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How to Iron Cricut Vinyl onto Upholstery

How to Iron Cricut Vinyl onto Upholstery

On the list of the things I thought I would use my Cricut machines for, I never thought putting vinyl on upholstery would be an item on the list. Ironing vinyl on to a cushy chair is a little awkward but not difficult, and I did find a few pieces of advice to give you to make this a successful adventure the first time around if you decide to try this yourself!

The post I had originally planned to show you today was how to iron on vinyl onto your painted furniture and upcycling pieces you already have with a little crafty ingenuity. To say the least, I had an epic fail on that project. The how to iron on vinyl onto wood post already here on the site is going to get an update on the list of things not to do after that experience! While you can definitely use iron-on vinyl on wood and painted wood, you cannot iron onto spray painted wood.

It’s too bad, as this mandala table would have been really cool!! But alas, I ended up with a melted mess.

Upcycling furniture with vinyl

So yesterday I was scrambling around trying to figure out how to salvage this blog post when I remembered I had a white club chair ready to go to Goodwill in my garage. And I thought about this embroidered chair that I absolutely loved. So I fired up Cricut Design Space, got working for a few hours on a design, cut everything out and held my breath that iron-on vinyl on upholstery was going to work!! ((Not every project I do turns up as it should, so sometimes I do a lot of breath holding!!))

Gratefully, after pressing on the first bit of tree branch, I knew I was going to have a winner! (There was a huge sigh of relief as well.)

Upholstery and iron-on vinyl was definitely doable. I’m so glad I had a chance to upcycle and breathe some more life into this piece of furniture.

Why the cricut easypress 2 is the right choice for upholstery projects

Many of you out there get along just fine with your irons and heat presses when it comes to lie flat projects. After completing this chair, I can honestly say neither one of those tools are going to be the right ones for completing a job where you have to fit into tight curvy spaces. The EasyPress 2 (find it here) in  the smallest size was absolutely perfect for moving around and working on the angles of the club chair when making this project.

Cricut has recently come out with special bags for all the EasyPress 2 machines–the EasyPress Totes. I didn’t think I really needed them until I had them in my hands. It’s nice to have them all packed away and looking neat on the shelf or hanging in the closet, and you can put the EasyPress mat in the bag along with a few tools for weeding.

They’re sharp looking, and sewn very well (that’s quality stuff there y’all!)  Having a bag definitely makes it easier to relocate the machine and all the tools I need to where I am working. Which is almost never where I store my EasyPress 2s.

If you’re looking for some good ways to make the highly portable EasyPress 2 machine even easier to take along with you, this is it! Or if you’re looking for a great storage solution, the EasyPress Tote may also be your answer.

How to iron on vinyl onto upholstery: a club chair in florals

PRO TIP: Cricut’s Sportflex iron-on is easily my favorite material ever, but it is not good in this application. It doesn’t withstand multiple presses the way in the every day vinyl does without wrinkling. SportFlex –  awesome to wear, not to sit on.

The chair I used in this post had a mostly cotton fabric on it. For temperatures, etc. to use for your EasyPress, be sure to reference the Cricut supplies temperature guide to match your material to your vinyl.

Floral Club Chair: Iron-on Vinyl on Upholstry

Floral Club Chair: Iron-on Vinyl on Upholstry

Use the Cricut EasyPress 2 and iron-on vinyl to create a custom chair!


Iron-on Vinyl onto Upholstery Step One

First, you will need to measure the back of your chair where are you would like the design to be. If you are using the design in this post, click here to open up the Cricut Design Space file.

Using the measurements from your chair, select the entire graphic and adjust the size so it will fit on your particular piece. Cut all your pieces, preferably using Cricut's Everyday Iron-on Vinyl line.

The tree branches have been split into pieces so they will cut on a 12 x 12 piece of vinyl.

Iron-on Vinyl onto Upholstery Step Two

To make sure the piece will look as desired once it is all ironed on, I like to place everything where it will go on my blank product first. This meant assembling the branches, flowers, and leaves on the chair. I did find my initial placement was a little off, and I need to move my branches over a bit to center it on the chair back.

