Heat Transfer Vinyl 101- How to use HTV

Have you ever wanted to make some custom Tshirts, but you don’t know how? Here you’ll find all of information that you need to buy, cut, and apply Heat Transfer Vinyl.

Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) is typically applied to fabric projects. Heat Transfer Vinyl can be used for t-shirts, hats, aprons, blankets, or towels. Some people also have success applying it to wood or mugs.

Supplies for Heat Transfer Vinyl

  • Heat Transfer Vinyl
  • Cutting Machine (Cricut, Silhouette) or something to cut your design
  • Fabric to apply the HTV to
  • Iron or Heat Press

How to Cut HTV

There are so many different kinds of HTV! Most of them will have a clear, shiny carrier sheet on the top and vinyl on the bottom. When you cut HTV, you’ll cut from the bottom (glue side) of the vinyl. So put the shiny side down on the mat and the dull side up. Since you are cutting from the bottom, you’ll also need to mirror your design. Don’t forget!

Heat Transfer Vinyl comes in so many different thicknesses, it is best to do a test cut so you don’t ruin your vinyl. Make adjustments to the blade settings if it isn’t cutting or cutting through the shiny carrier sheet.

Some patterned heat transfer vinyl doesn’t have a shiny carrier sheet. Those will be cut from the top, not mirrored, and you can use heat resistant tape to keep the vinyl lined up while you iron it on.

After the HTV is cut, you’ll need to weed out the extra HTV to show your design.

How to Iron HTV

Now you’re ready to iron that HTV in place. The carrier sheet is sticky, so it will hold the design in place while you iron. So stick it down where you want to apply.

Heat Press owners, use the heat settings recommended for your HTV.

If you have an iron, find a stable surface to iron on. I use my counter top with a towel on top. Then I put down my project with the HTV. Next you’ll need a pillow case or piece of cotton fabric on top. Set your iron to the cotton setting and push your iron down really hard on top of the HTV. Push it down for the amount of seconds that is recommended for your HTV.

Peel the clear sheet off. If it is pulling up the HTV, stop and iron it again. If your HTV says to peel cold, wait until it is cool to peel off the carrier sheet.

Now you’ll have a perfect craft! HTV lasts really well if you press it well. When you wash it, make sure to turn it inside out to help the heat transfer vinyl last longer.

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