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.

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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!

Free pattern: Personalized Denim Gift Card Holders with Heat Transfer Vinyl Tutorial

Personalized Denim Gift Card Holders, free crochet pattern with heat transfer vinyl tutorial by Underground Crafter | These unisex gift card holders add a personalized, handmade touch to an otherwise impersonal gift. These are also a great way to use up small remnants of yarn and buttons from your stash! It's also a great beginner project for those new to heat transfer vinyl. #cricutmade #expressionsvinylBack in April, I was introduced to several bloggers who work with Expressions Vinyl at the Snap! Conference. I’ve always been intrigued by vinyl, but I also found it intimidating.

This post contains affiliate links. This post is sponsored by Expressions Vinyl but all opinions and thoughts are my own. Additional materials for this project were generously provided by Cricut and Wool and the Gang.

After chatting with many vinyl-loving ladies at Snap!, I discovered that vinyl could do even more than I thought it could, and I was determined to get my hands on some for experimentation purposes. The ladies from Expressions Vinyl stepped in and shared a Blogger’s Pack with samples of 7 different types of vinyl.Personalized Denim Gift Card Holders, free crochet pattern with heat transfer vinyl tutorial by Underground Crafter | These unisex gift card holders add a personalized, handmade touch to an otherwise impersonal gift. These are also a great way to use up small remnants of yarn and buttons from your stash! It's also a great beginner project for those new to heat transfer vinyl. #expressionsvinyl #cricutmadeThe Glitter Heat Transfer Vinyl in Jade (at the top) called out to me immediately, but the perfect project didn’t come to mind right away.

Personalized Denim Gift Card Holders, free crochet pattern with heat transfer vinyl tutorial by Underground Crafter | These unisex gift card holders add a personalized, handmade touch to an otherwise impersonal gift. These are also a great way to use up small remnants of yarn and buttons from your stash! It's also a great beginner project for those new to heat transfer vinyl. #expressionsvinyl #cricutmadeWith the holidays around the corner, I’ve had gift card holders on my mind for the past few weeks. I realized the Jade was perfect for personalizing a gift card holder for the holiday season, and this crochet pattern and tutorial were born! The heat transfer vinyl pairs perfectly with the Wool and the Gang Billie Jean upcycled denim yarn, but if you decide to make a yarn substitution, be sure to choose a 100% cotton or 100% denim yarn for safety reasons.

If you’re new to vinyl, as I was, I’ve included detailed steps to make your first project a success.

If you make your own Personalized Denim Gift Card Holders, I’d love to see them! Share your progress and questions by tagging me on Facebook as @Underground Crafter, Instragram as @ucrafter, or Twitter as @ucrafter. Sign up for my weekly newsletter and get a coupon code for your choice of one of my premium patterns and other subscriber goodies. Plus, you’ll never miss one of my free patterns again!

Add the Personalized Denim Gift Card Holders to your Ravelry favorites or queue.

Underground Crafter on RavelryIf you want an easy print format, you can buy an ad-free PDF version on Craftsy.

Underground Crafter on Craftsy

Personalized Denim Gift Card Holders

Crochet Pattern with Heat Transfer Vinyl Tutorial by Underground Crafter

Personalized Denim Gift Card Holders, free crochet pattern with heat transfer vinyl tutorial by Underground Crafter | These unisex gift card holders add a personalized, handmade touch to an otherwise impersonal gift. These are also a great way to use up small remnants of yarn and buttons from your stash! It's also a great beginner project for those new to heat transfer vinyl. #expressionsvinyl #cricutmade

These unisex gift card holders add a personalized, handmade touch to an otherwise impersonal gift. These are also a great way to use up small remnants of yarn and buttons from your stash!

Finished Sizes

  • Standard (Large) Gift Card Holder.
    • Standard: Approximately 4” (10 cm) wide x 3” (7.5 cm) assembled and folded.
    • Large: Approximately 4” (10 cm) wide x 5.5” (14 cm) assembled and folded.

