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:
How to Create 2 Products from 1 Design
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!
When pressing an image on a new shirt or jersey sometimes the vinyl after a couple washings and drying the image becomes wrinkled and at cetrtain places the image will lift.
I can wash and dry shirt first still happens.
Hi Tonya! Most fabrics shrink a little in each wash which can cause the HTV to wrinkle. Pre-pressing your shirt for a few seconds before applying HTV can help pre-shrink the shirt and lessen the wrinkles. You can always re-cover the HTV with a heat transfer cover sheet and press the garment for 5 seconds to re-adhere any lifting material as well.
Can this paper be used in latex printer?
Siser® Heat Transfer Vinyl cannot be used with a latex printer, but most of our Print and Cut materials can. Check the “Compatible Inks” under the “Recommended Accessories & Care” tab of our website to ensure the product you’re interested in will be suitable.
How hot does Iron have to be if using a house hold iron?
Hi Carman, the “Cotton” setting is most commonly recommended, but I’d suggest checking the “Application Instructions” on each product page of our website for the best setting. The cotton setting typically reaches temperatures around 300°F which is suitable for most Siser HTV. However, all irons can vary in temperature and settings so don’t be afraid to be make adjustments as needed. You may want to watch this video on how we recommend applying HTV with a home iron for best results.
Why does my siser easy weed stretch design ripple around my bust area when I wear it.
Hi Christy! EasyWeed® Stretch will have more give with stretchy fabrics (like spandex or lycra) than stiff fabrics (like cotton and satin) so you may want to try a top that’s made of a stretchier fabric. Additionally, sizing up the shirt usually helps alleviate rippling across the bust.
I have the Siser Easyweed Extra Black, and it has an additional clear layer of film on the vinyl side (not the carrier). Is that additional layer supposed to come off or is it an additional layer of Adhesive that should be pressed along with the design?
Hi Josh! EasyWeed® Extra doesn’t have an additional layer that needs to be removed. Can you please take a photo of the material and send it to our team at email@example.com? If you can include where the EasyWeed® Extra was purchased from as well, it will help them troubleshoot this issue the best.
I seem to be having a problem with the Easyweed Stretch staying on my shirts. I follow all of the application instructions exactly as stated on the website, but yet the vinyl peels off during wear. is this because the stretch should only be used on performance wear?
Hi Rachel! EasyWeed® Stretch can be applied to more than just performance wear. However it does require very firm pressure to adhere properly. Even if your time and temperature are accurate, insufficient pressure can cause lifting HTV. You may need to use a heat transfer pillow inside your garment to correct a pressure problem. If you’re still have troubles after these tips, please email pictures and your application process to Support@siserna.com for further troubleshooting.
I’ve had a problem with the material “slipping”around under the blade ( material not staying flat) which is causing my projects to not be cut out correctly. DO you have any tips for a tape application or some sort of backing to help the material be thinker and not so slippery.
Hi Erin! A cutting mat helps to stabilize the material and comes in multiple sizes for a variety of jobs. I’m not sure which type of cutter you have, but you may also want to look into purchasing a roll feeder if you cut without a mat often. Additionally, slowing down your cutting speed and ensuring the material has an equal amount of margin on each side of the pinch rollers will help the material feed straight and smooth.
what’s your advice on how to clean off the little pieces of vinyl off the sticky side before you apply the Heat.
Hi Sierra! You may want to check out our Top 5 Tips for Weeding. It has some of our best advice.
Hello Lily, do have any tips to keep the design cut on Premium Heat Transfer Vinyl from slipping (moving) during pressing in the Heat Press? Some of the smaller designs come out crooked because the transfer paper isn’t sticky.
Hi Rosie! It sounds like you’ll need some heat tape AKA thermo tape to hold the HTV in place during heat application.
My HTV is not sticking to my transfer tape. I’ve tried numerous times. I’ve burnished light, hard…and still it will not stick. I am using Siser HTV and the transfer sheet it came with. Help please?? I hate wasting all this vinyl.
IF you could send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know about your issues, they can certainly help you out.
Hi Laura, I’m sorry you’re having such a tough time! We have several products that require a transfer mask, but most of these EasyPatterns® tips are relevant and should be helpful. If you’re still having trouble, please email Support@SiserNA.com with pictures of the issue.
Why does my heat transfer vinyl keep peeling off cotton baby onesies and bibs even before washing. I heat them first, then use my cricut heat press at 305 degrees for 10 seconds. Please help as I have tried less heat and more heat and the vinyl does not stay on the fabric. Thank you.
Hi Karen, We’ve found that the Cricut presses run about 30°F cooler than what the display shows. This is a common issue with these machines. Try increasing the temp to about 325° – 330° for 10 seconds. Please let us know if that helps!
Hi there, I used the htv on my bag and after i used the heat press now it’s sticky to the touch. What did i do wrong? I haven’t had this issue before with it.
Hi Kandice! What kind of fabric was the bag made of, which HTV did you use, and what were your application settings? Further information will help me troubleshoot the issue.
I just completed a large order of Basketball League Shirts using the EasyWeed Stretch. This is my first time using it. I used a Cricut Easy Press to apply it at 330 degrees for 20 seconds. After reading one of your responses to a comment I am worried that it will peel because I did not use enough pressure. I have the order boxed up and ready to ship. I used medium pressure. Should I unbox and re-heat with more pressure to avoid issues for my client?
Hi there! EasyWeed® Stretch does require FIRM pressure for long-lasting results. If you’re able to apply more pressure on the jerseys for 5-10 seconds each before shipping them out, I would advise doing so.