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HTV help [Resolved]

PippinPippin Member Posts: 59
edited January 2019 in Resolved Issues
I'm attempting to make a t-shirt for a xmas pressie. I've got some brand new HTV (from gmcrafts in the UK). I've done a small design as a test and am trying to apply it to an old (but freshly washed) t-shirt. I am using a fairly heavy iron, hottest setting, and I am using a firm surface (I used to do a lot of quilting and I've got a home made pressing board rather than an ironing board to it is nice and firm). The instructions say to press for 15 seconds but it took much, much longer than that. Also - when it says to peel off the film when 'warm' - are you supposed to leave it to cool a while, or peel it off as soon as you can? 

It's my first try and using HTV so I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing LOL! I have managed to get my first test piece onto the t-shirt but my main design is a lot bigger. I think I might have another practise run first LOL

Any hints / tips appreciated (apart from, buy a heat press - that's not happening. I can't afford it and I've no intention of going into mass production!)
Post edited by Gabe on


  • MeFlickMeFlick Member Posts: 9,260
    First, as most people mentioned in your earlier thread, there is no need to wash the shirt first.  If you do wash it, do not use fabric softener.

    I have never used the brand you have, I have always used Siser Easyweed.  With a heat press, it does take "seconds" to press.  But, before I had my heat press and had to use an iron, it took minutes and minutes not seconds of pressing.  You are doing good having a hard surface.  Then, keep pressing with the iron fairly constantly moving across the design.  Don't just rip the backing off when you think you are done. As you work the design, and think you might be done do some "testing" and just partially lift the backing up as you go and make sure all the spots are sticking - if you find one area that isn't stuck down, put the backing back down and press some more.  Keep doing that until you are sure that you have everything pressed down.  When it says peel warm, that means that you can peel right away from the design while still warm.  There are some that say peel cold and you have to wait for it to completely cool off to peel the backing off. Once I had the backing peeled away successfully, I then played a pillow case over the design and pressed some more.  Then don't launder the shirt right away, and when you do launder it, it should be laundered inside out. I did do "production runs" on my kids sports teams shirts and more, which is why I eventually got a heat press.  I got tired of standing around with my iron and pressing and pressing and pressing some more.  ;)

    Good luck.
    Go Vols!
    Cutting with 18" Silver Bullet and a KNK Force (the rest are collecting dust!)
  • PippinPippin Member Posts: 59
    Thank you for the tips @MeFlick :smile: 

    I will have another try on a test piece before I attempt the big design. 

  • PippinPippin Member Posts: 59
    Well, that was super frustrating to say the least. Where the HTV stuck nicely it was really good - but there were some spots where it just wasn't sticking - even though I pressed super hard quite a few times. I eventually managed to get the 'carrier' off and ironed over the whole thing again. It doesn't look too bad seeing as it's my first proper attempt but I'm not sure it will survive a wash. It took much longer than 15 seconds to adhere to the t-shirt. I started to get worried it would end up over heated tbh. I might have overdone it in some spots. Oh well, it's the thought that counts, right?! 

    I think it would have been easier if I had done the design in sections (it was almost A4 sized) so that I could peel off the backing in smaller chunks. I've got another new t-shirt so I'll have another go after Xmas.

  • SandyMcCSandyMcC Member Posts: 7,723
    Just a few tips of my own based on extensive time spent at the T-Shirt Forums learning from those doing this for a business: 

    (1) Do not wash your shirt ahead of time. This doesn't mean you can't apply to a used shirt. It's just that a new shirt works perfectly fine. 

    (2) Also press the shirt first to remove creases AND moisture.

    (3) Make sure you have the iron set to no steam and set to Cotton... which is the closest to the typically recommended 330 F. However, do take note if the manufacturer is recommending a higher or lower temperature and adjust accordinly.  Use a fairly firm surface - not a highly cushioned ironing board.

    (4) Pressing doesn't mean ironing in a way where you're moving the iron back and forth. Pressing means holding the iron down for the recommended period of time. However, take note of where the steam holes are and do shift the iron a bit, half-way through your count, to make sure all of the area gets covered with the full flat surface. 

    (5) Even though the HTV instructions say you can peel warm... I always peel closer to room temperature. When peeling, don't pull straight up but rather roll the heat protection layer away from the vinyl 

    (6) For a second press, turn the shirt inside out and you can then press closer to the adhesive layer that way. Place your heat protector back on top or use a Teflon sheet or pillow case.

    (7) Wait until the entire shirt is "cold" before checking to see if the HTV is loose around any edges. 

    (8) Almost forgot... I keep an old shirt just for a practice press if using a new roll of HTV. That way, I can cut a single word out, or whatever, and test press to verify that the temperature and time seem to work well. 

    Hope this helps!
    Sandy McCauley
    Cutting with KNK Force, Maxx Air, Zing Orbit, Skycut C and D
    Over 90 free MTC videos: http://www.iloveknk.com/support/mtc-support/
    Latest MTC User Manuals: http://www.iloveknk.com/Support/user-manuals/
  • PippinPippin Member Posts: 59
    Thanks @SandyMcC I Think I didn't help myself by starting out with fairly thin text (but I never like to take the easy option LOL!) I'm definitely going to have another try and I might have to try some different brands of HTV as well (I'm in the UK - I used vinyl from here )

    I've got a nice firm pressing board we made ages ago for quilting. Here's the t-shirt - it hasn't been through the wash yet! I did learn quite a lot from doing it - I'm going to do a variation on this design and try again. I want to make the letters fatter and I think it would be easier if I split the design up (I cut this all out of one piece and applied it all in one go - it was quite hard to manage peeling the backing off). I've been watching some Craftsy classes on using vinyl and picked up some useful tips there too. I REALLY want to do more of this - just need to get the settings right for ironing the stuff on properly. The vinyl I bought has had good reviews - I might try a different iron. I was doing this in secret which made it awkward!

  • SandyMcCSandyMcC Member Posts: 7,723
    It does come in a nice selection of colors!  And your results look really good.  Just like with many other crafts, you'll find your own best settings and methods with practice.
    Sandy McCauley
    Cutting with KNK Force, Maxx Air, Zing Orbit, Skycut C and D
    Over 90 free MTC videos: http://www.iloveknk.com/support/mtc-support/
    Latest MTC User Manuals: http://www.iloveknk.com/Support/user-manuals/
  • rachelkerbyrachelkerby Member Posts: 0
    Hey, great tips from everyone above and will be remembering these!
    I havent been using HTV for long but I use GMCrafts and I have not had any problems yet and use a normal house iron on my ironing board. I just count up to 30-40 seconds each iron press. A minute max! And always after peeled and back at room temperature I lay an old pillow case cover the top and give a second press/iron.
  • PippinPippin Member Posts: 59
    @rachelkerby ah, it's good to know you've used the gmcrafts vinyl ok :smile:  I need to have another play when I get some time - so many ideas LOL!

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