HTV Hacks You Need to Know
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If you love working with heat transfer vinyl, you’re going to love this post about HTV Hacks You Need to Know. We’re going to teach every single iron-on vinyl hack that we know here! Whether you are a Cricut beginner or a seasoned pro, you might just learn some really helpful tips and tricks today.
HTV can be used on a wide variety of surfaces (not just fabric!) and offers so many possibilities for Cricut projects. Once you see these Cricut hacks, you’ll be all set to make all kinds of Cricut iron-on projects.
HTV Hacks You Need to Know
Working with mandalas
Use a setting like Kraft board or heavy cardstock or add more pressure and it will cut your mandala all the way through. Then, instead of having to weed it, you will be able to peel the mandala up and it will be ready to go. A few pieces may be left behind but it’s quick and easy to remove those.
Once you apply it to your surface and heat it, we like to then go in with a weeding tool to help lift away the transfer tape. Even though you cut it all the way through, the transfer tape is still there and needs to be removed. We like to do a warm peel on this.
Make weeding easier
Heat up your heat press to about 300-350 degrees. Press it down for about 10 seconds to heat up the bottom plate. Open up the press and place your HTV on the bottom plate. Weed (carefully – be mindful of the heat!) right there on the press and you’ll find it so much easier.
Pro Tip: You can do the same thing with an EasyPress. Heat up your EasyPress mat and place your HTV on it for weeding.
Find the center of your shirts.
This is so simple and so helpful when it comes to lining up and centering your designs. There are a few different ways of doing this.
1 – Match up the seams where the sleeves are attached to the shirt. Lay it down and press along that line to leave a gentle crease that marks the center.
2 – Use a t-shirt ruler. Simply place it on your shirt and it will show you exactly where to position your design.
Center your design on your shirt.
The next step after you have found the center of your shirt is to find the center of your design. To do this, gently fold over your design, matching up the edges of it. Remember to line up the edges of the actual design, not the transfer tape. Then, make a little crease at the top and the bottom to mark the center. Be sure to only crease the transfer tape and not your design. Match this center line with the center of your shirt! Ta-da!
Remove HTV from a shirt.
Place your EasyPress Mini inside the shirt with the design positioned over the heat plate. You want to set your EasyPress to the second level. As it heats up the design, you can use a weeding tool to easily start removing it from the shirt. Keep moving it as needed to heat up the rest of the design until your whole design – or the part of the design you need – has been removed.
Don’t choose tiny fonts.
Tiny fonts, skinny fonts, intricate fonts – these can all be more difficult to work with. If they are going to be less than 3-4 inches in size and are really thin fonts, you want to avoid these with HTV. Although your Cricut may be able to cut it out really well and you have no problem with weeding it, once you apply heat, these fonts can start looking a bit wavy and distorted. You won’t get the clean look you are going for.
It’s also important to know that even if you’re able to apply it well, since it is so thin, there isn’t much adhesive to hold it in place and keep it down. The durability of such designs is not as high as with a larger design.
Layer vinyl without it being bulky.
When you layer vinyl, especially on things like clothing, it can start feeling and looking bulky. So, we like to use the knockout method instead. You’re going to create two layers but one of them is essentially going to be an outline of the second one. That way, when you line them up, they will appear layered but won’t have the bulk of two pieces of vinyl on top of each other. You’ll also save vinyl this way!
And best of all, with this method, each layer of heat transfer vinyl gets to adhere directly to the fabric you’re applying it to thereby giving you a better and longer-lasting result.
Use up your HTV scraps.
Cut them into strips and lay them shiny side up on your cutting mat. Do not mirror your design. Cut the same way as with the mandala – heavy cardstock, more pressure, Kraft board or something similar to cut through it.
Once your design is cut out in those beautiful multiple colors of heat transfer vinyl, you will want to grab some HTV transfer tape to peel the whole thing up. Apply it to your design and remove it from the mat. Use heat, as usual, to adhere your design to the blank and then peel up both layers of transfer tape.
Pro Tip: You may be thinking that you don’t want to purchase any HTV transfer tape since you’ll only use it once in a while. Here’s what you can do. Save your pieces of HTV transfer tape from other projects. We use waxed paper as backing paper for it to keep it safe until we use it. Another great use for this is with printable HTV. Some brands don’t include a transfer sheet in the package so this can really come in handy there too.
Use HTV on top of traditional adhesive vinyl.
This is a great hack for when you have run out of the color you need in regular adhesive vinyl but you have it in iron-on vinyl. You can actually use the HTV over top of regular vinyl. Simply apply the HTV on top of the regular vinyl and lay it on your EasyPress mat. Use light pressure with your EasyPress and apply some heat to the design to adhere it.
Let it cool completely. Peel away the transfer tape. Now you have a regular vinyl design that you can apply just like a sticker.
Make weeding easier.
Use cocoa powder with light-colored HTV and baby powder with dark-colored HTV. We like to apply it with a small paintbrush. Then, you can brush away the excess and you’ll see that the cut lines stand out better and make it easier to see where to weed.
Apply heat transfer vinyl to cardstock.
Simply place the HTV on the cardstock and heat for about 10 seconds. This is a great method to use on paper napkins too! Customize them for a party.
Use HTV on wood.
This is a method we use all the time! Once again, simply place the HTV design onto the wood and heat. We find it especially easy when using the EasyPress Mini! Heat for about 20 seconds in each section of your design. Remember that you want to see bubbles forming. This is a great alternative to stenciling.
Pro Tip: When choosing the wood for this project, you want to use wood that is really smooth and not too textured. The smoother the better!
Cut out and weed glitter heat transfer vinyl more easily.
Create your design and then duplicate it. For the second one, you want to use the drawing function. Attach the two together. This way your vinyl will cut out and it will draw the design on the back. It makes it much easier to see and to weed!
Apply HTV on a mug.
Use heat-resistant tape to tape down your design to the mug. Even with the curved surface, this will help it to adhere to the mug. It’s okay if the transfer tape crinkles a little bit as long as the design is sticking well to the mug. Using the high setting, apply heat with your heat gun. It will take about 10-20 seconds. Don’t put the heat gun too close to the surface of the mug. Do a cold peel.
We hope you learned something new in this post about some of the best HTV tips we’ve found. Which of these HTV hacks is your favorite?
Tanner, Courtney, and the rest of the Makers Gonna Learn Team are all here because we love die-cutting and especially love sharing fun projects and tutorials with fellow makers. We are all great friends and are always having a blast when we are together- you will see this on camera, especially during live streams! We are here to inspire and support you in your crafting journey!