Toddler Train T-Shirt & Silhouette Giveaway Winner

I have a brand new heat-transfer vinyl creation I am just itching to share with you lovelies, but before I do, the first order of business is to announce the winner of the Silhouette Portrait Giveaway!  We had a record-number of entries this time around (935!), so a hearty thanks to everyone who participated.  Y’all rock!

Silhouette Giveaway & Special Promotion at The Thinking Closet | June 4 - 9!

Also, I really enjoyed hearing about all of the HTV colors you guys are excited about.  By far, the front-runners were glitter black, pink, white and teal!

HTV Champions | The Thinking Closet

(Don’t ask me why I get such a kick out of personifying craft supplies…I just do.)

Okay, so enough with the shenanigans.  Let’s cut to the chase.  The lucky winner of a brand new Silhouette Portrait…as chosen by Rafflecopter and powered by…is…

Silhouette Giveaway Winner | The Thinking Closet

Congrats, Sarah T!  I know that exciting crafting endeavors lie ahead for you and your new Portrait.  {Fine print: I have emailed you for your shipping information; please respond within 48 hours or I will have to choose another winner.  Cool?  Cool.}

Now, onto my latest HTV creation!

Toddler Train T-Shirt

My nephew Grant turns one next month.  That’s a big deal!  So, I thought I’d make him a custom t-shirt to celebrate the occasion.

Toddler Train T-Shirt: Tips for Layering with HTV | The Thinking Closet

His nine month photo session with Playful Hearts Photography gave me inspiration for the design.  Isn’t the train theme just darling?  Not to mention those seersucker overalls.  I want a pair for myself!  (In pink, please.)

Toddler Photo Shoot at the Train Tracks by Playful Hearts Photography

Toddler Photo Shoot at the Train Tracks by Playful Hearts Photography


He really is that happy, too.  What a cutie!

So, I thought I’d try my first layered design using heat-transfer vinyl (HTV) and share some tips and tricks for those of you wanting to try it, too!  (And don’t psyche yourselves out.  I’m going to warn you about the mistakes I made, so you’re going to be golden.)

Tips on Layering with HTV:

Toddler Train T-Shirt: Tips for Layering with HTV | The Thinking Closet

If you’re looking for a tutorial on how to cut and apply HTV, check out my T-Shirt for the Pun-Loving Dad, which breaks it all down for you (including the very important steps of flipping your design horizontally before cutting!).

My Tips on Layering with HTV:

  • First, lay out your pieces of cut-and-weeded vinyl exactly where you want them to gauge spacing.

Toddler Train T-Shirt: Tips for Layering with HTV | The Thinking Closet

  • Starting with the biggest bottom layer and moving to the smallest top, iron away, one at a time!  Make sure to lay down a piece of cotton fabric between your iron and your design, and apply pressure.  Smooth HTV took three times as long to iron than flocked HTV.  (Approximately 6 minutes for my smooth teal layer and 2-2.5 minutes for my flocked white and yellow layers.)  A lot may depend on your fabric choice, too.
  • Before peeling away the shiny transfer paper, allow the design to cool for 1-2 minutes.  Although it takes some force to peel it off, I found that the HTV seemed to have a stronger bond with the fabric compared to when peeled away while the glue was still steaming hot.

Toddler Train T-Shirt: Tips for Layering with HTV | The Thinking Closet

  • For a design that is layered atop HTV (like “GRANT” on top of the train), be sure to first trim any excess shiny transfer paper from the top design, like this:

Toddler Train T-Shirt: Tips for Layering with HTV | The Thinking Closet

The reason you want to keep it trim is to prevent any unnecessary creases from forming on the first layer of vinyl.  Like this:

Toddler Train T-Shirt: Tips for Layering with HTV | The Thinking Closet

  • Also, when adding a second layer of vinyl, there is no need to re-apply any transfer paper to protect the first layer.  Simply use the cotton fabric between the design and your iron.
  • I’ve heard that it can be tricker to layer smooth on flocked HTV, so flocked on top of smooth or flocked is an easier approach.
  • In fact, the flocked HTV was all-around easier to work with, so when making purchases in the future, I’ll definitely opt for that!  (Flocked HTV has a fuzzy, almost velvety finish to it, and it’s slightly raised off of the fabric.  Below is a photo where you can see the difference between smooth HTV and flocked – – teal is smooth; white and yellow are flocked.)

