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Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl 101

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I love a good colorful vinyl project.  I mean, who doesn’t?  Let’s face it though….sometimes the prospect of cutting out lots of different colored pieces and then layering them all or aligning them juuuuust right is a little too much work.  I freely admit that my laziness sometimes often overpowers my creative spark.

However, there is one product available that allows me to be a little (or a lotta) lazy and STILL get my craft on, resulting in just as much adorableness with much less effort….printable heat transfer vinyl!!

Yes, you read that right: *PRINTABLE* HTV.  As in anything-you-can-print-out-at-home-on-your-basic-printer-is-now-magically-turned-into-heat-transfer-vinyl.  Amazing, I know!  Here I’ll walk you through how easy it is to use!

Oh, and I have a fun HUGE font & graphic giveaway going on too that you won’t want to miss!

Learn all about how to use printable HTV! This is so handy! Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl 101 + HUGE Font & Graphic Giveaway! | Where The Smiles Have Been

[Thanks to the awesome folks at The Hungry JPEG for sponsoring today’s fun!]

 

Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl 101

Supplies

  • Printable heat transfer vinyl sheet
  • Printer & ink
    • I have an inkjet printer, but some brands of printable HTV may also work on laser jets
  • Design….if you can print it, you can use it!
    • The adorable fox doodle and font I used can both be found here
  • Cutting machine or plain ole scissors
  • Clothing article (I used a onesie) or other item on which to attach design
  • Iron or heat press
  • Cookie sheet, ironing board, or cardboard

 

My Design: A Wild & Free Fox

I’ve got a bun in my oven, and our newest baby boy is due to arrive in early October.  We’re currently in the process of finishing his nursery, and since we have less than two months remaining until D-Day (eeeek!), I guess we better get a move on things, huh?

We’re going with a rustic woodland theme for his room, so when I spotted this super adorable fox doodle, I knew it would be perfect for a baby project.  Plus, we also have a gazillion plain white onesies left in storage from when our first son, Rowan, was a wee one, so a printable heat transfer vinyl project was born!

Boho Style Elements Graphic Pack

 

This adorable fox is part of the Boho Style graphics package and is included in The August Bundle from The Hungry JPEG.  You all know how I love me some Hungry JPEG, especially their monthly bundles.

They are always jam-packed with amazing premium fonts AND graphics, include a full commercial license, and are super affordable.

I mean, just look at all this awesome stuff they’ve packaged together for this month (oh, and just as an FYI, the Marvelous Font & Graphics Pack is included as one item in this bundle, and it alone comes with 21 premium fonts and hundreds of graphics.  Normally it sells for $29 by itself….talk about a steal!):

The Hungry JPEG's August Bundle!

 

All these goodies are on sale for the month of August ONLY.  Once September hits the calendar, it’s sayonara time!

The bundle is discounted for 96% off retail and is only $29….BUT….you can save an additional 20% off it (and any other bundle too) by using the code Smiles20.  You’re welcome. ;)

Save 20% Off The August Bundle from The Hungry JPEG with Code Smiles20!

 

A Little Note Before We Begin This Tutorial….

Since I’m head over heels in crafty love with my Silhouette Cameo, I’ll be going into some detail on how I utilized its {amazing} print & cut function to cut out my design.  That will comprise the first part of this tutorial, so if you don’t have a Silhouette or aren’t interested in all those juicy details, just skip on down a bit….but why would you want to miss half the fun?!

 

Tracing The Fox Doodle

In order to turn the fox into a cuttable image in Silhouette Studio, I first needed to trace it.  Otherwise, the cut line would be along the white rectangle that makes up the full border….not good.

Tracing is one of the handiest features of Silhouette Studio because you can literally turn just about anything into a cut file!

I first opened the .PNG fox file then used the Trace tool and adjusted the various slider bars until I got a nice, crisp outline of the fox’s body and tail.  The tracing of the inner details didn’t matter in this case since those won’t be cut out.

Learn all about how to use printable HTV! This is so handy! Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl 101 + HUGE Font & Graphic Giveaway! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

Here’s how the tracing turned out.  Not too shabby, eh?

Learn all about how to use printable HTV! This is so handy! Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl 101 + HUGE Font & Graphic Giveaway! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

Like I mentioned, I only needed the outline of the fox, so I moved that line over to the side for the moment then deleted all the extra bits.  Then I centered my fox image and newly traced outlined and grouped them together (I also ended up doing a kiss cut with this cut line, and you can read more about that below).

Learn all about how to use printable HTV! This is so handy! Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl 101 + HUGE Font & Graphic Giveaway! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

Adding the ‘Wild & Free’ Wording

Since I didn’t just want to have the fox by itself on the onesie (as cute as it may be), I decided to add a simple phrase to jazz things up.

