26+ Free Handmade Gift Ideas for Pets

Welcome to the fifth and final roundup of the Christmas in July Make Along! This week’s theme is pets. Most of my loved ones consider their pets to be part of the family, so I often make gifts for furry friends, too. I’ve searched the web to find you 26 handmade gift ideas, including 13 free crochet patterns, 6 free knitting patterns, and 7 free sewing patterns. If you still need more inspiration, I’ve included links to two more roundups with over 100 more ideas!

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. All photos are © the respective designers and publishers and are used with permission.

  • If you’re just hearing about the Christmas in July Make Along, you can find out more here. 29 bloggers have teamed up to bring you 31 days of handmade gift ideas and the chance to win one of 17 great prizes!
  • If you’d like to chat with other crocheters, join the Underground Crafters Facebook group.
  • If you’d like regular email reminders during the Make Along, sign up for the Underground Crafter newsletter.
  • Use this button below on your Ravelry project pages or elsewhere on social media. Right click (on desktop) or tap and hold (on mobile) to save.
2019 Christmas in July Make Along with Underground Crafter - text on a white background with pine cones

26+ Handmade Gift Ideas for Pets

Roundup by Underground Crafter

13 Free Crochet Patterns

These free crochet patterns include bedding, toys, clothes, and accessories for both cats and dogs.

Left column, from top to bottom:

  • Mitered Square Pet Blanket by Underground Crafter: This simple square pet blanket can be easily adjusted for any size of dog.
  • Santa’s Best Friend by Dora Does: This cute dog bandana is a great project to kick off the holiday season.
  • Cat Mat by Cute as a Button Crochet: This simple stitch pattern adds some texture and the tassel adds something for kitty to play with.
  • Quick and Easy Puppy Sweater by Itchin’ for Some Stitchin’: This adorable sweater pattern includes a coordinating plaid bowtie.
  • Elephant Squeaker Toy for Dogs by Repeat Crafter Me: This cute rag doll can also be made without squeakers for playing fetch.

Center column, from top to bottom:

  • Pizza Dog Rug by Posh Pooch Designs: This cute dog rug pattern includes a video tutorial.
  • Kent Street Bagel Cat Toy via Lion Brand: Add some catnip to make this a truly savory treat for your kitty.
  • Holiday Pet Sweater by YARNutopia: Let your dogs join in the festivities with these adorable sweaters. Pattern includes a video tutorial.
  • Kennel Blanket by Mamas2Hands: This simple pattern is just right for comforting a new friend.

Right column, from top to bottom:

  • Cat Toy via FaveCrafts: This project uses a toilet paper roll and bell to add fun sounds for kitty.
  • Cat Bed via FaveCrafts: A minimalistic design makes this cat bed perfect for any style of home décor.
  • Holiday Cat Collar via FaveCrafts: Include your cat in your holiday party with this festive collar.
  • Dog Sweater via FaveCrafts: This striped dog sweater is designed to fit small dogs.

6 Free Knitting Patterns

These free knitting patterns include a dog clothes and accessories and a cat toy. Shown clockwise from top left corner.

  • Santa Claus Dog Coat by Handy Little Me: This festive dog coat pattern is available in three sizes.
  • Dog Snood by Posh Pooch Designs: These simple striped snoods are great scrap busters.
  • Modernist Dog Sweater via Lion Brand: This black and white dog sweater is perfect for the dog (or owner) who wants to make a fashion statement.
  • Miss Mousie via Lion Brand: This little mouse toy can be rubbed with catnip to make your kitty happy.
  • Hooded Dog Coat via FaveCrafts: This trendy outfit is available to fit four different dog sizes.
  • Winter Dog Coat via FaveCrafts: The pattern for this festive dog coat is available in six sizes.

7 Free Sewing Patterns

These free sewing patterns include toys for cats and dogs and a dog bed and sweater. Shown clockwise from top left corner.

