How To Iron On ExtraReflex For A Reflective Backpack

With kids back in school and summer drawing near an end you may start to notice your mornings aren’t as bright as they were before. No, not because your kids’ smiles have faded due to studying, but because our days are getting shorter and our nights are getting longer as we head into the cooler months. With less light available it’s even more important to be visible at dusk, dawn, and after dark. An easy way to increase your visibility is with ExtraReflex. This heat transfer vinyl can be ironed on to cotton, polyester and a variety of blends of the two. While a child’s backpack is one of the best items to decorate with ExtraReflex, this HTV is CPSIA certified, so it’s safe to use on all childrens products!  A custom reflective backpack will accompany your child on their early morning walks to school or the bus stop while giving you the peace of mind that they can be seen by passing motorists.

The first step to making your own reflective backpack is to choose your design. Sure, you could cut a square out and slap it on with the iron and it would still be very reflective. However, a vinyl cutter makes cutting out names and images simple. I chose to do a racecar with ExtraReflex flames for a zippy backpack that may not travel at the speed of light, but it reflects it!

This flame banner is a fun way to display a kids name while adding reflectivity. To create it I traced clip art flames into Silhouette Studio, created two copies and added a rectangle in between. Then I used the “Weld” tool to combine the pieces into one cut line. To punch out the name I typed it and then placed it on top of the banner. I selected the banner and the text then chose “Subtract” in the “Modify” window.

Name flame banner in Silhouette Studio

Always mirror your image and text before cutting. Right click the object and select “Flip Horizontally.”

Racecar flames in Silhouette Studio






The racecar is traced clip art as well. I used the “Release” path tool in the “Modify” window to move and recolor some of the pieces.

Racecar cut file in Silhouette Studio

The body of the car is lime EasyWeed which I cut with the Blade exposed at 2, Speed set to 8, and Thickness set to 5.

ExtraReflex requires an extra step in the cutting process. Before placing the material on the cutting mat you may notice both sides feel plastic-y. This is because one side has the polyester carrier and one side has a thin plastic lining. The thin plastic layer must be removed before cutting because that is the material side that will be cut on. Once removed, the material is ready to be placed carrier side down on the cutting mat and loaded into the cutter. My Silhouette Cameo cut settings for ExtraReflex are Blade: 3, Speed: 5, Thickness: 11.

Removing the clear liner from ExtraReflex

Removing ExtraReflex’s clear liner before cutting the material.

When your design is completely cut remove the vinyl that is not needed for your image. While you’re weeding you can begin to warm up your iron. Set it between the cotton and linen settings. Your work surface should be flat and hard, so you can get even pressure during applications. Also if you’re working with a backpack make sure the straps are to the sides and not underneath. Bumpy straps will ruin your nice, flat application surface.

I applied my EasyWeed™ layer first because the ExtraReflex pieces will be layered on top. Once I had it positioned I covered the car with a heat transfer cover sheet and firmly pressed with my iron for 5 seconds. I only want to tack the EasyWeed down because it will get the effects of the heat from the ExtraReflex applications. Peel EasyWeed’s carrier while it’s still hot.

Lime EasyWeed on a backpack

Now on to the reflective part! I aligned the car tires and windshield over the EasyWeed, covered everything with a heat transfer cover sheet and did a 5 second tack for the ExtraReflex. We normally recommend a 2 second tack for ExtraReflex, but that’s if you’re using a heat press with a more exact temperature. For best application results with an iron do a 5 second tack then wait until the carrier is cold before peeling it. Next, replace the heat transfer cover sheet and press for an additional 10 seconds.

Peeling ExtraReflex's carrier sheet when its cold.

I followed the same heat application steps for the flame name banner. Be cautious with your iron around any plastic zippers or other embellishments, so they don’t get melted.

A cold peel of ExtraReflex's carrier sheet

This backpack turned out super cool and it offers tons of visibility! Neon colors are known to be eye catching, and this backpack doesn’t disappoint. Plus EasyWeed lime matches the neon color perfectly! The ExtraReflex, though, is what really makes this reflective backpack highly visible and perfect for the school year!

The complete racecar reflective backpackHave you been busy crafting for the back to school season? Tag your Siser heat transfer vinyl projects with #SiserNA and we might give you a shout out on our Instagram!

Keep your kids safe and stylish this school year with a reflective backpack! Siser ExtraReflex increases visibility for students who walk to school or to the bus stop in low lighting. Plus an iron on vinyl tutorial! Make your own with your Silhouette Cameo, Cricut, or Brother ScanNCut.
 Iron on ExtraReflex to backpacks, jackets, and anything else that needs more visibility. This heat transfer vinyl is CPSIA certified so it's perfect for kids clothes and accessories. ExtraReflex can be cut on all vinyl and craft cutters!