The Beginner’s Guide to Siser® Heat Transfer Vinyl
Welcome to the creative world of Siser® Heat Transfer Vinyl! If you don’t know the HTV basics, don’t worry- you will by the end of this post! I was a beginner not long ago, and I’m not going to lie, it was pretty overwhelming at first. HTV, CPSIA, weeding? What are these people talking about? Now that I’m fluent in HTV lingo, all I can think about are the thousands of creative project possibilities! So let’s dive into this list of terms that will help any beginner start creating quicker.
HTV Glossary of Terms
- Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) is a material that’s easily applied with a combination of heat, pressure, and time because of the specially formulated carrier. HTV can be applied with a heat press, home iron, Cricut EasyPress, flat iron, and other styles of irons!
- Carriers are the plastic backing that comes attached on HTV. It’s the part of the material that is revealed as you weed away excess. There are sticky carriers that are tacky and static carriers that are smooth.
- CPSIA certified means that the materials passed a lot of tests in order to be safe to use on children’s garments and other items. Most Siser HTV qualifies as CPSIA certified. You can learn more about CPSIA in this blog post.
- An Electronic Cutter is the machine that will take a plain sheet of vinyl and carve a design into it with a small, sharp blade. These range from wide/large format to smaller desktop/hobby machines. Our favorites are of course Romeo™ and Juliet™.
- An SVG is a Scalable Vector Graphic and is one of the most compatible files for use with electronic cutters.
- Weeding is the process of removing the extra material after a design has been cut out.
- A Siser EasyWeeder® is the stainless steel hook tool with a rubber grip that allows you to pick out cavities and weed excess easily and comfortably.
- Cavities are the centers of an image or text. Like the inner triangle of a capital “A”.
- A Heat Press is the machine that sandwiches the vinyl and the material it’s being applied to while applying pressure and 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 and even made a video!
- Heat Transfer Pillows are used to correct uneven pressure. Uneven pressure can be caused by seams, collars, buttons, pockets, and so much more! A pillow can be used to raise the application area above those obstacles, or it can be placed under them to allow them to sink in and out of the way. Pillows are also very important, so we made another video!
- Heat Transfer Cover Sheets are used to protect your fabric from scorch marks and ensure the HTV (and the adhesive underneath) adheres to the fabric and not the upper platen of your heat press. Cover Sheets can be made of multiple materials. Here are a few different types of Cover Sheets:
- Multipurpose Paper can be used as a cover sheet or it can be used to store weeded designs for future use.
- Parchment Paper (not to be confused with wax paper or butcher paper which will melt!) can be a cost effective cover sheet that’s especially useful for heat sensitive fabrics as it’s the cover sheet that retains the least heat. However, it’s not as long lasting as other cover sheets and should be discarded and replaced when ripped.
- Scorch Marks or Heat Marks are permanent discolorations of fabric due to high temperatures. It’s most clearly seen on red and black heat sensitive fabrics such as polyester.
- Heat Sensitive means the garment is likely to discolor from a high application temperature. This most commonly happens with fabrics like polyester and nylon. Luckily, all Siser HTV has a work around application method outlined in this post.
Tip #1: Always Mirror Your Image
Your design/text should appear backwards in the software before it’s ready to cut. The only HTV that does not require mirrored artwork is our EasyPatterns® and Digital Media.
Tip#2: Place The Carrier Side Down For Cutting
The carrier is placed face down, so you’re cutting through the adhesive side of the HTV. 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 any of these posts: How to Cut on Juliet™, How to Cut HTV on Silhouette Cutters, How to Cut HTV on the Cricut Cutters, or How to Cut HTV on Brother Cutters.
Tip #3: Try the “Heat Press Trick” For Sticky Carriers
Heat up the lower platen on your press for 10 seconds. Lay your EasyWeed® (or any other HTV with a sticky carrier!) on the lower platen and weed your design. The heat from the press will slightly activate the adhesive and allow you to weed the design more easily! See the heat press trick in action! For more weeding tips, read this post.
Tip #4: Place The Carrier Side Up For Heat Application
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 in the correct direction and all words should be right-facing.