  • Water Bottle Dog Toy by Laura Kelly Designs: This simple, low-sew project uses an old water bottle for crinkle sounds.
  • How To Make Dog Sweaters by Sew What Alicia: This post includes tips on measurement and a video tutorial for sewing your own dog sweater.
  • Dog Bone Toy by Sew What Alicia: This quick sewing project includes cut files for Cricut or for cutting the bone by hand, along with tips for making a coordinated bag.
  • Christmas Stocking Dog Toy by Swoodson Says: This stocking includes a secret treat pouch.
  • Star Wars Themed Dog Bed by Pieces by Polly: This simple dog bed project is a perfect gift for your favorite Star Wars fan and dog.
  • Legally Adorable Dog Tote via FaveCrafts: This bag is perfect for carrying a smaller dog for a day out.
  • DIY Cat Toys via FaveCrafts: This sewing project includes step-by-step pictures.

Still need more handmade inspiration for pet gifts? Check out these roundups for 100+ more ideas!

Dress Up Your Pet Day 2015, free crochet patterns for pets, roundup on Underground Crafter

32+ Free Handmade Gift Ideas for Home | Crochet – Knit – Sew

33+ Free Handmade Gift Ideas for Home via Underground Crafter - collage

Welcome to the fourth roundup of the Christmas in July Make Along! This week’s theme is the home. I’ve included home decor ideas for the holidays as well as handmade gift ideas for the home. I’ve searched the web to find you 32 handmade gift ideas, including 14 free crochet patterns, 12 free knitting patterns, and 7 free sewing patterns. If you still need more inspiration, I’ve included links to several more roundups with 160 more ideas!

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. All photos are © the respective designers and publishers and are used with permission.

  • If you’re just hearing about the Christmas in July Make Along, you can find out more here. 29 bloggers have teamed up to bring you 31 days of handmade gift ideas and the chance to win one of 17 great prizes!
  • If you’d like to chat with other crocheters, join the Underground Crafters Facebook group.
  • If you’d like regular email reminders during the Make Along, sign up for the Underground Crafter newsletter.
  • Use this button below on your Ravelry project pages or elsewhere on social media. Right click (on desktop) or tap and hold (on mobile) to save.
2019 Christmas in July Make Along with Underground Crafter - text on a white background with pine cones

33 Handmade Gift Ideas for Home

Roundup by Underground Crafter

33+ Free Handmade Gift Ideas for Home via Underground Crafter - collage

14 Free Crochet Patterns

These crochet patterns include pillows, bunting and decorations, baskets, a rug, a scrubby, and a blanket.

33+ Free Handmade Gift Ideas for Home via Underground Crafter - collage of crochet patterns

Left column, from top to bottom:

  • Pinewood Pillow by E’Claire Makery: This highly textured pillow makes a perfect plush holiday gift.
  • Ho Ho Merlot Bottle Boot by Hooked by Kati: This adorable project is a unique twist on a wine bag.
  • Guardian Angel by Oombawka Design: This would make a great tree-topper or home décor gift for friends or family who like to decorate for the holidays.
  • Quick Gift Scrubby by City Farmhouse Studio: This durable scrubby is made with two strands of yarn held together.

Center column, from top to bottom:

  • Boho Ornaments by The Purple Poncho: These fun and festive ornaments can be hung as bunting year round.
  • Festive Bunting by Thoresby Cottage: This simple pattern can be easily adjusted for other holidays by cutting different letters from the felt.
  • Mossy Oaks Rug by Jessie At Home: This plush, textured rug is crocheted with two strands of yarn held together.
  • Herringbone Square Basket Set by Yarn + Chai: This set of modern nesting baskets uses plastic canvas for stability.

Right column, from top to bottom:

12 Free Knitting Patterns

These knitting patterns include table settings, a blanket, a pillow, a pouf, a spa gift, and a set of plant cozies. Shown clockwise from top left corner.

