Sunday, 12 June 2016

Using Heat Transfer Vinyl for the First Time

Hello, Karen here and like many of you, I suspect, I only used my Silhouette for cutting paper or card.  I was aware that it could cut other media but never explored the possibilities.

A couple of months ago I made a frame using Silhouette vinyl and it was such a dream to use that I have decided to 'dip my toe' into the world of HTV (heat transfer vinyl).

This tutorial is about how I made a decorated T-Shirt but the possibilities are endless.  There are many, many YouTube videos and I watched a couple and then decided to take the plunge.  You may find a method that suits you better than this one but this worked very well for me.

STEP 1 - Making Your Design.

  • I had some beautiful gold HTV and wanted to use it on a T-Shirt for my daughter.  I looked in the Design Store for designs that were 'Sunshine' themed and found two that I liked. 

  • Next I resized the sun to 11ins, ungrouped it and made the centre circle 5 ins and then grouped them again. 
  • I resized my words to 4in x 3.5in. 

  • Added it to the centre of the sun. I then copied all of this onto another page and this is what I am going to cut in gold. 

  • As I wanted the design to have a black outline I used the Offset option to create an extra outline around the sun - this one was 0.125.

  • I then did the same to the text but this time made the offset distance 0.05 in.
  • I separated my two colours onto two separate drawing areas and flipped them horizantally using the option under 'Mirror' in the Object menu at the top left of your page.
  • So that you can see how this looks I have coloured the designs yellow for the sections I am going to cut from gold and black for the black pieces and added an 11.5 square around each design. 

STEP2 - Cutting your vinyl and applying to your shirt. 

NOTE - you must place your vinyl onto the cutting mat with the plastic side down.  This usually means that the lighter colour of your vinyl is facing up. 
  • I put my gold vinyl onto cutting mat (smoothed down carefully to make sure there were no air bubbles) and set my blade depth to 1.  
  • Once cut I used the pick tool to remove all the pieces I didn't want. 
  • I then did the same with my black vinyl. 

  • With the plastic side on top, I ironed the gold onto my t-shrt and once it had cooled slightly carefully pealed off the plastic.   I then carefully lined up the black outline and ironed that on top of the gold.  Be very careful to ensure that all of the gold is covered by the plastic backing of the black vinyl or you may catch it with the hot iron and ruin it. 
I was very pleased with the end result and loved the contrast between the black and gold.  



Light hold cutting mat for Cameo


  1. Thank you for this tutorial - I too have yet to try HTV - A very kind friend sent me some samples so I really should have a go! Can you tell me a bit more about the actual ironing please- heat setting for example and how long to leave the iron on the HTV. Also do you need to put a cloth or something over the HTV? Thanks

    1. The HTV has a plastic backing which is what you iron. I used a medium heat and held the iron on for 10 second bursts. It was a bit of a trial and error process by continuing to iron until the HTV came away from the plastic and adhered to the t-shirt. As I said I am a first timer at this so one of the other DT members, who has more experience may want to jump in and give you more information. I did discover that you need to make sure that the iron does not touch the HTV as it will shrivel it.

  2. Although you can iron onto the plastic sheet, a cloth, Teflon sheet or grease proof paper is a good idea. I use a Teflon sheet from the poundshop branded as a cooking liner. I set the iron to a click below cotton, but expect irons will vary. Htv comes in lots of finishes, basic smooth matte will likely be hot peel - ie you can peel back the plastic top sheet immediately. Glitter, chrome and other fancier htv finishes are normally cold peel - so allow to cool first before peeling back. Hope this helps, any other questions and we will be happy to help :)

  3. Thanks ladies...I will make a note of these details and take the plunge, lol!

    1. We would love to see what you make.