How to Make a DIY Cricut Candy Conversation Heart Keychain
Don't you love those fun candy conversation hearts for Valentine's Day? They take me back to my childhood for sure. I love seeing how the phrases change over the years, too - they've gone from "call me" to "text me" to "tweet me" just as one example! Since I adore these clever Valentine's Day candies (and so do my kids!) I decided to make a candy conversation heart keychain with my Cricut. I think they will make super cute Valentine's Day gifts for my daughter to give to her friends at school this year.
The supplies for this project are pretty simple: red faux leather, heat transfer vinyl in candy heart colors, a key ring, and glue. You'll also need a heat press, Cricut Easy Press, or Cricut Easy Press Mini (my fav!) to complete this project. I'll tell you exactly what supplies I used and where I got them in the next part of this post.
But first, if you're worried you'll need a Cricut Maker to make these candy conversation heart keychains, don't! I cut all the shapes for the keychain with just the Cricut Fine Point Blade, which means it can be made with either the Maker or the Explore Air 2!
If you want to make this project yourself, I'm sharing the SVG cut file for my candy conversation heart keychain project FREE. You can get access to the file via a free download from a link at the bottom of this post.
Ready to make this fun candy conversation heart keychain with your Cricut? Let's get started!
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DIY Cricut Candy Conversation Heart Keychain - Materials List
- A vinyl cutting machine. I have the Cricut Maker, available at Amazon here. However you don't need a Maker to do this project! I use the regular fine point cutting blade which works with the Explore Air machines and the Maker.
- Cricut Strong Grip (Purple) Cutting Mat. I always use a strong grip purple mat to cut faux leather. The stickier the better! You can buy these on Amazon here, or at Michael's here. They are also available at Hobby Lobby, Joann's, and Walmart - or anywhere Cricut machines are sold.
- Cricut Standard Grip (Green) Cutting Mat. You'll use the green mat for cutting the HTV. You most likely already have a green mat, but if you need a new one, they are available on Amazon here or at any craft store.
- A Cricut Easy Press or a Cricut Easy Press Mini (what I use). I bought my Easy Press Mini from Amazon here. If you don't already have an Easy Press and you want to get started making Cricut jewelry and other small crafts, I recommend the 9×9 size. It’s available on Amazon here. (For this project, I don't recommend using a traditional heat press unless you are comfortable with controlling the pressure well. Too much pressure on these keychains can flatten out the pebbled texture of the faux leather.)
- If you will be using the Easy Press Mini like I do, you’ll need an EasyPress Mat to press your items without damaging your work surface. I use the 8×10 size, which you can see on Amazon here.
- Red Faux Leather. For this project, I used this red faux leather sold on Amazon here. This is a long piece of faux leather (over 50 inches) so you can easily make keychains for the whole class with this purchase.
- HTV Vinyl in the pastel, candy heart colors of your choice. I used Siser Easyweed Heat Transfer Vinyl in the following colors (available on Amazon here): Light Pink, Lemon Yellow, Lilac, Seaglass, Pale Blue, and Sweet Mint Green.
- Keyrings. I used 1.25 inch size key rings from Amazon here. You could use 1 inch key rings, too, but I wouldn't suggest going smaller than that.
- Blue painters tape (as needed). This will help keep your faux leather in place on your mat. You can get blue painter's tape at any hardware store, or Walmart - even my grocery store sells it! - but if you want it delivered to your door, you can get some from Amazon here.
- Weeding tools. I love the weeding tools in my Cricut tool set, which I got from Amazon here. You can get also get the basic Cricut tool set at Michael's here, or from Hobby Lobby, Joann's, or Walmart.
- A good fabric glue. I make a lot of faux leather keychains! I've tested three different kinds of glue with keychain making: E6000, Art Glitter Glue, and Aleene's Quick Dry Tacky Glue. I'm happy to say they all worked really well, so use your favorite fabric glue for this project.
STEP 1 – Download Free SVG
Download the free SVG cutting file for the candy conversation heart keychain shapes from my free Resource Library. There's a quick form to fill out to get the password at the bottom of this post.
Save the zipped folder that downloads to your computer. You'll need to locate your zipped file after you save it so remember where you are downloading it to! You'll have to unzip or extract the files FIRST before you can upload the cutting file to Cricut Design Space. Make a note of the file location after you unzip it so you can find it in the next step.
STEP 2 - Upload SVG to Cricut Design Space
When you open Cricut Design Space, click on NEW PROJECT to get started. Then click on UPLOAD from the left hand side menu.