33+ Free Handmade Gift Ideas for Home via Underground Crafter - collage of knitting patterns
  • Stockinette Plant Cozy by Brome Fields: This is one in a series of patterns for potted plant covers including Jute, Herringbone, Lattice, and Garter stitch variations.
  • Winter Pillow by Stana’s Critters, Etc. for KnitPicks: This classic yet modern pillow is a great introduction to stranded colorwork.
  • Pillow with Aran Triangle via AllFreeKnitting: This textured pillow would make a great gift, or knit it in holiday colors to decorate.
  • Utensil Stockings by Craft Bits via AllFreeKnitting: Add some festivity to the holiday table with these cute stockings.
  • Taos Lap Blanket by Two of Wands: This Southwestern-inspired blanket makes a wonderful gift.
  • Cable Knit Soap Sachet via AllFreeKnitting: These textured soap sachets make a great addition to a spa gift.
  • Peppermint Drink Coaster via AllFreeKnitting: The pattern for these festive coasters includes instructions for knitting with a knitting spool loom or double pointed needles.
  • Pouf with Pizzazz via AllFreeKnitting: Let your guests put their feet up after the holiday meal on this handmade pouf!

7 Free Sewing Patterns

These sewing patterns include pillows, napkins, and reusable gift wrap. Shown clockwise from top left corner.

33+ Free Handmade Gift Ideas for Home via Underground Crafter - collage of sewing patterns
  • A Kids’ Pillow Bed by It’s Always Autumn: This quick project is an easy and affordable alternative to children’s pillow bed/chairs.
  • Penguin Mat for Kids by Morena’s Corner for Fairfield World: This fun project includes a video tutorial.
  • Color Block Pillow by Hooked for Life: This simple pillow pattern can be made in seasonal colors for modern holiday décor.
  • Reusable Gift Wrap by Try It Like It Create It: This is a gift that keeps on giving and is perfect for eco-conscious friends and family members.
  • Patchwork Peace on Earth Pillows by 5 Little Monsters: These festive pillows combine patchwork and embroidery.
  • Pizza Pillow by Always Expect Moore: This whimsical project makes a great gift for kids, teens, or any pizza-loving adult.
  • Stamp and Stitch Christmas Napkins by Ann Butler Designs: These simple, low-sew napkins are easy to customize with different stamps or fabric inks.

Still need more inspiration for handmade gifts for home? Get 160 more ideas from these roundups!

  • 30 Free Handmade Winter Holiday Pillow Patterns and Tutorials via Fairfield World
22 Handmade Gift Ideas for the Home via Underground Crafter | Find your next project in this roundup of crochet, knitting, sewing, embroidery, and other craft projects for the home, including pillows, table settings, towels, storage baskets, and more!
32 Handmade Patterns and Tutorials To Make Great Gifts for the Home via Underground Crafter
24 Free Crochet Patterns for the Home via Underground Crafter
2019 Hygge Home Crochet Along with CAL Central and Red Heart Yarns
24 Free Knitting Patterns for Dishcloths and Washcloths via Underground Crafter
Little Dots Coaster, free crochet pattern in Wool and the Gang Shiny Happy Cotton yarn by Underground Crafter | Get this easy peasy coaster pattern and find more inspiration in the roundup for 18 free crochet and knitting patterns for winter white décor.

How To Photograph Handmade Crafts with Flat Lay | #Crochet #TipsTuesday

How To Photograph Handmade Crafts with Flat Lay by Underground Crafter

Do your beautiful, handmade crafts look boring, ugly, or unrecognizable when you share them online? Are you finding it difficult to cut through the noise and get your Etsy shop or patterns noticed? Today, I’m sharing my 10 tips for how to photograph your handmade crafts with flat lay. These tips will take your pictures from ok to awesome! I’ve even included a video demonstrating some of the tips, so read on for details.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. This post is part of an ongoing collaboration with B&H Photo Video Pro Audio, who generously provided a camera and photography equipment.

Many of us are skilled as makers but less skilled as photographers. Our beautiful projects may come across less than exciting when we share pictures online. Or, maybe your children or spouse won’t cooperate for photography, or you don’t have a budget for paying local models to wear your makes.

What is flat lay?

