With Heat Vinyl Transfer paper and an iron, you can make fun bespoke fabric pieces
Total Project Time: 15 minutes
I recently discovered heat vinyl transfer paper and I am no sure why I wasn’t aware of this product sooners. Heat Vinyl transfer paper is a great way to make bespoke, one of a kind fabric pieces. It is easy to work with and gives great results. The only downside of working with vinyl heat transfer paper is cutting the material can be difficult by hand. This project takes very little time for those with a circuit machine but I’m not sure of the struggles that come from doing it by hand. But the results look amazing, and who doesn’t want a Lizard Cult shirt? Just look at that smile.
There are only a few supplies needed for this project, mainly:
- Heat Vinyl Transfer Paper
- Weeding Tool
- Heat Protection Sheet
Remember to take the color of the Transfer paper as well as the fabric into effect. We are looking at a project that only has one layer of heat transfer vinyl. Look out for when I will be exploring layered heat transfer vinyl patterns!
While the process of using the heat transfer vinyl is simple, there are plenty of opportunities to make mistakes. One of the most important steps comes right at the beginning: cutting out the pattern. A circuit can make this process very simple, but it is possible to do it by hand as well. The most important thing to remember it the directionality of the piece. I wanted to keep the normal orientation of the Lizards face that I am used to, so I inverted the image that I decided to use. The cuts to the vinyl should be made on the dull side of the material.
One the image was cut; it was time to remove the excess material around the image. This process is known as weeding. A weeding tool exists to help with this removing the excess and is especially helpful for those areas that need to be cleared within the pattern. Once the image is prepped, all that’s left to do is iron the image onto the desired fabric.
Since I wasn’t completely sold on how this experiment would go, I purchased a cheap shirt that was the right color for the job. Apparently, this process is normal done with a press but that is not a piece of equipment that I have so I used an iron instead. For an iron the heat should be between the wool and cotton setting on the iron because you don’t want the vinyl to burn. If you start to hear crackling noises, then the iron is too hot. Also, it’s good to note that you’re not doing an ironing motion when putting on the vinyl, you want to do more of a press.
When pressing the vinyl sheet, you need to hold it down for about 8 to 10 seconds. That should be long enough for the vinyl to be woven into the fabric. It’s good to do this against a hard surface, I don’t recommend doing it against an ironing board (like I did). After doing the press, let the vinyl cool. I am impatient so I only waited about 5 seconds, but you can wait more if you want. The plastic sheet should come off, leaving the pattern behind. And voila! You have a one-of-a-kind piece. Or in my case, a one-of-a-kind shirt that I cannot wait to wear.
Time and Temperature
The time applied to vinyl and temperature of the iron are extremely important. Too little and the vinyl will not adhere. Too much and a bubble texture can appear on the vinyl and it’s possible for the vinyl to lose its adhesive properties or even burn off.
- Cut out Pattern (Remember to cut the pattern backwards if it includes words or a directional pattern).
- Weed out unwanted vinyl – only the pattern should remain.
- Place pattern on desired location of the fabric.
- Using iron on medium to high heat, press down on the fabric for 8 – 10 seconds.
- Allow film to cool.
- Gently remove film.