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How To: Vinyl for Beginners

How To: Vinyl for Beginners


Hello Everyone, today I’m here to teach you everything you need to know about vinyl.

We are starting with the difference between HTV (Heat Transfer Vinyl) and Adhesive (Sticky Vinyl).

This is adhesive vinyl; you can use it on hard flat surfaces, like windows, mirrors, or even cars. Adhesive vinyl is pressure-sensitive. Once you press on it, the adhesive will begin to activate and attach itself to the surface.

This is HTV; HTV works excellently on fabrics like cotton and polyester. Unlike Adhesive, HTV is not pressure-sensitive, which means no matter how hard you press the vinyl, it won’t bond to your material without the right amount of heat.


Now you might be wondering how to tell the difference between them. Adhesive will have a paper backing on the backside of the vinyl. Which prevents the glue from sticking to stuff you don’t want it to stick to. In comparison, HTV has a transparent plastic carrier sheet that protects the vinyl and allows you to make precise cuts in the material. This brings us to cutting your vinyl.


There are several wonderful brands of machines designed for cutting vinyl. Cricut & Brother ScanNCut are some of the most popular ones, and for a good reason. They are super user friendly and very affordable. Machines like these allow you to design and make intricate cuts in your vinyl, effectively creating your own custom logos and letter signs.


Choosing the right machine for your needs can be tricky. We recommend doing a lot of research before making your purchase.


After you cut the design, you’ll need to remove the excess materials, this is called Weeding. The easiest way to do this is by using a Weeding tool or Tweezers to pull up all of the extra vinyl. We recommend using scissors to cut around your design first; that way, you don’t waste any vinyl


Applying your vinyl:


To apply adhesive vinyl. You’ll need something called Application Tape (Today, we’re using TransferRite Grid Application tape); place this on top of your cut design and remove the paper backing to essentially turn it into a sticker. Next, all you need to do is apply it to your substrate - A substrate is any surface or product you’re adhering your vinyl to. Once you’ve applied your sticker or decal, you need to apply pressure to the entire surface of your vinyl. The best way to do this is by using a felt tip squeegee.


To Apply HTV, you’ll either need a Heat Press or a home Iron. Every brand of HTV has a specific temperature and time frame to properly adhere it to your substrate. Make sure you know what vinyl you’re using and that you look up the right application settings for your vinyl. 


We’re using Siser Easyweed, so we’re going to press for 10-15 seconds. You always want to cover your HTV with a Heat Transfer Cover Sheet or Multi-Purpose Paper to prevent damage from the iron. Now that we’re done pressing the vinyl, all you have to do is peel off the carrier sheet.



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