I didn’t realize when I bought my first Silhouette machine that I could use it to make custom shirts, or that heat transfer vinyl would turn out to be my favorite type of material to work with. My boys (and their friends) seem to have several new ideas for shirts every time I see them. And you’re not even limited to shirts – you can add HTV to anything made from fabric (and even some other surfaces). It’s a great material to work with as long as you understand it.
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This is lesson #1 in the First Steps in HTV series. For the first project, we’re going to take one of the free shapes that come with a machine to make a tea towel.
Here’s what we’re going to learn in this post and project–
- What HTV is
- Types of HTV
- Essential steps in cutting smooth HTV
- Tips for getting it on straight
- How to apply HTV with a home iron (we’ll talk about a heat press in Project #2)
- Some variations to try in case you want to add a bit more to your project
Project level: Late Beginner
I highly recommend you go through my Software Basics series and Successful Beginner Projects series before trying out HTV. You won’t understand my instructions if you haven’t gone through those lessons. And I don’t want you getting frustrated or wasting material. My mantra is always walk before you run. If you have success in your first project, you’ll have the confidence to keep going. So we’re going to start with a nice, flat tea towel using a single color of HTV and a simple design.
- Roll or scrap of smooth heat transfer vinyl (see more details below) – 1 color. If you have one with a colored side and a white side (such as some reds and yellows), it’s easier to keep track of which side is which. Not essential, but helpful.
- Tea Towel – little to no texture (no terrycloth). You can pick up a flour sack tea towel at Walmart for $1. Pick a color that will have good contrast to your HTV.
- Weeding tool
- Home iron
- Parchment paper (NOT wax paper) or clean Teflon sheet
What is Heat Transfer Vinyl?
Heat Transfer Vinyl, also known as HTV or Heat Transfer Material, is a product specifically for applying onto garments and other fabric surfaces by means of heat. HTV is sold in rolls or sheets. It’s a fairly thin, flexible material, so most often comes on a clear plastic carrier sheet. The exception is some patterned HTV, which we won’t cover in these beginner projects. It comes in a wide range of colors and finishes.
The front – the surface that will show on the project — is covered by a plastic carrier. That’s the side that looks like a shiny plastic. You’re seeing through the clear plastic to the surface of the right side of the HTV. The back has a special adhesive on it that’s activated by high heat. That’s the side that looks more matte and feels less like plastic. The heat of an iron or heat press softens the adhesive so that it bonds to the project.
Let’s talk a bit about how HTV is like and unlike regular adhesive vinyl. Let me remind you that we’re talking about regular HTV, not the special patterned stuff.
- You cut your design with a kiss cut. In other words, you cut through the HTV but not the backing.
- You weed away the background and other pieces that are not part of the design, leaving the design on the carrier.
- Because you’re cutting on the “wrong” side, you mirror your design before cutting.
- You don’t have to add a transfer media because it’s already on a something that will hold the pieces together — the carrier.
To apply the HTV to your garment, you position the wrong side – the adhesive side — facing down on the garment. The shiny plastic – the carrier sheet — is on top. The carrier sheet protects the right side of the HTV – the side that will show — during the heat application process. After you’ve applied the heat for the specified time, you peel off the carrier sheet to uncover the top of the HTV.
Some types of HTV can be layered over one another, some can’t. We’ll get into more info on layering HTV in upcoming projects. But let’s talk next about the different types of HTV.
Types of HTV
Smooth HTV is the standard or plain variety. It’s usually the least expensive, the easiest to work with and can almost always be layered. This is what we’ll be working with in Projects #1 and #2. Usually you have the same color on both sides, so that’s why we use the feel and shine to tell the front from the back. With some colors, typically reds and yellows, the back is white to ensure the material of the project doesn’t show through it. That makes it easier to tell what’s front vs back.
Glitter HTV can have a smooth or rough finish, depending on the product. Standard glitter HTV is rough — you feel the glitter flakes. The smooth has a plastic topping that’s almost like the carrier sheet. It’s a glittery look, but a smooth texture. Glitter HTV uses different cut settings because it’s thicker.
You can typically put the regular, textured glitter on top of smooth HTV. But because of the uneven surface, you can’t put any type of HTV on top of glitter HTV — not even another color of glitter. Some of the smooth glitter HTV products can be layered on one another, but always check the manufacturer’s website for information on this.
Flocked HTV has a velvety texture. Like glitter, it’s thicker than smooth HTV. Because of the uneven surface, the same rules of layering apply as with regular glitter.
