DIY Tribal Summer Love Shirt with Glitter HTV

It’s mid-July so the dog days of summer are already in full-swing here in the Deep South…..ugh.  My least favorite time of year.  It’s HOT!  Like seriously, uncomfortably, miserably, H-O-T.  And even worse, humid as a rain forrest… frizzy hair that currently resembles a furry lampshade can attest to this.

Most days this time of year, I just wear a lightweight tank top and shorts (and try to avoid going outside at all costs).  Instead of just rocking my plain solid Target tanks like I normally do, I decided to whip up a cute summery tribal design to throw on one in some glitter heat transfer vinyl…..because you had me at glitter!

It’s also Silhouette Challenge time again!  Woot Woot!  This month’s theme is Summer….nailed it!

DIY Tribal Summer Love Shirt with Glitter HTV | Where The Smiles Have Been

[This post contains affiliate links.]


DIY Tribal Summer Love Shirt with Glitter HTV

My Inspiration

I love daily deals sites like Zulily, Beyond The Rack, and Groopdealz, and one day while perusing the latter, I spotted a super cute summertime shirt.  It would be a perfect DIY project for this month’s Silhouette Challenge and served as my inspiration!  I loved the tribal vibe and bright colors….but holy weeding nightmare!


I decided to whip up my own version that was much simpler (a.k.a. faster to design and weed) and also utilized colors of HTV that I already had on hand.  So that meant no neon pink….boo.  But oh well….it’ll still be cute!




The Glitter HTV

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I LOOOOOOOVE glitter HTV!!!  Seriously, if you have a cutting machine like a Silhouette or Cricut and you’re intimidated to give HTV a try (I was), grab some of the glitter variety and get crafting!  I think it’s the easiest medium to work with: cuts perfectly, weeds like a dream, and is super simple to apply to fabric with just a household iron.  I’m slightly obsessed with it now.

Like I mentioned, I used colors of glitter HTV that I already had on hand.  I flipped through my artist’s-portfolio-turned-vinyl-storage-organizer and pulled out my sheets: blue, light purple, dark purple, cherry pink, and neon orange.

The orange is a little more sherbet and less neon than I was expecting when I purchased it, but it’s still pretty…..and sparkly!  I used some of the purples in a few shirts I made for a friend’s wedding (look for a post on these soon!) that coordinate with the DIY wedding invitations and mobile invite I made for them.  The blue’s been put to good use on a shirt for my son which I’ll be sharing later this week (so stay tuned!), and I grabbed some pink a while ago too because why not?

DIY Tribal Summer Love Shirt with Glitter HTV | Where The Smiles Have Been


My Tribal Summer Love Design

I whipped up my design in Silhouette Studio using both a file that was a free weekly download from Silhouette America’s online store last year, as well as a few additional elements I created and added in, just to give it a little more variety.  I then flipped the whole thing horizontally since I’d be cutting it out in glitter HTV.

{And before anyone asks, I am unable to share this cut file since the one I incorporated from Silhouette America is no longer available for free….sorry!}

DIY Tribal Summer Love Shirt with Glitter HTV | Where The Smiles Have Been


Cutting the HTV

Working one color at a time, I loaded the sheets of glitter HTV onto my 12″ x 24″ cutting mat and into my Silhouette Cameo.  Then in Silhouette Studio, I moved the elements on or off my digital cutting mat depending on which particular color was being cut at that moment, then finalized my cut settings before letting my Silhouette run free.

Silhouette Cameo Cut Settings for Glitter HTV: I always use the default settings for Heat Transfer Material: Flocked, but make sure you do a test cut first.

  • Blade: 3
  • Speed: 5
  • Thickness: 33
  • Cutting Mat: Checked

DIY Tribal Summer Love Shirt with Glitter HTV | Where The Smiles Have Been


Once all the elements were cut, I trimmed all the pieces off the larger sheets then got to weeding….my favorite part!

DIY Tribal Summer Love Shirt with Glitter HTV | Where The Smiles Have Been


It’s starting to come together!

DIY Tribal Summer Love Shirt with Glitter HTV | Where The Smiles Have Been


Applying Glitter HTV

I had already washed and dried my shirt, so I gave it a quick pass with my hot iron then placed all the HTV elements into position.