Flat lay is a style of photography where you literally lay your project flat against a background. It’s easier to master than other types of photography because you don’t have to worry about movement in the background, getting models not to blink, or keeping yourself in the frame for a self-portrait. Here are my 10 tips for taking amazing photographs of your handmade crafts using flat lay photography. (Don’t forget to scroll down for the video it you’d like to see some of the tips in action!)

10 Tips for Photographing Your Handmade Crafts Using Flat Lay

How To Photograph Handmade Crafts with Flat Lay by Underground Crafter

1 – Get to know your camera

Whether you’re using a complex DSLR or the camera on your smartphone, every camera is a little bit different. Use your camera’s manual (or search online for “name of your camera” manual or “name of your smartphone” camera manual) to learn about the features included in your camera. You may be surprised at what you find!

The pictures in this post were taken using a Sony Alpha a6000 mirrorless camera. Until I received this camera in April, I had never used a mirrorless camera before, and I had mostly worked with Nikon cameras. The Sony Alpha a6000 is very straight-forward, but it still helped to read through the manual to find some of my preferred settings, and of course, to practice using it by taking lots of pictures!

Maker Photo Month Instagram Challenge 2019 with Underground Crafter - Sony Alpha a6000 what's in the box

2 – Use a vinyl backdrop

Vinyl backdrops have matte backgrounds so they reduce shine from natural light or glare from a flash. These are also easy to store on a roll or you can cut them down to specific sizes that you use regularly. Bonus: vinyl is easy to wipe clean if you have any spills.

I use the Savage White Brick Printed Vinyl Backdrop, a white, faux painted brick backdrop. There are many different styles of backdrops available including faux wood, solid colors, and bokeh (blurred, pops of light). White has the added benefit of matching with any handmade project and helping to calibrate your camera’s white balance. I have found that using a white backdrop helps the yarn colors show more accurately than using a colorful backdrop, but you can also pick a backdrop color that contrasts with or coordinates with your favorite colors or your brand colors.

You can see some examples below showing how a backdrop can improve the final look of your photographs. These are pictures I took using various wood surfaces at home. The natural wood often makes the yarn colors look drab or distracts from the project, while the painted white wood reflects and adds a lot of shadows. Continue on to tip 7 to see how I improve the pictures using a vinyl backdrop!

How To Photograph Handmade Crafts with Flat Lay by Underground Crafter - flat lay disasters collage

3 – Use a lightweight camera

I loved all the features of my Nikon D5300 DSLR, but it was a beast. I could not take pictures one handed because it was just too heavy. This made it impossible to put my hands in the picture (to hold a crochet hook, for example) or to take a very quick, spontaneous photograph. It also made bringing my camera with me on trips or outside a pain. Since I started using the Sony Alpha a6000, I have really enjoyed how light and portable it is. Mirrorless cameras are available to fit a variety of budgets and they are generally much lighter than DSLRs (because they use a digital, rather than optical, viewfinder) but with much more control over settings, lenses, and so on than a smartphone or tablet camera.

4 – Use a tripod or monopod if necessary

If your camera is heavy, or if you have the tendency to move slightly while taking pictures, you may see evidence of “camera shake,” or slightly blurred edges in your photos. You may also have the tendency to take a picture including your thumb because you are too focused on holding the camera. Using a tripod or monopod helps to stabilize your camera, and, therefore, your pictures, and to keep your thumb out of the frame. It’s also helpful if you’re trying to keep the background, the lighting, and the project the same while switching out props. You can find many affordable options for tripods or monopods in different sizes and configurations to fit any camera or smartphone.

In the video below, I’m using the Manfrotto MT055XPRO3 Tripod with the 494 Center Ball Head with 200PL-PRO Quick Release Plate. Though this setup is pricier, it has several added benefits. The horizontal bar on the tripod makes it great for filming video tutorials of your hands as well as focusing downward for flat lay pictures. It’s a very sturdy tripod, so it can also hold a heavier camera and be used outdoors without a problem.

5 – Finish your project

The camera seems to spot every flaw on a handmade crafts project. Look over the project very carefully before taking pictures. Crochet and knit projects usually look better after blocking. Weave in ends (or hide them very well on the back), trim threads, and remove pet hair before positioning it flatly on your background.