Some patterned HTV has a carrier on the front, some on the back. This is something to check on the manufacturer’s website before you purchase it.
- If the carrier is on the front (over the pattern), it works just like smooth HTV. Siser’s EasyPatterns and Chemica’s Patterned Fashions are 2 examples of this type.
- Brands like Sparkleberry have the carrier on the back (behind the pattern) because the maker has used a special sublimation printer to print the pattern on a printable HTV product. These require a different process for cutting and application. That’s a lesson for another day. This is usually okay to layer unless it also has a textured or glittery finish.
Foil is a shiny-looking material. Sometimes it has an adhesive on it, so that’s actually HTV. It works generally in the same way as a smooth or glitter.
But often it doesn’t have its own adhesive and is used in conjunction with a separate adhesive product. Magic Foil from the Rhinestone World is an example of this type. You don’t cut it, but rather press it on top of adhesive that’s sold separately.
Adhesive is used as the bond between foil and the garment. It’s semi-translucent. You cut and weed it like normal HTV, then press it on the project. Next you put foil over it and press again. When you remove the foil piece, foil stays in the areas where the adhesive is, thus creating your design. You don’t use the adhesive alone. You typically cannot put any other product above or below this type of foil.
This stuff has been around quite a while so you’re probably familiar with it. With this product, you print a design on it, again in reverse, using a home printer. There are different kinds for ink jet vs laser jet printers. You can then cut around the outer edge of the design and apply it with heat. Silhouette users can do Print and Cut projects with printable HTV so that you can cut around the outer contours with the machine. If you have a more complex design with a wide variety of colors, shading on colors, lots of tiny pieces, or a photo, this can be the way to go..
Printable HTV often comes in varieties for both light and dark materials. The one for dark materials prints the design on a white background so that the dark color of the material doesn’t show through or alter the colors in the design.
There are many other types of HTV, including but not limited to low-temperature, stretch, textured, reflective, glow-in-the-dark, iridescent, holographic and metallic. Many cannot be layered because of their special properties. Here I’ve got a metallic on the left, football texture in the middle, and silver lens electric on the right.
The most important thing is to know which product you need to use for the fabric of your project. For example, if you’re working with a really stretchy tshirt, your project will last much longer with a stretch product. If you’re putting something on nylon, which melts very easily, you want to use a product that needs a shorter press time or can be applied at a lower temperature or has a different adhesive. Do your research on the manufacturer’s website and look at the fabric content of your project surface.
Cold Peel vs Hot (Warm) Peel
Another property of any HTV is when it’s okay to peel off the carrier after you finish pressing. This is something to check into any time you use HTV.
- Most regular, glitter and flocked HTV is hot peel. That means you can remove the carrier right after you press without any waiting. It doesn’t matter if you do wait — you just don’t have to.
- Other products, such as foil or metallic, are cold peel. With those, you need to wait until the carrier cool to the touch. This is necessary for the adhesive to cool down enough so that the product creates a good bond with the material.
What to use for this project
Recommended brands for this project are Siser Easyweed, ThermoFlex Plus and Silhouette Smooth. All work very well. There are other brands out there, but I can’t speak to their quality as I haven’t used them extensively enough. I’ll cover the patterned brands and specialty products in other posts. We need to walk before we run, so we need to stick to a simple, smooth HTV for this towel.
It’s a good idea to test a few brands of HTV to see what you like. Some are easier to cut, some easier to weed, some easier to apply. They can have different “feels” when applied, plus their longevity, colors and prices vary. Some you can find at a local craft store, some you have to order. I’m going to be using Siser Easyweed, as that’s my favorite brand.
PRO TIP: If you end up using Siser, do yourself a huge favor and download their app. You’ll have the types, colors, application instructions and links to videos right at your fingertips.
To prewash or not to prewash
There’s a big debate in the crafting community on whether or not to prewash a t-shirt or other project onto which you’re going to apply HTV. Some manufacturers recommend it, others don’t say either way. Each side has very strong opinions. My preference? I usually don’t any longer. But here are some tips:
- If you detect a finish/sizing on the material, I recommend prewashing because it can keep the HTV from adhering properly.
- If you do prewash, don’t use fabric softener. Again, that can make it harder for the HTV to get good adhesion with the fabric.
One thing that IS an absolute – your project surface must be absolutely dry. Moisture is the enemy because it keeps the adhesive from sticking long-term.
Step 1: Set up the page
Start a new project. We’re going to cut on the mat for our first HTV project, so for now leave your page size at 12” x 12” (or letter-size if you’re using a Portrait).