Click on the UPLOAD IMAGE button, then click BROWSE to locate where your unzipped SVG files are saved on your computer.
In your downloaded folder, you'll see I've included separate files for each candy conversation design. Pick your favorite one to get started with and open that one. Putting the art in separate files helps to keep your file size small when you bring it into Cricut Design Space. You'll also have an easier time with just one file when you get to the welding step (coming up shortly).
Double click on the SVG file to bring it into the upload screen in Design Space. If you get an error message that says "unsupported file type," you may have clicked on the wrong file, or your SVG file is still zipped.
You'll see a preview of the keychain shapes for this project. Hit the green SAVE button.
After you've selected your file to upload, you'll see it as the first item in your "recently uploaded designs" row.
Click on it your newly uploaded file so it is outlined in green. Then click on the green INSERT IMAGES button in the bottom right corner.
STEP 3 - Prepare SVG for Cutting
This brings the shapes you'll cut for the keychain into Cricut Design Space. Your canvas should look like this:
Three are two elements to this candy conversation heart keychain cut file. The first is the faux leather keychain backing in red. That will cut out of red faux leather. The second elements are the colored hearts, which are the front and back of the keychain text. I cut these shapes out from HTV.
IMPORTANT! You don't want to resize your shapes in Cricut Design Space, because they are already sized so the heart fits perfectly on the heart shaped keychain backing.
However, we do have to make a few adjustments to the files in Cricut Design Space before moving forward. If not, our text heart shapes won't cut right.
You can see in the columns in the right hand side on the photo below that the purple text heart is all broken up into several small parts. We need to weld these parts together permanently so they will cut together.
To do this, click on the heading for the first word heart shape as shown in the photo below. You'll see the elements of the shape underneath this heading turn grey. Also the blue box that was selecting the entire keychain on your canvas is gone, and now only one of the text hearts is highlighted with a blue outline. Then click WELD in the bottom hand side. This will permanently connect all of the shapes in this rectangle together.
One of your candy text hearts will look like this now in the layers panel on the right hand side, and you can see all those small cut shapes are now unified and create a single word heart shape.
Now we need to do the same thing to the other word heart. Repeat the steps for the first word heart by clicking on the second heart group heading on the right layers panel (seen below), and click WELD.
Your canvas should look like this. Now your shapes are ready to cut!
Click on the green MAKE IT button in the top right hand corner.
STEP 4 - Prepare HTV Mat for Cutting
This keychain project will cut the two different materials (faux leather and HTV) on two separate mats. Cricut does all the hard work and separates them for you. You can see the two separate mats in a preview on the left.
The first mat that will cut is the HTV word heart.
Next toggle the green MIRROR button to ON.
Double check that your text has been mirrored on your mat preview.
Then make a note of what size HTV we need for these heart shapes to cut. This preview shows the hearts will cut from a piece of HTV about 4.5" wide and 2.5' inches tall.
Click the green CONTINUE button in the lower right side of the screen.
Cut a piece of HTV in the size you noted earlier and place it shiny side down in the top left corner of your mat, like the preview screen shows.
Now we need to choose our Material cut setting.
Cricut Design Space has a Vinyl cut setting, but for these small letters, I prefer to use the Washi Sheet setting. You can find the Washi setting by clicking Browse All Materials in the top right and then typing the word "Washi" in the search box:
Click on Washi Sheet for your setting, and click the green DONE button.
Once your material is selected, load your mat into your machine by pressing the LOAD button (two arrows). Your screen should look like this:
Click the flashing C button on your Cricut to start cutting!
Unload your mat by hitting the double arrows button again. Use your weeding tool to remove the excess vinyl. Remember in this design, the heart remains and the letters are weeded away. Don't weed out the inside of the letters by accident!
Weed the excess HTV from around the hearts. Trim the excess transfer tape from around the hearts and cut them apart. Set the HTV hearts aside for a moment.
STEP 5 - Prepare Faux Leather Mat for Cutting
Our next cutting mat will show the red faux leather shape will cut vertically. I like to cut horizontally, so click EDIT under the mat preview on the left hand side. Then click the blue arrow to rotate the shape horizontally on your mat.
After you've rotated your keychain shape, scroll down a little and toggle the green MIRROR button to ON. Scroll down a little more and click DONE.
Now we need to cut the faux leather for our mat. We can see the size of red faux leather we need on our mat is approximately 2.5" inches tall and 5.5" inches wide. Make a note of this size and cut a piece of faux leather just slightly larger. Place it in the top right corner of your purple mat.