Iron-on Vinyl onto Upholstery Step Three

Now we get to start ironing all the pieces! Vinyl on upholstery takes a little patience. Since the underlying surface is not hard, you will have to apply as much pressure as possible at awkward angles. It also requires that you press and repress the same spot because your iron is not able to lay flat on material.

For this floral chair project, I started with the branch layer. It is a multi-piece branch and it was pressed on one piece at a time. The carrier sheet did not make it to stick very well to my chair, so I could not put the entire branch up and then press. ((After I put on that first piece was the the first time I said thank goodness I am not using an iron to do this!))

The outline of the flowers was next--the pink vinyl.

Then the black leaves went on, and then the red, then aqua and dots. If you're looking for the dots in the Design Space file, they were all part of the long chain of dots at the top of the file. After I cut them out as shown, I used scissors to cut the dots into groups then pressed them onto the chair where I felt they made the best accents.

One important thing to remember to do when you are pressing so many layers is to use the discarded carrier sheets. Once a piece of vinyl is pressed on, make sure it is covered when you move onto your next layer. You don’t want to accidentally melt the vinyl onto your EasyPress and ruin the vinyl and your machine. I'm pretty sure I had every spare carrier sheet stuck to the chair at one point! Parchment paper would work here, or the Teflon sheet made by Cricut.


Some Q&A on this topic...

How do I press iron-on vinyl onto all those curves on my furniture?

As I said before, pressing iron-on vinyl onto upholstery will take patience. Because the chair is curved and not flat, you will have to press, change the angle of your EasyPress, then press again in small sections. I found the vinyl melted off the carrier sheet easy enough with one pressing, but I did not always make contact with the entire image I was pressing on. I just moved to where it the EasyPress made contact and pressed again. The outward curves were much easier than the inward curves of the furniture to apply the image on.

What if the vinyl doesn't want to come off the carrier sheet?

Another technique that helped adhere the vinyl to the fabric of the chair: when the vinyl was melted but not sticking to the fabric, I used the blunt bottom of a weeding tool to rub the vinyl onto the chair. The places where the vinyl has come off the carrier sheet will turn lighter. If after rubbing the vinyl through the carrier sheet, the vinyl still hasn't come off, you;ll need to do another pressing.

What's the best iron-on vinyl to use on upholstery?

I tried Cricut Iron-on foil, Cricut SportFlex Iron-on vinyl, and Cricut Everyday Iron-on vinyl on this chair. (Some of those test patches are on the back of the chair!) The foil went on beautifully, but my test patch was not pressed repeatedly. I am going to venture to say that the foil probably won't tolerate multiple layer pressing, so if you have a single later image, go for it, but if it's a multi-layer image, make sure it's the last thing that goes on.

The SportFlex iron-on vinyl is a favorite material of mine, but it does have limitations. You're only supposed to use it up to two layers on piece at at time. I found when it first went on, it was perfectly smooth and looked awesome. When I started to layer it up it started to wrinkle badly and even pulled apart in a section. Just like the foil, only use SportFlex if it's the last thing to go on your piece.

I had zero issues with the Cricut Everyday Iron-on vinyl. It didn't wrinkle and adhered easily to the fabric. It seems a little sturdier, too, since it's made a little thicker. When I take on another project like this, the Everyday line is definitely what I'm going to use!

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I hope that makes using iron-on vinyl on upholstery seem a little less scary! Everyone has a piece hanging around that could use a little upcycling or sprucing up. This is a great way to do it! Grab your EasyPress 2 (in your EasyPress Tote!) and get creative. Tag me at #FPPupcycle if you come up with something awesome–I would love to see it!


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.


Paula Biggs

Owner at Frog Prince Paperie
Paula Biggs is a party planner, DIY crafter, and owner of Frog Prince Paperie, where you can find hundreds of party, craft and lifestyle ideas.
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