Step 2: Add the shape to the page
Look in the library for the free shape called Polka Dot Heart. If you don’t have a Cameo 3, look for another shape that–
- Has large-ish inner pieces.
- Is a single piece (we are only using 1 color on this project).
- Has no thin or super-skinny parts.
- Won’t be a problem if it’s accidentally backwards (in other words, no words – see what I did there ????).
Add your shape to the page.
The heart and polka dots are separate pieces, but we want to cut them as one. Ungroup them once to separate into the heart and the set of dots. Go ahead and select just the heart and fill it with the color of your HTV.
Now select both the heart and the set of dots at once. Use the Centralize option in the Quick Access Toolbar to align them both vertically and horizontally with 1 click. Move the dots around a bit if you like (I think they are a bit low just centralized). Then group them together.
Step 3: Resize the design
Measure the usable area on your towel where you want to put your heart design. Resize the heart+polka dots to fit the area. Here on this first project, you want to put your design far enough from the edge of the towel that the iron can press flat on it. In other words, you don’t want part of the iron on the seam edge as you’re applying your HTV. I’ll explain more about why we want to avoid that area in a later project.
We’re going to keep this project small for several reasons. First, it’s easier to press. Keep it small enough that you can cover the whole thing with your iron. Secondly, if you mess up anything, you haven’t used a great deal of your HTV. This is definitely a more expensive material than something like cardstock or vinyl, so you don’t want to waste it. I do find HTV even easier to work with than vinyl for me, so you don’t have to worry about it being small. Around 3” is usually good, depending on the size of your iron. We’ll get to a bigger project next time.
Move your design to the upper left of your mat area.
Step 4: Mirror the design
This is the CRITCAL step when cutting regular HTV, so I’m going to explain it again. You’re going to be cutting on the back side of the HTV. That means you need to cut the design backwards. After you weed, you’ll be flipping the design over to apply it to the towel. If you don’t cut backwards on the backside, when you flip it over it will be backwards on the front side.
COMMON ROOKIE MISTAKE: Not mirroring a design when cutting HTV.
Here’s how we’re going to mirror the design. Select it, then use the drop down menu Object>Mirror>Flip Horizontally or the right click menu Flip Horizontally. Undo and redo that a few times, watching the locations of the dots.
Here’s one reason we chose this heart: in case you forget to mirror, or get confused when you’re undoing and redoing, it won’t matter. Yep, there’s at least some method to my madness. But most often, and always on words, it will make a difference. So you need to find a way to remember to mirror. I’ll give you some tips in the next step.
Step 5: Set up the cut job
We’ll be good cutting in simple cut mode this time, since we’re only cutting 1 piece from 1 color.
I want to show you something here in the Send area that’s peculiar to heat transfer material and only a few other materials and actions. For just right now, I want you to take your blade out. This is going to keep you from accidentally cutting before you’re ready. I’ll let you know when to put it back in.
Select Heat Transfer, Smooth as your material type. Don’t worry about making any other choices yet. Click “Send.” Notice that the software tells you that HTV normally needs to be mirrored and asks you if you want to do that now or send it as is.
For now, go ahead and choose “Send Mirrored” and watch where the machine goes. It should go through the motions on the right side of your machine. Why is that?
Here’s the problem
The software flips the entire page, not just the design. This is huge!!!! If you have your design in the upper left of quadrant of your mat but have the page size set the full width of the mat, it will cut in the upper right instead of the upper left, as it just did. That’s because, as I said, it flipped the whole page, not just the shape. But you don’t SEE that on the mat portion of the Send area because the software doesn’t change anything there.
That makes it really easy to accidentally cut in the wrong place. If you’ve got 2 different colors of HTV side by side on your mat, your shapes get cut on the wrong colors. Or if you just have a scrap in the upper left, the machine cuts your mat.
I’ve also found that sometimes it doesn’t ask you! I haven’t been able to figure out the sequence for when this happens because it’s not all the time. But it does happen at some point after I’ve told it I don’t want to mirror.
Here’s the solution
SO – I don’t use that feature. Instead, I use it as a reminder to make sure I’ve mirrored my designs myself as described in Step 4.
PRO TIP: If you find yourself forgetting to mirror, use that reminder in the software, put a reminder on the lid of your machine and/or always follow my HTV Projects Checklist. But don’t throw away HTV you accidentally cut backwards because you forgot to mirror. 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.
Now that I’ve explained that, put the blade back in and go on to the next step.
