Heat Transfer on Heat Sensitive Materials?

Have you ever worried about melting or damaging a shirt, bag or other material when applying a heat transfer vinyl? I know I have – probably because I’ve melted an item or two in my crafting endeavors (okay, maybe more than that, but I’m not counting).

ThermoFlex Extra is THE solution to personalization with heat sensitive materials. It is available in 15 great colors:

Twelve of these colors can be layered for additional design options!

ThermoFlex Extra only needs to be pressed for short time periods at 310-315 degrees Fahrenheit on nylon, synthetic leather, leather and other materials. This means you can personalize those materials that were previously untouchable by any kind of heat activated product!

Each material should be tested first.

  • Prepress for 5 seconds (optional, test first)
  • Press for 3-5 seconds
  • Let cool and peel the backing off
  • Cover with a teflon sheet
  • Repress for 10 seconds

Using these steps you can press to nylon, synthetic leather, leather and many more heat sensitive materials. For polyester, press at 330-335 degrees Fahrenheit for 17-20 seconds (ThermoFlex Plus instructions).

As with most heat transfer vinyls, the standard (red cap) blade is recommended. This HTV comes on a thick plastic carrier that makes it easy to cut and weed.

Cut the design in reverse (mirror image).

When applying to a water resistant or moisture-wicking material, clean the area with rubbing alcohol and allow it to dry before pressing the HTV onto it.

Note from the manufacturer: Dye migration has occurred with low energy dyes in polyester and poly-bled fabrics.

Stop back on Monday to see my projects using ThermoFlex Extra!

Leather Appliqué for a Rodeo Queen

Rodeo Queen_Side Front

Last month I shared a bit about the leather western show jacket project I have been working on. Since I have now completed the jacket, Rodeo Queen, I wanted to backtrack a little to discuss cutting the appliqués from leather.

Leather is a stretchy material that comes in many different weights and thickness. Leather is classified by the weight quoted in ounces (oz). It can also be identified by the finish, tanning process and suppleness. For this project I worked with garment grade leather, specifically a 1.5 – 2 oz metallic foiled pig suede. As a reference, a 2 oz leather is about the same thickness as a dollar bill folded 3 times.

Metallic Pig Suede_opt

Like fabric, it needs to be properly stabilized for a successful cut on our machines. You can stabilize by applying a fusible product to the back or unfinished side, or by ironing on a heavy duty freezer paper. You can also cut the leather bare if you use a very sticky mat. The issue with just using the sticky mat is that the rough side of the leather will leave fibers behind when removed from the mat. It is also possible to stretch the cut unit out of shape if not removed very carefully.

Best results are achieved when using the Fabric Blade and the Extra Sticky Mat (Green Grid). For this project, the two colors of leather were slightly different thicknesses so I needed to adjust my blade exposure for each color.


Maxx Air Settings

Metallic Pig Suede

Pink, 2 oz: Force = 168, Speed = 250, Passes = 2, Blade Height = 13

Silver, 1.5 oz: Force = 160, Speed = 250, Passes = 2, Blade Height = 13


Metallic Pig Suede

Paper backed fusible web, paper was removed before pressing the leather on to the mat.

Fabric Blade

Extra Sticky Mat (Green Grid)

The use of my KNK Maxx Air allowed me to cut seventy of the delicate units, some as small as ½” to ¼” wide in one day!

Crop Back_opt Rodeo Queen_Side Front

Steampunk Gears Corset

Steampunk gears corset

I have two best friends, Deb lives in New Orleans and she hosts a BFF retreat for Cathy and I. The last few years have been during Mardi Gras and we joined up with a krewe and actually march in the Fat Tuesday parade! This year we decided to make some new costumes inspired by the masks created by Deb for the three of us.  Mine had Steampunk elements so that inspired my costume.

I designed a leather corset for the costume that would have lots of metal gears as embellishments. As a focal point on the front of the corset I wanted some buckles. I did not like the leather tabs that came with the buckles so I cut some of my own in gear shapes out of a contrasting leather.



KNK Zing/Zing Air/Maxx Air Thick Material Blade

KNK Zing/Zing Air 12″ x 12″ Extra Sticky Mat Set (Green Grid)

Leather– garment weight 2.5 to 3 ounces

Heat and Bond Fusible


Metal Gears


Maxx Air Settings

Blade Offset = .35

# Passes = 5

Velocity = 250

Force =190

Blade = Blue Blade

Blade height = 25


  • After measuring the existing buckle tabs for length and width I designed a new buckle tab in Make the Cut!

Steampunk gears

  • I ironed the Heat and Bond fusible to the back of the leather, and then adhered it to the mat paper side down.
  • Cut the leather tabs and removed from mat.
  • Threaded the tabs through the buckles and ironed the gear portion to attach to the corset until I could apply the rivets.

20160128_162719 2016-02-13 17.10.55

  • Added gears and attached with rivets.

Steampunk gears corset

My costume was a big hit at Mardi Gras and we were quite the trio at the parade!

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