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How to Fix Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) Mistakes

Mistakes happen, it's part of life and part of crafting.  When you make a mistake with HTV it can be frustrating.  I don't know about you, but I hate wasting supplies, especially heat transfer vinyl!

Three heat transfer vinyl mistakes and three fixes.  If you press something in error, you can fix it!  Here's how!

There are a few ways you can fix a mistake, let's look at some examples and some ways to fix the mistakes.

Mistake/Fix #1:

Let's take a look at these cute last day of school autograph doggies I made:

Personalized last day of school autograph stuffed animals.

Bring along a few Sharpies and collect friends signatures, it's like a stuffed yearbook!  As I was making these two, I had a slight mishap on the one dog:

Heat press mistakes happen, here's how to fix them!

Groan!  The "kindergarten" layer shifted when I pressed the design and got all kinds of messed up.  No worries, we can fix it!

The first step to fix it is to heat the design up again.  On a plush stuffed animal like this, it isn't as easy as heating up your iron and ironing it again (see below for a shirt fix).  Instead, I pulled out my trusty embossing heat tool:

A heat tool is really helpful when trying to fix a heat transfer vinyl mistake.  Heat the design up with a heat tool and peel the design up.

Heat tools (aka embossing guns) are used to melt embossing powder (for paper crafting).  My embossing gun has been used for that, but I've also used it to speed dry paint, adhere vinyl onto surfaces and, you guessed it, remove mistakes in heat transfer vinyl!  Embossing guns are like super powered blow dryers, they get VERY hot (use caution).  The idea with this technique is to heat up the vinyl in sections and then pick the design off with tweezers.  This is actually quite effective:

Heat sections of your design and use a pair of tweezers to remove the errors.

Keep the embossing gun at least a few inches away from the design and gently heat it up.  Keep the heat moving so you don't burn the stuffie.  Pick off the design with a pair of tweezers:

Once you remove the vinyl, you can start over again!

I thought I might run into trouble when I pulled up the part that overlapped the border, but it came off without pulling up the black (yes!).   Once the design has been removed, you can try that layering again:

Realign the design element and press again.  Much better!

Check out the full tutorial for these autograph dogs (and learn some tips on how to avoid this mistake) here.
Mistake/Fix #2:

Our next mistake is a little different.  I made this beautiful photo album for a friends wedding gift:

How to customize wedding gifts to make them personalized.

This album came with the gold polka dots already printed on the album, they are some type of foil (I think).  When I personalized the album with our exclusive "Mr. & Mrs." heat transfer design, I was not expecting what happened when I pulled up the heat transfer carrier sheet:

How to fix heat transfer design errors.

Agh!  When I removed the heat transfer carrier sheet, it pulled up some of the gold!  Since this was not something I added to the album, I could not just pull it off and try it again.  Instead, I opted to cover it up. This is another trick you can do to fix your heat transfer mistakes.

I measured the circles, they were 1" so I cut some 1" silver glitter heat transfer and covered that whoops up:

Use glitter heat transfer vinyl to cover up the mistakes.

I stuck the silver glitter right over the damaged circle, covered the entire design with a tea towel and then pressed the album again.  I added a few more glitter silver circles on the front and back of the album to make it look intentional.  Who says those silver circles weren't part of the plan (wink):

Fixing heat transfer vinyl errors is easy- check this out for three mistakes and three fixes.  Using HTV to cover up an error is a great solution!

Check out this tutorial on how to add heat transfer vinyl to a photo album and create custom wedding gifts.

How to fix heat transfer vinyl mistakes- cover it up!

Mistake/Fix #3:  

The last fix was a mistake on a shirt.  I missed a huge piece when weeding.  I thought the design was pretty simple so I didn't look at the design when I was weeding.  Whoops....

The technique to fix this shirt is going to be similar to the dog above.  The goal here is to heat up the design again.  I wrapped the shirt around my iron and heated the design up from behind (which will loosen the adhesive on the HTV):

Use an iron to weed out vinyl that you missed.

Hold the shirt around the iron (careful, it's hot), and work quickly.  I used a metal hook tool and picked at the design until it started to come up:

A hook tool will help you get the heat transfer vinyl off the shirt.  Be careful, it's hot!

Once I was able to get a corner of it up enough, I grabbed it quickly and pulled it off:

Wrapping the shirt around an iron will help activate the glue from behind.  You can work up a corner of the piece you missed and pull it off once it heats up enough.  Work fast, the iron is hot!

You can't even tell which petal I missed!

How to fix heat transfer vinyl mistakes. What to do if you missing a piece when you weed.

How to fix Heat Transfer Vinyl mistakes.  Heat the design up and remove with a hook tool.

If you have other types of mistakes, such as forgetting to weed layered HTV, you can cover the HTV with a piece the same color as the background and press it right over the top.  When you work with smooth HTV, and press a piece on top, you can barely see the fix.

HTV remover might be helpful with this process as well.  It will help you get off any adhesive left behind.

I hope you never have to use these techniques, but if you do, know that I've been there before too!  We ALL make mistakes from time to time.  You can totally fix it with a little know how.

silhouette-cameo-tutorial

24 thoughts on “How to Fix Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) Mistakes”

  • GICELA YARAVI ALEMAN
    GICELA YARAVI ALEMAN November 5, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    you saved my life tonight, thank you for take the time to write this tuttorial, thank you so much, blessings.

    Reply
  • Donna Long

    Awesome tutorial! Thanks so very much!!!

    Reply
  • Jessica

    THANK YOUUUU!!!! I was thinking I was all that and pulled off the HTV sheet and I missed an important part and was soooo upset. It came up with no issues with the iron trick. Thank you again!

    Reply
  • Tasha

    Thanks for the tips! I'm so scared of ruining my creations and wasting my supplies. I've made these mistakes before too but had. I idea how to fix them.

    Reply
    • Kala

      Yes! Heat transfer is so expensive (and who wants to waste supplies??) Hope you never have to use these tips, but if you run into a pickle, hope they help!
      Happy crafting Tasha!
      Kala

      Reply
  • Susan Fox

    This technique works incredibly well! I'm actually a little concerned how easily the Siser Easyweed comes off!! But thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Kala

      Siser is one of the leading brands for heat transfer! Just remember when you use this technique, you are heating up the adhesive. In normal washing conditions, you're not heating up the glue that much so it will not come off. Siser is a great product to work with, it's my go to!

      Reply
  • Diana

    Thank you for the tshirt trick! I found your post via google. Wrapping around the iron saved my project!!

    Reply
  • kayla

    I need help! I did the reheat and peel, but its on black shirt and it left the residue behind...how do i get that off????

    Reply
    • Kala

      There is an adhesive remover that you can buy for this use, but unfortunately we don't sell it. I've used goof off and it worked well!

      Reply
  • Robyn

    Thank you so much! I missed a small part on a shirt and it was driving me crazy! Was able to fix it!

    Reply
  • Kaye

    You are a complete life saver!

    Reply
  • matthew

    Hi
    Just to add to pulling vinyl off. I warm it and then start scratching it with my nail to help stretch the vinyl and it also comes off quite well specially on fine smooth surfaces that show damage quickly.
    Im satill trying to find the best way to remove vinyl from padded drymacs, the surface tends to show damage very quickly when removing a piece of misplaced vinyl.
    I use a iron point to focus heat on a small area and also to press onto caps where there is a seam down the front print area and use baking paper to protect the vinyl

    Reply

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