Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Heat Transfer Vinyl

I can't tell you how much I love heat transfer vinyl. It is used to make t-shirts, designs on clothing, etc.  Even before my Expression arrived, I learned about using freezer paper to make designs and then painting on t-shirts.  There is a YouTube video done by a young teenager where she shows you how to make a simple t-shirt.  If she can do it, I can, right?  Well, I like freezer paper designs and I've done a couple but I love heat transfer vinyl (HTV). 

Here is an example of why:

I made this t-shirt for the Wonderkid using freezer paper.

I like it, I love the sentiment and it looks nice enough.  I made it over 6 months ago and for a while it was the Wonderkid's favorite shirt.  I'm certain it has been worn at least 35 times. So, you can tell it holds up well.  There really isn't anything to peel off.

Here is a close-up of the lettering.

As you can see, the letters just aren't very "crisp".  They look fine and I certainly wouldn't throw the shirt away, but it doesn't have that "Wow" factor.

Here is a shirt I made for the Wonderkid, also in black, also using white lettering.

and a close-up of this same shirt.
While the picture may not be especially professional, the shirt is very crisp and clean.  That is the difference between htv and freezer paper.

For the Dog's Best Friend shirt I used Paper Pups and Pooh Font.  I have found for the Wonderkid, the entire design can only be about 6 inches across (He wears a youth X-small or a size 3, often considered a toddler size). 

The L'il Helper shirt was made using htv from Nick at Craft Vinyl.  He sends some wonderful instructions on how to use htv.

Here is a screen shot of the L'il Helper t-shirt
The spoon, mitt and rolling pin are all cuts on From My Kitchen.  The lettering comes from Cursive 101.  I think this is one of the easier font carts to link the letters together.  I nudged each of the letters into place and then I welded all of them.  I've been told this t-shirt is a little to feminine for the Wonderkid but I like it anyway.

The most difficult part of this entire process is lettering.  Design Studio does NOT make this easy.  It would seem that you could type your letters and then press the flip button and it would be perfect, not so fast.  Design Studio flips each letter, or graphic, not the entire box.  The best way to think about this, consider the letters are each on their own axis.  Design Studio then rotates each letter half way around.  So, if you are doing lettering on a t-shirt you need to type it backwards and then hit flip.  For example, I typed li"L repleH then flipped the letters.  Because I'm always afraid I'll mess this up, I have a Preview Page where I put the design going the right direction.  Then I place it where I can see it and I type it starting with the last letter and ending with the first.

The other difference when using htv, I lay the design out exactly as I want it to look on the shirt.  When I normally cut something, I push everything as close together as possible so I don't waste any paper.  That doesn't work as well with htv.  If you weed (pull out the stuff you don't want to see, such as the inside of the l's and e's) then it is much easier and better to have it layed out exactly as you want it to look.

Here is an example of my mat when I was cutting paper.  Now, look at the earlier screen shot of the t-shirt.  The t-shirt screen shot looks like it will on the shirt, not so with the following screen shot.

These are part of the brownie toppers I made recently.

Tomorrow I will show a couple of layered designs using htv.  Check back so you can see one of my favorite shirts for the Wonderkid.

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