Make a Spiral Betty Shirt. It’s Amazing!

I saw a Spiral Betty in my Facebook group and had to try it! It is AMAZING! I will show you how and some mistakes and how they lead to a variation.  Spiral Betty is a technique to make an iron on project with a picture turned into a spiral using the utility at the site spiralbetty.com.

Do not try to do this project on paper or cardstock!  It is a disaster.  Vinyl has a carrier sheet which is absolutely necessary.  I didn’t try regular vinyl because I figured transferring to a transfer sheet would be a disaster too.  This is definitely an HTV project.  And, let me tell you, if all weeding was this easy I wouldn’t mind it at all!

What you will need

  • HTV
  • something to put it on
  • Iron or Easy Press
  • There is no download, sorry
Making a Spiral Betty Image
First, you need to select a picture.  I chose my favorite photo of Cordelia, my daughter.  The picture should have a large area surrounding it so you can trim it with the utility.  Go to spiralbetty.com and upload the picture into the utility.
Spiral betty website

The slider at the bottom will let you size the project.  This is a pretty big picture so I was limited in doing this.  When you hit the checkmark, you get the page below.  Select the black and white which is the second setting on the right.  I know you are tempted to try the colors but don’t.

Spiral Betty Settings

Under the picture there are other settings.  The only one you need to change is the rings.  Move the slider until you are happy with the number of rings.  I have found the setting about where I have it in the picture (about 2/3) works best and gives you the best picture.  Then click the download button next to the picture.  It will ask you to buy Betty a coffee. (This is completely optional.)  Click the download button.  I have a Windows 10 computer so it puts the file in my Downloads folder.  (If you need to search the file starts with spiralbetty then a number.)

Uploading The Spiral Betty Design
Open your copy of Design Space and start a new project.  Then click the Upload button.  Click the Browse button and go to the file you just downloaded and select it.  Select Complex for image type.  Select and erase will load by default.  Click anywhere on the white.  It should leave the blue checkered background and eliminate all the white (it is a spiral after all).  Hit Continue and save as a cut image.  Load it into your project and change the size to 10 inches high.  You can go a little smaller but I’d stop at 7 inches.
Cutting and Weeding the Spiral Betty
This project takes a while to cut.  It cuts the spiral in then works its way out.  When it starts you will think something is wrong because at first the in spiral has no details.  Don’t worry.  When it works its way out you will see the details.
After the cutting is done, remove the outside first.  When it starts on the spiral cut the vinyl off.  You can then easily see which spiral to pull up and the weeding is super easy.  Go slow and you may be able to pull it up in one piece.  It may stretch and snap though.  Just us a pick and pull up a little and keep going.
The reason I don’t recommend starting at the center is because with my first try on this project, I did that and pulled the wrong spiral.  It still comes off but you end up with what looks like a photo negative (see the picture), although it did inspire a variation I tried and will explain later.
Spiral Betty mistake
I Pulled the Wrong Spiral
Ironing the HTV Spiral Betty

With an iron set and the highest setting without steam or an EasyPress, 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 if you need to.  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.  If it doesn’t stick well try again.

After it cools and I’ve taken the paper off, I always repress the design just to make sure it seals.  Use parchment paper between the iron and your design.

A Variation inspired By A Mistake
A spral betty variatin that came from a mistake
Spiral Betty Tote Inspired By a Mistake

First of all, you aren’t limited to photos.  Any picture can be done this way.  So I copied an Access image and tried it.  It worked great!  But then I thought what if I did it again and pulled the other spiral?  Could I iron it overtop and make it work?  Well I tried it and it sorta worked.  When you press vinyl it melts and changes shape slightly and these are extremely tight cuts so it is a little off but I still love it!  I put the second copy on top of the first copy and lined it up as well as I could and pressed again.

And your Spiral Betty Project is done!  My family is so jealous that I am going to to have to make several more.

Make a Spiral Betty Shirt.  It\'s Amazing!

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