Siser’s Top Heat Transfer Vinyl Tips Continued…
So what do you get for making it through the first 5 tips? Five more tips of course! Our previous tips focused on cutting and weeding while the following are all about heat application. Keep reading to make sure you’re using the methods the experts recommend!
Tip 6: Prep your Garment
Always pre-press your garment to create the best application surface possible. A pre-press helps out in more ways than one:
- Removes wrinkles
- Removes moisture
A wrinkle and moisture free fabric allows for the best adhesion between the garment and HTV, as well as a nice and smooth finished look. Pre-shrinking the fabric is especially important when working with 100% cottons since they tend to shrink the most. When you can, opt for a blended t-shirt fabric to lessen the likelihood of a shrunken shirt and wrinkly vinyl.
However, there are some rare instances that a pre-press is not needed. If you’re working with a highly heat sensitive fabric, like some types of nylon, then a pre-press may harm more than help your project.
Additionally, a pre-wash is not always necessary either. If you prefer to wash your blanks, make sure to steer clear of liquid fabric softeners which leave behind a HTV repelling residue.
Tip 7: The Pressure Predicament
Heat Transfer Vinyl needs the combination of heat + time + pressure to equal a long-lasting application. Unfortunately, when pressure gets dropped from the equation the heat transfer vinyl usually drops off the shirt as well. When using a Cricut® EasyPress™, the pressure is only regulated by how much force you manually apply throughout the whole application time. Whereas a heat press can be adjusted to accurately and evenly press more (or less) firmly, and all you have to do is pull the handle down once.
Check out this video for more tips on pressing with a home iron, EasyPress, and heat press!
For your convenience, the time, temperature, and pressure settings can be found on the Siser® App. You might notice that EasyWeed® Stretch needs firmer pressure than regular ol’ EasyWeed. Stretch’s lightweight and slim figure isn’t the only difference between the two materials however! With extra elasticity and a matte finish, EasyWeed Stretch is a favorite for more than just sports related garments (like the cotton tote bag used in the project pictured on the right!)
Keep in mind that while firm pressure is great for Stretch, it’s not necessary for every type of heat transfer vinyl! The weave or texture of the garment does not need to be seen through the HTV to indicate a good press, and in some cases (like Glitter and StripFlock®) it’s simply impossible because of their texture.
Additionally, a clear adhesive halo around the HTV is not a sign of a proper press. The more adhesive squished to the side of your vinyl means the less that’s underneath bonding the vinyl to the fabric. In these cases, you may actually need to decrease your pressure. Check out the following video for more details on pressure!
Tip 8: The “Tack” Trick to Layering
Quick, short presses are best when it comes to layering multiple colors of HTV. When you use this method, we call it “tacking” because you’re giving the material just enough heat and pressure for it to bond to the fabric and release from the carrier. As each new color is heat applied, the lower layers also receive heat, so by the end of the whole process each layer has had between 10-20 seconds of heat and pressure. This is the sweet spot to aim for because you can have too much of a good thing! Adding more and more pressing time to your design is going to begin to dry out the HTV, which makes it more susceptible to cracking and peeling. For most Siser materials, a 3-5 second press is enough to tack a layer down, but with products in the EasyWeed family you can get away with a 1 second tack!
To create the ice cream cone pictured, my heat press was set to 305°F and I adjusted my pressure knob until I had firm pressure on the tote bag. Here’s how the presses went:
- EasyWeed tan- 1 second (hot peel carrier)
- EasyWeed Stretch sweet mint – 1 second (hot peel carrier)
- EasyWeed Stretch lilac – 1 second (hot peel carrier)
- EasyWeed Stretch passion pink – 1 second (hot peel carrier)
- 10 second press (don’t forget your heat transfer cover sheet!)
Tip 9: Mixing Materials With Different Application Settings
Mixing and matching different types of heat transfer vinyl often creates some of the coolest looks. Many people get excited while creating and cutting their artwork, but when it comes to heat applying they’re nervous to bring the handle down. When in doubt, set your heat press for the HTV in your project that calls for the lowest recommended temperature. Then work your way from the thinnest material (like EasyWeed Stretch) to the thickest material (Brick™ 600.) You may need to adjust your pressure along the way, especially if you use a heat transfer pillow. If any of the HTV still wants to grip the carrier instead of the fabric, you may need to increase your pressing time by a few seconds.
Want to see how this beast was made? Watch the video here!
Tip 10: Decorating Heat Sensitive Fabrics
It seems that the most popular fabrics these days are also the most heat sensitive! Some polyesters, rayon, modal, tri-blends, nylon, and others can have a negative reaction to heat. In these cases, our standard recommended heat settings (typically ranging from 305°-320°F and pressing for 10-15 seconds) could result in heat marks, scorching, or melting. But when you use Siser HTV there’s no need to worry! A couple adjustments to the heat application process are all you need to prevent problems!
To use the lower heat application method, turn the temperature down to 280°F and press for 15-20 seconds. When you use a lower temperature you must make up for it by increasing your pressing time. See this process in action in the decorating rayon with EasyWeed Stretch blog post.
Want to know more about possible heat sensitive fabrics? See this post for 4 more decorating tips.
Ten tips later and you’re an HTV expert, right?! If anything, you’re at least well read! But a true HTV expert practices with their tools of the trade. So it’s time to take everything you’ve learned and apply it to your next project! We’d love to see what you make whether you tag us with #siserna on Instagram or show it off in our Facebook Group: Siser N.A HTV & EasyPSV.
Keep every tip handy by pinning the image below.