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How to Heat Press HTV to A Hat (No Special Attachment Needed)

I don't make many hats, but wanted to create a custom one for "hat day" at school, without investing in anything more than heat transfer vinyl and the hat.  No fancy attachments, no special tape... I didn't have to pick up anything special for this project, but it turned out great!

How to heat press hats (without special attachments) a Silhouette Cameo tutorial.

If you want to skip buying extra attachments or specialty equipment too, follow on!

Adding heat transfer vinyl to a hat is completely doable with a regular flat heat press or household iron, you just have to find a way to support your project so you can get enough pressure on the vinyl.  I don't plan on making a lot of hats, so buying a special heat press just for hats was totally out of the question for me.  I also didn't have time to buy special heat press tape, "hat day" was tomorrow and this project couldn't wait!  I winged it without anything other than the glitter heat transfer vinyl that I already had on hand and a hat we picked up on clearance.

This project highlights the owl design that is part of the 12 Exclusive Heat Transfer Vinyl Designs that I created for Craft-e-Corner.  When you open the file, you'll see this cute little owl:

12 Exclusive Heat Transfer Vinyl Designs - Owl

I measured my hat and sized the owl to fit. Next, I flipped the design and checked the cut settings to ensure that I was ready to cut glitter heat transfer.  Here are the cut settings I used:

The glitter heat transfer vinyl cut settings I use for my Silhouette Cameo machine.

Glitter heat transfer is a completely different animal than smooth heat transfer. It's much thicker so you have to crank your blade all the way up to a depth of 10.  I adjusted my blade and then made the cut.

Note:  For hats, glitter heat transfer or flock heat transfer are recommended.  I didn't go over any seams with this project (just because the size of the owl fit within the seams), but if you did go over seams, glitter or flock heat transfer would hide the seam better than smooth HTV.

Once the owl was cut, I weeded the design:

Glitter heat transfer vinyl owl design- so cute!

For tips and tricks on weeding glitter heat transfer vinyl, click here!

I heated up my heat press and grabbed a towel. The type of towel does not really matter, I grabbed this beach towel because it was colorful (truth).  Fold the towel in half once or twice length wise and then roll it up towards the middle.  I opted to roll it from both ends, but you can do whatever works for you:

Use a rolled up towel to support the hat when adding heat transfer vinyl.

I put the hat on the towel and and lined up my design:

how to put htv on a hat tutorial water

Since I did not have any specialty tape to hold the design in place, I held one edge of the design while I pressed the other end.  I pressed the hat right to the top plate of my heat press and pushed up on the towel to get enough pressure to transfer the design:

How to heat press a hat without anything special.

I slightly rolled the design while heating it.  If you do not have a heat press, you can use a regular iron as well with similar technique.

Next, I wanted to add "I'm a real hoot!" to the bill of the hat.  I lined up the design:

How to add HTV to a hat.

and relied on the sticky carrier sheet to hold it in place while I pressed.  I used the towel to press it against the top plate of my press again.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy, as my daughter would say!

How to add heat transfer vinyl without using anything special!
You can use this technique for just about any awkward item you want to add heat transfer to.  The important thing is to keep your hand protected.  Heat presses get over 300 degrees, as long as you protect your hand, you can hold just about anything to the top plate of your heat press, apply pressure and transfer the design!

How to make a personalized hat!


6 thoughts on “How to Heat Press HTV to A Hat (No Special Attachment Needed)”

  • Edward

    It looks really good and precise. So which cutter do you usually use for cutting out your designs? Where do you buy your glitter transfer?

    • Kala

      I usually use a Silhouette Cameo, but a Cricut Explore Air 2 works as well. I use our Siser Glitter packs,

  • Judy

    Thank you for the clear instructions!
    May I suggest to all Please protect hands and arms from burns- wear oven mitts or oven gloves, and possibly a long- sleeved shirt in your photos , it will inspire viewers to be cautious.
    Use a scrap of plain carrier sheet to "extend" the transfer so you can safely hold it while heating.
    I will be experimenting with this technique , thank you!

  • Angelica

    hi, I have been using the HtV glitter, with CAMEO 3, and following the instruction, but the machine cut soo deeply, almost breaking all the sheet, maybe my wrong is in the feed option and cut line sorting, could you tell me, hoe must to be these option.
    thanks so much

    • Kala

      Hi Angelica,
      When I am cutting glitter heat transfer, I typically have my blade at a a 10, speed 5, thickness 10 and do a double cut. If that is causing you to cut through the backing sheet, put your blade at an 8 and try again. It should not matter if you have a cut line sort, because the blade is cutting the same no matter what order it is cutting in. Also, make sure your auto blade is setting itself correctly- the red line should be above the number you want (but it does not always adjust itself correctly, so please double check).

      Hope this helps!

  • Dan

    Hey the hat turned out great! Good idea using the towel for support. It's amazing what you can achieve when you put your mind to it, even if ya don't have the perfect accessories.


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