Tip #5: Use a Cover Sheet
A cover sheet of some kind (whether it’s teflon, multi-purpose paper, or parchment paper) is always recommended to be layered on top of HTV during application. It acts as a protective barrier between the direct heat and your garment. Also, it’s especially important to use a cover sheet when layering and applying on top of material that no longer has a carrier attached. Otherwise, you could end up with adhesive or HTV stuck to your heat press’ upper platen.
REMEMBER: Every Type of HTV is Unique!
While some share a variety of similarities, not all Heat Transfer Vinyl weeds the same, nor do they all require the same amount of time, temperature, and pressure. Double-check the product specifications to ensure that it is being optimally applied. You can find our suggested settings for each material under “Application Instructions” on every product page of our website. OR view them in the Siser North America 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. Looking for more tips? Check out our Top 10 Tips for HTV!
Hello, Why does my design stick to the mat after it has been cut and weeded? Does not come out as whole Looks like it cuts through the shiny side.
Hi Nicole! It sounds like you’re cutting through the carrier (shiny side) and need to try a lower cut setting. I’m not sure which cutter you’re using, but here’s a link to a blog on finding your cut settings on the Cricut Explore Air. I have similar posts for the Maker, Silhouette, and Brother Scan N Cut as well. They can be found by quickly with the search bar on the right side of the blog.
I bought your easy patterns have and when I put the transfer taper on and burnished it it won’t come off backing and stick to transfer tape. Please tell me how I can fix this. I’m new to this and going crazy.
Hi Debbie! You can try flipping it over and burnishing from the other side which may help. When EasyPatterns don’t want to transfer to the mask it is often due to cutting too deep, but can also be related to humidity levels. If you’re still having trouble, try placing it in the freezer for a few minutes and then try peeling again.
What if the freezer truck still doesn’t work?
Hi Julie! Please reach out to our customer support team at Support@SiserNA.com so we can attend to your specific case. Thank you!
Hi, do I need to buy a separate carrier sheet/transfer sheet/transfer tape when using Siser Easy Weed HTV? (I’ve only used Cricut brand HTV before and it comes with the transfer sheet attached). Thank you!
Hi Nikki, Siser EasyWeed® HTV comes with the transfer sheet (also known as carrier sheet) attached. You do not need to purchase extra.
Unfortunately the Siser Easyweed HTV purchased at Michaels does not have a carrier sheet. I am trying to figure out how to use this product. It has become very frustrating (& expensive) as with out the carrier it is not easy to weed and impossible to keep intact to put on a garment.
I’m sorry it’s so frustrating, Angie! I think you may be referring to our EasyPatterns® product that is sold at Michaels. This blog post has 5 helpful tips for working with EasyPatterns HTV. I hope that helps!
After my image was pressed my design on the shirt was sticky. Can this be fixed? I’ve tried washing and it didn’t help!
I’m sorry you’re experiencing that issue! Please email our product support team at firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know what product you used as well as where and when it was purchased so they can help troubleshoot this problem.
My iron on vinyl cut through to my mat. I had the shiny side down, had it set to custom material and chose heat transfer (not Cricut). I was able to weed and get it on transfer tape, but now it is wrong side up. I tried placing another piece of transfer tape on it, but no luck. Any suggestions?
Hi Brenda! It sounds like the mask was placed on the adhesive side of the HTV (therefore making the letters backwards.) Unfortunately, there is not a way to save the HTV (without peeling, pulling, and distorting the vinyl) once it’s been attached to the transfer mask and heat application will only stick it further on to the mask if the adhesive side if touching it. I would suggest starting fresh and cutting again with adjusted settings.
Hi Brenda . I had the same issue and found out that I used the option htv (non cricut) and it cut to deep. I found out online to use the option everyday iron on and it worked best kind !
Hello, im having issue when trying to cut vinyl where my registration marks keep failing; is the test cut supposed to be the registration mark or my settings need to be fixed? I got one cut but can’t remember what I did to make it cut
Hi Kevin! I’m not sure which cutter you’re using, but you may need to calibrate your machine or clean the sensor in order for the registration mark to be read properly. The test cut can be placed anywhere on the mat so I would make sure to avoid the the registration mark area with your test cut.
