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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.