Toddler Train T-Shirt: Tips for Layering with HTV | The Thinking Closet

  • Smooth HTV shrinks when ironed.  How do I know?  The gray shirt was my second attempt at this project.  In my first attempt, I was using a white t-shirt and had cut a black outline for the cloud of smoke to help it stand out.  However, the black outline shrunk and no longer was a perfect fit for my flocked white cloud.  Lesson learned.

Toddler Train T-Shirt: Tips for Layering with HTV | The Thinking Closet

  • Also, during that first attempt, I learned why using a white t-shirt is a bad idea…at least, when working with smooth HTV that requires a lot more ironing time.  The black HTV took forever-and-a-day to adhere to the shirt.  I’m not sure if it was the color or the thin nature of the design, but I had to have been ironing that bad-boy for 7 minutes with no sign of sticking.  That’s when I decided to throw caution to the wind, remove my cloth fabric, and just iron directly onto the transfer paper.  Pretty quickly, I noticed the shirt starting to yellow.  Although I eventually got the black to stick, the white t-shirt was far from its original crisp white in the end.  And I just couldn’t justify giving it to my nephew in such a sorry condition.  Lesson learned: avoid using smooth HTV on white t-shirts.

Toddler Train T-Shirt: Tips for Layering with HTV | The Thinking Closet

I’m glad I worked out these kinks my first time around, because round two went a lot smoother!  And I think a gray t-shirt will show stains much less than a white-t.  Not that sweet Grant would ever dare to stain it!  {Smile.}

Happy 1st birthday, dear nephew of mine!

Toddler Train T-Shirt: Tips for Layering with HTV | The Thinking Closet

Toddler Train T-Shirt: Tips for Layering with HTV | The Thinking Closet

Toddler Train T-Shirt: Tips for Layering with HTV | The Thinking Closet

Free Cut File

And because you guys know I can’t resist giving away a good freebie, you can you can download this train shape for free on by clicking on the image below.  [Fine print: This design is for personal use and not to be used for commercial purposes.  You know the drill.]

Another free cut file from The Thinking Closet: Train for a Toddler T-Shirt

Click here to download the free studio file.

Silhouette Promotion:

If you’re as hooked on HTV as I am, don’t forget that Silhouette still has their special June promotion running through this Saturday, June 15th.  Not only are their Cameo & Portrait machines majorly discounted, but all, yes, all HTV is b.o.g.o. (which is a fancy shmancy abbreviation for “buy-one-get-one-free”…I just learned).

You just need to click here and use my code, CLOSET, to access to these deals:

  • 1 Silhouette CAMEO® & heat transfer starter kit: $339.98 $269.99
  • 1 Silhouette Portrait™ & heat transfer starter kit: $219.98 $129.99
  • All heat transfer products: buy 1 get 1 FREE

Silhouette Promotion June 4-15.  Use code: CLOSET | via The Thinking Closet

Full Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, but I did receive a free heat-transfer vinyl starter kit.  This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase using my code, I receive a small commission.  Please rest assured that as always, I only recommend products that I use and love-love-love.

The Silhouette Challenge - A Series By The Thinking Closet & Friends

Want to check out more Silhouette projects?

I have a slew of other bloggy buddies with Silhouettes…and they are all sharing projects on their blogs today.  So, be sure to check out the links below for loads more inspiration.

DIY Business Cards {Silhouette Tutorial} by Create & Babble

Make Your Own “Rubber” Stamps by Coley’s Corner

Where Home Is: A Gift for a Military Family by Suburble

This Month’s Facebook Silhouette Challenge by Tanya’s Creative Space

3D Tea Gift Box Download by Creative Turn

File Cabinet Makeover by Super Sweet Life

Jewelry Box Creation by Joy & Gladness of Heart

Retro Chair Silhouette by Tried & True

First Silhouette Project! 3-2-1 Blastoff Shirt by de Jong Dream House

Placecard & Card Medley by An Elegant Touch

Using my Silhouette in the Shower (Bathroom Organization) by Whole New Leaf

Pretty & Personal Birthday Bundle by The House on Hillbrook

Do you have a Silhouette machine?