Hey, I bought htv your brand on Amazon and it’s nice but when I tried to use it like I used to with silhuette it’s not easy to work with it. Its very thin and the pattern came on the wrong side. White instead the dots. I asked for htv for tshirts, maybe I got something else?
I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.
Hi Yael! Please email Support@SiserNA.com with the Amazon seller you purchased from and what product you ordered so we can help troubleshoot this issue in more detail. Thanks!
What materials does siser htv stick to?
Polyester? Cotton? Nylon?…etc
Hi Beto! Siser Heat Transfer Vinyl sticks to most fabrics, including: cotton, polyester, cotton/polyester blends, rayon, modal, and more. Due to the variety available, we don’t list every single fabric type on our website. The only exception is for nylon fabrics. EasyWeed® Extra and ColorPrint Extra are the only materials that will stick to nylon.
Does Siser HTV act like a permanent vinyl on glass or is it just for apparel? Does Siser have an easy weed permanent vinyl to be used on glass or ceramic?
Hi Cathy! We offer EasyPSV® Permanent for use on glass, ceramic, etc.
I am a beginner. I messed up some vynil by not choosing the iron on setting. But I wasn’t aware prior to coming here that there would be a carrier on the vynil. Do I peal this off before pressing the shirt?
Hi Shae! The carrier sheet is there to keep all the cut pieces in place during application. If you remove the design, you run the risk of the pieces not fitting together properly. Check out our Youtube channel for helpful videos on cutting, weeding, and applying all our HTV materials: https://www.youtube.com/user/SiserNorthAmerica
I do not have a siser weeder. what can I use as a substitute?
Hi BeeAnn! If you do not have a Siser® Weeder then you can use tweezers, a straight needle, or an exacto knife to help remove the excess vinyl. Most of our authorized distributors sell weeding tools. If you need to find an authorized Siser seller, please email Info@SiserNA.com.
Hi, I purchased Siser HTV yesterday for the first time. I have always used the Cricut brand vinyl before and although Siser appears to be much easier to work with, when I put it through my Cricut and my design is finished I start to weed and the very intricate parts of my design are torn off with the weeding. I have tried three different times now but I do not want to ruin any more vinyl. What am I doing wrong?
Hi Lynda, I’m sorry you’re having trouble with Siser HTV! We have a few blog posts that may be able to help you get started:
How to Cut Siser HTV on the Cricut Explore One, Explore Air or Air 2
How to Cut Siser HTV on the Cricut Maker
How to Cut Siser HTV on the Cricut Joy
If you’re still having trouble, please reach out to our product support team directly at email@example.com or 866.301.9409 for further assistance.
I just got my sister press and it cut off while I was working. How can I fix it? 🥺 I plugged it in a 120v splitter… is that the problem
Hi there! It is recommended that all Heat Presses are plugged directly into their own outlet or their own dedicated extensions cord or surge protector that is plugged into an outlet with nothing else.
I am using my heat press for the first time on some tea towels. Using Siser HTV Matte Black. I am having trouble with it sticking. I increased my time from 15 to 20 seconds and it still isnt sticking. So I increased the heat from 305 degrees to 310 degrees. Still not peeling away. Just doesnt seem to be fusing well. What else might I try?
Hi Dawn! If the towels were pre-washed with liquid fabric softener, the HTV will have trouble sticking. It sounds like the issue may be pressure related though. EasyWeed® needs medium pressure (3-4 if your heat press has a read out) to apply and if you’re pressing on or very close to a seam of the tea towel, I’d suggest using a heat transfer pillow. If you’re still having trouble after these tips, please reach out to Support@SiserNA.com for further troubleshooting.
My white discolored on a black graduation cap. Can I reapply a white heat vinyl on top of the discolored heat vinyl or will it not stick? Thank you!
Hi Summer, yes you can layer more HTV on top of HTV. If the color is bleeding through the Heat Transfer Vinyl, then you may need to use EasyWeed® Sub Block to prevent the dye migration.