Step 6: Cut the design
Reset the size of your page so that it’s at least ½” larger on all sides than your design (so 1” taller and 1” wider than the heart). Position your heart so that it’s centered on that page size.
Cut a piece of HTV the size of the page and put it on your mat, making sure it’s in the correct spot. If your page size is smaller than full size, on a Cameo it’s the upper left; on smaller machines, upper right. And TRIPLE CHECK to make sure you’ve got the shiny side down.
I HIGHLY recommend a test cut (don’t I always), so set your heart to No Cut for now. One thing we are especially looking for is ease of weeding at corners, so a 1/4 – 1/2″ square is a good shape to test cut. I will tell you that cut lines can be VERY hard to see on HTV (tips on finding them are at the bottom of the post). So put your square somewhere you can easily find it and watch as the machine cuts. This is another reason we’re using the heart for this project – you’ve got plenty of space at the lower left and lower right to make some test cuts.
The good news is that the default setting will probably work just fine, but I do recommend turning on Line Segment Overcut. Double check your cut preview. You can see above that the lines on the heart are not bold, telling me it’s on No Cut, while the square is bold, so is on Cut. Go over your cutting checklist and perform the test cut using “Send As-Is.” With your weeding tool, pick up the corner of the square and pull it off the carrier. If it won’t come off easily, take the force up by 2 or 3 and cut another square in another spot. Personally, good quality smooth HTV is my favorite thing to cut because there are just way fewer variables for cut settings. Plus the carrier really holds things in place well as long as your mat is holding the carrier well.
Once you’ve got the settings working well on your machine with your blade, delete the square and set your heart back to Cut.
Cut for reals
Go for it and cut the heart, remembering to use “Send As-Is.” Even though you’ve done test cuts, be sure to check the cut BEFORE you unload the mat by trying to lift 1 or 2 dots out. If they don’t come off easily, adjust your settings and send the cut again. As long as you don’t unload (and as long as you were INCREDIBLY off on your settings), it will cut again in the exact same spot. Check the dots again. Repeat until you can weed easily.
Then remove the full rectangle of HTV, still attached to the carrier, from the mat.
Step 7: Weed the HTV
A good weeding tool is essential when working with HTV. I love this set from Harbor Freight. It’s cheap, has several pieces and works great. You really need something with a thin, sharp tip. You can use a safety pin, but after you get hand cramps you’ll realize how smart it is to grab a good weeding tool. The hook tool from Silhouette isn’t my favorite, because although it has a nice cushioned shaft, the hook isn’t as sharp as I’d like.
You’re going to work with the back side (matte side, the one you cut on) facing up, the shiny (plastic-y side) down. Using your weeding tool, grab the corner of the HTV and lift it off the carrier.
Pull gently until you get to the cut line in the design. If you got your cut settings right and are using good HTV, it should separate easily. The carrier sheet is sticky – that’s totally normal and is actually helpful, as we’ll see when we begin applying the HTV to the towel.
Remove all the background that’s around the heart.
Now we need to weed out the polka dots. This time, try to get your weeding tool right in the cut line groove. We are going to save those little dots as tester pieces. An extra bit of carrier sheet can hold them for us, so cut off a corner of the carrier that’s now blank around the heart and put your dots on it. Be careful to put them on with the back still facing up. Any that you don’t use for testing today you can save for a future project.
Step 8: Prepare to press
Flip your design over and see how your HTV design looks on the towel. This is your final chance to make sure you got it mirrored correctly before you press it on, although it won’t really matter with this design.
Remove the water from your iron. You can try turning off the steam setting, but my iron never seems to obey and ends up spitting on my material. I’d rather be safe than sorry.
Now get your iron heating up. We know every iron is going to be different in settings because they usually don’t have temperature markings. Often you just get “use the cotton setting” or a specific temperature as an instruction. According to Siser, the Cotton setting on most irons goes up to 400°, while the Wool and Polyester are around 300°. Use the lower as a starting point and I’m going to recommend some testing tips in the next step. The recommended temperature for Siser Easyweed is 305°.
When using an iron for HTV, you need a smooth, flat, very firm work surface with no give in it. That means an ironing board is out. Not only does it usually have holes in the metal, it may also move up and down a bit. And the padding in the cover means it isn’t really firm. You can use a flat piece of tile or a metal cookie sheet placed on a concrete floor or stone counter. Make sure the surface is heat resistant. In other words, that the iron won’t melt or damage it. I’m working on my kitchen granite counter using a cookie sheet covered with a sheet of craft paper.
