Custom Heat Transfer Vinyl Tips For Beginners

Custom heat transfer vinyl is one of the newest products of the Close To My Heart group. We love working with it and are happy to help any vinyl beginner discover practical tips, tricks and uses for this great material! Whether you apply it to album art or directly to cards or scrapbook pages, custom heat transfer vinyl is an amazing all-purpose medium and is definitely one of our favorites. To answer some tough questions or get started using custom heat transfer vinyl in your craft, we’ve compiled a list of ten vinyl beginner tips.

Keep the Carrier Sheet intact.

A backing sheet is a sheet on a vinyl backing used to glue vinyl projects together. It is important that you do not cut it. When you do this, you may encounter several separate elements that make up your design, making it much more difficult to position and apply to your design. To keep the backing intact, always make sure the glossy side of the vinyl is facing DOWN as you place it on the cutting mat and the clipper is set to handle the vinyl.

Use a scraper to remove any bubbles and smooth the vinyl on the cutting mat.

Bubbles in vinyl can cause confusion on application. When applying vinyl to the cutting mat, carefully scrape the surface with the scraper to create a perfectly smooth cut surface.

Always cut a mirror image of your vinyl designs.

When applying custom heat transfer vinyl to the design, the carrier film faces UP. This means that when you cut your designs with the back page facing DOWN (as explained in Tip 1), you will want to cut a mirror image of what the final image will look like in your design. Otherwise you will cut back all design elements. This is mainly a problem if you are using words in your project.

In our Design Space™ you can do this by adding images or text to the Design Space canvas and selecting the Invert option from the toolbar at the top of the page. By flipping the image horizontally, you can cut the mirror image as you want without damaging the back page.

After cutting the vinyl image,

You will need to remove the excess vinyl from the backing sheet before applying it to your design. This process is known as sorting. To facilitate weeding, heat the work surface for a few seconds, then weed the heated area. The heat loosens the vinyl from the carrier film, making it easier to pull off excess material.

For better results, warm up your design for a few seconds before laying the vinyl on top.

Use a protective film between the heat source and the design surface to ensure that your design does not burn. You will need to purchase a protective film separately from most heat presses. If you don’t have access to the protective film or don’t want to buy it, you can cover your design with a thin T-shirt or towel. If you wish, you can also use this protector when applying vinyl to your design.

When you are ready to apply vinyl to the surface of your design,

Apply light pressure to the heat press for better and faster application. You do not need to put all your weight on the press, but light pressure is recommended.

Do not press the vinyl for too long and keep it warm.

Start with 10-15 seconds and add more time as needed. Most thermal transfer presses come with an adjustable timer that helps you keep track of the time.

When using an iron,

It’s important to take a closer look at your design to avoid burns. Since heat levels are different, start with a lower heat level and increase as needed.

After applying the thermal transfer vinyl,

You can remove the hot carrier film from the design surface. However, if you’re working with glossy vinyl, it’s best to peel it off while it’s hot. (Just be careful not to burn your fingers!)

If you want to apply a layer of vinyl, you can!

However, we do not recommend applying any layer over glossy vinyl. The surface of the vinyl glitter will prevent any other vinyl placed on it from sticking and sealing properly. You can apply glitter elements to other types of vinyl, but if you add glitter vinyl to your projects, leave it on top as seen in the photo below.

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About the Author: Abhay Choubey

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