6 – Think about your composition

The composition includes everything that will end up in the final picture. Most of us are so excited to share our handmade crafts online that we forget there is a large tuft of cat hair in the background.

Do you want your project to be straight or at an angle? Do you want to include it entirely or just share a peek? Should large projects be folded, rolled, or draped? Do you want to have a close up, where the project fills most or all of the frame, or take it from a distance, with more empty background framing your project? Think about all of these things as you position your project on your backdrop. When using a vinyl backdrop, make sure that if it has directional lines your project and your composition are lined up. Otherwise, you will end up with what looks like a trapezoid instead of a beautiful rectangular or square project. (Ask me how I know this!)

Take a moment to look through your camera’s viewfinder or LCD screen and make sure that there are only pretty things in your composition before you take a picture.

7 – Add props to your pictures

Pictures of the project alone can be boring or too stark. Get creative by adding props to make your pictures “Instagram-worthy.” Some examples of props you can find around the house include supplies you used to make the project (yarn, fabric, crochet hook, and buttons); items that can be used with the project (things to fit inside of a bag, a book you might read while sitting under a lap blanket); seasonal or holiday decorations (a small tree, a birthday hat, flowers); or clothing or accessories that you would wear with the project. Use colors that coordinate or colors with high contrast in your props for different looks. In the collage below, you can see how different props impacted the finished picture.

How To Photograph Handmade Crafts with Flat Lay by Underground Crafter - flat lay beauties collage

8 – Check your lighting

I use indirect natural light whenever possible. Direct natural light tends to cause big (and not very attractive) shadows. If you don’t have access to a well-lit place for photography, or if you usually take your handmade crafts pictures at night, invest in lighting for photography. There are a lot of portable options these days. Personally, I prefer LED lighting since it is available in both portable and natural light options. “Natural light” LED lighting tends to display yarn colors most accurately. There is also a broader range of prices, including many affordable options, and LED lighting is relatively easy to use compared to other types of photography lighting.

When first using artificial lighting, you may need to try different set ups, including placing the lights in different positions or using multiple lights in order to get the results you want.

It’s not a total crisis if you don’t have perfect lighting, but you will need to be more confident with photo editing!

9 – Take a lot of pictures

Most often, the best picture is not the first one! Be sure to take some pictures horizontally and others vertically. If using your phone or tablet, take some square pictures for Instagram. If using a camera, take some rectangular pictures with nothing on the sides that you can crop down to square. Take multiple pictures and then delete the ones you don’t like.

10 – Ask for feedback

When you’re first trying out new setups, it can be overwhelming. Ask some of your creative friends for their opinions on your lighting, composition, or props. Share a few of your many pictures (see tip 9) and get help choosing the best picture. You can also engage your fans by asking them to vote for the main picture on your pattern or Etsy listing.

I hope you’ve found these 10 tips helpful! You can watch a video highlighting my five top tips and sharing my setup below. If you can’t see the video below, watch it out on YouTube.

By the way, do you want the free crochet pattern for the bag featured in the pictures? Get the Caribbean Sunset Bag pattern here.

Have you tried flat lay photography for your handmade crafts before?

28+ Free Handmade Gift Ideas for Men

28+ Free Handmade Gift Ideas for Men via Underground Crafter - collage of crochet, knitting, and sewing patterns

Welcome to the third roundup of the Christmas in July Make Along! This week’s theme is gifts for men, and in my experience, it can sometimes be hard to find great handmade gift ideas for men. Not to worry, because I’ve searched the web to find you 28 handmade gift ideas, including 14 free crochet patterns, 7 free knitting patterns, and 7 free sewing patterns. If you still need more inspiration, I’ve included links to several more roundups with 95 more ideas!

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. All photos are © the respective designers and publishers and are used with permission.