Step 9: Apply the HTV
It’s a REALLY good idea to practice a bit with something besides your tea towel and your full heart design. There’s no reason to waste your materials if you’re just trying to figure out if your iron is set right. I keep an old t-shirt in my craft room for just such occasions. And those polka dots we weeded? Perfect! Cut off the other corner of the carrier around your heart and put 1 dot on it. Practice each of these steps with your testers, then jump back to the top of the steps for the real thing.
Here’s the process for applying the HTV:
Remember how I said your towel needs to be dry for the HTV to stick? That’s one big reason we pre-press. That just means to iron the towel in the area where you’re going to put the design in order to remove the moisture.
Align the design
One of the things I struggle with the most is getting designs in the right place. Here are some tips I’ve learned–
- Fold your towel in half. Press down the center so you have a vertical guide for centering the heart on the towel.
- Fold and press horizontally as a guide for making sure the design is level.
- Unfold your towel so that it’s laying flat.
- With the fronts together (so the non-sticky parts), fold your heart along the center and crease it. Totally safe – the pressing will remove the crease. It’s easy with this design, because you have the dip in the top of the heart and the point at the bottom.
- Do the same with the middles horizontally.
- Now lay the HTV on your towel. The sticky side of the carrier goes down onto the towel, which helps it stay in place. The adhesive on the back of the HTV is now in contact with the towel. Place the vertical fold in the HTV along the vertical fold on the towel. Use the horizontal fold to make sure you’re level. This is where your ruler comes in handy. The fold on the HTV won’t necessarily be along the fold line in your towel, but you can check to see if they are parallel.
Cover the HTV carrier
Here’s where you need the Teflon sheet or parchment paper. The high heat of your iron and the length of time you need to leave it on the towel can scorch your project. The Teflon or parchment will allow the heat through but still protect the towel. Lay your protector over the HTV, making sure it covers the entire area. As you’re ironing, make sure you keep that protector between your iron and your project.
It’s go time. You’re going to place your iron over the design and press firmly for 10-15 seconds, or whatever is recommended by the manufacturer. The amount of pressure can make or break your project, so don’t be scared to give it some muscle if needed. Insufficient pressure is the #1 reason HTV falls off. Folks immediately think it’s the time or temperature or bad product that’s the issue, but most often it isn’t. Remember to keep your iron flat on the towel, with no part of it on the edge seam.
Remove the carrier
After the alloted time, set your iron aside. Slowly peel the corner of clear plastic carrier away from the HTV to see if it’s sticking. Most regular HTV is hot peel, which means you don’t have to wait until it has cooled to begin peeling. Just be sure to check the info from the manufacturer.
If it’s not sticking, lay the carrier and cover back over the HTV and iron again, maybe doing 5 seconds at first, and then doing more time as needed. You may have to experiment some with the heat setting on your iron or with the amount of time you are pressing. It’s best to start low and get a little warmer if necessary. It’s also possible that not all areas of your iron are heated to the same temperature, so try using different parts of the iron’s surface on your HTV. Just remember that pressure is important. The time should be pretty consistent.
Once it’s staying on well, peel the entire carrier sheet off. Make sure especially to check that corners and edges are staying put. If the carrier’s not coming off easily or the HTV isn’t sticking, it’s not adhered well and you need to go back over the steps we talked about – adjusting first pressure, then temperature.
After you’ve removed the carrier, lay your protector back down and repress for 2-3 seconds over the entire design. You can move the iron around this time if you like.
If you would like to watch a video using an iron to apply HTV, I highly recommend the one from Siser. You can find it here.
Your first HTV project is now complete!
Caring for items with HTV applied to them
Now that you’ve made a beautiful towel, you want to keep it looking great. Here are some things to do to care for it:
- Wait 24 hours before you wash your the towel for the first time.
- Machine washing is fine. Just be sure to use warm or cold water, not hot.
- Do not use liquid fabric softener or regular bleach when laundering. Color-safe bleach and dryer sheets are fine.
- You can dry on your normal dryer setting, or hang to dry. Don’t use the high heat setting.
- Do not dry clean.
- Do not iron directly on the HTV without a cover.
Troubleshooting common problems
Carrier is cut through
This happens when you’ve got a setting too high, normally blade number.
Starting and ending points on cut lines don’t meet up
If you’ve got your blade and/or force set too high, the blade gets caught momentarily in the carrier and possibly the mat. The motor box stays there, but the roller bar is still moving. That makes a chattering or stuttering sound. When the motor box breaks free, the cut begins again but it’s in the wrong place because the roller bar has still been moving the mat in and out of the machine. So, the ending point of the cut is not back where the cut started. Solution: lower your blade number and/or force.
