How To Print On Vinyl Transfer Paper : 8 Easy Steps

Vinyl Transfer paper can be used to print any design from a computer; then, it can be attached to apparel, woods, plastics, and other objects. A customized piece can demonstrate your creativity and taste.

If you are new to working with heat transfer vinyl, then this world might seem a tad daunting. Indeed, there are various machines and tools seemingly performing the same tasks. However, no matter how many different gadgets are available, the procedure of printing on vinyl transfer paper is universal.

This article will provide you a step-by-step guide on how to print on vinyl transfer paper. So, keep on reading!

What Is Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV)?

Heat Transfer Vinyl is an excellent way to print any graphics to create multi-colored customized designs where you do not have to layer vinyl. You can attach it with heat, and it is usually used on apparel. However, the only problem is that it is not the most economical option.

How to Print on Vinyl Transfer Paper

Printable HTV does not work with either an inkjet or laser printer. To use it, you will need to acquire a wide-format printer. It is generally printed using Solvent, Eco-Solvent inks, or Latex ink.

Although, among enthusiasts, Latex ink is all the rage. It is because this ink takes a short amount of time to dry when it is being printed. These are considered to be special inks.

As a result, it has to be printed by “wide-format” printers as they are larger than laser or inkjet printer. Hence, you can find Printable HTV in rolls ranging between 15 to 60 inches as it is made to suit a larger printer.

How Do You Print on Vinyl Transfer Paper?

In general, heat transfer paper is accompanied by a carrier sheet. It can tolerate heat that comes from an iron or heat press. It is easy to use a heat transfer vinyl, but you follow the steps mentioned below. In no time can you flaunt your customized piece.

Step 1: Choose the Design

First and foremost, you have to select your desired design and prepare a cut file. Simple vector images are recommended to be chosen as it is easy to read and cut by a computer.

A cut file is a design you want to cut and adhere to the surface of choice. The cut file can be saved as SVG, Studio, png, pdf, or jpg. The type of file it is saved as depends on the software you are using.

how to use printable heat transfer vinyl cricut

Once your cut file is ready, then you can put it under the operating table. You simply have to cut the design of the vinyl, which can be done by hand. Although, to get an even finish, an electronic cutting machine, such as Silhouette or Circuit, is recommended.

Step2: Match Measurement to Scale

After choosing your design and deciding what to print it on, you need to take the measurements of your selected surface measurements to understand the dimensions required to scale the image to a proportionate size.

Once you have jotted down the measurements, you have to open the cut file in your cutting software. Then scale your selected image to its desired size, and you are ready to move on to your next step.

Step 3: Mirror the Design

You need to mirror your design or flip the design in a horizontal format because you always cut the design from the adhesive side, which means from its rear end. So, to make sure that the design is right, we must mirror the design.

A plastic carrier sheet covers Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) as it protects the top of the vinyl. On its other side contains the heat-sensitive adhesive. As you cut from the adhesive side, a transparent plastic sheet holds your design in place until it is ready to be applied to your surface of choice.

In case you are using a mirroring software, Silhouette studio or Circuit Design Space, you have to click “Object,” then choose the “Mirror” option from the dropdown box and select “Flip Horizontally.” The procedure for both the software Circuit Design Space and Silhouette studio are similar.

Step 4: Print your design

After you have selected an image, adjusted the dimensions to scale, and mirrored the design, it is now time to print the design.

As mentioned earlier, vinyl transfer paper cannot be printed by an inkjet printer or laser printer. It has to be printed by a “wide-range” printer. Computer-Aided-Design (CAD) vinyl transfer paper is a unique technique that can print onto vinyl or nylon directly.

vinyl t shirt printing at home

You have to place the vinyl’s glossy side into the paper tray so that the non-adhesive side faces the tray. You can run a test trial to ensure that you are cutting on the right side.

Step 5: Cutting Design from HTV

After the design has been printed, you have to place the printed paper into a cutter carefully. You have to set the glossy side containing the heat-sensitive adhesive face down onto the mat. After that, you have to adjust your cut machine to ensure that it detects the medium’s cuts into the design’s shape.

how to use printable heat transfer vinyl cricut

However, you should always do a trial test cut as each cutting machine are a unique creature.  When you are pleased with your cutting settings, you can simply place the glossy side down on the device, and the cutting process will start.

Step 6: Weeding the excess materials

When you are cutting HTV, the design has to be cut from the material. This process can be done manually- or can be done by an automated process.  It leaves a trail of paper crumbs as the cuts have to be made. This process of illuminating negative space is known as weeding.

Weeding can be done by using tweezers, craft knives, straight pins, and weeding hooks. Once you are done cutting out the negative space (weeding), you can turn it over to admire your craftsmanship. Ensure that you have eliminated all the negative space and have a final, even outline of the design you chose.

Step 7: Attaching the cut-out to the garment

Before you embark on the final journey of attaching the design to the fabric, make sure you have centered your layout correctly. After that, the printed design is attached to the apparel. A heat press does it; the heat from the heat press is responsible for securing the fabric’s design.

how to print on vinyl for shirts

Several things have to be considered before you use your heat press machine to print. You have to set the optimum temperature that has to be adjusted as different materials use different temperatures. You have to make sure that you do not press too hard.

You can easily avoid over-pressing by reviewing the instruction stated on your medium. The heat and pressure allow the pigments of the vinyl paper to adhere to another surface.

Step 8: Let the garment cool

Although wearing your customized garment right away can be tempting, you have to wait for some time. After a significant amount of time has passed, you can peel the paint off the garment. If you have patiently followed all the rules, you will find a shirt bearing a personalized design. You can wear, gift, or use from the get-go.

Start Making Your Customized Shirts

Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl is relatively expensive as it requires gears such as heat-press, a wide-format printer, cutting tools, and many such instruments. However, the result is simply quality material.

vinyl printing process

Printing in Vinyl Transfer paper allows people to be creative and gives them the medium and tools to express their creativity by making customized, unique pieces.

If you are an artsy person looking to unleash your creativity and produce a customized piece, then simply follow the steps mentioned in our guide on how to print on vinyl transfer paper. You will have made your own “Picasso” in no time!

About Author


Alice covers platforms, policy and big tech at Printer Reviews. Prior to rejoining here, Alice was Senior Technology Editor of the TechDen. Alice first joined PrinterReviews in 2021. Before joining, he was the Tech Editor of the Daily Dot and a reporter and deputy editor at ReadWeb.

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