  • If you’re just hearing about the Christmas in July Make Along, you can find out more here. 29 bloggers have teamed up to bring you 31 days of handmade gift ideas and the chance to win one of 17 great prizes!
  • If you’d like to chat with other crocheters, join the Underground Crafters Facebook group.
  • If you’d like regular email reminders during the Make Along, sign up for the Underground Crafter newsletter.
  • Use this button below on your Ravelry project pages or elsewhere on social media. Right click (on desktop) or tap and hold (on mobile) to save.
2019 Christmas in July Make Along with Underground Crafter - text on a white background with pine cones

28 Handmade Gift Ideas for Men

Roundup by Underground Crafter

28+ Free Handmade Gift Ideas for Men via Underground Crafter - collage of crochet, knitting, and sewing patterns

14 Free Crochet Patterns

These patterns include hats, slippers, scarves and cowls, and even a growler cozy!

28+ Free Handmade Gift Ideas for Men via Underground Crafter - collage of 14 crochet patterns

Left column, from top to bottom:

  • Urban Hiker Slouchy Hat by Underground Crafter: This striped, slouchy hat pattern is available in six sizes from newborn through adult large.
  • Chic and Simple Perfect Hat by Marly Bird: This hat pattern is available in 9 sizes from 3-6 months through adult extra large.
  • Simply Slippers by Stitches n Scraps: This simple slipper pattern is available in four adult sizes.
  • Easy Beginner Fringe Scarf by Fiber Flux: This long, unisex scarf is beginner-friendly and includes a video tutorial.

Second column, from top to bottom:

  • Suit Style Men’s Scarf by Stitch in Progress: This simple scarf pairs well with business attire. The pattern includes international stitch symbols and a color chart.
  • Faux Brioche Scarf by Jessie At Home: This knit-look scarf includes tips for adjusting the size.
  • Manchester Reversible Hat by Pattern Paradise: This reversible beanie pattern is available in four sizes from toddler through adult large.

Third column, from top to bottom:

  • Beer Growler Cozy by Moogly: This makes the perfect gift for your favorite beer connoisseur.
  • Entirely Easy Men’s Scarf by Stitching Together: This beginner-friendly, knit-look scarf pattern includes helpful photos to guide hook placement.
  • Hyland Men’s Hat by Yarn + Chai: This slouchy hat uses variations on basic crochet stitches to add subtle texture.

Right column, from top to bottom:

  • Adult Men’s Chunky Slippers by YARNutopia: This pattern for these cozy slippers crocheted in a super bulky yarn includes a video tutorial.
  • Brooklyn Ridge Hat by Sewrella: This simple hat works up quickly in a bulky yarn. It can be worn as a slouchy or as a beanie with the brim rolled up.
  • Buttoned Plaid Cowl by Winding Road Crochet: This pattern includes both a video tutorial and helpful illustrations for crochet plaid newbies. It also includes a sign up form for printable plaid handmade gift tags.
  • Eclectic Woodsman’s Scarf by Mainly Crochet: This pattern uses a self-striping yarn to do the colorwork for you.

7 Free Knitting Patterns

These patterns include hats, scarves, sweaters, and even a tablet sleeve. Shown clockwise from top left corner.

28+ Free Handmade Gift Ideas for Men via Underground Crafter - collage of 7 knitting patterns
  • Comfy Tablet Sleeve by Hands Occupied: This striped tablet sleeve pattern includes a helpful seaming tutorial.
  • The Hektor by Handy Little Me: This simple striped hat is a beginner-friendly project.
  • Seeds and Cables Scarf by Underground Crafter: This scarf pairs a classic cable pattern with the texture of seed stitches.
  • Jack and Jill Sweater by Stitches n Scraps: This textured, color blocked sweater pattern is available in four adult sizes from small through extra large.
  • Interwoven Hat by Two of Wands: This cuffed hat includes an intricate central cable pattern.
  • Broken Rib Hat by Edie Eckman: This unisex hat is stretchy enough to fit a variety of head sizes.
  • Neighborly Cardigan via Lion Brand: This zippered cardigan pattern is available in five adult sizes from small through 2X.

7 Free Sewing Patterns

These patterns include home décor and accessories made with fabric yardage and upcycled t-shirts and denim. Shown clockwise from top left.

