In this tutorial, I’ll walk you through how to use heat transfer vinyl for Cricut cutting machines, or any cutting machine for that matter. By the end of this short and easy lesson, you’ll easily be able to create awesome projects with your HTV, without the confusion of it all.
Finding the perfect heat transfer vinyl brand
You will find over time that you have a preferred brand of heat transfer vinyl. For me, this brand and type is called Siser Easyweed.
Siser easyweed vinyl is not only cheaper than the Cricut brand of heat transfer vinyl, but it is also extremely durable and, like it’s name, easy to weed. I also like that the transfer paper (the clear layer above your design) is very adhesive, so you can transfer projects to your heat press without the design falling off once centered. You’ll see what I mean when you create your first HTV t-shirt project.
There is also another brand I use that I found on amazon, and it is very durable. It is much cheaper for a huge roll as well. The only downfall to using this brand of heat transfer vinyl is that the transfer paper is less sticky, and harder to keep aligned when transferring to your press.
When to use heat transfer vinyl
You can use heat transfer vinyl on so many different Cricut projects! HTV is most commonly used for making personalized t-shirts, but I’ve put together a list of other popular projects that require heat transfer vinyl:
- Popsicle holders
- Canvas/reverse canvases
- Stuffed animals
- Personalized pajamas (especially popular at Christmas time)
How to cut heat transfer vinyl with your Cricut
This step is very important to follow, and can be a little confusing at first. When cutting heat transfer vinyl, you will want to make sure the shiny side of the heat transfer vinyl is facing down on your Cricut mat. This means that the matte finish will be facing up.
Before cutting your project, you’ll also want to be sure you turn the dial to “heat transfer vinyl” so the blade cuts the right depth. **If you are using a glitter heat transfer vinyl, you’ll want to turn the dial to other and manually select glitter heat transfer vinyl in the Design Space software**
The other important thing to remember when cutting heat transfer vinyl is to make sure you mirror your image on your Cricut Design Space software before cutting. You will see all of this done in the video tutorial above.
Heat transfer vinyl isn’t inexpensive, so it’s a bummer when it goes to waste, so be sure you understand the process before cutting your first design.
Tutorial: How to make a T-shirt using heat transfer vinyl
» Gather your supplies:
- Blank T-shirt
- Heat transfer vinyl
- Cricut (or other cutting machine)
- A weeding tool
- Heat press, Cricut EasyPress, or iron (I definitely recommend investing in a heat press or Cricut easy press if you plan on making these often, as they help the vinyl stick better long term)
» Create and Cut your design using Cricut Design Space:
Open Cricut Design Space and begin either creating your design, or uploading one you got from somewhere else.
I recently did a tutorial on using the welding tool in Cricut Design Space. I was sure to weld my letters and scooter together before cutting it, otherwise it won’t cut as one image.
**If you’re unsure how to get free fonts, check out my tutorial.
Once your design is ready for cutting, you’ll select the green button labeled “Make It”.
This will take you to the next screen where you’ll see your design. You MUST mirror the image (circled below), then click continue.
» Cutting your design on the Heat Transfer Vinyl
Before placing your mat in the Cricut machine, make sure the shiny part of the heat transfer vinyl is facing downward, towards the mat. The matte side of the HTV should be facing upward, towards you. Once you’ve double checked this step, you are ready to cut your design.
If you are using a new cursive font, be sure and use this tutorial to make sure your letters connect.
» Use your weeding tool to remove excess heat transfer vinyl
Using your weeding tool, you’ll remove all the excess vinyl. Anything you don’t want on your project gets ditched. You can try to save some of this vinyl, depending on the shape of your cut image.
» Center image on t-shirt, then use a heat press to transfer image to shirt
The final step of this process involves using your heat press. As I mentioned earlier, if you plan to make t-shirts often using heat transfer vinyl, it would be a good idea to invest in a t-shirt press or the Cricut EasyPress. Unfortunately, an iron just doesn’t do the job all that well, especially once the t-shirt is washed.
I personally prefer my t-shirt heat press, but it is much bulkier than the Cricut EasyPress (although I still use mine occasionally).
Check the settings of your heat transfer vinyl to make sure you heat is right on your t-shirt press before pressing onto the t-shirt. For Siser EasyWeed, I will be pressing at a temperature of 315ºF for 15 seconds. Once the time is up, allow your design to cool for about 10 seconds, then press again for another 5 seconds.
You will know your design is set on your t-shirt when you are able to see the t-shirt fabric lines through the heat transfer vinyl. See the image below to understand what this means.
How did your product turn out? I would love to know what you made in the comments below!