Materials (Makes one in each size)

  • Wool and the Gang Billie Jean (60% upcycled denim/40% upcycled raw cotton, 3.5 oz/100 g/148 yd/135 m) – 1 skein in Dirty Denim, or approximately 100 yd (91.5 m) in any medium weight 100% cotton or 100% denim yarn.
  • US Size H-8/5 mm crochet hook, or size needed to obtain gauge.
  • Yarn needle.
  • 2 – 0.75” (2 cm) sew through buttons.
  • Cricut Explore Air and Cricut Design Space (or other electronic cutting machine with design software), or pencil, scissors, and letter stencil.
  • Expressions Vinyl Glitter Heat Transfer Vinyl – 1 sheet in Jade, or approximately 9” (23 cm) x 3” (8 cm) piece of any glitter heat transfer vinyl.
  • Cricut Tools Weeder.
  • Clover Mini Iron, or standard sized iron.
  • Teflon pressing sheet (optional).
  • Ironing board or other iron-safe surface.


Gauge

  • 16 sts in pattern = 4” (10 cm). Exact gauge is not critical for this pattern.

Abbreviations Used in This Pattern

  • ch – chain
  • dc – double crochet
  • hdc – half double crochet
  • rep – repeat
  • sc – single crochet
  • sk – skip
  • sp – space
  • st(s) – stitch(es)
  • t-ch – turning chain
  • * Repeat instructions after asterisk as indicated.

Pattern Notes

  • Gift card holders are crocheted flat in rows and then seamed. Heat transfer vinyl is applied to back of gift card holder. To finish, attach buttons.

Pattern Instructions

Gift Card Holder

  • Ch 18 (or any multiple of 3 sts + 3. If adjusting chain, be sure that it is wider than gift card to start).
  • Row 1: Turn, sk 2 ch (counts as sc), (hdc, dc) in next ch, *sk 2 ch, (sc, hdc, dc) in next ch; rep from * across to last 3 ch, sk 2 ch, sc in last ch. (16 sts)
  • Row 2: Turn, ch 1 (counts as sc), (hdc, dc) in same st, *sk 2 sts, (sc, hdc, dc) in next st; rep from * across to last 3 sts, sk 2 sts, sc in t-ch.
  • Rep Row 2 until gift card holder measures approximately 3”/5” (7.5 cm/13 cm) from start.
  • Row 3: Turn, ch 1, working in back loop only across this row, sc in same st and each st across.
  • Rep Row 2 until gift card holder measures approximately 3”/5” (7.5 cm/13 cm) from ridge formed by unworked front loops on Row 3.
  • Row 4: Turn, ch 1, working in front or back loop only (so that ridge of unworked stitches will be on same side as Row 3 ridge), sc in same st and each st across.

Make front flap

  • Row 5-6: Rep Row 2 twice.

Form buttonholes

  • Row 7: Turn, ch 1, sc in same st and next 6 sts, ch 3, sk 2 sts, sc in next 7 sts.
  • Row 8: Turn, ch 1, sc in same st and next 6 sts, 3 sc in ch-3 sp, sc in next 7 sts. Fasten off.

Assemble gift card holder

  • Cut a piece of yarn measuring approximately 12” (30.5 cm). Thread yarn needle with thread.
  • Fold gift card holder at Row 3 so that unworked front loops face the outside of holder.

Personalized Denim Gift Card Holders, free crochet pattern with heat transfer vinyl tutorial by Underground Crafter | These unisex gift card holders add a personalized, handmade touch to an otherwise impersonal gift. These are also a great way to use up small remnants of yarn and buttons from your stash! It's also a great beginner project for those new to heat transfer vinyl. #expressionsvinyl #cricutmade

  • With wrong sides facing together, use yarn to whipstitch side of holder closed. (If you’re not familiar with the whipstitch, see this tutorial.)
  • Repeat seam on other side. With yarn needle, weave in ends.

Cut heat transfer vinyl (with electronic cutting machine)

  • With your electronic cutting machine design software, create letters approximately 2” (5 cm) wide/tall using the recipient’s initials. (I used the Noah’s ABC Animals font, available free with Cricut Access subscription in Cricut Design Space.)

