DIY Personalized Beach Towels with Smart Iron On

Instructions

STEP 1: GET MY FREE DIY PERSONALIZED BEACH TOWELS FILES

These DIY Personalized Beach Towels are SO easy to make thanks to the new Cricut Maker 3 and Explore 3! Both machines allow for long cuts (some Smart Materials can be cut up to 12 ft!) which make them ideal for this project!

For this tutorial, I will be using both the Maker 3 and the Explore 3, but you can make these towels with either cutting machine. If you don’t have a Cricut Explore 3 or Maker 3, you can still make these beach towels with another cutting machine — just use the SVG versions that are already spliced to fit on 12″ x 24″ machine mats.

The first step is to get my DIY Personalized Beach Towels designs from my resource library — it’s design #310.

TIP: If you are not sure how to upload an SVG cut file to Cricut Design Space, watch this helpful video training series I made. If you are on an iPad or iPhone, here is how to download and upload SVG files to the Cricut Design Space app.

This is what my DIY Personalized Beach Towels SVG files look like when they are uploaded to Cricut Design Space.

Imported Seahorse DIY Personalized Beach Towels SVG

Imported Mermaid DIY Personalized Beach Towels SVG

With your SVG still selected, click “Ungroup” in the upper right corner. You will need to do this multiple times by selecting grouped layers and ungrouping them until all your layers are individual, like this.

Ungrouping layers of the Mermaid DIY Personalized Beach Towels

This is what it looks like when all the layers are ungrouped.

Ungrouped layers of the Mermaid DIY Personalized Beach Towels

Now let’s add a name to your Mermaid DIY Personalized Beach Towel.

Click on “Text” on the left side of your screen and select your font from the dropdown box at the top. I used Breethy at 380 pt.

Font dropdown menu in Design Space for the DIY Personalized Beach Towels

NOTE: If you do not have this font installed, you can get it here. But really the choice of what font to use is up to you, so be creative!

Type your desired name or text, and click anywhere on your canvas to get out of the text edit mode. If you used the same font as I did, your name will look like this, with the letters flowing together. There is no need to Weld the letters with Kerned fonts!

Writing text in Design Space for the Mermaid DIY Personalized Beach Towels

Now, with your text selected, click and drag, rotate and resize your text into place over the red box. Be sure to keep your text within the red box so it will be aligned and sized correctly on your towel (if you use the same size towel as me, which is 34″ x 64″).

Sizing and placing text in Design Space for the Mermaid DIY Personalized Beach Towels

Once your text is where you want it, go ahead and either delete the red box or hide it. You won’t need it anymore because it’s only there to help you place the text in right spot.

Deleting text box layer in Design Space for the Mermaid DIY Personalized Beach Towels

If you want to cut your name as one long continuous piece aligned to the tail, then attach your text layer to one of the vinyl layers. I attached my name “Jennifer” to the layer containing the scale outlines and cut them as one continuous piece from Smart Iron-On in Matte Navy. To do this, select the layer with your text in your Layers panel. Press Shift and also select the scale outline layer. At the bottom right, click “Attach.”

Attaching layers in Design Space for the Mermaid DIY Personalized Beach Towels

You’re all set! You can now cut your “Mermaid” design with personalized text.

If you choose to customize the Seahorse DIY Personalized Beach Towel, you will first select all the layers and click “Ungroup.” You will need to do this multiple times until all your layers are individual, like this.

Ungrouped layers in Design Space for the Seahorse DIY Personalized Beach Towels

Next, select only the “Life is Good” layer and click “Delete.”

Deleting layers in Design Space for the Seahorse DIY Personalized Beach Towels

Now, follow the instructions above for adding text. Be sure to keep your text within the yellow box so it will be aligned and sized correctly on your towel, and make sure to Attach the text to another layer if you want it to cut as a long continuous vinyl piece like you did above for the “Mermaid” towel. Delete or hide the yellow text box when you’re finished placing the text.

STEP 2: CUT YOUR VINYL DESIGN

My designs are created for towels that are 34” wide by 64” long. Confirm the width and length of your towel before cutting your design and make sure the dimensions of your design do not exceed the length of your towel. You can confirm the length of the design by selecting all the layers of your design in Design Space and looking at the measurements along the side of the design on the canvas or in the “Size” section on the top toolbar.

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TIP: Your towel may not be the same measurements as advertised in the store so make sure to check that!

Confirming design length in Design Space for the Mermaid DIY Personalized Beach Towels

Click “Make It” in the top right.

TIP: Make sure you either hid or deleted the text box first!

Click Make It in Design Space for the Mermaid DIY Personalized Beach Towels

The next screen allows you to review your cut. You will notice this screen also tells you the minimum length of Smart Vinyl you will need to make your cut.

