Heat transfer vinyl, also known as, iron-on vinyl, t-shirt vinyl or HTV, is a special type of vinyl that can adhere to fabric. This is different than adhesive vinyl sheets and rolls, that are sticky from the onset. The adhesive on the vinyl is activated with heat. This vinyl comes in sheets, rolls and packs. When you receive your vinyl, there is a front and a back. The front side is the shiny side- that shiny layer is the carrier sheet which you can peel off after you’ve ironed your project. The back side is the matte side, and that is the side you will cut when you create your design. It is also the side that has the heat-activated adhesive.
What items can you iron on?
You can pretty much iron on anything that won’t melt! For beginners, custom t-shirts, koozys, baby onesies, blankets, pillowcases, tote bags, dish towels, the possibilities are endless! HTV works best on cotton or polyester or cotton/poly blends. Other synthetic fabrics, like acrylic, won’t work correctly because they will melt under the heat of an iron. For more advanced crafters, you can apply HTV to mugs, baseball hats, footballs and even wood!
What other supplies will I need to get started making my own t-shirts?
You will need:
- A cutting machine
- An iron or a heat press
- Weeding tools (a pick is usually fine!)
- Cutting mat (optional!)
- A teflon sheet, or parchment paper, or a thin towel or scrap of fabric
- An ironing board or heat protective surface
- Whatever fabric or material you’re working with like a t-shirt
Why do I need to flip my design?
Before you cut your design, you will need to flip it horizontally/mirror it. This is because you’re cutting it face down. If you cut it the correct way (plastic side of vinyl down on the mat, with the design mirrored), when you peel up your design and look at it applied to the surface, it should read correctly. It’s hard to explain, but you’re reversing the negative. Once you do it the first time it will always make sense! Just never forget to flip your design.
If your design does not include text, you don’t necessarily have to flip it. Your choice!