Looking for Silhouette inspiration, support, trouble-shooting?  Interested in joining us for our group posting event next month?  Then, we’d love to have you join our Silhouette Challenge Facebook group.  Contact me by email if interested.

{Linking up here.}


Lovely comments so far...

    • thethinkingcloset says

      For sure! I’m still so amazed at how great the rocket shirt turned out…what a fabulous first Silhouette project. Can’t wait to see all the amazing projects that are bound to follow at the de Jong Dream House!

  1. says

    What an awesome auntie you are! I am in awe that you scrapped the project and started again – that’s dedication. You should still give him both; one can be a play shirt!

    (And he’s such a cutie – those pictures are adorable!)

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Good idea to give him both shirts, Tara! I think I shall. Every little boy (or girl for that matter) needs a play shirt that is free reign for messes of all kinds. Heck, I need one of those as an adult! (And it’s funny, they were both supposed to be for 18 month olds, but the white one is significantly smaller…so he can rock that one first and grow into the gray one!)

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Thanks, Katherine! I’m looking forward to spending more quality time with him this summer. Yay!

  2. Mom L says

    Amen to this boy being adorable!! And the shirt, Lauren that is awesome! Great job and I’m amazed that you started all over ~ but then, I know you would want it to be perfect. So cute!!

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Amen indeed! And I’m glad you like the shirt, Mom! I think Grant is going to look awesome in it. And while I wasn’t necessarily striving for perfection, the first shirt really is pretty sorry looking in person (even more-so than in the pics). Grant deserves much better than iron-scorched fabric with a funky cloud of smoke. Ha ha.

  3. says

    SO CUTE!! Ok it’s maybe it’s better that I don’t have the silhouette yet. I think it’d be dangerous in this house. I’d never stop making t-shirts.

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Ha ha. Dangerously AWESOME, that is! And did I tell you, I have a working title for the video we need to make to convince Silhouette to open up giveaways to Canada: “Canadians are People, Too.” Thoughts? Feelings? Impressions?

  4. says

    So amazing. That train is just too cute & Grant is adorable. Love that you share all of the things that you changed the second time around. You make it all look so doable! Gorgeous results. And congrats to Sarah!!

    • thethinkingcloset says

      I definitely learned a lot between round 1 and round 2, so I was eager to share some of the tips I picked up with others (in hopes that they can avoid their own white t-shirt travesties). I’m glad that you feel it looks do-able, Mel. It definitely is! (I felt the same way after watching your butterfly doodle video, which was grrrrreat by the way!).

  5. says

    I love the look of this- also i liked the black outline with the white smoke on top of it- it kinda looked like a shadow very subtle blowing in the wind! It all looks great to me and will make a nice gift!

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Yes, I was a fan of the black outline, too…if I were more patient, I would have tried cutting it a little bit bigger, so that the white smoke would fit better inside it. Thanks for your sweet words, Kelly. So happy to have you join us for this round of The Silhouette Challenge!

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Ha ha. He is too much! Too much cuteness, that is. I’ve gotta figure out how to bottle that stuff.

  6. says

    Adorable t-shirt, Lauren! Thanks for all the helpful tips on layering. I went ahead and placed an order for HTV on Friday…I know I’ll be referencing your tutes when it arrives!:)

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Yay! Can’t wait to see what you create…and I’m sure you’ll have a few tips of your own to share once you dive in. HTV is really fun; I have some canvas bags I purchased that I’m hoping to embellish, too. One of many projects in the queue! (You know how it goes.)

  7. Marmie says

    935 participants in your Silhouette Give-away! That’s just awesome! Congratulations to Sarah T.!!
    Your nieces and nephews (as well of all of your family members and readers) are benefitting by your creative DIY skills–even your mistakes. So thanks for showing those. Grant’s photo shoot is just precious though I got nervous seeing him sitting in the railroad tracks–hopefully a non-functioning railroad track!!! I agree that you should give Grant both shirts…one for being messy/playing and one for outings.