‘Wild & Free’ seemed more than appropriate for this project, and the Sekut font was just what I needed to complete the design.  It’s also included in The August Bundle too!

Sekut Font

 

Gimme a Kiss {Cut}

When doing any type of print & cut project with my Silhouette, I usually like to do what’s called a kiss cut on my images.  This is where you set your cut lines so they are just within the outline of your elements a teensy tiny bit, so when cut, you don’t get any annoying white bits or parts along the edges.  It basically gives your Silhouette a little wiggle room.

To set up a kiss cut, all you need to do is perform a SUPER small internal offset on your element(s).  Zooming in really close allows you to easily see your new cut line.  Once you have that in place, remember to set your original element to No Cut before sending to Silhouette.  Otherwise….double cut catastrophe!

You can see below where my kiss cuts were added.  It’s easiest to see the red line on the orange ‘&’ as well as the green line along the fox’s toes.  They’re all just within the borders instead of being right on them.

Learn all about how to use printable HTV! This is so handy! Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl 101 + HUGE Font & Graphic Giveaway! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

The Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl

Now that my design was finalized, it was almost time to print.  I’ve used this particular brand of printable heat transfer vinyl several times now and it’s pretty good quality (Note: I am not affiliated with this company at all and even though I like the product well enough, their customer service leaves much to be desired, which you can read a little more about here).  There are also lots of other brands and varieties available too.

Using it, I was able to knock out a quick personalized Valentine’s robot shirt for my son as well as a customized sugar skull graphic to jazz up a plain makeup bag.  Take that regular HTV!

It comes sized as 8.5″ x 11″ sheets and is intended for use in inkjet printers. It’s also really easy to tell which side you’re supposed to print on (thank you!) because it looks like fabric.  The back is really slick and shiny since that is the adhesive side that gets ironed to whatever your final piece is.

Because of this, there is no need to flip or mirror your image before printing/cutting like you normally would with regular HTV….one less thing to remember!

Learn all about how to use printable HTV! This is so handy! Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl 101 + HUGE Font & Graphic Giveaway! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

Printing My Design

Since I’m using my Silhouette Cameo to cut it out, I first needed to turn on registration marks.  These little black marks get printed along with my design and tell my Silhouette exactly where it needs to cut….pretty amazing, I know!

{Once again, if you aren’t using a Silhouette, you obviously won’t need any registration marks and can go ahead and get your print and cut on.}

I loaded a sheet of the printable heat transfer vinyl into my printer, and used the print settings of Plain Paper and Best Quality.  Thankfully I was spared any crazy technical difficulties…..technology and I tend to butt heads.

Learn all about how to use printable HTV! This is so handy! Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl 101 + HUGE Font & Graphic Giveaway! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

Cutting Out My Design

Now it was (finally) time to cut, so I loaded my printed sheet onto my cutting mat and into my Silhouette….

Learn all about how to use printable HTV! This is so handy! Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl 101 + HUGE Font & Graphic Giveaway! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

….then finalized my cut settings.  Here’s what I used (but always do a test cut first!):

  • Material Type: Fabric (Thick)
  • Blade: 5
  • Speed: 5
  • Thickness: 33

Learn all about how to use printable HTV! This is so handy! Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl 101 + HUGE Font & Graphic Giveaway! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

A few moments later, my design was cut (quite perfectly too, I might add).  And remember, since this is heat transfer vinyl, it won’t be sticky until you apply heat to it, which makes for super easy weeding.

Learn all about how to use printable HTV! This is so handy! Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl 101 + HUGE Font & Graphic Giveaway! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

See the benefits of utilizing kiss cuts?  No annoying white edges!

Learn all about how to use printable HTV! This is so handy! Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl 101 + HUGE Font & Graphic Giveaway! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

Applying the Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl

I still don’t have a heat press since I’m currently designing my dream craft room, but a trusty regular clothes iron can get the job done, no problemo.  And since I’m lazy, I didn’t mess with dragging out my ironing board.  I instead used a cookie sheet to protect our dining room table from the iron’s heat.

For this particular brand of printable heat transfer vinyl, I just set my iron to the Cotton setting (which is the highest), and made sure to not use any steam.

Then I gave a few passes on top of my still-plain (and obviously previously washed) onesie just to smooth out any wrinkles and heat it up.  Next, I transferred my design over to the onesie (with a little help from a strip of washi tape), and got to ironing.

I ironed all over the cut pieces, applying even and firm pressure for about 15-20 seconds before moving to a new spot (oh, and I made sure to remove the washi tape before ironing on the letters….not too sure how it would react to the heat but I’m guessing not well!).

