Disclosure: The Durathon Iron in this post provided by Hamilton Beach. All opinions and the Tips and Tricks for Awesome Heat Transfer Vinyl Projects are my own from pure experience.
I’m not sure if completing four heat transfer vinyl projects makes me an expert on the subject, but I’d like to think I’ve learned a thing or two. Or three. Heat transfer vinyl isn’t difficult, but it is intimidating at first. After all, if I’m working on an unique project where I only have one shot at getting it right the first time, it can be anxiety causing. But using heat transfer vinyl (HTV) is ridiculously easy, and once you have a project under your belt you’ll be addicted. HTV projects are the best bang for your buck. I can’t think of many other crafting materials that make items look professional with so little time and effort. So get your project materials together and read on for my Tips and Tricks for Awesome Heat Transfer Vinyl Projects.
What kind of iron-on vinyl can I chose from and where do I purchase it?
HTV falls in three basic categories– regular ol’ vinyl, glitter vinyl, and flocked vinyl (this one has a raised texture and “fuzzy” feel). Use whichever one fits best with your projects. There are several online vinyl companies where you can order any of these types of vinyl. I typically stock up from Pick Your Plum whenever they offer HTV at their awesome deal prices. Once, in a bind, I went to a local arts and crafts store for HTV but I was very disappointed with the selection. I only found a few packages in the T-shirt section, but I definitely didn’t have my choice of colors and textures like I can find online. So, when possible, plan projects ahead of time so that you can order online.
Here are a few options on Amazon for heat transfer vinyl (affiliate links):
- Firefly Craft Heat Transfer Vinyl
- Firefly Craft Glitter Heat Transfer Vinyl
- Cricut Iron on Silver Glitter HTV
- Cricut Iron On Lite White HTV
- Silhouette Printable Heat Transfer Material for Light Fabrics
What’s this shiny stuff on the HTV?
It helps to understand the components of HTV before starting. On one side of the vinyl will be a shiny surface. This is a plastic-like surface that is made to hold the cut together and to protect the vinyl from the heat of the iron. The shiny plastic-like surface peels off at the end. It’s important to understand that so that you realize the shiny surface is placed on the shirt or project facing up.
How to use HTV
Cut out the desired shape. For those with a cutting machine, this part is easy. Simply place the HTV shiny side down on the cutting mat and cut. Be aware that for designs that go one way (like a word, etc.), you may need to mirror the image. For those without a cutting machine, cut out the design with scissors.
Once the shape is cut, lay it on the fabric project with the shiny side up. Cover it with a thin piece of fabric and press hot iron (set on cotton setting) on the fabric for 30-60 seconds. Lift the iron and check the project to see if the vinyl has adhered. If it hasn’t, repeat the process in 15 second increments.
If doing a large area, iron in sections. It is best not to slide the iron for fear of shifting the vinyl before it has “stuck.” Press the iron, lift it up, and then press again.
Peel the clear plastic off of the fabric and done!
Let’s Talk Irons
Using a good iron is important for any project. The minute you pull out that old iron with interfacing burnt onto it is the minute that the craft you’re working on is ruined. A crafter needs an iron that’s nonstick and durable with awesome steam power. I’ve used the (affilliate link) Hamilton Beach Durathon Iron for several years.
It lasts through my sewing projects, my heat transfer vinyl crafts, and I use it to heat set all my fabric paint projects. The Durathon Iron has a great non-stick surface and glide performance of any other iron that I’ve used. The steam capabilities are amazing, and the iron is lightweight enough for me to carry around with all my project materials.
See that 10 year limited warranty? Ya’ know that’s gotta be a great iron!