DIY Gifts in the DMC - Heat Transfer Vinyl Tshirts
Need a DIY gift idea? Make a unique tshirt with heat transfer vinyl and the Silhouette Cameo cutter. Please note that the Cameo is only available when the Digital Media Center is staffed. Please check the calendar for staffed hours to plan your visit.
- Heat transfer vinyl sheet (available at local craft stores and online)
- 100% cotton pre-shrunk tshirt
- vinyl pick
- parchment paper
- Create your design in black and white. If just text, you can make it in Word and save it as a jpg or png. I drew mine in Illustrator (ask about our Wacom tablets!) and exported it as a png.
- Use the Cameo cutter to cut your design into the vinyl. IMPORTANT! Make sure your vinyl is shiny side down on the cutting mat. You want the Cameo to cut through the vinyl, not the clear plastic cover on top of the vinyl. All designs will need to be reversed.
- Once the design has been cut, you will need to peel away any vinyl that is not part of the finished design from the clear plastic cover sheet. This is known as "weeding" the vinyl. Be careful because the vinyl can stretch and tear if you weed too roughly.
- A vinyl hook is absolutely necessary to remove small detail pieces without damaging the surrounding vinyl.
- Keep weeding until only your design is left on the clear plastic. This is the hardest part of this craft; my octopus design took me 45 minutes to weed due to the many small outlines I needed to remove.
- Arrange your tshirt over your ironing board so the design can fit on the flat surface. DO NOT stretch the shirt! Just smooth out the wrinkles. Preheat your iron to the highest cotton setting.
- Heat the fabric by pressing the iron onto the surface. Do not glide the iron as you risk stretching the shirt.
- Lay your vinyl down on the shirt with the clear plastic sheet on top.
- Place a sheet of parchment paper (found in the baking section of the grocery store) over the plastic, and press down with your iron (don't glide!). The amount of time you press down is dependent on the brand of heat transfer vinyl you purchase. Mine said to press for 3 seconds before moving to another spot.
- When you have covered the whole design, let it cool for a few seconds, and then peel off the clear plastic layer. Do this slowly to avoid peeling off the vinyl too. If your vinyl is not sticking to the tshirt, replace the parchment paper and repeat the pressing process.
- Once you have removed the plastic layer, replace the parchment paper and repeat the pressing process. Again, do not glide.
- Let the design cool before you remove the tshirt from the ironing board.