Working with Adhesive Foil

Working with adhesive foil is easy.  I bought this Cricut brand adhesive foil at Hobby Lobby during one of their big clearance events.  I thought I’d try it and give you my opinion of it.  You can buy it at the Cricut site. It is a removable vinyl (which I had to find out online).

I made the drink cup before I knew it was a removable vinyl.  It has a coffee cup on the label and doesn’t say it is removable so I thought it would be fine.  I have hand washed it a few times and the vinyl has stayed though so we will see how it holds up.

What you will need
Cutting

This cuts fairly easily.  I used my custom vinyl setting that cuts twice automatically.  If you want to know how to create a custom setting,  see this page.  

Weeding

Working with adhesive foil is great and it weeds like a dream!!  I didn’t need my light pad at all.  It is hard to get a pick into it though.  I ended up having to bend the carrier sheet slightly at the seams and wiggle the pick under it to get the scroll work off.  The scroll work even though it is very fine came up in one piece and looked so good I applied it to the top of the drink cup with no problems.

Applying the Vinyl

I used Cricut brand transfer paper to transfer the decal to the drink cup.  It worked fine.  If it had all been one piece I don’t think I would have needed it though.  This vinyl is very strong and very stiff. 

I transferred the scroll work without using transfer paper.  Once I got it off the carrier sheet it work beautifully and just went right on using my fingers.

Because I had multiple pieces that I needed to keep aligned, I did use the transfer paper on the main decal though.  As I said this vinyl is very stiff and went on beautifully handling the curve very easily.

In Conclusion

I think I love this adhesive foil.  Working with adhesive foil is great! I was expecting something like tin foil but it surprised me with the thickness and stiffness.  It was extremely easy to work with and I highly recommend it.  I just wish it had said removable on the label or at least not had a coffee cup pictured on the label.  I would have looked harder and figured out it wasn’t permanent.

This tutorial contains links to sellers of which I am an affiliate and get a small commission.  Your price is not affected.

Removable and Permanent Vinyl

Vinyl, either permanent or removable is an amazingly versatile material.  You can use it to decorate, label, make subway art, make cards,  etc.  The advantages of using it are almost infinite.  Whichever type you use, it will expand your crafting possibilities exponentially.

Removable Vinyl (Oracle 431 for example)

Just as the name implies, this vinyl comes off if you want it to.  It is used for walls, mirrors, picture frames, paper etc.  Anything that you may want to take the vinyl off of without leaving a mark or damaging the surface.  

Removable Vinyl is essentially a  sticker.  It can be applied to paper , wood, plastic, etc, everything that won’t be exposed to water or weather.  I have used it on lamps, compacts, my cricut, and mirrors.  You can do a messy canvas or a subway sign with it.  Removable vinyl comes off sorta easily (but not too easily) with a pick or sharp tool.  And removable vinyl won’t leave a residue behind.

Here are some of the pictures of things I have made.

You can find endless pattern online or create one yourself.  The greatest thing is it keeps little parts together, like the graduation card above.  That would have taken a while to glue and get everything lined up in the right place.  Vinyl makes that easy!  I put lettering on a lot with vinyl because it keeps the letters lined up and you don’t have to worry if the letters will cut out while removing the centers of non stencil letters.

The big wall sayings are made with removable vinyl usually because it doesn’t leave a residue or pull off paint.

You can get printable or patterned vinyl too.  That makes it easy to have multiple colored projects, but that type is spendy and I never know where to cut patterned vinyl to get the best effect from the pattern.  For these reasons I don’t work with these a lot.

Permanant Vinyl (Oracle 451)

Permanent Vinyl, on the other hand, stays where you put it and is waterproof.  This makes it perfect for dishes, outdoor signs and anything that will be exposed to weather or the dishwasher.  Jennifer Maker did a wonderful video where she used small polka dots of every type of permanent vinyl on a cup and left it in her dishwasher for a few weeks.  Watch her video here.

Here are some of the things I did with permanent vinyl.  The designs are all available in my downloads. I have washed them in the dishwasher a few dozen times and they are fine.

NOTE: Do not put permanent vinyl projects in the dishwasher for about a week.

Honestly, I’m not sure how long they need to cure permanent vinyl but I waited a week because others told me to wait, and they look fine.  I see it as better safe than sorry.
Designing your Project
Basically any project for your cricut can be done in vinyl.  If it has multiple colors you can even layer it.  I wouldn’t try to put too many layers on top of each other though.  It gets thick.  Instead try slicing out the bottom layer.  Cut each color as a separate piece and fit them together.  Attaching or welding whole sections of the same color together helps to line things up well.
 
When you cut these permanent or removable vinyl they do not have to be mirrored like HTV.  Just cut them as is.
 
