I made a shirt last weekend to cheer on my Texas Tech Red Raiders in the Final Four of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships. They made it to the final game — HURRAH! They didn’t win, but it was a great game that went to overtime. Wreck ‘Em Tech! Once I calmed down from watching the game, I realized I had not yet shared here on the blog one of my favorite tips for HTV. It’s a hack for layering it and getting it aligned. Time to do just that! (If you’re new to working with HTV, check out this post.)
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Can you layer?
When you are using several different colors of HTV, it’s fine to layer them if they are all smooth and/or the manufacturer states that you can. What I mean by layering is put one color directly on top of another. I used Siser Easyweed and I know I can layer that.
The design has a black background. Then the white and red pieces layer on top of the black.
You can choose to keep all the pieces of one color together as you cut so that you retain the spacing, but sometimes you waste material that way. Look at the white pieces from my design. See all the empty space between his mouth, hands and pants? That means wasted material. So to cut it, I rearranged my pieces.
That also means I was able to fit my wording on the page.
The only problem with this is that now I have to place 4 white sections of Raider Red on my black background instead of 1. Getting it all lined up perfectly is key, so that’s why we need the hack for layering.
I’m started by putting my black piece down on my work table. If you don’t have a background piece, just start with the lowest or largest piece. Then I laid each other piece on top. Since HTV has a sticky carrier, the pieces stay together. If you trim your carrier somewhat close to the HTV, you can save yourself a bit of time in the next step.
This allowed me to check my spacing and adjust as needed. Then, I moved all the pieces to my shirt at once. I moved the whole set around on my shirt until I knew it was in the right place. Then I was ready to press.
You can only press 1 layer at a time. LET ME REPEAT!!! You CANNOT press everything at once. What happens if you try is that instead of sticking to the shirt or the lower layers of HTV, the upper pieces stick onto the carrier of the piece below it. Yes, I did learn this the hard way with one of my first projects.
I removed all the pieces except the black background. Keep them together if possible. It’s easiest to lift the next to bottom piece and it should bring all the others with it.
Now I pressed that black background.
HUGE HINT: When pressing several layers this way, you don’t want to overheat the HTV. The heat makes things shrink slightly, and the longer you press the more it shrinks. Plus, if you overheat it some of the adhesive can slip out from under the piece. For all layers except the top one, press only 2-3 seconds: just long enough to be able to remove the carrier. That’s called a flash press.
Next, I put all the pieces back down, checking my spacing again. I removed all the pieces except the new bottommost one and pressed that. If you have pieces that are so far apart that their carriers don’t overlap, you can press those at the same time. For example, I could press my white hat and pants pieces at the same time because their carriers didn’t overlap.
I kept repeating the process:
- lay all the remaining pieces back on the project to check alignment
- remove all but the bottommost layer
- flash press that layer
Once you get to your last piece, press the full time to set all the pieces. Remove that last carrier and press 2-3 seconds one last time.
Here’s my completed shirt:
Raider Red never looked so good!
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