How to Fix Iron-On Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) Mistakes

How to Fix Iron-On Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) Mistakes

Mistakes happen, it’s part of life and part of crafting. When you make a mistake with iron-on HTV it can be frustrating. I don’t know about you, but I hate wasting supplies, especially heat transfer vinyl! There are a few ways you can fix a mistake, let’s look at some examples and some ways to fix the mistakes.

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


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. Much better!

Realign the design element and press again.

Mistake/Fix #2

Our next mistake is a little different.  I made this beautiful photo album for a friend's 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!

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 iron-on heat transfer vinyl 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. - Kala

Craft-e-Corner team member

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I tried to apply a print on my bag and my bag made bubbles around the print. The print is fine but my bag has big bubbles.can that be fixed?


Great tips and tricks. They will be useful as I am learning and have made some mistakes.I have a question have you ever encountered air bubbles in holographic htv? I did. I am not sure the cause. Just thought I would ask.


Omg. Thank you so much for the “wrap around the iron” trick. I was lamenting missing weeding a spot on my Star Wars shirt that I made for our Disney trip. Tank goodness I found your article. All fixed! And it was a tiny design, came off so nice


I have an issue I’m hoping you can help with. I attempted to remove the vinyl numbers from the back of my daughter’s polyester school sweatshirt but have run into a problem. One number removed easily with no issues. I used heat to remove the vinyl and alcohol to remove the glue. However, when I removed the other number, I was able to remove the number but I found that the plastic film remained underneath it. The company that made applied the vinyl did not removed the plastic backing prior to applying the vinyl to the sweatshirt. Now I have tried everything I could possibly google to remove the plastic but it won’t budge. I even tried wax paper which actually made it worse. Now the sweatshirt has a very visible “1” still on the back. Is there anything I can do to remove it? I would like to save it if possible.


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