10 Heat Transfer Vinyl Tips for Beginners

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Heat transfer vinyl is one of the newest products to join the Close To My Heart ranks. We are absolutely loving working with it and are eager to help anyone who may be new to vinyl discover practical tips, tricks, and uses for this awesome material! Whether you’re applying it on an album cover or directly onto your cards or scrapbook pages, heat transfer vinyl is an awesome, multi-use medium, and it’s definitely one of our favorites. To address some tricky questions or to simply just get you started on the road to using heat transfer vinyl in your own crafts, we’ve put together a list of ten tips for vinyl beginners.

1.  Keep the carrier sheet intact. The carrier sheet is the film backing on the vinyl that is there to keep your vinyl designs together. It is important that you do not cut through it. If you do, you may end up with various separate pieces that make up your design, which will make it a lot harder to position and apply to your project. To keep the carrier sheet intact, always make sure that the shiny side of the vinyl is facing DOWN when you position it on your cutting mat and that your cutting machine is set to vinyl.

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2.  Use a scraper tool to remove any bubbles and smooth your vinyl on your cutting mat. Having bubbles in your vinyl will potentially result in messy application. As you apply vinyl to your cutting mat, gently glide a scraper tool over the surface for a flawlessly smooth cutting surface.

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3.  Always cut the mirror image of your vinyl designs. When applying heat transfer vinyl onto a project, the carrier sheet will be facing UP. That means, when you cut your designs with the carrier sheet facing DOWN (as discussed in tip #1) you’ll want to cut a mirror image of how you want the final image to appear on your project. Otherwise, you’ll end up cutting all your project pieces backwards. This is mostly a problem if you’re using words in your design.

In Cricut Design Space™, you can accomplish this by inserting your images or text on your Design Space canvas, and selecting the “Flip” option, located on the toolbar at the top of the page. By flipping your image horizontally, you’ll be able to cut the mirror image of each desired shape without jeopardizing the carrier sheet.

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4.  Once you’ve cut your image in the vinyl, you’ll need to remove the excess vinyl from the carrier sheet before applying it to your project. This process is called weeding. To make weeding easier, heat your work surface for a few seconds, then weed over the heated surface. The heat will loosen the vinyl from the carrier sheet, making it easier to peel off the excess.

5.  For better results, heat your project for a few seconds before placing the vinyl on it. To ensure that you don’t scorch your project, use a protective sheet between your heat source and the project surface. You will need to purchase a protective sheet separately from most heat presses. If you don’t have ready access to a protective sheet or you don’t wish to purchase one, you can use a thin t-shirt or towel to shield your project. If desired, you can also use this protection as you apply the vinyl to your project.

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6.  When you get ready to apply the vinyl to your project surface, use a little bit of pressure on the heat press for better and faster application. You don’t need to put your entire weight onto your press, but a small amount of pressure is recommended.

7.  Don’t over-press your vinyl by keeping heat on it for too long. Start with 10–15 seconds and add more time if needed. Most heat presses come with an adjustable timer to help you keep track of your time.

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8.  If you’re using an iron, you’ll need to keep a closer eye on your project to prevent scorching. Since heat settings vary, start on a lower heat setting and work up as needed.

9.  After applying heat transfer vinyl, you can peel the carrier sheet away from the project’s surface while it’s still hot. If you’re working with glitter vinyl, however, it’s best to peel it when it’s warm. (Just be sure you don’t burn your fingers!)

10.  If you want to layer your vinyl, you can! However, we recommend that you don’t put any layers on top of glitter vinyl. The surface of the glitter vinyl will prevent any other vinyl placed on top of it from adhering and sealing properly. You can layer glitter pieces over other types of vinyl, but if you’re incorporating glitter vinyl into your projects, leave it on top, as you see in the photo below.

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We hope this closer look at vinyl has helped you get excited about this awesome material! As a special treat, we’re giving away a custom vinyl pack to three lucky readers! These custom packs will include one 11.8″ x 12″ sheet of each of the four different heat transfer vinyls featured in today’s blog artwork (1 White, 1 Black, 1 Silver Glitter, and 1 Galaxy Black Glitter). For a chance to win, make sure you’re subscribed to this blog and leave a comment below telling us what you are creating or want to create with heat transfer vinyl! All entries must be in by 2 p.m. Wednesday, January 29, MST. Contest winners will be notified via email. Good luck! 😉


12″ x 12″ Moments like This Layout
D1903 My Acrylix® Celebrate Today—Scrapbooking Stamp Set, X7252S Celebrate Today Paper Packet + Sticker Sheet, X6036 Ballerina Cardstock, X5974 Raspberry Cardstock, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, Z3571 White Heat Transfer Vinyl,Z3578 Galaxy Black Glitter Heat Transfer Vinyl, Z3271 Archival Black Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2812 Raspberry Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z4304 Silver Loose Sequins, Cricut® Flower Market Collection, Cricut EasyPress™ 2, Sewing Machine

