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

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

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


Mistakes are an inevitable part of life and crafting. When working with iron-on HTV, errors can be especially frustrating. Nobody likes to waste supplies, particularly heat transfer vinyl. In this guide, we'll explore how to address common HTV mishaps and provide you with a detailed step-by-step approach to fix these mistakes.

Materials You'll Need

  • Embossing Heat Tool: An essential tool for heating and removing iron-on. 
  • Tweezers: Precise tweezers will help you lift off the vinyl sections.
  • Hook or Weeder Tool: A handy instrument for safely peeling off iron-on from fabric. Get a weeder tool here.
  • Heat Transfer Vinyl Remover: This can be helpful in removing any adhesive residue.

Safety First

When using tools like heat guns or irons, exercise caution to prevent burns, and ensure you're working in a well-ventilated space. 

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Now, let's dive into the detailed process of fixing common iron-on mistakes, including visuals to guide you along the way.

Mistake/Fix #1 - Shifting Layers

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

Personalized last day of school autograph stuffed animals.

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

Step 1: 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.

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 iron-on vinyl! Embossing guns are like super powered blow dryers, they get very hot, so exercise caution.

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.


Step 2: Heat sections of your design and gently peel it off using tweezers. Hold the embossing gun a few inches away from the design and keep the heat moving to avoid damaging the fabric.

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

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

Step 3: Once the design is removed, you can realign it and press it again, achieving a much-improved result.

Realign the design element and press again.

Mistake/Fix #2 - Covering Up

I made this beautiful photo album for a friend's wedding gift. The album came with the gold polka dots already printed on the album. They are some type of foil I think. 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.

How to customize wedding gifts to make them personalized.

How to fix heat transfer design errors.

Step 1: Measure the damaged area (e.g., 1" circles) and cut a piece of silver glitter HTV to match.Use glitter heat transfer vinyl to cover up the mistakes.

Step 2: Apply the silver glitter HTV over the damaged area, covering it completely with a tea towel. Then, press the album again.

Step 3: 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)?

Note: Covering up works equally well on layered iron-on mistakes. If you forget to weed layered iron-on, you can cover the mistake with a piece of vinyl the same color as the background and press it right over the top. When you work with smooth iron-on and and press a piece on top, you can barely see the fix!

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 - Weeding Mistakes

The last fix is for a mistake on a shirt. I thought the design was pretty simple so I didn’t look carefully at the design when I was weeding, missing a huge piece of iron-on that should have been removed. Whoops! Here's how to address this issue:

Step 1: The goal is to heat up the design again. Carefully wrap the shirt around an iron, heating the design from behind to loosen the adhesive on the iron-on.

Use an iron to weed out vinyl that you missed.

Step 2: 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!

Step 3: 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.

Troubleshooting Tips

Not everything always goes according to plan. Here are some troubleshooting tips:

  • If the iron-on doesn't come off easily, apply more heat and use tweezers or a hook tool with patience.
  • For adhesive residue, consider using Heat Transfer Vinyl Remover to clean the surface effectively.
  • Keep in mind that the effectiveness of these techniques can vary based on the brand and type of iron-on you're using. It's a good practice to test these methods on a small area or scrap piece before fixing a larger mistake.

While we hope you won't encounter iron-on viyl mistakes, know that everyone makes them from time to time. Armed with the right knowledge and materials, you can successfully rectify these errors and continue creating beautiful, personalized projects. Happy crafting!


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I tried heating up my HTV from behind on a shirt with a blow dryer. It burned a hole in the shirt!
Any idea on how to fix that?

Felice Morales

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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