Can’t see cut lines
It’s sometimes hard to see the cut lines on HTV. True confession: I cut my test cut on my first project 4 straight times. I was convinced it didn’t cut at all because I couldn’t see the lines. I find this is more often the case when the cut settings aren’t great or on certain types of HTV (glitter to name one). Here are some helpers:
- Bend the HTV to find the slits.
- Use a light box under the HTV.
- On darker colors, sprinkle and spread around some baby powder.
- Use a sketch pen (or your own pen in the pen holder, which is my preference) to draw the lines before you cut. I recommend getting just a bit of experience before you try this. It’s a bit tricky, as the software won’t let you choose the action Sketch when your material is HTV. You can create a custom setting, or just tell the software you’re using cardstock. You’ll just need to remember to change it back before you actually cut. Since there are more steps involved, there’s more of a chance for error. That’s why I suggest you only do this after you’ve done some projects. I just mention it for you to keep in mind.
Can’t weed easily
This is usually due to incorrect cut settings. Always try to weed a small portion BEFORE you unload so that you can cut again as needed. If you can’t weed easily, take the force up by 2-3 and cut again. Also get into the habit of always test cutting first so you don’t waste time having to cut a second time.
Design lifts from carrier when weeding
This can happen particularly if the pieces are small or thin. I keep a second weeding tool to hold the good pieces onto the backing as I weed away the background.
HTV also goes bad over time, especially if stored at extreme temperatures. The adhesive breaks down, so it doesn’t stick to the carrier.
HTV won’t stick to material
PRESSURE!!!! Make sure you are using adequate pressure. Try this before adjusting the temperature next. The time is the least likely to be inconsistent.
Be sure you’ve got the right type of HTV with the right type of material. This shouldn’t be a problem since I told you to get a cotton towel and regular, smooth HTV.
HTV falls off when washed
This is a big complaint about HTV, but it’s completely fixable as long as you follow the directions. It happens if the HTV is not applied correctly due inadequate pressure (biggest culprit), a finish on the material that was not removed, a damp garment, the wrong product used for the wrong material type, wrong time or temperature.
OOPS! I pressed it in the wrong place
You aren’t alone! We’ve all done it at one time or another. Here are some ways to try to remove a boo-boo:
- Reheat the garment from the inside to remelt the adhesive and then peel off the HTV gently. This isn’t foolproof, and you have to be careful not to stretch a t-shirt, but it’s a good place to start. It works best with small designs. Sometimes you also have to work to get the adhesive itself off.
- Use a product specifically made to remove HTV, such as AlbaChem Vinyl Letter Removing Solvent (VLR). You squirt it on the backside of the project, wait a few moments, and peel away the HTV. Be aware that it will often take off the pieces around the one you’re trying to get off. That’s because it’s a liquid so will spread across the fabric.
- Be cautious with other home remedies, as they may not work or may ruin your project. But if you feel the project is ruined already, it can’t hurt to try.
- Another trick is to just cut a larger piece of HTV and cover the mistake. Int this case, you’d need to make an offset of the design to cut. It will be larger on the outside, and the holes smaller, so you’d be able to cover the original. Or, cut just a solid heart.
Excess adhesive outside the design on the towel
You’ve pressed too long, too hot or with too much pressure (usually only on a heat press will you get too much pressure), or have repressed from the backside. As the adhesive gets too soft, it oozes out from under the vinyl. This is a tip straight from a Siser. I had previously recommended repressing from the backside, but after hearing this from them I no longer do that unless my garment is extremely textured (like a waffle weave).
- If the polka dot heart doesn’t float your boat, you can choose another of the single-color designs (without words, just in case).
- Add more hearts along the bottom of the towel. Just be sure that any time you are pressing, ALL HTV is covered by a carrier. And, let me say from experience, make sure all portions of your HTV are in direct contact with the towel, not sitting on the carrier for another piece. Ya, that just presses the HTV onto the carrier and messes everything up. Been there, done that.
- Combine several different shapes one in 1 project, but without overlapping pieces. You can use a second color, as long as you always have the HTV protected with a carrier as you press.
- Did you save those polka dots? You can add them around the heart. Or, cut the same design from another color of HTV and add the dots to the towels of the opposite colors.
Now that you’ve done a simple project, we’ll move on to a t-shirt with multiple colors in Project #2.
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