For the “Mermaid” design you will need vinyl in these lengths:

57.5” of Smart Iron On in Matte Navy (with the name “Jennifer” Attached to the scales—your length will be different depending on what you write)
40.75” of Smart Iron On in Matte Red
36.75” of Smart Iron On – Glitter in White (if you Attach the scales and the fin pieces together)

TIP: I cut some of the scales and the fin detail all in Glitter in White, but I left these pieces as separate layers in the SVG design in case you don’t want to use the same color for both. I left mine unattached even though I used a single color because I wanted to cut them using a single 3 ft roll of vinyl, and if I attached them I would need 36.75” of vinyl. If you choose to cut them in a single color and as a single cut piece you can Attach them like this.

Both Glitter in White layers selected and about to be Attached in Design Space for the Mermaid DIY Personalized Beach Towels

Glitter in White layers Attached in Design Space for the Mermaid DIY Personalized Beach Towels

For the “Seahorse” design you will need vinyl in these lengths:

58.25” of Smart Iron On in Matte Red (with the “Life is Good” quote Attached to the seahorse body—your length will be different if you change the text)
31” of Smart Iron On – Glitter in Gold

TIP: You may need different amounts of vinyl if you personalized the text.

Make sure you check the length of each cut before proceeding, and also be sure to mirror each one since this is Iron-On vinyl.

Mirroring layer in Design Space to make the Mermaid DIY Personalized Beach Towels

Now the cool part, if you are using a Cricut Maker 3 or Cricut Explore 3 you can load your vinyl without a mat! It’s truly a timesaver!

Click “Continue.”

Clicking Continue in Design Space to make the Mermaid DIY Personalized Beach Towels

Select your first material, which will be either Smart Iron-On or Smart Iron-On – Glitter, depending on the design you picked: Seahorse or Mermaid.

Insert your Smart Vinyl into the Cricut Roll Holder and feed your Smart Vinyl into your Cricut Maker 3 or Cricut Explore 3.

TIP: Make sure you load your material into the machine with the shiny side facing DOWN and that you have selected Mirror On!

If you do not have a roll holder, you can simply cut your Smart Vinyl to meet the minimum length indicated.

TIP: If you are not at a long table, you may want to put a tub or bin behind your machine to catch the vinyl as it feeds through your machine!

Press the “Load/Unload” Button. Your machine will pull the vinyl all the way through to confirm there is enough material before starting the cut. Once your machine is ready, press the flashing “Arrow/Go” button. You’ll notice this button has been updated on the Cricut Maker 3 and Explore 3. Now sit back and watch your Cricut whiz through and cut the design quickly and effortlessly!

When your design is done cutting, use the Cutter on the Roll Holder to trim off the Smart Vinyl. If you didn’t use a roll holder you can, of course, skip this step.

Trimming the vinyl for the DIY Personalized Beach Towels

TIP: After cutting glitter vinyl you may want to check your blade for debris and clean it. You can check out my tips and tricks for cleaner cutting for help.

STEP 3: APPLY YOUR SMART VINYL DESIGN TO YOUR TOWELS

Time to put it all together!

Heat up your Cricut EasyPress to 330ºF (or if you are using an iron, pick a setting between Cotton and Linen).

Cricut EasyPress heated to 330ºF for making DIY Personalized Beach Towels

While your Cricut EasyPress is heating up, grab your weeding tool and peel away all of the excess vinyl from your DIY Personalized Beach Towel designs. Be extra cautious to make sure you are only weeding away the parts you DON’T want. You want to keep your mirrored design ON the carrier sheet.

Weeding the vinyl of the DIY Personalized Beach Towels

Now let’s prepare the towels. Place a Cricut EasyPress Heat Mat underneath one section of your towel to protect your work surface. Now, place your hot EasyPress (or iron) on the towel and apply light pressure for 5 seconds to preheat the towel.

TIP: Your EasyPress will be HOT! Be careful while using it.

Preheating towel section for making the DIY Personalized Beach Towels

Repeat this process in sections until all parts of the towel that you will be applying vinyl to have been preheated. When you’re done, remove the EasyPress Mat so your towel lays flat on your work surface.

Applying the “Seahorse” design

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Now let’s layer the weeded vinyl in the order we will apply it to the DIY personalized beach towels. For the “Seahorse” design, lay your Red body section flat on a work surface with the shiny carrier sheet side down (so your sticky side is facing UP). Carefully line up the Gold Glitter layer (the fin and accent pieces) over the body layer — they will fit inside the Red vinyl pieces like a puzzle. Once they are aligned, stick it down in place on top of the Red vinyl layer with the sticky side facing up. Your two pieces should be perfectly aligned and stuck together.

