How to Use Heat Transfer Vinyl: A Beginner’s Guide to Cutting and Applying Iron On Vinyl

This stake may contain affiliate links, which help to support this web site if you make a purchase through one of our links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Learn how to make vinyl shirts, lug bags, and much more with iron on vinyl ! If you are raw to working with vinyl, it can be a bit overpowering, but this bit-by-bit steer will teach you precisely how to use hotness transportation vinyl, and you will be making custom tees and more in no time !
how to use heat transfer vinyl for beginners If you are new to the world of working with estrus transfer vinyl, then you are in the veracious position ! This is my complete novice ’ s usher to using heat transfer or iron on vinyl, and I am here to show you how to use heat transfer vinyl so you can start making !
Heat transfer vinyl ( aka HTV ) is hands-down my favorite way to personalize gifts for friends. I mean, who doesn ’ triiodothyronine love a fun raw jersey ?

With heat transfer vinyl, you can easily customize t-shirts to be something personal that the recipient will love. But iron on vinyl is not entirely good for t-shirts ! You can use it on lug bags, leather notebooks, shoes, and even wood !
ready to get crafting with heat transmit vinyl ? Let ’ s do this !
PSST – If you are brand new to crafting with vinyl, be sure to check out my Vinyl 101 page to find all of my vinyl resources for beginners.

How to Use Heat Transfer Vinyl with your Silhouette or Cricut

There are a few basic steps to working with heat transmit vinyl, and I will walk you through each one. The basic steps to working with iron on vinyl are :

  1. Preparing Your Cut File
  2. Cutting the Design
  3. Weeding
  4. Applying

That ’ s it !
To walk you through the serve of making your own iron on vinyl projects, I am going to make myself a new jersey ( yay ! ). using my Craft Queen purpose .

1. Prepare Cut File

The foremost step in crafting with heat transplant vinyl is to prepare your design to cut in the cut machine software you are using. ( If you do not have an electronic cut car like a Silhouette or Cricut, you can cut heat transfer vinyl by hired hand. Check out this project I did wholly cut by hand for more information on that. )

What’s a Cut File?

When I say “ edit file, ” I mean the design that you want to cut from vinyl and put on your shirt or other surface .
The most common cut file type is credibly SVG, but you might be using a .Studio, .png, .dxf, or .jpg file depending on the software you are using. I personally am a sports fan of SVG files because they work with most cutting software. ( note : You must have at Silhouette Studio Designer Edition or higher to use SVG files, and I decidedly recommend that Silhouette users upgrade to Silhouette Studio Designer Edition. You can find more information on using unlike charge types with your Silhouette here. )

Where to Find Cut Files

If you are looking for cut files, then be sure to check out the free cut files I have here on the web log. There are then many great blogs that give away amaze free SVGs. I link to a lot of them in my free cut file posts .
You can besides purchase cut files to use in your projects. I have a cut file patronize full of cunning designs, or you can besides find capital designs in lots of on-line marketplaces like So Fontsy and Etsy .
I am besides regularly pinning cut files to my creative Cut File Pinterest Board, so that ’ s another great resource .
For my sample shirt, I used my Craft Queen design, which is available for purchase in my shop .

Scale Design

once you have your purpose and surface picked out, you need to measure your surface to determine how large you will need to cut the purpose .
Beginner's Guide to Cutting and Applying Iron On Vinyl I am using a blank jersey that I had merely waiting to be vinyl-ed. I recommend that you start by measuring your shirt to give you a general theme of how broad and improbable you want to cut your purpose. I decided to cut mine about 8 inches broad .
(Check out this post for more information on scaling and positioning heat transfer vinyl.)
once you know how boastful you want to cut your design, open up the cut charge in your cut software. next, you will need to scale the trope to the right size. Just snap on the design and then use the handles in the corners to scale it down to the size you want .