Weeding Vinyl

Like HTV both types of vinyl need to be weeded once cut. Weeding is the process of removing all the parts you don’t want.  Some people love weeding, some people hate it.  For more complex projects I always print or cut a paper copy of your design to help see where to weed.  Then that paper copy can be used as an embellishment or a coloring page later.

 You will also need a light source.  I have a Brightpad by Cricut.  (I got mine as a Christmas present.) They are expensive, I know, but you need some type of light source to put under the project.  Before I got the Brightpad, I used a LED lamp , a bowl and a piece of glass.  It wasn’t high tech but it worked.  Any light pad will work.  You can find them on Amazon for about $20.  

Additionally, you will need a sharp pick.  I have a set from Harbor Freight that cost 2 or 3 dollars.  I also have just found a pinpen from 651 vinyl that works great too.  While you are there look at the weeding ring.  It is wonderful!  I used to stick the weeded vinyl to my hand but my skin had a reaction to the sticky.  The weeding ring solved that.

There really is no “trick” to weeding.  You get better at it the more you do.  And some projects go better than others.  Some manufacturers make what they call easy weed.  I haven’t noticed a difference.

 

Weeding Tips

I saw a neat idea on Facebook the other day.  Rub some baby powder on the vinyl before weeding.  It makes the lines stand out so you can see them better.  I tried it and didn’t even need the Brightpad.  Just be sure to wipe the baby powder off before you stick your vinyl to the transfer tape.

Transferring Your Design
The big difference between these types of vinyl and HTV is that these need transfer paper to be transferred to your project.  Everyone seems to have their favorite type of transfer paper.  Cricut makes both strong hold and regular.  I recommend strong hold Cricut transfer paper for glitter vinyl.  It is a bugger to transfer.
 

I have used contact paper and this works very well.  It is inexpensive too.  I have also used Press and Seal by Glad.  This works for small projects but because it is so flexible, large projects seem to move a lot and are hard to place. Painter’s tape or masking tape  can be used to transfer projects.  This method works well on smaller projects.

Once your project is weeded place the transfer tape over the design sticky side down.  Rub it very well to attach the vinyl from the backing to the transfer medium.  Squeegee the transfer tape to the vinyl with a good deal of pressure.  Then pull up the transfer tape slowly.  If pieces don’t stick as you go, replace the transfer tape and squeegee again or rub with your fingernail.  You definitely don’t want to go fast. 

 

Transferring off the transfer tape

I have found it helps to turn everything over so that the transfer tape is on the bottom then pull off the backing parallel to the transfer tape.  This is how I transfer it to my project too.  It just seems to help.

Once the vinyl is on the transfer tape, notice that the vinyl is sticky.  Place it over your project.  When you have it lined up correctly, squeegee the vinyl to your project.  Pull off the transfer tape (parallel to your project).  Re-squeegee anything that doesn’t come off the transfer tape.  If your project has multiple layers start with the furthest back layer and move forward, lining up each layer as you go.

If the thing you are sticking the vinyl to is curved, slit the transfer tape between the sections or letters so that it is more flexible.  Be careful not to cut the vinyl.  You may even need to cut the pieces apart to transfer them better.  It is a try and see type thing.

More Help For Working with Vinyl:

Working With HTV Vinyl Hints and Hacks

Working with HTV vinyl doesn’t need to be difficult.  HTV vinyl or Iron on vinyl is for making iron ons for shirts, signs etc.  It does not require a transfer sheet to put it on the project but it must be cut mirrored.

My Biggest Problem and How I Solved It

As I said on the other page, the biggest problem I have working with HTV vinyl is what side to cut.  If you only knew how many times I have cut the wrong side. LOL. I had to come up with a way to fix this problem.  For me,  I now use a pick to separate a very small part of the HTV in a space I am going to weed anyway.  I do this every time now and it has saved countless hours of wasted effort. It is easy to tell which side is the HTV and which side is the “paper”.  Put the “paper” side down.  BTW if you ever cut the wrong side, just turn it over and re-cut. Most brands the backing is thick enough that you didn’t cut all the way through it anyway.  It makes weeding a little more difficult because you now have two images, one reversed on the wrong side, but at least the vinyl isn’t wasted.

These are just a few of the projects I have done.  The teddy bear took about 2 hours to weed but it is worth it.  I would post the pattern, but it isn’t mine. You can download it at Design Bundles. They have several similar ones too.  

Working with HTV vinyl- The Basics

The best patterns are all one color.  I will talk about multiple colors later in this page.  First, you need to determine the size you want the design to be.  Measure the area. I find the best thing to do is make a paper cut out of the design and fit it to the space you have to iron it on.  This helps in sizing it and also when you go to weed it.  A copy of the cut out design is so helpful as a reference.  The teddy bear shirt was so much easier to weed with a paper copy to refer to.  And the paper pattern is going to be a background on a scrapbook page eventually.

