Want to put some love and effort into creating a ‘welcome to the world’ gift for the baby in your life? Today’s guest DIY project by Naomi shows you how to hand make a personalised onesie for the little one… Are you in that stage of life when everyone around you seem to be having babies? That’s where I am! My brothers, sisters, neighbours, friends, acquaintances (and everyone else) all seem to be having babies. I’m glad I have a way to make really exciting and personal gifts for them, and what’s better is that I can make these presents without spending a fortune! Let me show you what I do…
So what do I make for newborn baby gifts? Baby onesies! They’re super cute, look amazing, and tend to be treasured and kept because they’ve been lovingly handmade. I was inspired by the one above that I saw on But how much can you expect to spend? Well, blank onesies are very cheap; especially if you shop in supermarkets for a multi-pack of simple white (or coloured, it’s up to you) bodysuits. The HTV (heat transfer vinyl) is also very cheap, on a tee to tee basis.
However there are some other significant start up costs. The main initial expense is a cutting machine. You will need one of these to cut the vinyl designs, which are then be pressed onto garments. I really like to think of this cost as an investment, because not only will they save you money on gifts in the long run, you can also produce products for sale.
The other piece of equipment you will need is an ordinary household iron (or a heat press machine, if you really get into it!) I definitely recommend starting by using an iron before considering investing in a best heat press machine for beginners. These machines (and the iron) transfer the heat transfer vinyl from the carrier sheet onto the garment with heat and pressure. While an iron is perfectly suitable for this job, a heat press is just a bit better and easier to use (you won’t destroy your wrists pressing down on the iron all the time!) Now let me show you the process…
1. CHOOSE OR CREATE YOUR DESIGN
Your cutting machine will come with its own software. This usually contains a library of designs which you can choose from, or, you can create your own custom design. For this project I’m using my Cricut Explore Air 2 and their Design Space software. I have custom made the design below from a mixture of other design elements. It’s surprisingly easy to do!Designs that are being cut into heat transfer vinyl need to be cut in reverse as they are placed face down on the tee. If you are cutting a design into adhesive vinyl, which is like a sticker, the design does not have to be reversed. However, you do not use adhesive vinyl on t-shirts! So for this project, reverse the text and design before cutting it out.
2. CUT AND WEED YOUR DESIGN
After your design is just right, it’s time to cut! I never get tired of watching my Explore Air 2 go all over the place cutting out the design I’ve just made. It’s really fun to watch! Once the design has been cut, it’s time to weed the vinyl design. This just means pulling away the excess vinyl from the carrier sheet to leave the design ready for pressing.
3. PRESS YOUR DESIGN
The final step is to press your design onto the blank baby onesie or t-shirt. If you are using an iron, this will need to be done in stages. I like to do 10-15 seconds over each section of the design, then I peel away the backing sheet, and then I do another 10 seconds over the design again. If you are using a heat press machine, a single 10-15 second press is sufficient. And as you can see, the result is wonderful!It really does add something to a gift if you can say ‘I made it myself.’ It makes it all the more special and means you can create particular pieces with those people in mind, rather than getting generic products from the stores. Yes, the start up cost of buying a cutting machine is a bit expensive, but you’ll make that money back and have so much fun in the mean time! I hope you’ve enjoyed these ideas on how to make cheap gifts for babies. While you’re at it, check out this post for some great budget gift ideas for your other half!
Thanks so much to Naomi from HowToHeatPress.com for putting together this quick and easy DIY project especially for My Thrifty Life readers. Let me know if you have a go at making a personalised baby onesie for the little ones in your family. I’ve used a cutting machine in the past to make my patterned bathroom cabinet and it made the whole process so quick and easy. If you want to hand-cut the vinyl with a craft knife, this is possible but will take much longer! I can’t wait to try out this project with some heat transfers vinyl soon!