Mirror Design

following, you need to mirror or flip your design horizontally. The cause that you need to mirror your plan when working with heat transfer or cast-iron on vinyl, you cut the design on the back side of the vinyl .
HTV has a clear fictile carrier sheet that covers the top of the vinyl, and the other side is where the heat-sensitive adhesive is ( it is not awkward or brassy to the refer ). You cut your invention on the adhesive side, and then the clear formative sheet on the other side holds your design in seat until it is applied to your shirt or other come on. so, to make sure our design looks right when it is applied to the final surface, we need to first mirror or flip the design before cutting .
This is actually bare to do with whatever machine you have. I will show you how to do it both in the Silhouette Studio software and in Cricut Design Space. To mirror the design in Silhouette Studio, chink on the object to select it. then, choose the Mirror option from the Object drop down menu and then select Flip Horizontally ( see prototype below ) .
how to use heat transfer vinyl - mirror design The work is actually similar in Cricut Design Space. After uploading your invention, select it, and then click Flip > Flip Horizontally ( see image below ) .
mirror image in cricut That ’ s it ! Your blueprint is now scaled and mirrored and all ready to cut .

2. Cut Design from Heat Transfer Vinyl

now we are ready to load our heat transportation or iron on vinyl into the cut machine .

Place HTV on Cutting Mat

It is possible to cut vinyl immediately from the roll without a felt using your Silhouette and with newer Cricut machines, but for now, let ’ s barely focus on how to cut with a cutting mat. You can get Silhouette Cameo cutting mats in 12″ adam 12 ” and 12″ adam 24″. The Cricut cut mats are in truth similar, and I have used Cricut mats with my silhouette
Whatever felt and machine you are using, put your HTV glossy side down onto your mat so you will be cutting on the flat side ( see effigy below ). Remember, we are cutting on back side of the vinyl where the heat-sensitive adhesive is. This side will be more felt. The slick side of the vinyl is the side with the clear fictile second.

how to use heat transfer vinyl - which side to cut on For my Craft Queen shirt I used a smooth gold HTV. If your vinyl came on a roll, you can cut off a piece to fit on your felt .

Adjust Cut Settings and Cut

finally, adjust your cut settings to work with the material you are using. This process will be a small bit unlike for every cut machine, but good make sure to choose the settings for the finical type of hotness transfer vinyl you are using ( flocked HTV will have very different settings from smooth HTV, for exemplify ). Working with my Silhouette, I selected Heat Transfer Material, Smooth from the Materials menu .
I recommend doing a small test cut, particularly when you are working with a newly material to make certain the cut settings will work well with the substantial you are using before attempting to cut the entire design .
When you are happy with your reduce settings, load your cutting felt with the vinyl glistening side down into your car, and cut !
cutting heat transfer vinyl with silhouette

3. Weed out Excess Vinyl

The future step is called “ weeding. ” Basically, weeding just means removing any excess vinyl from around your design that you do not want to be transferred to your final product .

How to Avoid Wasting Vinyl when Weeding

If your cut invention is well smaller than the while of vinyl you cut it from, then before weeding, I recommend trimming off that extra vinyl. You can just use a pair of scissors to cut around your design. This allows you to use the lie of your vinyl piece for another visualize. ( In my weed images below, I actually cut a rectangle around my design with my Silhouette first and and then trimmed off the extra vinyl with scissors after weeding. Either way works ! )

Tips for Weeding Heat Transfer Vinyl

To weed off the surfeit vinyl, you will need some kind of tool. I personally use, love, and recommend this weed hook. It is sharp and works great for removing that vinyl. You can besides use a Silhouette hook, a Cricut pilfer, stainless steel steel dental picks, tweezers, a craft knife, or even a heterosexual pin .
sometimes it can be a fiddling bit difficult to see cut lines when weeding. sometimes bending your vinyl a moment can help you see the cut lines like in the image below .
cut lines on heat transfer vinyl You can besides try holding the cut man of vinyl improving to a window or light to help you see the lines. There is besides the choice of the Cricut bright pad, which is designed to help you see dilute lines to make weeding easier .
once you find your cut lines, use your hook or other weeding tool to grab one of the edges and lift up the overindulgence vinyl or negative space from the mailman plane. I like to start by removing the vinyl from around my blueprint first and then remove the pieces from inside letters and other parts of the design .
weeding heat transfer vinyl once you have all the excess vinyl removed from your design, you can flip it over and see how your final examination design will look through the clear credit card carrier. This is a good time to make sure you have weeded everything you don ’ triiodothyronine want to transfer to your final examination project .