Once you have the perfect size, cut the pattern out of HTV.  Don’t forget to mirror the image before you cut it.  Above I told you what I do to make sure you are cutting on the proper side, pull apart a small corner of the HTV.  You don’t want to waste the time cutting on the wrong side.  When you are done cutting and before you weed, cut  off the extra, but not too close to the design.  The little scraps may be useful in the future.

Weeding

Once the pattern is all cut, you need to weed it.  I have a Brightpad by Cricut.  They are expensive, I know, but you need some type of light source to put under the project.  Before I got the Brightpad, I used a LED lamp , a bowl and a piece of glass.  It wasn’t high tech but it worked.  Any light pad will work.  You can find them on Amazon for about $20, but they are much smaller that a Bright Pad. 

 Also you will need a sharp pick.  I have a set from Harbor Freight that cost 2 or 3 dollars.  I have just found a pinpen from 651vinyl.com that works great.  While you are there look at the weeding ring.  It is great!  I used to stick the weeded vinyl to my hand but my skin had a reaction to the sticky.  The weeding ring solved that. 

Dont Panic!  It isn’t as hard as it seems

Weeding is a simple idea but difficult to do at first.  No worries, skill comes with practice.  This is where the paper cutout helps.  First pull off the outside surrounding area slowly.  Edges may catch.  Cut off the extra as you go so you don’t have a big piece to deal with.  If you have a lot of edges that catch or small letters you may start to pull up letters or cut pieces.  Pull the vinyl as parallel to the surface as possible and have a pick in your other hand to rub the piece that shouldn’t come up back down.

Once the outside edge is removed, put your project on a light source.  You should be able to see the cut lines on the vinyl that is left.  The lines are sometimes hard to see, but the paper cutout will help.  Stab the little pieces you want to remove and pull them up.  Some projects are easier to weed than others.  Like I said earlier the teddy bear took 2 hours to weed.  Just keep working with the HTV vinyl.  Put it down and come back if you get frustrated.  Rushing is never good.  If you accidentally pull up the wrong piece, stick it back down where it belongs. It will usually stay until you iron it.

I read on Facebook a wonderful idea.  Rub some baby powder on the vinyl to see the cuts better.  I did this and didn’t even need a light pad.  Be sure to wipe off the baby powder before you iron it on though.

Ironing

I don’t have an Easypress.  And I don’t see the need for one right now.  The need is changing with the infusible inks coming out, but we will see.  If I was doing more shirts it would make sense, but I do about one a month so I just use my iron.  I do have a little tabletop ironing board that is wonderful.  I think I got it at Walmart.  You will also need some parchment paper.  It is in the grocery store with the aluminum foil.  

With an iron set at the highest setting and without steam, warm the area you are going to put the design on then place the design where you want it.  Press fairly hard on the design in segments.  Use a lot of pressure.  You are trying to melt the material and force it between the fibers.  After you have pressed each area, go over the whole design slowly a few times.

Removing the Backing

Give the design time to cool.  Try to pull up the cover sheet.  If the design doesn’t stick, put the cover back and press again.  Keep doing this until it sticks.  Pull the sheet off as parallel to the fabric as possible.  It helps the design come off.  Sometimes you just need to pick at it with your fingernail to get it started. Once the backing paper is off, put a piece of parchment paper over the design and press the whole design again.  Don’t worry, nothing will stick to the parchment paper.

Aftercare

Wait a week to wash the garment.  The design may start to come up after the first washing.  Just put a piece of parchment paper over the design and press hard with a hot iron.  It usually only does this once, after the first washing.  I have found that this is caused by not using enough pressure in the first place.  Once I figured that out and corrected my technique, I haven’t had a problem working with HTV vinyl.

The Hogwarts shirt I made for my daughter has been washed dozens of times.  I wash it inside out.  I don’t know if this helps it stay on, but it doesn’t hurt.

Two (or more) Color Designs

The way this is done is simple.  Iron on the bottom color first, then the next layer up and so forth.  Three is the usual limit for color layering.  Two is better.  After the first layer is done and the protective sheet is removed place the second color and tape it down with painters tape.  Try not to have the tape on the first layer if possible.  Then place parchment paper over the whole design and press.  Take off the parchment paper and remove the tape and then the backing of the second layer.  If the colors don’t overlap several colors can be pressed at the same time.

Repeat for all the layers, being sure to cover the whole design each time with parchment paper.

Questions

If you have any questions on working with HTV vinyl, I will try to answer them.  Email me at blog@crazycricutlady.com.