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How to Layer Heat Transfer Vinyl

How to Layer Heat Transfer Vinyl for Dummies

If you are a rookie at layering heat transfer vinyl and looking for the easiest way to learn the process, then congratulations! You have come to the right place.

In this post, not only I will teach you how to layer HTV but also show you how to make and cut multi-color vinyl with the silhouette.

So, read on to find out more on how to execute the process properly before you try your hand at this.

How to Make and Cut Multi-Color Vinyl with the Silhouette?

how to layer heat transfer vinyl

Silhouette is great for beginners. It enables you to experiment and at the same time won’t make things complex.

Here, I will discuss the 7 steps, with which you can create a multi-color vinyl.

Step: 1

Vinyl is available in several colors and patterns. Choosing the right vinyl will be key as some work better with cotton while others are more suitable for spandex.

Step: 2

To make a custom t-shirt, you need a design. Let’s imagine the design includes an image of a mermaid with some writing on it, which has various colors and layers in it.

I will tell you how to cut the design by colors with the silhouette software.

At first, you need to regroup the design and scale it down to your preferred size.

Since you will use a heat transfer vinyl, you need to mirror the design so that the words read correctly.

Step: 3

Start with cutting the black layer which outlines the design.

For that, position it on your vinyl in a way that makes the most of the vinyl.

I’d recommend that you draw a rectangle around the black area to make weeding easier.

Step: 4

Next, go to the send tab and select fill. It will open a drop-down menu with all the colors in your design.

As you want to cut only the black part and the weeding box with no color, uncheck all the other colors.

Make certain that you have the right material.

Step: 5

Afterward, click send and let the machine work its magic.

Step: 6

Cut the tail next.

That’s why you need to position the tail on the vinyl just like you did with the black part. You can rotate the tail as much as you want as long as you don’t alter the scale or flip the design.

Add a rectangle box around it.

From the drop-down menu, uncheck all the colors except the color you have used in the tail.

After that, click ‘send’ and wait for the piece of design to come out.

Step: 7

Repeat the same procedure for each of the layers.

When you are done with cutting all your designs, it’s time to peel off the extra vinyl. You can use a weeding hook to make things faster and easier.

Soon you have all the colored shapes and your black outline shape.

Use the black layer to place the other layers that go underneath.

Fortunately, vinyl sheets are very sticky and thus, will have no problem holding the other layers in place.

Printing the Design

In this stage, you will need to use a press or iron for producing heat.

Step: 1

First, use an iron to smooth out any wrinkles on the material you are going to print your design on.

Step: 2

Place the t-shirt on the heat press and set the device at 305 degrees Fahrenheit. 305 degrees is a safe temperature and won’t damage the printing material.

Step: 3

Do a quick pre-press to get the moisture out. Press it just for a few seconds.

Step: 4

Use the entire black cover, which will help you to place the first layer where you want it. That way, you will be able to see the whole design.

Now weed the black layer and only press the first colored section.  4-5 seconds of heating will be enough.

Make sure that you use a cover sheet over the design to protect the vinyl from heat.

Step: 5

Now, repeat the process with each of the colored sections.

Step: 6

Once you are finished with the last colored section, heat the entire design for 10-15 seconds.


As you can see, the entire process is as easy as pie.

My advice to you will be; don’t overthink, follow the instructions, and have fun. Good luck!

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James M. Rai has been screen printing T-shirts and other textiles professionally and as a hobby for more than 15 years. During that time, he owned and operated a small screen printing shop in northern California for more than 7 years. More recently, James has gotten involved with Cricut and other cutting machines.