I am new to the whole HTV area…. and boy am I having fun with it. I have seen some darling tea towels with heat transfer vinyl in gift shops, and wanted to give it a try myself. So I purchased some inexpensive flour sack towels from my local department store, and some ThermoFlex HTV from KNKusa.com.
Of course I don’t have a heat press, but no worries…. it’s not difficult to achieve good results with a simple iron.
I find that the heat transfer vinyl is really easier to work with in some ways than the outdoor type vinyls, such as Oracal 651. I have been using vinyl for years but still run into frustrations with it sticking to itself when weeding, and I sometimes end up with a big “blob” of vinyl. Because the ThermoFlex Plus I used for this project, is not sticky, I find it much easier to weed. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I may be getting a little carried away with making these cute little towels. (That’s okay though as I’ve been able to sell a few to friends, as well as at craft fairs, and online.) Who can have too many of these cuties anyway!
ThermoFlex Plus HTV
Weeding tool (I use Xacto knife)
Red Capped Blade (Sometimes I switch to blue for more intricate cuts)
Flour sack towel
Settings for KNK Zing:
Force – 18
Speed – 10
Multicut – 1
Offset – .35 (for red blade)
Make sure design is mirrored before cutting (double/triple check)
Insert vinyl into cutter with shiny side down
Cut and weed vinyl
Place towel on firm, heat safe surface
Wipe with alcohol per manufacturers instructions
Position vinyl onto towel (vinyl side down)
Cover with light cloth or fabric
Peel clear carrier sheet while warm
Turn over and press again on back side of towel.
You’ll need a firm surface to press on. I found that if I put heavy cardboard on my kitchen counter and cover it with a towel, that is just right. (I tried this on my kitchen table, but it was too hot and left marks in the finish…. resulting in an unhappy husband. Oops.)
The manufacturer recommends wiping the surface of the towel with alcohol before applying the vinyl. I have done it both ways and I am not sure whether it helps or not.
You will need to experiment around a bit as far as heat setting, time, and pressure. I have used two different household irons set at the highest setting, and it required a lot of pressure and time. Others online have stated they have used irons that were actually too hot and melted the clear sheet. Oh, and don’t forget to place a piece of fabric between your iron and the transfer sheet.
Before peeling, you should be able to really see the texture of the fabric in the vinyl. If not, continue pressing, making sure to use enough pressure. ( I really have to lean into it sometimes.) I found that I need to let it cool just a bit before peeling. I still have some trouble with the vinyl sometimes wanting to come up a bit when I am peeling. When that happens, I reheat and try again. After I peel off the sheet, I like to place the fabric pressing cloth back down on the vinyl and press again. Then I turn the towel over and press once more from the back side.
I washed one of my towels to see how it would hold up. After machine washing in warm water, I hung it to dry. I expected it to be a bit of a wrinkled mess, but it really wasn’t. The towels I used are very thin and it dried quickly. It was a bit wrinkled, but to me it didn’t detract from it at all. It just kind of made the towel more “fluffy”.
With the holiday season upon us, surely there is someone on your list that would love a bundle of these! They are fun to make and you can whip up a few in no time at all. If you do, post a picture so we can all see!