Hot Tools for Heat Transfer Vinyl (What You Need to Work With Iron-On HTV)
Iron-On or Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) is a great material. You can make your own custom shirts, bags, shoes, baby onesies, hats and so much more! If you can iron it, you can add heat transfer vinyl to it! There are a lot of tools you can use to work with heat transfer vinyl - some are a must-have and others are nice-to-have. Let’s take a closer look at some Iron-On HTV Tools.
The first tool you’ll need is a die cutting machine. All Cricut cutting machines are designed to cut heat transfer vinyl wonderfully.
Enjoy making LOTS of custom t-shirts. hats and bags? Or do you also want to expand into Infusible Sublimation Ink for your fabric projects? Then you should consider investing in a Cricut EasyPress 2 Machine. The EasyPress 2 features precision temperature control for consistently successful heat transfers compared to a household iron. The plate on this heat press is flat (no holes) for even heating and the machine achieves and maintains an exact temperature for iron-on transfer.
However, you can apply heat transfer vinyl with EITHER a heat press or a houselhold iron. Which you chose will depend on how much you heat transfer vinyl you plan to use or if you plan to sell your creations.
3. Hook Tool
The tool you'll reach for the most often when working with iron-on heat transfer vinyl is a good hook tool. A hook tool will help you weed (remove) all the extra pieces that aren’t part of your cut design.
4. Teflon Sheet
You may want to invest in a teflon sheet. Some heat presses come with one included, but if not, they’re fairly inexpensive. A teflon sheet covers your design while you press. It is non-stick, so bits of heat transfer vinyl don’t get stuck to your iron or your press, and they help protect your design so it doesn’t melt to your press.
Don’t have a teflon sheet? No worries, you can use a thin tea towel instead. The towel is not non-stick, but it will do the trick.
5. Pressing Pillow
Another tool you might use with a heat press is a pressing pillow. I used the pressing pillow to help adhere my design when I had a magnetic button in the way. It’s also helpful if you are trying to heat press a hat or over the seam of a shirt. Maybe not a must- have, but a real plus depending on what you like to make!
6. Adhesive Remover
Mistakes happen. Adhesive remover will help you fix them. Once you get the heat transfer vinyl off your project, a little adhesive remover will get rid of any residue.
For more advice, check out How to Fix Iron-On Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) Mistakes.
7. Heat Tape
Heat Tape is heat resistant and can be pressed or ironed. Use a bit of heat tape to help keep your design in place while you transfer the design to your project surface. Heat tape is especially helpful when working on an awkward surface such as a hat or stuffed animal!
8. Light Box
A light box or light table is helpful when you are weeding your designs. Cutting heat transfer vinyl will leave the slightest of lines for you to weed by. Add Cricut BrightPad behind your cover sheet and those lines will be SO much easier to see! BrightPad Go is a cordless LED lightbox with 2+ hours of battery-life and five adjustable brightness settings. Reduce eye strain and see even even the smallest details with ease and comfort!
For more tips on easy weeding, check out Glitter Heat Transfer Vinyl Made Easy.
9. Some Additional Tools
A sturdy table. Heat presses are heavy, and if you are using an iron, you’ll need to press down firmly to make the vinyl transfer over. A sturdy table is a must!
A (sliding) tee square. These are usually used in architecture or industrial design, but they’ll help you line up your design and make sure it’s on straight.
A three ring binder with plastic dividers. This is helpful for storing all your cut and weeded designs. If you have a lot of designs to cut at once, this will be a life saver because you can weed everything at once and stick the designs to the dividers in your binder until you are ready to press everything. If you make designs ahead of time, this will work for storage too!
Heat proof gloves. Heat transfer is all about getting things hot. Whether you’re just working with a freshly pressed shirt, or if you’re trying to press an awkward project to the top plate of your heat press, heat proof gloves would save your digits from getting burned.
A flat Iron. A flat iron is used to flatten/straighten hair. It’s also quite useful for small heat transfer jobs or hard to get to spots. That flat iron in your bathroom is like a mini heat press when you think about it! They’re great for adding monograms to sandals, initials to a backpack strap or even putting on Girl Scout patches!
Happy Crafting! - Kala