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How to Use Heat Transfer Vinyl

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Give your home a new feel by transforming items you already own into festive holiday-themed décor! Instead of reusing the same Thanksgiving decorations or buying new Christmas embellishments, look at what’s around you and get crafty with ARTEZA’s multi-color, 14-sheet Heat Transfer Vinyl or take advantage of our Vinyl Lover’s Bundle! This decorating method is simple to execute and the supplies required can be found in your house or during a trip to your local arts and crafts stores.

What You’ll Need:

  1. Simple Design Printed Out
  2. ARTEZA Heat Transfer Vinyl
  3. Scissors and/or hobby blade
  4. Craft-cutting machine
  5. Weeding tool
  6. Heat press
  7. Item you want to decorate

How HTV Works

We all love the awesome logos and those messages printed in plastic on shirts we buy from the store, but what many of us don’t know it that isn’t really plastic at all, and we can make our very own designs easily! These popular decals are made with Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) and are applied onto your shirts, aprons, napkins, and tablecloths through the use of heat.

If you’re like me, then you want to know how this vinyl is going to attach to your clothing, and how you know if it’s will lift or bleed when you wash them. It’s important to distinguish the different types of vinyl. Some Heat Transfer Vinyl sheets are thicker than others - meaning that the colored layer is a bit thicker. We had opted to provide the thinner vinyls as they actually bend with the clothing and had a higher retention than the thicker sheets. Thicker sheets are also made with PVC instead of renewable resources, and we wanted our products to be as eco-friendly as possible!

It turns out, HTV is a really simple idea, and there are lots of ways to work with and use them. First, there are three layers to the HTV - a clear plastic sheet that reinforces the vinyl as you cut and place; a colored vinyl layer which is the actual piece your decal or design will show up with; and a clear adhesive layer that reacts to heat and fuses the vinyl to your article of cloth.

When you cut your HTV, you want to make sure that you are cutting the adhesive side, not the plastic side, because the plastic is made thicker to resist cuts so it can be the structure to your designs during application! You want that plastic layer to be mostly intact when you peel the excess from around your design. Cutting can be done by hand with one of our hobby blades, or even with a pair of scissors. However, the really interesting designs start to happen when you invest in a cutting machine!

Once your design is cut and ready to place, use a ruler to get your decals in the perfect layout for your tastes and apply heat! You can use an iron, but the adhesive needs at least 320 degrees fahrenheit for about 15 minutes, so we highly recommend a heat press for the best results with any HTV. Errors in the application can create a substandard result with your design, and no one wants that!

Heat Transfer Vinyl Process

How to Apply HTV

Print and cut out your design using a cutting machine, a craft knife or scissors. Remember to cut on the colorless, plastic carrier side of the sheet. Remove excess vinyl you don’t want in your design by using a weeding tool. This will leave you with the design you want on the clear plastic carrier and apply the sticky side to the garment or object of your choice. Heat your heat press to 320°F and set up a timer for 15 seconds. When the heat press is ready, position your substrate with the Heat Transfer Vinyl and cover with a Teflon sheet (to protect both your heat press and your garment). Once your timer goes off, take your garment from the heat press and let it cool. Afterward, peel the plastic carrier sheet off and admire your new creation!

Heat Transfer

HTV Holiday Craft DIY Ideas

Add a HTV layer to your Ugly Sweater contest this year along with some fabric paint, ribbons and buttons to bond and laugh with the family. Provide a sweater with heat transfer vinyl already on it to each family member at Thanksgiving and challenge them to use their creativity to come up with the best Ugly Sweater design to show off on Christmas Day. This is sure to leave a lasting impression on their memories and their wardrobe!

Or do something just for you. Deck your couch with a new look by transforming an old pillow to new by adding a joyous design or message! Imagine the compliments you will get when everyone heads to the couch to rest after the holiday dinner and they are comforted with loving and funny messages adorned on comfy pillows made by you.

Heat Transfer Pillows

Once you become familiar with the HTV process, you’ll want to reinvent old clothing and boring goods into new, trendy pieces! If holiday celebrations are happening at your house this year, look the part! Make a cute “It’s All Gravy” apron and wear it while you put the finishing touches on Thanksgiving dinner. Don’t just stop there! Adorn your plates, napkins, and tablecloth in the holiday spirit with HTV sheets to make your holiday decorating standout.

Wow, your guests with personalized decorations this holiday season by learning how to use heat transfer vinyls! There are plenty of ways to have fun and show your holiday cheer so why not add some creativity to the mix and make your own festive home décor? Once you’ve embedded your HTV designs onto pieces, you can always store them for the next special occasion and wash them without ruining your lovely creations. With HTV, the possibilities are endless! Make your garments and fabrics pop with fashion and color even after the holidays are over with this crafty DIY process.

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November 21, 2018 by Kersten Frost

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