28+ Free Handmade Gift Ideas for Men via Underground Crafter - collage of 7 sewing patterns
  • Key Holder Wall Hanging Quilt by She’s So Creative: Keep his keys organized with this wall hanging quilt.
  • Pockets Camera Strap Cover via FaveCrafts: This quick sewing project makes a great gift for your favorite photographer.
  • T-Shirt Pillow by Jane Skoch for FaveCrafts: Turn two sentimental favorite t-shirts into a comfortable throw pillow.
  • Oversized Floor Pouf via FaveCrafts: Make this simple and functional piece of comfortable furniture with just two yards of fabric.
  • Denim Log Cabin Pocket Pillows by Underground Crafter: This set of three pillows made with variations on the classic log cabin quilting block include a pocket for storing a remote, a pair of glasses, or anything else needed while relaxing.
  • Colorblocked T-Shirt Scarf by Back to Calley via FaveCrafts: Upcycle two adult t-shirts in contrasting colors to make this long scarf.
  • Movie Poster Pillow by Crafty Chica for FaveCrafts: This pillow would make a great gift for a film buff. The tutorial includes both sewing and no-sew options.

Still need more inspiration for handmade gifts for men? Get 95 more ideas from these roundups!

Roundup: 25 Free Crochet Patterns for Gifts for Men via Underground Crafter
40 Handmade Gift Ideas for Men via Underground Crafter | Find a great project for a guy on your handmade holiday gift list including bags, scarves, and hats for men, featuring 2 sewing tutorials, 20 crochet patterns, and 18 knitting patterns - all free!
15 free #crochet patterns for men's accessories. Roundup curated by Underground Crafter.
Roundup: 15 free crochet patterns for unisex hats, curated by Underground Crafter | Find your next crochet project for your favorite lady or fussy guy among these patterns for beanies, balaclava, slouchy, and chemo hats.

Cricut Basics: How To Customize a Pencil Case with Vinyl by How To Heat Press

Cricut Basics: How To Customize a Pencil Case with Vinyl by How To Heat Press for Underground Crafter

Naomi from How To Heat Press is joining us for the first of three guest posts that will help you to explore your Cricut! Today, she’ll show you how easy it is to customize a pencil case with your Cricut and adhesive vinyl. She’ll share tips for using heat transfer vinyl (also known as iron-on), too. The best part is that once you master this project, you can use the same process to customize so many different projects with your Cricut and vinyl.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. Photos in this post are © How To Heat Press and are used with permission.

About How To Heat Press

How To Heat Press was started by Naomi and Dan in 2016. They’ve been using heat press and cutting machines for years, and they love all the wonderful projects you can create with these machines. How To Heat Press provides information about heat press and cutting machines (with a focus on Cricut machines), heat press and Cricut tips and tutorials, and t-shirt business tutorials.

Show your support by following Naomi on Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

Cricut Basics: How To Customize a Pencil Case with Vinyl

Tutorial by How To Heat Press

Cricut Basics: How To Customize a Pencil Case with Vinyl by How To Heat Press for Underground Crafter

Do you want to make a cool custom pencil case with Cricut?

This project is a Cricut Basic, but if you haven’t done it before, you’ll need to know a few things!

Depending on what your blank pencil case is made of, you could use adhesive vinyl or iron-on vinyl.

The pencil case I’m using for this project is only suitable for adhesive because it’s made of a type of flexible plastic. This would immediately melt if I applied heat. But if you had a blank pencil case made of fabric, you would use heat transfer vinyl (iron-on) instead.

How To Make A Custom Pencil Case

Here is what I am using to complete this project:

Now let me show you how I customized this pencil case for my daughter.

1. Choose Pencil Case Design

The design I am using for this pencil case is very simple… It is just my oldest daughter’s name: Galilee!

Does that even justify being called a design? I’m not sure! Nevertheless, sometime the best designs are the most simple.

You can really put anything you like:

  • Make a text design like me
  • Choose a free SVG image
  • Use a combination of text and image

It’s up to you, and will depend on the surface area on your pencil case.

