This post is part of my Checklists series. Each post in the series is a set of brief reminders to guide you while you work on a project. The HTV Projects Checklist helps you remember each step to take when you are cutting and applying HTV (heat transfer vinyl, also called heat transfer material) to a project. With each checklist, I provide links to more information about the topics. You’ll find those links throughout and at the end of the post.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click the link and purchase something, I may receive a small commission. This helps me to be able to keep my business going and provide more tutorials. All opinions expressed are my own and are not tied to any compensation.
–Use the correct HTV product for your material.
–Remember to have a carrier if using a patterned HTV that needs it.
–If using Siser brand, download their app so the colors and application instructions are always at your fingertips.
–Decide whether or not to pre-wash your project. This is optional – just decide if you should or. If you are, do not use liquid fabric softener and make sure the material is completely dry.
–When using multiple colors, know if the products can be layered or not. If they can’t, use Subtract All to make interlocking pieces.
–Mirror the design for most Heat Transfer Vinyl. For patterned HTV, check the manufacturer’s website to see whether or not you need to mirror.
–Use the option of “Flip Horizontally” to do the mirroring rather than the mirroring in the Send area when the software asks. The latter flips the entire page, not just the design.
–If you find yourself frequently forgetting to mirror, use that reminder in the software Send area as a prompt to check. Or put a reminder on the lid of your machine.
–To test for sizing, cut or sketch the design on cardstock. It’s way less expensive.
–Always measure the width of your Heat Transfer Vinyl when cutting without the mat and check to make sure it’s a good 90° to the side.
Cutting Heat Transfer Vinyl
–If cutting without the mat, also go over the “Cutting Without the Mat” checklist.
–Go over the “Cutting Checklist.”
–Do a small test cut and check the ease of weeding, especially at the corners and on small inner pieces.
–Check the cut BEFORE unloading, again looking for the ease of weeding.
–Don’t throw away any HTV you accidentally cut backwards. On some designs it won’t matter. Sometimes you can salvage parts of it, even block letters that are symmetrical. Or use the mistakes as tester pieces.
Weeding Heat Transfer Vinyl
–Fill your design filled with color on your design page. Check that as you weed so that you remove the correct portions.
–Use a second weeding tool to hold pieces on the carrier sheet if they don’t want to stay in place. It also helps to pull the corners apart before pulling the larger background piece away.
–If you have a piece that’s small enough and a regular shape, use a spare bit of sticky carrier to save it for a future project. Just make sure to put the proper side up.
Getting Ready to Press
–Pre-press to remove moisture and wrinkles.
–Find the middles and centers of your project and press those lines.
–Fold your cut pieces of Heat Transfer Vinyl to find the middles and centers.
–Use a Teflon sheet or parchment paper over the HTV.
–Check the temperature, time and pressure recommendations from the manufacturer.
–If using a home iron, remove the water from it.
–Use a firm, solid surface, not an ironing board.
–Give your iron or heat press time to heat to the full temperature.
–Test a scrap of Heat Transfer Vinyl on a rag t-shirt or unnoticeable area of your project to make sure your temperature setting is accurate and the time and pressure are adequate.
–To check the color of the HTV on a shirt, test a small scrap on the inside lower seam allowance.
Pressing Heat Transfer Vinyl
–Use pressing pillows or a rolled up kitchen towel to equalize the thickness around seams, buttons, snaps, etc.
–If your material is thin (like a burnout shirt) or has holes (such as on a football jersey), separate the front and back with a pressing pillow. Or, remember to separate them right after the press so the adhesive doesn’t stick to the wrong part.
–If using multiple colors, make a plan for which pressing order you are using.
–Flash-press only lower layers (2-3 seconds).
–Press the full time on the last layer only.
–If using multiple products, apply those that use higher temps first, or use an in-between temp.
–When combining rhinestones and Heat Transfer Vinyl, apply the HTV first.
–Know if your product is cool peel or hot peel. If it requires cold peel, wait until the carrier is cool before attempting to peel it off.
–After removing the final carrier sheet, lay the Teflon sheet or parchment paper back down and repress for 2-3 seconds.
–If your material is textured or you are using rhinestones with your design, re-press from the back side for several seconds.
Caring for garments with HTV on them
–Wait at least 24 hours before washing for the first time.
–Wash your completed projects without liquid fabric softener or chorine bleach.
–Wash them inside out.
–Dry them at low or medium temperature settings, not hot, or hang to dry.
–Do not dry clean.
–Use a cover sheet instead of ironing directly on HTV.
If you have issues such as–
–Carrier gets cut through.
–Starting and ending points of cut lines don’t meet up.
–Can’t see cut lines.
–Can’t weed easily.
–Designs lift from carrier when weeding.
–Image or words come out backwards.
–Heat Transfer Vinyl won’t adhere.
–HTV lifts or falls off after wearing and/or washing.
–You put it in the wrong place on the project or need to remove the HTV.
–There’s excess adhesive outside the design on the shirt
…then check this post.