    I loved your personification of the craft supplies–and your Olympic symbols were not lost on me either. :-) xxoo

    • thethinkingcloset says

      The giveaway brought in 935 entries, which isn’t the same as 935 people since folk can earn multiple entries, but still…it’s A LOT! Ha ha, and I must be my Mother’s daughter because I had the same fearful thoughts when I first saw those pictures of Grant on the tracks. I trust those tracks were non-functioning…or else baby Grant is a risk-taker! And I knew you’d appreciate the Olympic-themed pic, my Olympic-loving Mama. Something about seeing those little color swatches up on podiums makes me giggle…and the fact that you delight in it, too, doesn’t surprise me at all. We do share a similar sense of humor (just thinking of all those stifled giggles in church pews together with Lisbeth). Lol.

      • says

        Oh my goodness, me. Boy is our family alike! I have to comment here because basically everything mom mentioned about this post, are the exact things I was going to mention! The HTV Olympic colors, a Congrats to Sarah T., props to you for showing your lessons learned, as well as joy over seeing sweet Grant. Though, there were a couple differences. One, I was not fearful about the train tracks (probably not a good thing), I was distracted by the vintage Coca Cola wooden box. I also would add that I can’t wait to meet Grant someday…what a cutie!

        • thethinkingcloset says

          Ha ha. I loved hearing the things you said that Mom already touched on…and likewise, the things that were different! And don’t feel too bad about not worrying about the train tracks; that vintage Coca Cola box is a worthy distraction. And I hope that you get to meet Granty soon! He’s growing up faster than you can say Lauren’s-his-aunt! (Get it? Like “faster than you can say Bob’s-your-uncle”? Not sure you would see the connection, so I thought I’d spell it out. Ha ha.)

  8. says

    Adorable creation…just like that little Grant! Love the project, the personification, the instructions, loved it all! I think the gray t-shirt looks cuter anyway, so maybe it’s a good thing the white didn’t work out. Thanks for sharing your talent and process with all of us, even us without Silhouettes sniff sniff.

    Congrats to Sarah T!

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Thanks for all of the love, Jessica! And you’re sweet to congratulate the victor. One of these days, your name is going to pop up, and I’m going to scream so loud, the neighbors will come a runnin’! And I agree…the colors really seem to stand out more on the gray, so in a way, I’m glad I ran into all those issues during my first try. #lessonslearned

  9. says

    Oh my…..I love it. Got to pin it for the (Near~I hope) future. Gotta get some of dat HTV stuff! OMG…I just said (typed) Dat…the Cajun is coming out!

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Ha ha! Tanya, I love using colloquial phrases and slang in my writing, too, so keep dat Cajun coming! 😉 And yes, for as much as you love vinyl, I think you’re going to really enjoy HTV, too. It just takes putting some muscle into that ironing to get it good and stuck!

    • thethinkingcloset says

      You’ve got me blushing, Jeanie, with that high-end boutique comment. Thanks! And I totally agree about the best gifts being handmade. If I could spend my life making gifts by hand, I’d be a camper…oh wait – – that’s sort of what I’ve been up to lately! #livingthedream

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Thanks, Katie! I cannot wait to see it on him! (Though he’s still a little nubbin’…might need to grow into it.)

  10. says

    Lauren, I love how this turned out! (Plus I love all of your helpful Silhouette advice!) I’m tempted to make one for my husband Grant since you already did the design work on that, haha, but my son Benjamin would love it. The little guy is completely obsessed with trains, and he’s having a train themed bday party later this summer. Your nephew is adorable. I love those train track pictures. Was that photographer in Central FL? (P.S. I’ll Email soon!)

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Ha ha, perhaps Father-n-Son Train Shirts are in order for the train-themed b-day party? 😉 Glad you find the tips helpful, Rachel. I know you have a new Silhouette, and it can feel intimidating at first…but I have a hunch that you’re going to be offering up some tips to us all very soon! And yes, the photographer, Debbie Miller, is in Central Florida–in Ocala where my bro-and-sister-in-law live. Here’s a link to her site for more info:

  11. says

    Grant is adorable! so cute! the pictures are amazing! & I would love a pair of those overalls too please and in pink too! :-) ha!ha! Trains are the best toys for little ones! they love them! your shirt is very nice, you did a great job with this shirt aunt Lauren :-) & nope, I’m sure he won’t stain it! 😉
    & wow to 935 entries! :-)

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Ha ha. If only I were a more advanced sewist, I might be able to churn out some pink seersucker overalls for us, Ingrid! How cute we would look together! And I’m so glad you approve of the shirt; I can’t wait to give it to him. His b-day can’t come soon enough! Thanks for your many smiles, as always. Your smiles are infectious!