To make this simple design, I opened a new project in Cricut Design Space. I created a text box by clicking the text icon on the left menu, and then selected the font ‘Leckerli One’.

If you wanted to use this font yourself, and didn’t have it in Design Space already, you can find it free here on Google Fonts.

Once I had typed out the name, the text was spread out and needed to be joined up so that it would be cut as one piece.

Cricut Basics: How To Customize a Pencil Case with Vinyl by How To Heat Press for Underground Crafter | Cricut Design Space editing

To do this I selected the text and clicked ‘advanced’ and ‘ungroup to letters’ (top edit panel).

I was then free to shift the letters together so that they were touching. Once the letters were touching, I clicked weld (bottom right of the canvas).

Welding cannot be undone, so make sure everything is in the right place before clicking it. This makes the whole design a single layer that will be cut as one piece.

The final step before cutting was to size the design. I made this design 6 inches (15 cm) to fit the blank pencil case.

Cricut Basics: How To Customize a Pencil Case with Vinyl by How To Heat Press for Underground Crafter | Cricut Design Space editing

2. Cut Design in Adhesive Vinyl

Now I’m ready to cut the design out of adhesive vinyl.

Because I’m using vinyl, I do not need to mirror the design. If you are using heat transfer vinyl, you will need to mirror the design as it is applied in reverse.

Set material settings to ‘vinyl’ for Cricut Maker, or set the dial to ‘vinyl’ for Explore Air 2.

Adhesive vinyl goes color side up, and backing paper side down on cutting mat.

Cricut Basics: How To Customize a Pencil Case with Vinyl by How To Heat Press for Underground Crafter | Cricut Maker cutting vinyl

3. Weed Vinyl

Once your design has been cut, weed away the excess vinyl.

This just means pull away any piece of vinyl that you don’t want to end up on your pencil case (or other surface). The Cricut Basic Tool Set has the perfect tools for doing this.

Cricut Basics: How To Customize a Pencil Case with Vinyl by How To Heat Press for Underground Crafter | vinyl before weeding

5. Apply Transfer Tape

For this type of project, make sure you’re using the Standard Grip Transfer Tape, not the Strong Grip Tape!

Place the transfer tape over the weeded design. Press down from the middle of design towards the outer sides, one side at a time, to reduce the chance of air bubbles. Then burnish (rub/press down) with a squeegee (also included in the Cricut Basic Tool Set).

Remove the vinyl backing paper carefully to make sure all of the vinyl is stuck to the transfer tape.

Cricut Basics: How To Customize a Pencil Case with Vinyl by How To Heat Press for Underground Crafter | vinyl name in script font on transfer tape

6. Apply Vinyl To Pencil Case

The final step is to apply the vinyl decal to the pencil case.

You can measure out the perfect spot with a ruler, or just have a good guess as to where it will be centered (like I did).

Position the vinyl on top of the pencil case and start by pressing it down in the center of your design. From the center, press it down out towards one side, and then starting from the center again, press it down out towards the other side. 

Once the whole decal is down, burnish it again to make sure it is stuck onto the pencil case.

Now start to remove transfer tape by rolling it back onto itself at a sharp angle, and slowly roll it back carefully, in case some has not stuck down.

Cricut Basics: How To Customize a Pencil Case with Vinyl by How To Heat Press for Underground Crafter | vinyl name in script font on pink glittery pencil case

A Custom Pencil Case

That’s all there is to it – now you can make vinyl designs to put on anything and everything!

To be honest the vinyl I used wasn’t the best quality, but it was super cheap!

I’ve used it before on other projects and it lasts well… it doesn’t crack, peel, or fade, but it’s just not as nice or easy to work with as something like Oracal 651.

What is Oracal 651 used for?

Any adhesive vinyl project really.

It’s another permanent vinyl that’s great for:

  • mug decals
  • car and window decals
  • permanent wall decal

However, the result with the much cheaper vinyl is still good, and my daughter loves it (which has got to be the most important thing).

Thanks for reading!