Do you admire those smooth, beautiful designs on t-shirts, bags, or jumpers? There are different ways of designing a t-shirt like designing with a printing machine, embroidery machine or vinyl printing etc. Well, this guide will show you how to heat press vinyl with seven easy steps.
1. Which is the best heat transfer material?
Any fabric that you can iron with a hot iron will work well. If you want to decorate backpacks, for example, avoid those that are made of synthetic materials. Use those made of canvas instead.
That is because most synthetic fabrics will not stand the hottest iron settings.
If you are decorating a new fabric, you must wash it first. It is common for fabrics to shrink after washing, which will affect the final look of your design.
However for those projects that you do not need to wash, you need not wash it at all, just go on to the next step.
2. Types of Heat Transfer Materials Available
There are many types of finishes and styles. There is a glitter heat transfer that gives you a fancy finish; there is matte, smooth, and even glossy.
If you want the design to be fuzzy and soft, you can use a flocked heat transfer with a thin coat of flocking on the front.
If you have dark fabrics, you should use a printable heat transfer which makes it possible to print customized designs.
Simply cut out your design and transfer it to your fabric. It is usually the best transfer material for complex and intricate projects.
Some common heat transfer brand materials are Silhouette and SiserEasyweed Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV).
You should be careful when ordering other brands besides Silhouette vinyl. If you make an order that is larger than 12′ in width, you may have to cut it, which is not easy.
If you are heat transferring for the first time, use the flocked heat transfer material. It is more foolproof than the others. You can apply it without having to use too much heat that could shrivel the project’s fabric.
If you are ready to learn, you can also use the other heat transfer material carefully. If you wish to create a multi color smooth vinyl design, just apply them one after another.
3. How to Create Your Vinyl Design
The first step is to create a design. If you plan to use silhouette portrait or Silhouette Cameo, you can download free software called Silhouette Studio.
You do not need to have a heat press machine to use this software. You can begin making great designs and perfect your creative skills.
Once your design is ready, flip it and use the mirror image. If you miss that step, your design will come out inverted when you heat transfer it to your project. The flipped design will, however, provide the original design.
4. How to Cut My Heat Transfer Design
As soon as the design is complete, the next step is to cut it. You can either use the cutting mat if you have one, or you can simply cut them directly from the roll using Vinyl cutting machine. The best designs to cut on the cutting mat are those that fit on it.
When loading the heat transfer material, the clear plastic backing must face downwards while the heat transfer material should face upward.
It is best to start with the default cut settings of the type of heat transfer you are using.
The cuts should be visible on the heat side face up, but not through the clear side facing down. That is because the heat transfer materials are thinner and the cuts very fine.
5. How to Weed Your Heat Transfer
Wedding is an easy step in learning how to heat press vinyl. You must be careful, however, with the way you cut out the excess material.
You need to cut out all unwanted parts of the design that you do not need heat transferred.
You will, for example, want to clear anything inside letter “P” or what is supposed to be the nose of a snowman. What you are left with after wedding should be what you will transfer to your project material.
6. Placing the Design on Your Project’s Fabric
Now the clear backing side should be facing you. It should not appear inverted as it will appear when you heat press it onto the fabric.
It is possible to compact all designs to save space and get as much as possible from your heat transfer material.
If you did that, you just cut them and place them as you want on the project fabric, carefully of course. Make sure none of the clear backings end up under the other parts.
Every design should be trimmed very closely and weeded properly. That is very important to keep in mind when learning how to heat press vinyl.
7. Ironing the Design
The next step is to place the hot iron on your design using the instructions of the particular heat transfer you are using.
Most manuals will direct you to turn the iron to the highest setting and separate the heat transfer material and iron with a towel.
Most people, I myself included, find parchment paper works better than towels, irrespective of the towel’s thickness.
The time the iron should sit on the heat transfer material is between 10 to 40 minutes.
That, however, should be strictly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are using vinyl, letting it cool a little bit will work wonders.
If you take out the clear backing when the vinyl is still hot, it may cause the heated design to wrinkle as the backing separates from it.
We hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to heat press vinyl and you will make many awesome designs.