4. Iron!

now we are all ready to transfer our cut and weeded design to our jersey ! To activate the adhesive material on the heat transfer vinyl, you need two things : heat and atmospheric pressure, both of which we can get using an iron .
If you use a lot of heat transfer vinyl, then you may want to get a heat bid or Cricut Easy Press down the road, but for today we will just focus on using an iron. If possible, one that doesn ’ t have a bunch of adult steam holes on the bottom will work effective, but you can work with whatever you have at home .

Where to Iron

Because the heat transfer vinyl ’ south adhesive material requires some pressure to activate, I recommend that you do not use a protein folding ironing display panel to apply your HTV purpose. You don ’ t want to be pushing down on your ironing dining table and have it collapse beneath your press !
To in truth get good atmospheric pressure, I prefer to use an iron pad like this one on a hardy table alternatively of a folding ironing board. You can besides try putting a wooden cutting dining table on your table .

How to Iron

begin by plugging your iron in and putting it on the cotton setting with the steam turned off. Next, placement your plan on your surface with the absolved fictile carrier plane on top so the design reads correctly .
heat transfer vinyl placement I prefer to cover the formative carrier wave sail with a piece of parchment paper or thin cotton framework. I find that this helps to protect my surface and keeps my vinyl from overheating or warping .
how to iron on vinyl Press down on your iron and apply pressure to each part of the design for around 10-20 seconds. Some types of HTV will require more or less estrus and time, therefore be sure to check the instructions for the material you are using .
I like to do a little sting of fourth dimension, and then check the blueprint to see how it is going. More time under the iron is not inevitably dependable as besides much heat can melt the vinyl or ruin the adhesive material. It ’ randomness besides good to be aware of holes on the bottom of your iron. If your iron has holes on the bottomland, be certain to move it around as you press to make certain each separate of the purpose is getting heat and coerce .
When you you have given heat and blackmail to each character of the blueprint, you can slowly start to peel up the aircraft carrier sheet. If the vinyl starts to come up with the carrier sheet, then you need to replace the carrier plane and your embrace sheet and give it some more heat and press .
Alexis ’ Tips

Project Notes:

Some types of heat transfer vinyl are “ cold peel, ” which means you must allow the vinyl to cool wholly before removing the clear plastic sheet. Be sure to read the application instructions that came with your vinyl !
After removing the credit card carrier sheet, I like to flip my undertaking top down or inside out and apply some more heat to the buttocks to ensure a truly estimable lotion. With politic heating system transfer vinyl, you can see that you have a good application when you can see the waver of the framework through the vinyl ( see the picture below ) .
texture of fabric showing through vinyl once the cast-iron on vinyl has been properly applied it is ready for wearing, using, and launder. Allow the adhesive to cure for at least 24 hours before washing. Once it has cured, it can be washed and dried. For best results, wash inside out with cold water and hang to dry or tumble dry on gloomy .
And that ’ s it ! Everything you need to know to make your identical first HTV project !
I hope this post was helpful for you. If you have any questions on how to use heat remove vinyl, go ahead and drop them in the comments below. 🙂

now that you know how to use heat transfer vinyl to make a childlike jersey, you might want to try out some more advanced HTV techniques :
If you would like to branch out into the worldly concern of adhesive material vinyl and make your own DIY vinyl decals, be sure to check out my founder ’ second guide on using adhesive material vinyl correctly hera .
Until next fourth dimension, happy form !
Beginner's Guide to Cutting and Applying Iron On Vinyl

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