DIY Hand Cut Vinyl Onesie

I was not compensated for this post, however I did receive a free product for my blog post.

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I have to say, I have wanted a Circuit or Silhouette machine for years but have never had enough extra cash laying around to justify purchasing one. There are SO many cool projects that can be done with them and I have SO many vinyl project ideas saved on Pinterest to try out “one day”. When I was given the opportunity to receive some vinyl from Expressions Vinyl for a project on my blog, I decided I wasn’t going to wait for a machine, I would just try it out and see what I could do on my own.

I actually decided I would order enough vinyl for several projects because I have a long to-do list I plan to accomplish in the next few weeks prior to starting school and I thought, why not? Now that I have played with it on my own, I am SO excited I did! The vinyl was so easy to work with and I think that the cuts actually turned out quite well. I can’t wait to try another project!

With a new baby on the way, I decided to start simple and decorate a few simple onesies. At first I couldn’t decide on what I wanted to put on them, but settled on a few simple animal silhouettes. They were quite fast to make and now that these are under my belt, I am excited to try something a little more detailed. Don’t be intimated if you don’t have a machine, you can still create something adorable with simple tools you probably already have at home.

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Hand Cut Vinyl Onesie

Tools Needed:

  • XActo knife
  • sharp scissors
  • utility mat
  • pattern (or free-hand a design)
  • iron
  • piece of cloth
  • heat transfer vinyl


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Once you have gathered your materials, either cut your pattern out or trace it onto your vinyl. Heat transfer vinyl has one side that is very shiny and one that looks to have a matte finish. The matte finish is what will be facing your piece of fabric; the shiny film is protecting the finished side of your exposed vinyl. If you are tracing your pattern onto the vinyl, be sure to do so on the shiny side so that you do not leave any marks on the side that will be adhered to the fabric and left behind.

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If you are cutting your pattern out (which I did), then hold the cut pattern firmly against your vinyl and cut your pattern out with extra sharp scissors. I choose a simple design so I didn’t need my XActo knife for this and could do it all with scissors but if you choose an intricate design, you could do the same with the XActo knife.

Once I had my piece cut from my vinyl, I was able to play with the position of them on the onesie. Then I carefully placed a cloth over them and using the iron, heated the vinyl for 45 seconds and checked to verify it was adhered snugly. A few times I needed more heat on one side and just repeated the process.

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Once it was adhered and none of the edges lifted, I peeled away the shinny film leaving the sparkly vinyl underneath.

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To add another layer of vinyl on top, simple cut out your design, I used the same fish pattern and cut my stripes from another color so that they would line up.

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Next, position the second layer on the vinyl, gently cover over with fabric and lay the iron directly on top. I did not move the iron, just let it sit in place for 30-45 seconds so that it didn’t shift my piece. I repeated for each layer.

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Finally I hand cut little bubbles and ironed those on as well.

The entire process took me about 20 minutes and I loved how it turned out! In less than an hour I cut out and made three different simple onesies. Now I am ready to try a few more complicated designs!

A few tips…

  • Each heat transfer vinyl has different instructions, I did try to iron directly onto the shinny layer of vinyl first and it caused slight puckering on one spot, so I used a piece of fabric thereafter without issues.
  • Use the hottest setting you have without steam.
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  • For all of these three onesies, I used a tiny strip off of a sample kit I ordered from Expressions Vinyl. I had ordered full sheets for my project, but was really excited to try out the glitter heat transfer vinyl to see how it worked and loved them! I have 20+ more colors to use for future projects and the variety will let me see which I absolutely love.
  • Don’t expect perfection but be excited with awesomeness!

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So, even though I still really want a Circuit or Silhouette machine, I realized that I don’t have to be held back with creativity just because I don’t have one. If you don’t have a machine to cut vinyl, don’t let that stop you! Order a small quantity and give a project a try! Need a little more vinyl inspiration? Be sure to check out the other bloggers vinyl projects below. There are some really fun ones I can’t wait to try out.

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