Siser HTV basics for beginners
Welcome to the creative world of heat transfer vinyl! If you don’t even know the HTV basics don’t worry, I was a beginner not long ago. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty overwhelming at first. HTV, CPSIA, weeders? What are these people talking about? Now that I understand all the lingo, all I can think about are the thousands of creative project possibilities. Here’s a a list of tips and terms that will help any beginner start creating quicker.
Know the lingo.
- Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) is a material that is easily applied with pressurized heat because of the specially formulated carrier.
- Carriers are the original polyester backing on HTV. There are pressure sensitive carriers, which means they’re sticky or tacky, and static carriers that are smooth.
- A cutter is the machine that will take a plain sheet of vinyl and carve a design into it with a small, sharp blade.
- Weeding is the process of removing the extra material after a design has been cut out.
- A Weeder is the stainless steel hook tool that makes weeding a stress free process.
- A Heat Press is the machine that sandwiches the vinyl and the material it’s being applied to while releasing heat.
- Pressure is the amount of force used when you push down a heat press or home iron on top of the vinyl to adhere it to a fabric. It’s so important we wrote a whole blog post about proper pressure!
- Multipurpose paper and heat transfer cover sheets are used to protect your fabric from scorching under the heat, ensures the vinyl adheres to the fabric and not your heat press, and in multipurpose paper’s case it can be used to store weeded designs for future use.
Always mirror your image. The only vinyl that does not require mirror imaging is our print and cut materials with an exception when it comes to ColorPrint Soft.
Cut through the vinyl, not the carrier. A good cut is achieved when you can see the cut lines on the carrier side of the material, but the carrier isn’t punctured or torn…basically anyway. If you want to know all the specifications for quality cut lines check out this post.
Weed the cavities in a design first. This will make the weeding process easier and stop your hands from sticking to the carrier.
Try the “Heat Press Trick” for the EasyWeed family. Heat up the lower platen on your press for 10 seconds. Lay your EasyWeed material on the lower platen and weed your design. The heat from the press softens the adhesive, allowing you to weed the design more easily! Check out the video!
Place the shiny side of the carrier face up when preparing to heat apply the vinyl. In this step of the process your design should look the way you want your finished product to look just with the carrier still attached. Your design should be facing the correct way and all words should be legible.
Be aware that each type of vinyl is unique. While some share a variety of similarities, not all vinyl weeds the same, nor do they all require the same amount of heat or pressure. Double-check the product specifications to ensure that it is being optimally applied.
With over 15 types of Siser heat transfer vinyl, each with their own range of colors, the customization possibilities are endless. You can see top quality pictures of every HTV and their color options on our app which is available for download in the App Store and Google Play.
Now that you know the HTV basics, you’re not a beginner anymore. So, go ahead, give it a try! Make sure to tag us when you share your project using the hashtag #SiserNA. We’d love to see your creativity!
P.S. If you’re not sure where to start here’s a few projects perfect for newbies: