Layering Heat Transfer Vinyl is
When it comes to layering, even the word seems intimidating but it absolutely shouldn’t be! “Layering” simply means the application of more than one heat transfer vinyl material. This comes in handy when you’re wanting to create a multi-colored garment. Most designs really pop when you incorporate more than one color. There are a few tips and tricks that will make a layering project much easier to conquer. In this project, we’ll be using my design, “XOXO Forever, Stacked” because well…it’s my fave and it makes for a perfect layering lesson!
After opening “XOXO Stacked” in Silhouette Studio®, we need to ungroup the file by right clicking on it and selecting “ungroup.” When layering, try not to separate the elements of the design. It does save vinyl when you move elements closer together but this will make it harder when it’s time to apply the design. At the very least, keep the bottom layer in its original placement. This will help you line it up later. You are able to resize the image, just make sure you’re resizing all parts of the design at the same time! (I sized my “XOXO” design to 12″x10″)
The bottom layer in this project will be the layer that is light pink, the solid letters of “XOXO.” The Top layer will be the outline, slightly offset like the image here, with the word “forever” beneath it.
It is also helpful to change the original colors of the file to coordinate with the colors of heat transfer vinyl you are using.
Next, cut one layer at a time, starting with the bottom layer.
This looks a little messy but once you try cutting by “fill,” you’ll see why I love it!
When you cut by fill, you’ll want to make sure you choose the correct setting for each color. Get into the habit of checking your settings before you press “send.” Don’t forget to mirror your image since we’re using all solid colored htv for this project! (My current settings for Easyweed Electric® are: Autoblade (Heat transfer, smooth.)
For the outline, we are using Black Glitter HTV. You may have heard before not to layer Glitter HTV and this is correct. You cannot layer heat transfer ON TOP of glitter. This is because of its rough and uneven texture. I have good news for you…Since this will be our TOP layer, it’s perfectly acceptable to use glitter. (Hooray!)
So I decided to get really crafty here, and because I knew I would need at least two of these designs in my life, I decided to use my entire sheet of glitter at one time. It took a little finagling but I was able to fit it all on the mat. (My current settings for Glitter HTV are: Autoblade-Heat transfer, glitter.) To cut an entire 12″x20″ sheet of glitter at one time, you’ll need a Silhouette 12″x24″ cutting mat on hand!
Glitter can be a little tricky to weed but I’ve found that if you warm it just a bit before weeding, the job is much easier! I simply place mine on top of my heat press for about 5 minutes. You can also lay it on top of the platen under the top. Just make sure not to close your press!
You may have realized the potential problem we are facing when it comes to cutting the glitter outline apart. Remember, I did not break apart my bottom layer (the Electric Red XOXO.) This is because we need a guide to make sure everything is lined up like the original design. Watch and you’ll see…It will all work out, I promise!
Now, It’s time to prep our t-shirt! You’ll want to preheat the shirt for just a few seconds by placing it on the press, and lowering the top platen, firmly. This will do three things: take out the excess moisture in the shirt, pre-heat it for the htv and also smooth the surface for easy application!
We’re going to center our design 2-3 inches beneath the collar. Our first press will only require what is called a “Quick Tack.” This simply means that we’re going to press our garment for 1-2 seconds opposed to the 12-15 seconds you would normally press for a one layer project.
Before we press, there are two things we need to note: 1) The collar is laying on the bottom platen. We need to pull the tee up on the press until the collar is hanging off the edge. This extra hem will impede the pressure once we clamp our press down. 2) We need to make sure there is no exposed heat transfer. In this case, the carrier sheet will be between the actual HTV and top platen. This is enough protection for the first press.
Once you’ve used the Quick Tack method, remove the carrier sheet carefully. From now on, each time we press, we’ll need to cover the entire project with either a teflon sheet or parchment paper. Otherwise, the exposed HTV would directly touch the top platen and sadly, it would create a melted, ugly Valentine shirt…and we can’t have that!
Next, it’s time to cut our Black Glitter HTV for the second layer. Note how I closely cut around the top and bottom of the letters. This is important to make each letter fit without the risk of pressing on top of another carrier sheet. (I’ve made this mistake so many times!)
Be very careful when using this method. Make sure the heat transfer side is UNDER every carrier sheet, directly touching the shirt.
Don’t forget to refer back to the original design to make sure you’re offsetting in the way intended. For this design, I’ve pulled the outline up and to the left, just slightly. This gives it a nice shadow effect! Take care to do the same spacing for each letter.
This next press is also going to be a quick tack. If we pressed for the full time, there would be nasty little divets from the excess glitter on the carrier sheet. So Quick Tack…3 seconds should do it and don’t forget your teflon! 😉
Carefully remove the carrier sheets from each letter. Place “forever” in the appropriate spot, under the design and aligned on the right. And guess what? This needs to be another Quick Tack! The edge of this carrier sheet would leave a line in your Electric beneath it and we don’t want that! So 3 seconds, one more time!
Finally! We are on the LAST PRESS! Once you’ve removed the “forever” carrier sheet, cover your project with your teflon or parchment paper and press it for a total of 10 seconds. How did I get that number? The top layer of this project is “forever,” right? So far, “forever” has only been pressed for 3 seconds. If we press for 10 more seconds, the top layer will get all the pressing it needs (12-15 seconds) and we won’t risk over exposing that bottom layer to excess heat. If we had pressed each of these layers for 12-15 seconds each, this would mean the bottom layer would be exposed to high heat for over 36 seconds! This is why we incorporated the Quick Tack method. And that is why we have the perfect Valentine shirt! <3
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial! Drop a line or two in the comments to let me know if you found this blog helpful and any questions you may have.
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Layering Heat Transfer Vinyl is When it comes to layering, even the word seems intimidating but it absolutely shouldn’t be! “Layering” simply means the application of more than one heat transfer vinyl material. This comes