Cricut® Shapes:

Flower Market

8½” x 11″ Happy Birthday Album Cover
Z5309 Ballerina 8½” x 11″ Everyday Life™ Album, Z3571 White Heat Transfer Vinyl, Z3572 Black Heat Transfer Vinyl, Z3576 Silver Glitter Heat Transfer Vinyl, Cricut® Artistry Collection, Cricut EasyPress™ 2

Cricut® Shapes:

Basic Shapes

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51 thoughts on “10 Heat Transfer Vinyl Tips for Beginners

  1. I want to make a Close To My Heart t-shirt with my team name – Mezza’s Scrappas! I’ve put the image from Complete Creativity and the text in Design Space. Now to get some vinyl!

  2. Wow! What to try first? I think I’d like to make some custom mugs for my scrapping ladies for our next retreat! I’ve only just got a new cricut maker and am yet to try this vinyl out. Thanks for the tips!

    • Just do your first print or cut on a piece of copy paper so that if it isn’t correct, you haven’t ruined your cardstock or vinyl or iron on. The machine really does prompt you to do most of the things you need to do in the steps. I am pretty new and mine sat in a box for a while so just getting it out and playing with it and watching videos on YouTube. It has been the best thing for me and I am just learning as I go.

      If you get stumped, just do a search on the internet for your question or problem or search it on YouTube and there are tons of videos out there to help you! Another thing I would recommend, is to join different Cricut groups on Facebook because most people are so willing to help! A lot of times, your question has already been answered online or in one of the groups!

  3. I would love to win this! I would personalize some of my albums and do some t shirts for my grandchildren! Such fun!

  4. I was given a heat press for Christmas, and appreciate these hints. I plan to make T-shirts for each of my 11 grandchildren and photo albums for my daughters.

  5. Thank you so much for this post! You have answered a lot of my questions. I bought some of your colors to put on my albums but have been afraid to try it since I don’t have a Heat Press. I haven’t bought any of the glitters yet so this would be a great prize!

  6. Thank you so much for this informative blog, I have learnt some very good tips. I started to do a craft apron for my Mom for Valentine’s Day and the first time I did it, I burnt the apron, second time was great up until the last piece and it ended up upside down… so now I have my 3rd apron, and it’s sat for a week now afraid to test the waters again.. but after reading this, I am going to tackle tonight.

  7. I recently purchased the “year” digital cut files from CTMH with the intention of labeling my album covers, so this information is exactly what I need. Thank you for the opportunity to win the vinyl!

  8. I’d love to try this out on an album. My granddaughter Will be going to her first rock concert at the end of February and it would be fun to give her an album memorializing the event!

  9. I just finished THREE album covers today using HTV and they turned out gorgeous on our albums! 300 degrees for 10 seconds, repeat once more and they were beautiful. So excited about the ability to work with Cricut and HTV, especially as a Cricut affiliate. Stunning!

  10. I am making a special Disney album for my granddaughter! I am so excited to add the vinyl title to the front! Please pick me!!

  11. I’ve been thinking of giving vinyl a try, so many wonderful pieces of artwork I’ve been seeing. These tips and tricks will steer me
    in the right direction. Thanks CTMH. You’re the BEST!!

  12. I found these types very helpful. I am planning to re-personalize my daughter’s you for her daughter and these tips saved me from making more than one mistake. Thank you!

  13. These are great tips! I think at my next gathering I’m going to have each attendee make something small with this heat transfer vinyl, they’re going to be excited!!!!! Now, on to figure out what we should make!

  14. Thanks for these tips! I’ve only worked with vinyl a few times, and every time I get confused on which side faces downward. I think that your pointing out that I don’t want to cut the carrier side will help me to remember. I need all the help I can get!

  15. I haven’t tried HTV yet because I was unsure of the process and a little scared, to be honest! Thanks for these tips and I plan to put some HTV on my next order!

  16. I have wanted to try using vinyl but have never got around to it. I have my Australia album from our trip last year that needs some embellishment! Thanks for the tips and the chance to win!

  17. I would like to decorate a cover to a scrapbook to show off my daycare to new parents interviewing my daycare for their child.

  18. These are so easy! I love heat transfers on our albums! I just created an album for my daily bible reading!

  19. Thank you for the tips on heat transfer vinyl. I learned to heat the vinyl for easier weeding, which I did not already know.

  20. Pingback: Vinyl Heat Transfer Album Cover – Scrap Booking – The DIY City

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