How To And Comparing Vinyl Layering Techniques

When comparing vinyl layering methods, there are two different ways to do it: the straight layering method and the knock out method.  Each has its pluses and minuses.  And when layering vinyl, whether it is regular vinyl or HTV, there are some tricks that can help.

I did these projects on two sides of a flour sack towel for a wonderful and useful Valentine’s Day gift.  If you want to do either method on a shirt or cup, you can make the project bigger or smaller to suit your needs.

What You Need To Do This Project
  • Two shades of vinyl
  • Weeding Tools
  • Heat Press and a Teflon sheet (if dong HTV) 
  • Transfer Paper (if using regular vinyl)
  • Download File

Comparing Vinyl Layering Methods: The Layering Method

The first way to layer vinyl is to basically stack it.  It sounds simple but there is a downside for doing it this way.  The first heart was done this way.  You place the first layer, iron it (or stick it for regular vinyl) in place, then place the second layer on top and so on.

Some vinyl does not take well to layering.  Glitter vinyl, of either HTV or regular vinyl, must be the top layer and even then, it doesn’t work great.  I have only worked with adhesive foil in layers once or twice and it works fine, but it is very unforgiving of mistakes.

Pluses and Minuses of the Layering Method
  • You are limited to two maybe three layers.  The pressure you need to apply HTV gets to be more with each layer. 
  • And with any type of vinyl it gets bulky and tends to not stick well the more layers you have.
  • Layering the vinyl tends to come off easily since the top layers are not stuck to the base material.

Comparing Vinyl Layering Methods:  The Knock Out Method

The second project above uses the Knock Out Method.  There is a video tutorial on how to do a similar project at “Design Space – There is Nothing to be Scared of”  or you can see it at my YouTube Channel.  If you go there, make sure you subscribe to be notified when I post new videos.

Essentially you cut one layer from the other so that the adhesive for all the layers is in contact with the surface.  This method lets you do as many layers as you want.  

How to Do Knock Out in Design Space

In design space you would line up the layers where you wanted them, and then slice the top layer out of the bottom layer.  After cutting out, when you go to attach the two vinyl layers, the bottom layer is fit first then the top layer is lined up and applied second.  This can be tricky, depending on how detailed you project is and how big the pieces are.  Be patient and take the time to line them up properly.

Remember. if doing HTV make sure you cover the whole design when attaching the second (or third, etc.) layer or you could scorch the lower layer

Pluses and Minus of the Knock Out Method
  • The Knock Out Method allows you to do many layers.  Each layer contacts the material.
  • It is easier to use glitter vinyl because one layer doesn’t have to stick on top of other layers of vinyl.
  • The vinyl attached with the Knock Out Method tends to stay better for this reason, too.
  • The vinyl doesn’t get too thick with the knock out method.
  • The Knock Out Method is harder to fit the layers together.  The placement must be exact.  Heating and removing the carrier sheet of HTV tends to stretch lower layers so smaller sections tend to work easier and fit together better.

Comparing Vinyl Layering Methods:  In Conclusion

Weeding vinyl is covered in this tutorial.

I know I am repeating myself, but it is important.  When using HTV always remember to cover the whole project with a Teflon sheet or other barrier when attaching the upper layers whichever method you use.  Otherwise you could melt the vinyl.  I have a 12 X 12 carrier sheet from an old project that I keep for just this use.  It works great!

If I have a choice I prefer the knock out method because the project tends to hold up better and stay attached better.  But sometimes simpler is better.

I have other tutorials on how to do vinyl layering because this is an important subject.  You can find them under the vinyl subheading in the menu at the top.

I hope this helps you to figure out how you want to do your multiple layer vinyl projects.  

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