Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How to Use a Home Iron to Apply Heat Transfer Vinyl

My designs are applied using heat transfer vinyl. I've made plenty of mistakes along the way. My biggest mistake was not buying a heat press sooner. It has made a huge difference. And I'm happy to say that my home based business uses professional equipment to apply our designs.  (stay tuned for tips on using a regular iron)

This week Cynthia contacted me to ask if I could make her viola playing son a t-shirt instead of a tote bag. I was happy to do that for her. She has a great point that it's much more masculine to wear a black t-shirt than to carry a black tote bag. I think it turned out just great!
 My brother recently got his PHD and is working on a new venture called Scibrary (science + library). I made this awesome shirt to help support his cause.

So why do I love my heat press you ask?

Advantages of Heat Press

Consistent heat (more expensive models are supposedly better but my model works just fine and didn't cost thousands of dollars).



Temp settings (you can actually use the manufacturer's recommended temp and time for application and it works)

Pre-press to remove moisture from t-shirt or tote. (I've been amazed how much moisture comes out of a simple tote bag some days. Of course I do live in humid Texas!)

Faster - really it is believe me!

Just for you, here are my hints for using a home iron if you have to.

Hints for Using a Home Iron to Apply Heat Transfer Vinyl

1. Remove all water from the iron.
2. Avoid steam vents. If possible place iron over the decal you are ironing on in such a way that the steam vents are not over the heat transfer vinyl. (You can also find an iron without steam vents on Amazon Continental Dry Iron)
3. Use a cover cloth. Parchment paper also works.
4. Apply pressure to the iron. (that would be the press in heat press)
5. Pre press the garment you are applying the decal to. It helps remove moisture and warm the garment for application.
6. Use small decals. If possible only iron each spot once.
7. Once you figure out what setting your iron needs to be on (usually a cotton or wool setting) always use that setting. And watch the clock to get the time right. For me it was 25-30 seconds of pressure on a cotton setting. In my experimenting I left scorch marks, melted the vinyl to bits and managed to make some good looking heat transfers too. It just wasn't as consistent or professional as I needed it to be for a business.

Good luck. It's a lot of trial and error but it can be done.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the Scibrary shirts, sister! They're getting some good use. The logo is getting used too at www.scibrary.org


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