricut machine from the Maker family.

However, if you’re not keen on investing too much, you can go for the Cricut Maker, which is an older version of the previously mentioned Cricut Maker 3.

The two devices share similar traits, including cross-compatible cutting, folding or embossing tools,  as well as support for up to 300+ materials.

Unlike the Cricut Maker 3, the Cricut Maker cannot use Smart Materials, and using a cutting mat is also mandatory, so be prepared for some extra investments in terms of buying new mats over time.

Another key difference is that, while the Cricut Maker is still the Cricut flagship model, it is far slower than the Cricut Maker 3, cutting at around half the speed.

One small inconvenience design-wise is that the Cricut Maker is only available in one colour, but then again, if functionality is all that you are interest in, this is just a minor setback.

Fortunately, the Cricut Maker is not all that old, as it is still supported by the Cricut Design Space app, so go crazy on whatever you want to cut and put on your T-shirts, since the app will make designing easier, while the machine will make the design a reality.

All in all, the Cricut Maker is a great machine if you’re planning on making T-shirts in bulk, and the only setback is the fact that the model is just a bit older.

Pros:

  • Cricut uses some of the most affordable consumables of all cutting machines
  • The cutting size is more than enough for all T-shirt sizes
  • Create whatever you want with the Design Space app
  • 13 different cutting tools that suit all your needs
  • Compatible with over 300 materials
  • Can be controlled wirelessly
  • Great for commercial use
  • Easy-to-use

Cons:

  • The machine is far bulkier and heavier than other Cricut machines
  • Using Design Space will require a constant Internet connection
  • You need a cutting mat for all projects
  • Does not support Smart Materials
  • Slower than the Cricut Maker 3

This model has been the Cricut flagship device for quite some time now, and Cricut doesn’t seem to be losing any interest in it any time soon.

That being said, you can purchase one for yourself from the official Cricut website, and you can also find it on third-party retail sites such as Amazon.

Note: Since the Cricut Maker is an older machine, not only is the price lower than that of the Cricut Maker 3, but it’s also more frequently on sales, so go ahead and check it out for some amazing discounts.

6. Bonus: Cricut EasyPress Mini

Cricut machine making t shirts easypress mini

For those of you that don’t know what the Cricut EasyPress Mini is, think of it as a pocket-sized Cricut EasyPress, since this tool was created with compatibility in mind above all else.

That being the case, you’re probably wondering what exactly is this device doing on a list of best Cricut machines to create T-shirts with, and the answer is pretty simple: babies wear T-shirts too.

That’s right, not only is this device great to carry around thanks to its sheer size and weight, but the much smaller plate makes it ideal for transferring HTVs to smaller pieces of fabric, such as a wacky cartoon on the T-shirt of a 3-month old baby.

Of course, the EasyPress Mini’s compact size also makes it ideal for unusually small or challenging heat transfer projects, such as hats, shoes, or stuffed animals, so you’re no longer limited to flat surfaces like with the regular EasyPress.

Of course, smaller sizes don’t mean that Cricut went cheap on the building materials since the Cricut EasyPress Mini comes with the same high-quality ceramic-coated heat plate, which provides the same dry, even edge-to-edge heat distribution.

However, the Mini lacks the smartphone app controls of its bigger counterpart, instead, it has just 3 heat settings. Fortunately enough, all 3 of them are still compatible with every iron-on and Infusible Ink project.

One great thing about the EasyPress Mini is that it has an insulated Safety Base and auto-shutoff feature, so you don’t have to worry about your children’s safety around the device.

Pros:

  • Ideal for using HTVs on smaller and tricker (non-flat) surfaces
  • Several safety features that make it child safe
  • Compatible with most iron-on materials
  • Efficient project transfers
  • 3 different heat settings
  • Compact and portable
  • Very affordable
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Not at all good for large-scale operations

If this little machine has caught your attention, know that the price tag matches the size, making it an ideal tool for those with a limited budget that just want to tinker with pieces of vinyl and other heat transferable materials from time to time.

You can buy this device from the official Cricut website, and they also sometimes feature the occasional sale, so go ahead and check out whether you can get it even cheaper than it already is!

FAQ: More Information About Cricut Machines and Making T-Shirts

Can you use a Cricut to make T-shirts?

Yes, you can. In fact, Cricut machines are some of the best tools that regular home users can have in their home if they like crafting, and this includes customizing their clothes.

Their machines are easy-to-use, they gain access to a free design tool compatible with all their cutting machines, and, with the right accessories, their imagination is pretty much the only limit to what they can create.

How to make shirts with the Cricut Maker?

The Cricut Maker can be used to make shirts in two ways:

  • You can use it to cut the designs that you will later sow on a blank shirt
  • You can use it to cut and design the shirt entirely from scratch

Both solutions are equally good when it comes to creating your own shirts, but the latter requires that you have some basic knowledge of tailoring, and you also need to know the exact sizes of the T-shirt, especially when making one for someone other than yourself.

Which Cricut machine is best for making T-shirts?

It all depends on what your needs are. For example:

  • If you’re interested in creating T-shirts at a commercial level, your best choice is to go with the Cricut Maker 3 for cutting materials and the Cricut EasyPress for heat transfer designs.
  • If you want to create T-shirts occasionally but don’t want to complicate yourself with all kinds of materials, the Cricut Explore Air 2 together with the Cricut EasyPress will suffice.
  • If you rarely ever create T-shirts, or if you’re also interested in smaller-scale projects such as hats, stuffed animals, or other uneven surfaces, you’re better off with the Cricut Joy together with the Cricut EasyPress Mini.

How much is a Cricut machine for T-shirts?

Cricut machines are pretty affordable but, since they have so many products, the prices will vary depending on what you need.

As such, here are the current prices for all Cricut machines that are good for making T-shirts:

  • Cricut Maker 3
  • Cricut Maker
    • Standalone machine – $369.99
    • Machine plus supplies – $399.99
  • Cricut Explore 3
    • Standalone machine – $299.99
    • Machine plus supplies – $399.99
  • Cricut Explore Air 2
    • Standalone machine – $199.99
    • Machine plus supplies – $269.99
  • Cricut Joy
  • Cricut EasyPress
    • Small press machine (9″ x 9″) – $139.99
    • Small press machine plus supplies – $199.99
    • Medium press (12″ x 10″) – $189.99
    • Medium press plus supplies – $249.99
  • Cricut EasyPress Mini
    • Standalone machine – $49.99
    • Machine plus supplies – $109.99

How much do Cricut consumables for making T-shirts cost?

The cost of consumables varies based on how often will you be creating T-shirts, and what materials you will be using. For example, making T-shirts more often and out of harder materials will dull the cutting blades a lot faster, thus requiring more frequent replacements.

Whichever the case, Cricut supplies are very affordable, and they are also sometimes on sale, and that is the best time to stack up on consumables.

Here are a few consumables that do need replacing from time to time on a Cricut machine:

Best Cricut Machines Shirt Making Machine: Conclusion 

As you can see, pretty much all Cricut machines can be used for creating your own T-shirts, and the only criteria that can actually be used to rank them are your own needs.

That being said, we hope that this article made it clear to your which Cricut machines suit your needs and that we helped you make a more informed decision regarding your next important purchase.

Keep in mind that all Cricut machines are capable of handling most handcrafted projects, and as long as you’re aware of the machine’s cutting or heating limitations, you can create pretty much any kind of T-shirt you want.

Want to learn more about Cricut machines or about making your own clothing? Let us know by leaving your submissions in the comments section below, and we’ll write a guide for you in no time at all.