Aligning the two vinyl pieces of the Seahorse DIY Personalized Beach Towels

Flip over your “Seahorse” layers so the sticky side is now DOWN and line them up on your towel using the vertical lines of the towel as reference.

Lining up vinyl pieces on the DIY Personalized Beach Towels

Stick the “Seahorse” design down on the towel where you want it. Be sure the text is centered and aligned correctly. Once everything is aligned correctly, carefully peel up the Red vinyl and carrier sheet, leaving the Gold Glitter vinyl and carrier sheet stuck to the towel. Set the Red vinyl piece aside.

Gold Glitter Iron-On aligned on the DIY Personalized Beach Towels

Now, we just want to tack the Gold Glitter vinyl to the towel (we do NOT want to fully adhere it yet because we will be adding extra heat later to tack on the Red vinyl and we do not want to “overcook” the vinyl). We will do this in sections until everything is adhered.

To do this, first be sure to place your Cricut EasyPress Mat under the towel to protect your work surface.

Placing EasyPress Mat under first section of the DIY Personalized Beach Towels

Make sure your EasyPress is still at 330ºF and hold it to your first section with light pressure for 8 seconds. Do NOT slide your EasyPress (or iron) while applying pressure.

Heating first section of the DIY Personalized Beach Towels with an EasyPress

Repeat this to all sections until the entire Glitter layer of the “Seahorse” design is tacked to the towel. Remove the carrier sheet and set it aside, don’t throw it away because we will use it again later.

TIP: If your carrier sheet does not lift off easily, reapply the heat in small increments of 3 to 5 seconds until it does come off. If you are using an iron you may need to do this many times.

Removing the Iron-On carrier sheet of the DIY Personalized Beach Towels

Gold Glitter Iron-On tacked onto the DIY Personalized Beach Towels

Now, reduce the temperature of your EasyPress to 315ºF (if you are using an iron, change the temperature dial down a bit to the Cotton setting). Move your EasyPress Mat to the side so you have a completely flat surface to work on.

While your EasyPress is adjusting temperature, line up your Red vinyl layer on top of your Gold Glitter layer on the towel. You may need to carefully align it in sections to make sure it fits well to the Gold layer underneath. Once your Red layer is aligned, press it sticky side down to the towel.

Aligning the red layer on top of the gold layer of the DIY Personalized Beach Towels

Once your EasyPress is ready at 315ºF, set your EasyPress Mat under your towel again. Tack your Red vinyl to the towel in sections the same way you did before with the Gold Glitter, but this time in only 5 second intervals.

TIP: If your carrier sheet does not cover ALL the vinyl underneath, use a teflon sheet or piece of parchment paper cut to cover all the exposed vinyl. You do not want any vinyl in direct contact with your EasyPress (or iron).

Tacking the Red Iron-On layer to the Seahorse DIY Personalized Beach Towel

Once you are done, remove the carrier sheet and set it aside.

TIP: Repeat the tacking process if the sheet doesn’t easily come up.

Now that your entire design is tacked to the towel, we want to go over the entire vinyl again with the heat to fully adhere it to the towel.

To do this, retrieve the largest piece of carrier sheet you removed earlier. Place it sticky side down over the entire design, including the text. This will protect the vinyl from the EasyPress heat.

Placing a full piece of carrier sheet over the entire design on the Seahorse DIY Personalized Beach Towel

Place your EasyPress Mat under the towel and heat the design in sections using your EasyPress set to 315ºF (or an iron on the Cotton setting). This time you will heat each section of the “Seahorse” for 12 to 15 seconds with light pressure.

TIP: Your text has only been tacked to the towel once, so you’ll want to heat the text sections for up to 20 to 25 seconds to make sure it’s fully adhered. If your text layer is Glitter vinyl, you can increase the temperature of the EasyPress for this section up to 330ºF (or an iron on a setting between Cotton and Linen). If your text layer is regular Iron-On vinyl, then you’ll want your EasyPress to be 315ºF (or an iron on a setting on Cotton).

Applying heat to the Seahorse DIY Personalized Beach Towel

Remove the carrier sheet and check that all the vinyl is adhered well. Reheat any sections that need more attention.

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Now you’re done! Allow up to 24 hours before washing and tumbling dry. Do not use bleach. You can expect your vinyl to last up to 50 washes!

Applying the “Mermaid” design

For the “Mermaid” design, align your Matte Red vinyl layer (the scale and tail layer) on the preheated towel using the stripes as a guide. Be sure it is centered and aligned correctly. Press the layer sticky side down on the towel so it stays in place.