(I use my Fiskars Rotary Cutter to cut my faux leather material to the exact size right on my mat - it's are available on Amazon here. Just be sure not to press down too hard so you don't damage your mat! )
Place your faux leather face down (pretty side down) on your purple strong grip cutting mat.
Then tape down the faux leather to the mat on all sides, like this:
Load your mat into your Cricut by pressing the load button with the arrows.
STEP 6 - Choose Your Material
Next we need to choose our material. I've cut faux leather using a variety of settings, and I've found there are so many different settings that work. If you have one that works for you, by all means use it!
For this red faux leather, which is thick and has a felt-like soft backing, I selected FELT as my material on my Maker. Simply select BROWSE ALL MATERIALS in green and then search for FELT and select it. Of course if you have a preferred setting you use for faux leather already, you can use that, too.
I changed the pressure setting to MORE.
Cricut Explore users can turn the Smart Set Dial to Custom and select Heavy Leather as the material. You'll also use the Fine Point Blade. Any other cutting machine users can follow their machine's settings for thick material like leather or denim. If possible, remember to adjust your cut settings so the blade cuts 2 or 3 times! If you can't adjust your cut settings, remember Cricut users can press the "cut" button again after your first cut (don't unload your mat!) and your mat will cut again.
Press the C button on your Cricut machine and it will start cutting.
I like to cut this material a few times. The easiest way to do that is to wait until your Cricut finishes it's first cut and stops. Then, without unloading the mat, press the C button again for a second cut.
I usually like to press the C button one more time for a third cut just to be sure. For this project, I ended up cutting the faux leather three times.
Unload your mat by pressing the double arrows button again.
Use your weeding tool to release your heart keychain shape from your mat. It should come right out. If not, you can use small scissors to trim any small areas. I use my 4 inch curved tip Fiskar scissors that I got on Amazon for small cuts like this!
Now we're ready to assemble the keychain!
STEP 7 - Assemble the Keychain
Begin by threading your key ring onto your red faux leather before pressing. This way you don't have to bend the faux leather and vinyl to get it through the key ring after.
Place your HTV hearts on the faux leather backing. You'll see there is a tiny red faux leather border around the vinyl heart - I designed it this way purposely so the edges of the vinyl wouldn't peel up over time if they went all the way to the edge.
I used the lowest heat setting on the Easy Press Mini for this project. Using your Easy Press Pressing Pad or a towel, lay the HTV on top of the faux leather and then cover with a teflon sheet or parchment paper (not wax paper). I always use a teflon cover sheet, but not for this demonstration so you could see what was happening in the photo!
Gently press while moving the heat around all over the HTV for 10-15 seconds. If you aren't using a cover sheet, be sure not to press the Easy Press Mini on the faux leather directly, only on the clear transfer tape.
Repeat pressing for the other HTV piece, and then carefully peel the protective layer off both sides of the key ring. If any parts didn't stick down, just press them a little more.
Now it's time to glue the front and back of the keychain together. I like to use Art Glitter Glue for this step (it doesn't have any glitter in it, it dries clear, it glues fabric well, and the bottle comes with a fine tip attachment which is perfect for applying glue precisely in small areas!
If you didn't put your key ring on your keychain before, now is the time to do it!
Carefully apply small dabs of glue on the back of one side of the keychain. Apply the glue close to the edges but allow some room for the glue to spread.
Fold the glued and unglued halves together, line up the edges so they match perfectly, and press down.
Place the newly glued keychain under something heavy like a book for a few hours to dry, overnight is best. Check the seams between the two halves the next day and see if there are any places that need additional glue, especially near the key ring.
Use a Red Sharpie marker to color the outside edges of the keychain if you'd like. I have this Sharpie assortment pack from Amazon and I use it a lot for coloring the edges of faux leather earrings and keychains. Be careful not to let the marker slip and color the HTV by accident (ask me how I know).
Are you going to try this project super cute Valentine's Day project? If so, are you going to give them away as keychains? Or as favors on Valentine's Day candy bags?
If you do, please post a comment and attach a photo of your finished candy heart Valentine's Day keychain! I would love to see your creation!
Do you want to make this project, but want more candy heart sayings? If so, you'll want to check out my 25 Candy Heart Keychain Sayings SVG File Mega Bundle featured in my shop here. These word SVG files are perfectly sized to fit with the faux leather keychain backing shown in this tutorial - just choose your desired word file, open the SVG in Cricut Design Space, and continue the tutorial!
Want to see all of my Cricut earring & jewelry tutorials? CLICK HERE
Until next time... and happy creating!