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Heat Transfer Vinyl-Tips And Ideas

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Heat transfer vinyl is a versatile vinyl that can be applied to fabric and other surfaces easily with the right tools.

Heat transfer vinyl is a versatile vinyl that can be applied to fabric and other surfaces easily with the right tools.

Heat Transfer Vinyl (also known as HTV or iron on) is one of the most popular vinyl products on the market. It generally comes in either sheet or on a roll. Most HTV comes in 12-inch widths.

On a typical HTV sheet, you will find a clear plastic carrier sheet covering the top area. On the other side, you get the heat-sensitive adhesive part of the vinyl. This is not tacky or sticky to the touch. It only gets activated when heat is applied to it. Adhesive vinyl has a papery backing and HTV has a plastic-type backing sheet often referred to as a carrier sheet.

The carrier sheet is the shiniest side of the HTV and is the side that is placed against the mat. It is usually a clear plastic that is relatively hard. Make sure that you don’t cut through the carrier sheet as it is designed to hold your design in place until you have heated the vinyl onto your project.

  • Depending on color and brand of HTV the vinyl side is often the side that is duller or may look like it has scratch lines on it
  • HTV is quite soft so the side that peels the easiest is the HTV. You can check it in a corner of the vinyl with your weeding tool by giving it a bit of a scratch or scrape.
  • Once you locate the carrier side you can mark the carrier sheet with a texta or sticker so that you know which side is which without having any trouble next time you use it.

HTV comes in a variety of colors and styles, Shopping for all the styles and colors for your project is fun

To use HYV you just cut the design from your electronic cutting machine from the vinyl, You weed it to get any parts not the design of the area. You place it on your project surface to apply the design. You apply heat to the surface.

There are lots of different brands and often these manufacturers will have their own names for a specific type of HTV.

Basic Types Of HTV:

  • Bold Patterned
  • Neon
  • Glow In The Dark
  • Shiny Gold Foil
  • Flock
  • Glitter
  • College Inspired
  • Tie Dyed
  • Watercolor
  • Holographic
  • Reflective

HTV Resources

All About SVG Files

An SVG file is a graphics file that uses a two-dimensional vector graphic format created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). It describes images using a text format that is based on XML. SVG files are developed as a standard format for displaying vector graphics on the web.

Since text is used to describe the graphic, an SVG file can be scaled to different sizes without losing quality—in other words, the format is resolution-independent. This is why website and print graphics are often built in the SVG format, so they can be resized to fit different designs in the future.

So, this file is used by electronic cutting machines. The file enables you to create the image or graphic in any size that you need for your project.

How To Understand And Use SVG Files

Free SVG Files

HTV Vinyl is mostly used on fabric projects

HTV Vinyl is mostly used on fabric projects

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What To Look For In Heat Transfer Vinyl

  1. Vinyl Quality-The quality of the vinyl is very important when it comes to HTV. Vinyl quality varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. If you opt for a low-cost vinyl of poor quality, you can expect that your project will not last very long. You will start to see cracking, fading, and even peeling before you know it. Quality HTV will last a long time and stand up to wear. Quality HTV is usually thin. That enables it to stretch and flex with natural movement. That ability to be able to move with use will assure you of the long life of your design.
  2. Color Options or Diversity-It is smart to purchase HTV colors or patterns in a wide range of colors, rather than a single color. It gives you more options, especially if you are planning to market some of your designs. Really look at the sheets you are considering. Look for vibrant, bold colors that stand out.
  3. Ease of Use-While it has been said that sometimes reviews are not always honest, they can be useful. Take time to read reviews from the users if the vinyl, This is the especially true id you are a first-time user if that particular company. You want to be able to use a vinyl that will cause you to have the least amount of complications, Look for things like lightweight design, thinness, sensitivity to low heat and temperature. For beginners, and those who have not used a particular vinyl, a user guide can be a very handy tool, if they are available.
  4. Cost-The best way to look at cost is to decide what you have to spend and then look for the best options within your budget.

What Types Of Materials Can You Apply HTV To?

The quick answer to this question is that you can apply Heat Transfer Vinyl to any fabric that can handle a hot iron or heat source for 20 seconds.

Best Fabrics for Heat Transfer Vinyls

  • 100 % cotton
  • 100% polyester
  • Poly-cotton blends
  • Leather (check the label)
  • Lycra/spandex (check the label)
  • Nylon (Check the label and test first)

Other Surfaces Where HTV May Work

How To Prepare Fabric Before Applying HTV

  • Make sure to pre-wash your garment before applying any vinyl. That way you will avoid shrinkage and pulling on your design once it is applied.
  • No fabric softener- It will cause the vinyl not to stick properly
  • Iron your garment before you apply the vinyl. Wrinkles may cause the vinyl not to stick as well. Pre pressing the garment removes wrinkles, removes moisture, and "pre shrinks " the garment so that you will get a better placement of your design. You will get better adhesion of the vinyl.

Make sure that you read and understand the manufacturer's directions before you start on your project. Different makers may have different temperature requirements and time settings to get the best results.


Using An Electronic Cutting Machine With HTV

If you are using a cutting machine, there are a few skills that you should be familiar with on your machine. They include importing files from your computer into you machine. You should also be familiar with the process of sizing a project. Finally, you need to know how to mirror a design. Taking the time to learn these functions will help you get better results and have less frustration.

Preparing The Cut File

The first step in your project is to prepare the cut file on your electronic cutting machine. If you do not have a cutting machine, it is possible to cut a file by hand. A cut file is a design that you use to cut your vinyl that is then applied to the surface of your project.
The most common type of file used is the "SVG" file. It is pretty universal to most cutting machine software applications. Other types of files that you may run into include Studio, png., Dxf., or jpg. If you have a Silhouette cutting machine, you will use Studio files only. Since you get the basic software free, you will have to upgrade to the Silhouette Designer Edition or higher in order to use cut files.
There are plenty of free cut files on the internet and most likely your machine software will have plenty available. There are some files that may be free to use for personal use. Others will be free to use for personal use and commercial use (That means you can make and sell items with the file) And there are plenty of files that can be purchased.
If you have selected a cut file from the internet, you will need to understand the steps to import that design from the internet into your cutting machine software. Start out with a design that is already in your software, then become familiar with the step to adding more files.

Scaling The Design

The next step in the process is to decide how big or small your design needs to be on your surface. So you need to measure the surface to decide how big or small the design needs to be. Lay out your surface and use a ruler to decide how tall and how wide the design should be. Get an idea of where it should be placed on the piece.
Now, using your software, take your measurements and change the size by adjusting the width and the height of your design.

Always remember to cut with the shiny side down (the carrier side) The dull side should be facing you. While the dull side is usually the same color,it can also be white.

Mirroring The Design

The next step is to mirror or flip your design horizontally. There is a specific reason why this step is very important to your finished project. When you are working with Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) or iron-on vinyl, you are cutting the design on the back of the vinyl. HTV has a clear carrier sheet that covers the top of the vinyl. The other side has the heat-sensitive adhesive, You are actually cutting on the adhesive side The carrier sheet holds the design in place so that you get a clean cut. When you apply the design to the surface, the adhesive side goes down. That way when you apply the heat it will stick to your project. You have to flip or mirror the design so that it is the right way up on your project before you cut it.