Aligning the Red Iron-On layer of the Mermaid DIY Personalized Beach Towels

Place your Cricut EasyPress Mat under the towel to protect your work surface. Make sure your EasyPress is at 315ºF (or an iron on the Cotton setting) and hold it to your first section with light pressure for 5 seconds.

TIP: Do NOT slide your EasyPress (or iron) while applying pressure.

Heating first section of the Mermaid DIY Personalized Beach Towel with an EasyPress

Repeat this to all sections until the entire Red layer of the “Mermaid” design is tacked to the towel. Remove the carrier sheet and set it aside, and move your EasyPress Mat to the side so you have a completely flat surface to work on.

TIP: If your carrier sheet does not lift off easily, reapply the heat in small increments of 5 seconds until it does come off.

Removing the Iron-On carrier sheet from the Mermaid DIY Personalized Beach Towel

Red Iron-On tacked onto the Mermaid DIY Personalized Beach Towel

Now, line up the Navy layer (the scale outlines) over the Red layer and stick it down in place — they will fit together like a puzzle.

Sticking the Navy Iron-On layer on top of the Red layer of the Mermaid DIY Beach Towel

Once they are aligned, repeat the process of heating the vinyl for 5 seconds until all sections of the Navy layer is tacked onto the towel. Your EasyPress should still be set on 315ºF. Remove the carrier sheet when everything is tacked onto the towel.

TIP: If your carrier sheet does not cover ALL the vinyl underneath, use a teflon sheet or piece of parchment paper cut to cover all the exposed vinyl. You do not want any vinyl in direct contact with your EasyPress (or iron).

Removing the Iron-On carrier sheet from the Mermaid DIY Personalized Beach Towel

Red and Navy Iron-On layers tacked onto the Mermaid DIY Personalized Beach Towel

Now, increase the temperature of your EasyPress to 330ºF (or an iron on a setting between Cotton and Linen). Move your EasyPress Mat to the side so you have a completely flat surface to work on.

While your EasyPress is adjusting temperature, line up your White Glitter layer on top of your other layers on the towel. You may need to carefully align it in sections to make sure it aligns well with the layers underneath. Once your White Glitter layer is in place, press it sticky side down to the towel.

TIP: If your carrier sheet does not cover ALL the vinyl underneath, use a teflon sheet or piece of parchment paper cut to cover all the exposed vinyl. You do not want any vinyl in direct contact with your EasyPress.

Aligning the White Glitter layer on top of the other two layers of the Mermaid DIY Personalized Beach Towel

Once your EasyPress is 330ºF, set your EasyPress Mat under your towel again. Tack your White Glitter vinyl to the towel in sections the same way you did before with the other layers, but this time in 10 second intervals.

Tacking the White Glitter Iron-On layer to the Mermaid DIY Personalized Beach Towel

Once you are done, remove the carrier sheet and set it aside.

Removing the White Glitter Iron-On carrier sheet from the Mermaid DIY Personalized Beach Towel

TIP: Repeat the tacking process if the sheet doesn’t easily come up.

Now that your entire design is tacked to the towel, we want to go over the entire vinyl again with the heat to fully adhere it to the towel.

To do this, retrieve the largest piece of carrier sheet you removed earlier. Place it sticky side down over the entire design, including the text. This will protect the vinyl from the EasyPress heat.

Placing a full piece of carrier sheet over the entire design on the Mermaid DIY Personalized Beach Towel

Place your EasyPress Mat under the towel and heat the design in sections using your EasyPress set to 315ºF. This time you will heat each section of the “Mermaid” for 10 seconds with light pressure.

TIP: Your text has only been tacked to the towel once, so you’ll want to heat the text sections for up to 20 to 25 seconds to make sure it’s fully adhered. If your text layer is Glitter vinyl, you can increase the temperature of the EasyPress for this section up to 330ºF (or a setting between Cotton and Linen on an iron). If your text layer is regular Iron-On vinyl, then you’ll want your EasyPress to be 315ºF (or the Cotton setting on an iron).

Applying heat to the Mermaid DIY Personalized Beach Towel

Remove the carrier sheet and check that all the vinyl is adhered well. Reheat any sections that need more attention.

Now you’re done! Allow up to 24 hours before washing and tumbling dry. Do not use bleach. You can expect your vinyl to last up to 50 washes!

STEP 4: SHOW IT OFF

Your DIY Personalized Beach Towels are complete! I can’t wait to see all of the beautiful towels you make with your Cricut Maker 3 and Cricut Explore 3!

Mermaid DIY Personalized Beach Towel

Seahorse DIY Personalized Beach Towel

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