How to Cut heat transfer vinyl with a Cricut Maker
You’re walking down the street when someone's clothing catches your eye. You think, “I would love to have something like that.” Well, what if you could make the exact same thing with your own personal flair? All it takes is a little creativity and heat transfer vinyl.
What is heat transfer vinyl?
Heat transfer vinyl is a unique vinyl material that uses heat and pressure to customize items. HTV comes as a roll form with an adhesive back. Typically, you use a vinyl cutter to cut your desired design from the vinyl.
You then place the vinyl on garments or other compatible materials. If you’ve seen concert t-shirts, promotional bags, or other personalized garments, it is likely that they were decorated with heat transfer vinyl.
Heat transfer vinyl is different from adhesive vinyl. Unlike adhesive vinyl with a paper backing, HTV has a translucent plastic carrier sheet covering the vinyl, and requires heat to adhere to garments.
Types of HTV that will work with a Cricut Maker
- Glitter: Glitter is a popular choice for its uniqueness. It’s an attention puller by itself, and works great as an accent to everyday vinyl.
- Metallic: Metallic HTV is an excellent way to glitz your home decor projects. Its subtle finish makes it perfect for event merchandise and adding extra flair.
- Flock: Velvet fuzz never went out of style. Flocked HTV is great for setting yourself apart with its luxury finish.
- Holographic: Take your vinyl game to the next level and bring your design to life with holographic HTV. You can pair holographic with everyday HTV for added effect.
- Glow-in-the-dark: Glow-in-the-dark HTV and cotton fabric are a match made in apparel heaven. It grabs attention when you put it on hoodies, t-shirts, and accessories.
- Dimensional: The 3D effect will make any design pop, and can also create an embossed effect if paired underneath everyday HTV.
- Everyday: You can choose to keep it simple with regular HTV that works on most fabric.
What Can You Make with heat transfer vinyl?
Everything from funky t-shirts to branded hats is fair game when you use heat transfer vinyl. There are print-on-demand businesses that thrive on HTV. The beauty of fabric is that you have a wide array of colors that would drive home any message. Along with shirts, you can also personalize shoes, bags, and your favorite jeans using heat transfer vinyl. You can also use HTV on cardstock! Heat transfer vinyl will undoubtedly take your greeting cards, get-well-soon cards, and birthday cards to the next level. Working with heat transfer vinyl is a breeze once you understand your equipment and the process.
Cricut Maker with HTV step by step
Every heat transfer vinyl project has basic material requirements and standard procedures that assure you a flawless outcome. Let’s break it down.
Materials needed for heat transfer vinyl
- Cricut smart vinyl cutter
- A computer or smartphone to access the Cricut Design Space
- Cricut machine mat
- Fine Point or Premium Fine Point blade for precision cutting
- Heat transfer vinyl
- Weeding tool to remove tiny bits of vinyl
- Heat press
- Base material (garment)
Designing, Cutting, and Weeding
- Find your flat and stable pressing surface.
- Verify cut settings with a test cut on your HTV. You can test with any basic shape. After you do your test cut, weed the shape out to make sure your settings are all correct.
- Use the Cricut design space to determine the size of your design. The mirror function in the smartphone Cricut app is automatic. However, you have to manually set it if you’re using the computer version.
Place the HTV sheet liner side down onto the Cricut machine mat, the liner side will typically be the shiny side, but if you aren’t sure, peel back a corner of your vinyl to find out. Then, cut your design with a Premium Fine Point blade.
When the cut is complete, weed the excess vinyl from the image with a weeding tool.
- There are a few factors that affect the outcome of the heat transfer process like temperature, time, and pressure so double check those settings before pressing.
- Give your garment a quick pre-press before placing your HTV on the blank.
- Align your cut design on the garment with the shiny liner side up, and the HTV side down.
- Press the garment with the specific pressure, temperature, and time for your HTV.
- Peel back the liner according to the HTV application instructions, whether it is a cold, hot, or warm peel.
Tips and Hacks
- Get a weeding box to make your weeding tasks easier.
- When you print fabrics, go for cotton, polyester, and cotton-polyester blends. The vinyl sticks on this fabric well. It’s also good against heat.
- For the best results, weed on a warm surface if you’re using a sticky carrier.
- You might want to repress the front and back of the base material for about ten additional seconds.
- Wait at least 24 hours before washing the new item you just made, and wash the garment inside out.
Mistakes to Avoid
- Make sure the heat press makes full contact with the base material. Never overlook zippers and buttons during the press, as those could affect even pressure.
- If you use any fabric that isn’t cotton, polyester, or a cotton-polyester blend, use vinyl appropriate for that particular fabric.
Wrapping it Up
Whether it’s for your print-on-demand business or fun personal branding projects, heat transfer vinyl has a lot of applications. You can use it to elevate your business or make dull items unique and personalized!
Check out our HTV beginner’s guide to learn more about heat transfer vinyl, and find out which HTV is right for you.