You can easily check the adhesion by simply running over the edges with your finger (But be careful!  It’s hot).  If it’s not sticking, hit it with the iron again.

Learn all about how to use printable HTV! This is so handy! Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl 101 + HUGE Font & Graphic Giveaway! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

The Completed Wild & Free Fox Onesie!

And here’s the final onesie!  Gahhhh, I just looooove baby clothes, especially the super teensy tiny things.  So, so precious…..

Anyways, I think this printable heat transfer vinyl project turned out so stinkin’ cute!  And it was a breeze to knock out too.  All it took was one printed sheet followed by one cut, instead of lots of different sheets of HTV with lots of cuts and lots of precise layering and ironing….ain’t nobody got time for that!  Especially a very pregnant lady with a rambunctious three-year-old to wrangle.

A crafty shortcut, indeed.

Learn all about how to use printable HTV! This is so handy! Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl 101 + HUGE Font & Graphic Giveaway! | Where The Smiles Have Been

Learn all about how to use printable HTV! This is so handy! Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl 101 + HUGE Font & Graphic Giveaway! | Where The Smiles Have Been

Learn all about how to use printable HTV! This is so handy! Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl 101 + HUGE Font & Graphic Giveaway! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

How This Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl Holds Up

I always wash items with this printable heat transfer vinyl inside out in cold water and let air dry (when I remember to not throw them in the dryer with the rest of the load).  They hold up well enough, but over time with more and more washes, I’ve noticed a few strings fraying along the edges (which can easily be snipped with scissors), and the images can get a little stiff.

You can also remove the images relatively easy in case you want to reuse the item, like I did here in order to make my son a festive shirt for the pumpkin patch at the last minute!

 

If You Enjoyed This….

Make sure you check out my Project Gallery for lots of my other crafty creations and Silhouette tutorials, including these fun things!

FREE Silhouette Cut Files at Where The Smiles Have Been!

Home Sweet Home Sign with FREE Cut File! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

Colorful Grandkids Make Life Grand Wood Sign Photo Display | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

DIY Farmhouse Sign: Personalized Love & Shenanigans | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

How To Use the Text Tool in Silhouette Studio | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

The Hungry JPEG’s August Bundle Giveaway!

But wait, there’s more! :)

The awesome folks at The Hungry JPEG are continuing their generosity and offering up another FREE bundle for a lucky reader!  For your chance to win The August Bundle, just complete as many entries in the giveaway widget below as you’d like.  Good luck and happy designing! :)

Enter to win The August Bundle from The Hungry JPEG & Where The Smiles Have Been!

 

{This giveaway runs from today through Thursday, August 18th at 11:59p eastern.  Winner will be randomly chosen and have 48 hours to respond to email or another winner will be selected.}

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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Wendy Harp

Sunday 29th of March 2020

Can you tell me what type and style printer you use?

Jessica

Thursday 15th of August 2019

I used printable iron on for a project and thought I had to press 15-20 seconds like I normally do, but apparently the one I bought is just a simple iron motion and it's adhered. So needless to say, I have an iron imprint on my vinyl. Any idea on how to fix this?

Tina

Tuesday 11th of June 2019

I'm hoping you can elaborate a little on how exactly you use the washi tape. I just got a cricut and am planning to use it for the first time to set up a onesie making station for my sisters baby shower. I ordered a ton of printable vinyl and have set up some mix an match pictures and phrases for the guests to iron on. My problem with printable HTV is that you can't use transfer tape! I have a ton of cute sayings, but there won't be enough time for the guests to transfer each letter over individually. How did you use the washi tape to do your shirt? I assume you place it on top of the design after weeding and use it to move the phrase over to the onesie as one whole piece, but how do you remove the washi while keeping the lettering in place since you can't iron over it? I wanted to do all the weeding and prep work in advance so all the guests would need to do is select their picture and phrase and then iron. I'm getting nervous about all the transferring of tiny letter pieces now though :(

Christine

Monday 15th of July 2019

Hi Tina! The tape that I used was just basic washi tape. Nothing special. I used it just to keep all the pieces together and aligned while being transferred to the onesie, and since washi tape has a very light adhesive, the piece came off really easily (and no need to cut off a strip of regular transfer tape like you would for vinyl).

The tape was just used for alignment, so I made sure to NOT run my iron over it while applying the HTV. Once part of the HTV was nicely adhered to the onesie (the small pieces on the bottom that were peeking out from the washi tape), I peeled off the washi tape and then applied the rest of the HTV with my iron.

I sure hope that makes sense!

Jeanna

Monday 21st of January 2019

Can you link down what printer works best for it. Thanks

Maya

Thursday 19th of April 2018

how big do you set your internal offset too?

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