Personalized Denim Gift Card Holders, free crochet pattern with heat transfer vinyl tutorial by Underground Crafter | These unisex gift card holders add a personalized, handmade touch to an otherwise impersonal gift. These are also a great way to use up small remnants of yarn and buttons from your stash! It's also a great beginner project for those new to heat transfer vinyl. #expressionsvinyl #cricutmade

  • Use the “mirror image” function to flip the letters for heat transfer vinyl.
  • Program your machine to cut vinyl.
  • Place the heat transfer vinyl on your cutting mat with the shiny side down and the clear, carrier sheet side up.

Personalized Denim Gift Card Holders, free crochet pattern with heat transfer vinyl tutorial by Underground Crafter | These unisex gift card holders add a personalized, handmade touch to an otherwise impersonal gift. These are also a great way to use up small remnants of yarn and buttons from your stash! It's also a great beginner project for those new to heat transfer vinyl. #expressionsvinyl #cricutmade

  • Once the letters are cut, use the weeder to gently remove the excess vinyl and expose your letters.

Personalized Denim Gift Card Holders, free crochet pattern with heat transfer vinyl tutorial by Underground Crafter | These unisex gift card holders add a personalized, handmade touch to an otherwise impersonal gift. These are also a great way to use up small remnants of yarn and buttons from your stash! It's also a great beginner project for those new to heat transfer vinyl. #expressionsvinyl #cricutmade

  • Continue on to instructions for applying vinyl.

Cut heat transfer vinyl (by hand)

  • Use stencil and pencil to outline letters on clear, carrier side of vinyl.
  • Cut letters out with scissors.
  • Continue on to instructions for applying vinyl.

 

Apply vinyl to gift card holders

  • Place gift card holders with front side down on ironing board or covered surface.
  • Position vinyl letter on back side of gift card holder with clear, carrier side of vinyl facing up and vinyl facing gift card holder.

Personalized Denim Gift Card Holders, free crochet pattern with heat transfer vinyl tutorial by Underground Crafter | These unisex gift card holders add a personalized, handmade touch to an otherwise impersonal gift. These are also a great way to use up small remnants of yarn and buttons from your stash! It's also a great beginner project for those new to heat transfer vinyl. #expressionsvinyl #cricutmade

  • Using mini iron, press down on carrier side of vinyl until you can see vinyl begin to remove from carrier sheet. Gently remove carrier sheet. If vinyl letter isn’t properly affixed, cover gift card holder with Teflon pressing sheet to apply more heat.

Personalized Denim Gift Card Holders, free crochet pattern with heat transfer vinyl tutorial by Underground Crafter | These unisex gift card holders add a personalized, handmade touch to an otherwise impersonal gift. These are also a great way to use up small remnants of yarn and buttons from your stash! It's also a great beginner project for those new to heat transfer vinyl. #expressionsvinyl #cricutmade

Adding button

  • With front side of gift card holder facing you, position button so that it fits through buttonhole with flap closed.
  • With yarn needle and yarn, sew button to gift card holder.

Finishing

  • With yarn needle, weave in ends.
  • Insert gift card inside of the holder.
  • Button closed.
© 2016 by Marie Segares (Underground Crafter). This pattern is for personal use only. You may use the pattern to make unlimited items for yourself, for charity, or to give as gifts. You may sell items you personally make by hand from this pattern. Do not violate Marie’s copyright by distributing this pattern, the photos, or the tutorial in any form, including but not limited to scanning, photocopying, emailing, or posting on a website or internet discussion group. If you want to share the pattern, point your friends to this link: http://undergroundcrafter.com/blog/2016/12/10/personalized-denim-gift-card-holders-with-vinyl-tutorial. Thanks for supporting indie designers!

If you make your own Personalized Denim Gift Card Holders, I’d love to see them! Share your progress and questions by tagging me on Facebook as @Underground Crafter, Instragram as @ucrafter, or Twitter as @ucrafter. Sign up for my weekly newsletter and get a coupon code for your choice of one of my premium patterns and other subscriber goodies. Plus, you’ll never miss one of my free patterns again!

Add the Personalized Denim Gift Card Holders to your Ravelry favorites or queue.

Underground Crafter on RavelryIf you want an easy print format, you can buy an ad-free PDF version on Craftsy.

Underground Crafter on Craftsy