  12. says

    That turned out super cute! I haven’t tried layering HTV yet (only done one HTV project thus far!) but these are some great tips for when I do!

    • thethinkingcloset says

      I was definitely a bit intimidated by the idea of layering, but after having some success (the second time around), I’m much more motivated to take on some more HTV layering projects. And if my memory serves me correctly, wasn’t your first HTV project the owl t-shirt? So cute!

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Yay! I’m glad to hear that, Beth. If you have a Hobby Lobby near you, their t-shirt prices are super reasonable (like $1.99 for kids shirts and $2.99 / $3.99 for adults…and they’re usually on sale on top of that!). In fact, I probably need to stock up on some t-shirts just to have on hand when inspiration strikes!

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Thanks, Tori! And truth be told, he’d probably look cute wearing a paper bag…but still, I can’t wait to see him rock the wheels off this train t!

    • thethinkingcloset says

      So happy to see your beautiful face again, Christina! And I already read your post on what you’ve been up to this past month…sounds like a dream! I’ll be heading over to Floridays Mom soon to drop you a comment.

      And great idea to snap a photo of him rocking the shirt. It’s an 18 month size, and he’ll be 12 months this July…but he’s growing fast, and I’m sure he will be sporting 18 month gear in no time!

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Ha ha. Chubby cheeks are so cute on kids! And I’m glad they are because when I was born, I was sporting chubby cheeks, chubby legs, chubby arms, chubby everything! (I weighed 11 lbs., after all. Random fun fact about Lauren!) And thanks for your well-wishes on my week. So far, it has been grrrreat! Hope the same is true for you, Abby. (And congrats on the CSI Project gig! Woot woot!)

  13. says

    Your nephew is too cute! What a fun time too. He looks so happy while sitting in the middle of… gulp… train tracks! Hehe. The t shirt turned out cute too! Thanks for working out all the kinks for others. :)

    • thethinkingcloset says

      It is a little disarming to see a baby happily sitting on some train tracks. Ha ha. Old tracks are just so gosh darned photogenic. :-) And I’m glad I have a blog, so that I can justify running into so many road-bumps with a project. I just kept telling myself, “Now, I’ll be able to share more tips with my readers!” Here’s to lookin’ on the bright side.

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Thanks for your enthusiastic comment, Betty! I’m saving the gift to give to my nephew this July, closer to his b-day, but I’m hopeful that he and his Mama will enjoy it! (Sorry it took me a few days to reply. Had to rescue your comment from the dreaded SPAM folder today!)

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Thanks for your sweet comment and invitation! Truly, if you didn’t count my first failed attempt, it was one of the fastest projects I’ve ever done with my Cameo. So, you could totally whip out a few train tees out in no time flat, Jennifer.

    • thethinkingcloset says

      You’ve been plenty busy with the amazing cards and paper-crafts you create, Lynden; you really tap the Silhouette for its full potential with the intricate designs you cut. I love them!

    • thethinkingcloset says

      So glad that it helped you, Major Moma! There’s definitely a bit of a learning curve when it comes to HTV, I have found, but it does get easier as you go along. Stick with it! (Pun intended.)

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Don’t make me blush, Alice. 😉 Got to see a photo of little Grant sportin’ his new t-shirt just yesterday…and it certainly made this auntie smile wider than the sky. Thanks for hosting the Friday Baby Shower! It’s such a fun linky.

  14. says

    Super cool, I am not at all crafty. It would go with the rest of our stuff though – my in-laws work for the railroad so I get many train themed items for my son.

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Fun fun fun! Even if you didn’t have a Silhouette, you could totally make your own train t-shirt by creating a freezer paper stencil using an x-acto knife. I’ve actually been hoping to venture into the land of freezer paper stencils, so thanks for jogging my memory! 😉


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