10 Tips and Tricks for Cutting, Weeding, and Applying Siser® Heat Transfer Vinyl
You can learn a lot in 10 years. Imagine how much you could learn in 40! Siser has been developing, manufacturing, and working with heat transfer vinyl for over 40 years. With almost half a century worth of hands on experience, we’ve tucked a few tricks up our sleeves when it comes to cutting, weeding, and applying Siser HTV! Today we’re sharing our top 10 favorite tips and tricks so you can use Siser heat transfer vinyl like the experts do – without investing 40 years of your life ;)
Tip 1: Weed Inside the Box
Let’s start at the beginning and simplify the weeding process! Section off designs with weeding boxes or cut lines. A weeding box is just a square cut line around the perimeter of the art. You could also use straight cut lines to separate a sheet full of designs.
The extra cut lines help to separate the design from the material you want to save for future projects and makes it easier to find and weed your designs on the cutting mat.
Tip 2: Cut with the Carrier Side Down and the Adhesive Side Up
When working with heat transfer vinyl, the shiny side of the material always goes face down for cutting. This shiny side is called the “carrier.” It covers the face (the colored side that will face out on the garment) of the HTV and holds the cut pieces in alignment during cutting and applying. So the the dull side or “adhesive side” is face up towards the blade. The dull side holds the adhesive that will only become sticky when you heat it. Sometimes this side is white. Oftentimes, a light colored HTV will have a white adhesive side to ensure the color stays true no matter what color fabric you apply it on. Not to worry though, the adhesive is the same as always no matter the color!
The distinction between the two sides is important to note before cutting since your cut files will need to be mirrored or flipped horizontally (so they appear backwards in the software) in order for them to appear right-facing during heat application.
As you weed, you may notice the back of the carrier is sticky or “pressure sensitive.” Some carriers (like Brick™ 600‘s) are not sticky and are called “static carriers.”
The tackiness allows finer detail to be cut and makes returning accidentally weeded pieces to its proper place easy. However, the sticky part of the carrier does not hold any adhesive. All the heat activated adhesive is on the dull side of the HTV. This means that even though an HTV scrap isn’t on a carrier, it can still be heat applied! See how we used that to our advantage in the following post:
Tip 3: Hot Weeding Trick
If you don’t like to weed on your cutting mat, and you want to weed quicker- use a warm surface! The bottom platen of your heat press is perfect, but a warmed heat transfer pillow or EasyPress™ mat will work too. Weeding on top of the heated area allows the vinyl to peel away from the carrier even easier than before. However, this trick only works for products with a sticky carrier. So all products in the EasyWeed® Family, Holographic, and even Glitter HTV can benefit from weeding on a warm surface.
Please note: If you’re weeding very fine detail, you’ll want to stick to your usual routine and avoid the extra heat that could encourage small parts of the design to lift too easily.
Tip 4: Quicker Clean Up
I don’t know about you, but as soon as I finish weeding, I cannot wait to press it on! Sometimes in my rush to the heat press, a bit of weeded vinyl hitchhikes on my sleeve without my knowledge. Usually, I notice the scrap before it can accidentally work its way onto my project, and other times I’m not so lucky. Even though there’s no carrier sheet, the HTV still has adhesive on the back, and can be heat pressed on. Taking a moment to pick up any loose weeded pieces can prevent such accidents… and save you some HTV remover!
Here’s two ways to keep a cleaner work area – no fancy tools required! If you prefer to keep up with the mess as you weed, fold a piece of packing tape. The tape sticks to your table as a vinyl cavity catcher during the weeding process. If you’d rather grab everything when you’re done weeding, use a lint roller to quickly corral all the tiny bits of HTV.
They say creative minds have messy work areas, and in my case, messy sleeves as well…but keeping a clean space (especially when your space is limited!) helps the work day run smoother and saves you from surprise HTV appearances on your projects.
Tip 5: Take it Slow for Stretch
We know you want to work as quickly and efficiently as possible because your time is valuable, and you have tons of orders to fulfill because you are seriously rocking this vinyl thing…riiight? However, in some cases slowing things down is going to save you in the long run. Cutting EasyWeed Stretch is one such case! The thin material is so elastic that a super quick blade sometimes bounces on the material (creating cutting lines that appear dashed —-) instead of gliding through the material for clean and crisp cut lines. Slowing down your cut speed can cure bad cuts that result in wasted material.
Tips 6-10 Coming Soon!
We have too many tips for just one post! If you made it this far, give yourself a gold star and take a break for a bit! The final five tips are coming at ya in next week’s blog post. Keep an eye out for it, OR simply type your email address in the nifty box on the right side of this page to receive blog post updates direct to your inbox!