Oh, I’m lazy and hate dragging the ironing board out of the laundry room, so I just use our dining room table as a stand-in.  I usually remember to put a piece of cardboard down first to protect the table from the heat….most of the time. ;)

DIY Tribal Summer Love Shirt with Glitter HTV | Where The Smiles Have Been


Next, I laid a spare cloth (a.k.a. my husband’s ratty old t-shirt) overtop then started ironing.

DIY Tribal Summer Love Shirt with Glitter HTV | Where The Smiles Have Been


After a few minutes, I started checking all the elements to make sure they were adhering nicely to the shirt.  If any pieces came up as I peeled the clear backing away, I simply laid everything back into position, recovered them with the spare cloth, then gave another round of ironing.

DIY Tribal Summer Love Shirt with Glitter HTV | Where The Smiles Have Been


The Completed DIY Tribal Summer Love Shirt with Glitter HTV!

And here it is!  Not a bad quick and easy DIY project using supplies I already had on hand, huh?  It’s not the bright neon colors that I loved in the original but this is still a cute shirt to rock… Demi Lovato sings, “We’re cool for the summerrrrrrr!”

DIY Tribal Summer Love Shirt with Glitter HTV | Where The Smiles Have Been


And ohhhhh, I just love that glitter!  Sparkly things of all kinds make me a happy lady.

DIY Tribal Summer Love Shirt with Glitter HTV | Where The Smiles Have Been

{Did you catch the, uhhhhh, little problem I encountered after putting the shirt on??  Did you notice it??  Huh, huh, did ya??  If so, nuts!  If not, yay for me!  But I’ll go ahead and spill the beans so everyone learns from my mistake….and then it’ll be all you see from now on, whomp whomp.

Look at the top blue line….see how it split apart on the right side?  Yep….my bust busted the vinyl!  I had no idea I had that kind of power, ha!  I showed my husband/photographer before our photoshoot and he was all “Well aren’t you a little Miss Dolly Parton?”  Guess I should have used some stretch HTV or a not-so-form-fitting shirt….whoops!  Oh well, live and learn.  I just reironed those areas back down (now fully separated of course) and I still wear the shirt with pride….and a chuckle.}


The Silhouette Challenge!

It’s the second Monday of the month so you know what that means…..Silhouette Challenge time again!  Yep, this month’s theme is Summer with a bonus theme of Jars, so hop on around and see what 13 of my bloggy buddies are also sharing today!

14 Summer Silhouette Projects! | Where The Smiles Have Been

DIY Fringe Beach Cover-Up Summer Burlap Wreath with Chipboard Initial DIY Tribal Summer Love Shirt with Glitter HTV Mason Jar Monogram T-Shirt with Free Cut File Summer Jar Light DIY Painted Anchor Beach Candle Holder Patio Door Watermelons Personalized Shower Caddy How To Tie Dye A Shirt With Spray Tie Dye! Summer Memories Jar FAUX SEA GLASS DECORATIVE JAR Etched Monogrammed Mason Jar Mug DIY Zip Code Pallet Sign

1. Home At Eight // 2. DIY Just Cuz {Sam} // 3. DailyDwelling // 4. Where The Smiles Have Been // 5. My Paper Craze // 6. Get Silvered // 7. DIY Just Cuz {Brittany} // 8. Whatcha Workin’ On? // 9. The Stamp Doc // 10. Practically Functional // 11. Simply Kelly Designs // 12. Patina Paradise // 13. Architecture of a Mom // 14. Weekend Craft


If You Enjoyed This….

Make sure you check out my Project Gallery to see all of my other crafty creations, including lots more glittery HTV shirts and Silhouette Challenge projects!


Thanks so much for stopping by….and I hope you’re having an awesome summer (with or without busted vinyl)! ;)


About Christine

I'm Christine, a SAHM to a spunky blonde, blue-eyed two-year-old boy and married to the best guy you'll ever meet. We live our lives in the Deep South, and I spend my son's nap times getting my craft on. I blog at Where The Smiles Have Been about my adventures in craftiness, DIY decor, Silhouette projects, and life as a new mommy.


  1. Your shirt turned out super cute Christine! I love the glitter, it is a perfect summer shirt! Well you made it through July’s heat, now to make it through August! :) Thanks for partying with us at Talented Tuesday!

  2. This project turned out great! Thank you for the detailed tutorial with pictures. That makes it much easier to do my own project for the first time.

    Thanks for linking up to the Bloggers Brags party, I pinned your post to our group board. I can’t wait to see what you share next week!

  3. Oh my gosh Christine, I LOVE this shirt!!! What a brilliant way to use HTV, and I’m loving the tribal look. Totally perfect for summer; I’m definitely pinning this!

  4. Good morning Christine my fellow MM host! I am in love with this shirt! Awesome job and I have not heard of Glitter HTV and now you got me thinking I need it! I was out of town and could not participate this time in the challenge. Sharing your post today via Merry Monday on my Silhouette Pinterest Boards and on FB! Have a great week!

    • Hello there, Kim! Yes, you definitely need to check out glitter HTV! It’s seriously some amazing stuff. I’m obsessed with it now! Thanks for sharing this! :)

  5. Love this shirt, perfect for summer! I don’t think I would have any problem with my bust bustin anything haha.

  6. I am so obsessed with this project. It might be my favorite silhouette project from a challenge yet!

  7. This is so cute, Christine! I love that you made it instead of buying it! I relate all too well with your little mishap…that basically happens to all of my shirts in some way or another, but to be honest I didn’t even notice! I actually like your version better–the originals seem to be a little bit too busy for my taste. Great job!!

  8. This is so cute! I’ve yet to do a HTV design with multiple colors. Did you take the different colors and put them all on one plastic sheet so they stayed lined up?

    • Hey there, Leslie! Nope, I just cut out each strip of HTV so the plastic backing was trimmed REALLY close to the vinyl. That way there wound’t be any overlapping once laid on the shirt and I could iron them all at once. I’m too lazy to do them all separately! :)

  9. Great transformation from plain tank to wow! It would have been great in regular HTV, but the glitter HTV kicks it up a level. Well done! (Fellow glitter HTV fan, here :^)

  10. Great tank, Christine! I don’t normally like tribal, but I love how the glitter HTV makes it more modern and fun! And I love that your bust busted it. Hilarious!! Thanks for sharing!

    • Why thank you, Tiffany! I’m normally not much of a tribal fan either, but I decided to give it a go with this project and I’m really happy with how it turned out. And I find my vinyl bust busting pretty hilarious too…..I mean, how many ladies can actually say they’ve done that?! ;)

  11. Wow this is stunning! It looks like you just got it off the racks. I have been so intimidated with HTV I don’t know why. I use vinyl on a weekly basis. I think it’s mostly because I am scared my iron isn’t hot enough. I own htv maybe I need to bite the bullet and make something!

    • Thank you so much, Michelle! Yeah, I was really intimidated by HTV for a long time too (over a year!), I think because I’ve read about so many people having lots of questions beforehand. It made me really nervous. Plus, like you, I only have an iron and no heat press so I wasn’t really sure how well that would turn out. Now that I’ve used HTV several times though, especially the glitter variety, I’m kicking myself for waiting so long. You should definitely give it a try because I’m sure you’ll love it too!

  12. Christine this is so cool! I want one for myself – the colors are the best. Pinning this!

    • Thanks so much, Sam! While I wish I would have had some neon pink like my inspiration, my on-hand colors ended up working out pretty well. Thanks for sharing! :)

  13. *raises hand* Another glitter htv fan here. Yes, yes, yes, yes. Love your transformation from plain tank to spiffy. Is this the first of many tank top projects?

    • Yeah, Eff! Hooray for a fellow glitter HTV fan! Yep, this may be the first of many projects….but I think next time I’ll stick to less form-fitting shirts for myself. ;)

  14. I love the design of this shirt…just adorable!!! I haven’t used the glitter HTV yet, but after reading this I’m going to try it!

  15. Christine, I LOVE how your tee turned out!! The patterns are awesome and of course, you can’t go wrong with glitter ;)

  16. Such a cute tank – I love the design!! And LOL about the bust-bustin’, that’s too funny!

  17. I have to wear tank tops most of the year in Florida. :) Glitter HTV is one of my favorite craft supplies. :) I love your bold shirt design.


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