Any time you have a particularly busy design in mind, or you’re hoping for your final image to really pop, adding a background layer to your heat transfer material is a wonderful idea.
This technique can be used to make multi-color designs, layered letters, and more. For those who are new to heat transfer vinyl, layering is often the next step for advancing in this craft, and when you look at a layered design, it’s easy to see why!
Compared to single layer vinyl, this style of doing heat transfers looks far more finished and professional. In fact, people might be surprised that you made, rather than bought, the finished product of your project. Adding another layer beneath glittery or colorful vinyl can make text designs simpler to read and make colors or textures really stand out.
via expression vinyl
Quick Tips for using Glitter Vinyl
Glittery vinyl can be very difficult to read, so a solid colored background will fix this problem. Please keep in mind that when using glittery vinyl, you won’t want to use this material for both layers, since the glitter impacts the adhesive effect. Plus, double glitter is not as easy to read.
It’s possible to make it stick, but with wear and washing, it won’t hold up as well as layering a solid color with the glitter. This same principle applies to metallic or holographic vinyl, which should always be the top layer of your design, like this:
via US cutter
What Will You Need for a Layered Heat Transfer Project?
The process of layering heat transfer vinyl might seem complicated, but you’ll be happy to know that it’s nowhere near as difficult as it may appear. Here’s what you’ll need:
- A T-shirt, messenger bag, wood, or whatever else you want to add your heat transfer design to.
- A great heat transfer printer.
- Software for making silhouettes.
- A few different colors of heat transfer vinyl.
- A solid surface (such as a desk) for your project space.
- Oven-safe parchment or baking paper.
- An iron for applying the vinyl.
It also helps to have a vision or idea for what your end product is going to look like. If you aren’t sure which direction to take your design, do some research and brainstorming until you decide. Pinterest has a lot of different pages you can look through for heat transfer vinyl project ideas.
Making Your Layered Design
Once you’ve decided on what to make, you’re ready to proceed. Let’s say, for instance, that you want to layer some text with a different colored outline. Here are the steps for this part:
- Create or open your design in Silhouette Studio. You can make one (if you’re artistic), or use one from the included store. For text, you will use the text tool to type out your design, picking and sizing your font.
- Load the material for your heat transfer into your machine and make sure the clear backing material is facing down.
- Next, you must cut the heat transfer. As soon as your design is done, make sure you flip it before cutting it. The cutting can be done either using the cutting mat, or without it. If your image can fit onto the mat, cut it there.
via lori whitlock
If you’re making a bigger design, or cutting many images subsequently, you can cut the transfer from your vinyl roll without using the mat.
- As soon as your material is cut, you will use a hook tool for weeding out the bits of vinyl that you don’t want to transfer (we will go into more detail on how to do this step in the section below).
- Place your design on the surface you have chosen, lining up the base color where you want it to be. Then, iron the image onto the surface and peel the plastic off.
- Line the inset design onto the base color and iron it on so that it’s in the right position and perfectly lined up. Peel the backing off.
Now you’re done! It’s as simple as ironing on the base, peeling off the backing, then lining up the next piece to iron on, and so on, repeating for as many colors as you wish to add. The result is a beautiful and professional looking design. Now, let’s look more into how to use a heat transfer vinyl hook tool.
via capturing magic
Using the Hook Tool for Heat Transfers
This tool has a metal hook on one end and a handle at the other. The hook’s tip has a point that is used to weed heat transfer and vinyl, pulling out the bits of extra material that shouldn’t be in the final product of your design.
This can be used on any areas that you want to weed out, but is especially useful for intricate designs or the spaces within letters (like O, A, or B) that must be removed.
Using this tool is easy. The pointed end can be worked underneath the vinyl cuts, then you just lift the edge and peel it off. This is great for getting pieces that are too tiny to remove with your fingers. As you gain practice using this hook tool, you can make even more complex designs.
And that’s how you layer heat transfer vinyl.