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How do I use Heat Transfer Vinyl?

Begin by choosing your design. Make sure to measure the area where you would like your design and keep that size in mind while you’re designing your project.

While you’re designing and cutting, it would be smart to start heating up your iron or heat press. For the vinyl I’m using, the iron needs to be somewhere bewteen 300-315 degrees Fahrenheit. My iron just has fabric settings and not the actual temperature. If your iron is like mine, go for high cotton setting – low linen setting.

For this project I’m using Silhouette Studio. Open your design in whatever design software you want to work in.

If you’re working with an image like I am, go ahead and trace it by clicking on the butterfly button and selecting the area you’d like to trace. Once your design looks alright, click “trace”.

Right after tracing, mirror your design by finding the rotation icon and clicking one of the horizontal flip buttons.

Delete your original tracing and now resize your design by dragging the boxes on the border of your design in or out. Silhouette Studio will tell you how large or small you’re making your design, make sure it’s the right size! Measure twice, cut once will save you a lot of time and money!

Now you’re ready to cut! Depending on which type of HTV and which machine you’re using, your cut settings will vary. Make sure to do a test cut before you cut your design!

Make sure that the vinyl is shiny side down on the mat. Press “load” on your machine. After checking your cut settings, press cut!

The cut settings I used for this design were Silhouette’s pre-loaded settings for the autoblade- heat transfer vinyl, smooth.

Once your design has finished cutting, press “unload” on your machine. Remove your vinyl from the mat.

Now it’s time to weed your design. Weeding is the process of removing unwanted vinyl from your design using a pick or any other weeding tools. Take your time and be sure to pull off all unwanted vinyl.

weeding htv blue

If your iron is all heated up, it’s time for the big moment! Preheat your fabric with an iron for 5-10 seconds. This step is essential because it evaporates any moisture that could be in your fabric and compromise your adhesive. Now place your vinyl on your project with the shiny side up. If you used text in your design, now you’ll know why you were supposed to flip your design horizontally.

Your decal should be able to stick to your fabric, thanks to the sticky carrier sheet. Make sure to use your teflon sheet, scrap of fabric or parchment paper in between your design and your iron. This protects both your iron and your project. Now you’re ready to apply heat. Again, remember to follow instructions specific to your type of HTV.

iron htv with teflon sheet

After you’re done applying heat and pressure, resist the urge to immediately peel off the carrier sheet! Wait about 10 seconds before doing so. At this point it’s way too hot to touch anyway! Once 10 seconds have passed, go ahead and peel up the carrier sheet. If applied correctly, the carrier sheet should peel off easily, leaving behind your design!

peel up htv

Now, if your vinyl looks like it’s not completely stuck on your fabric, you can hit your design with heat just one more time before calling this project finished. Cover your design again with the teflon sheet and iron or press it for about 5 more seconds. Just to make sure everything’s on there for good! 

And now you’re done! I hope I answered all of your questions here. With every project you’ll get better and better and soon you’ll be a HTV pro!

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