This is a Beginner’s Guide to Creating Custom Projects with Heat Transfer Vinyl.
Heat transfer vinyl is a specialty vinyl polymer that is used to create and transfer images, designs and graphics on fabrics, T-shirts and other promotional material. Heat transfer vinyl is usually available in either a roll or sheet form with an adhesive backing and can easily be cut, trimmed, and arranged on a substrate for subsequent heat application.
Getting started with heat transfer vinyl or HTV printing can seem intimidating at first. If you are new to using heat transfer vinyl, it can be a bit overwhelming, but if you follow this simple step-by-step process, then you will be making your own custom tees (and more) in no time!
Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Use Heat Transfer Vinyl
Step 1: One of the things to remember before you begin is to pick the right kind of garment or fabric to transfer the image. Remember that heat transfer requires you to use the iron on the hottest setting, so make sure your substrate is able to withstand the heat. It is also helpful to prewash the selected fabric if it is something that needs regular washing, like T-shirt.
Step 2: In order to cut the image to the perfect measurements, you need to measure your surface to determine how large or small you need to cut the design. Your image should appear backwards on the fabric, so always make sure to flip it into a mirror image before your cut it. Scale the design to the right size using your cutting software.
Step 3: Heat transfer vinyl has a clear plastic carrier sheet with vinyl on the front and the adhesive on the back. Always remember that you cut your image on the adhesive side. Now we are ready to load our heat transfer vinyl into the cutting machine or cutting mat. Place the glossy side of the heat transfer vinyl onto the mat so that you will be cutting on the matte side.
Step 4: Next, weed out or remove any excess vinyl from around your image that you do not want to be transferred on your fabric. Sometimes it can be hard to be able to see your cut lines when weeding. When this happens, you can bend your heat transfer vinyl a bit to help you see the cut lines more clearly.
Step 5: Now it is time to transfer the cut and weeded image to the T-shirt. We need both heat and pressure to activate the adhesive on the heat transfer vinyl, and that can be accomplished using a simple home iron. Plug your iron and heat it on the cotton setting. Place your image on the selected surface with the clear plastic carrier sheet on top. Press down and apply pressure with the iron to each part of the design for 10 to 20 seconds.
Step 6: After applying heat evenly to each part of the image, you can slowly and gradually start peeling the carrier sheet. A smooth heat vinyl transfer means that you can see the actual weave of the fabric through the vinyl.
Step 7: After application, your tee is now ready for using, wearing and laundering, however, allow the adhesive at least 24 hours before washing.