Should I Heat Transfer A Vinyl On The Shiny Side Up Or Down?

If you are new to using heat transfer vinyl, or HTV for short, then you might be wondering which side you need to apply heat to and which side you need to cut.

Sometimes it can be pretty obvious, like if it is a different color, but other times, not so much.

Should I Heat Transfer a Vinyl on the Shiny Side Up or Down?

In this article we shall take a look at which side of the heat transfer vinyl you should place the heat onto, and some tips and tricks to make sure you are never confused when using this type of vinyl.

Spoiler alert: always place it shiny side down (with the design in reverse) when you are planning to cut and then swap it to the non-shiny side to transfer. With this in mind, let’s take a look at heat transfer vinyl in more detail.

So, without further ado, let’s get to it!

Which Side Do You Put A Heat Transfer Vinyl For Applying?

It can be tricky to use a heat transfer vinyl, so there is no judgment here that you have landed upon this article. Instead of wasting both the vinyl and material, it is always best to get it right.

However, if you have never used a HTV before, there is no harm in having a practice run first.

If the vinyl you are using has one colored side, or includes a pattern on that side, then the rule goes as follows: always place it plain side up when cutting, and then put it colored (and shiny side) down when applying heat to transfer.

However, sometimes the vinyl might be white. When this is the case, face the glossy side down so you have the matte paper facing you when cutting, and again, flip it the opposite way to transfer the file.

So Does That Mean Placing It Matte Side Down When Applying Heat?

Yes, always place a heat transfer vinyl shiny (or glossy) side up when applying heat. The matte side, which should be facing downwards, is where the heat activated adhesive is.

One way to really understand this, is that when you cut the vinyl, the design will be backwards. You will then want to flip it over so the shiny side is now facing you. You will also notice that the design is the right way too.

The matte side facing upwards is where you use a weeding tool to cut away vinyl. This is basically when you remove the excess vinyl that surrounds the design you created and is usually called ‘cutting’.

It makes applying the vinyl so much more easier and makes sure there isn’t a solid color backing. It also helps you to see the final design which you are ironing onto the fabric.

How To Apply The Heat Transfer Vinyl Effectively?

Should I Heat Transfer a Vinyl on the Shiny Side Up or Down

To effectively apply a heat transfer vinyl sheet, you will want to apply as much pressure as you can. Because of this, make sure your ironing board is sturdy and reliable enough not to collapse underneath you!

A great idea is to use an ironing pad on a table. That way, you can apply lots of pressure without the fear of the table folding mid-iron.

Also, think about adding some parchment paper over the vinyl when ironing. This can help to protect the vinyl from any signs of warping or the possibility of it overheating.

However, this should be avoided by not letting the iron sit in one place at a time for too long.

In fact, around 10 to 20 seconds is enough, and then move on to another area.

However, do check what the manufacturer has to say as vinyl can react to heat at different times, so you want to make sure you avoid overheating it which can cause it to melt.

Once you have given the whole design heat, begin to peel away that shiny carrier sheet. If any of the design comes up, leave it be and iron it over again.

Once you can peel away the carrier sheet fully, you should be left with a wonderful design on some fabric.

Final Thoughts

If you are new to using vinyl, especially the kind that uses heat to apply to material, then it isn’t surprising that you might not know which side to place the vinyl before applying heat pressure.

To put it simply, always place the vinyl shiny side up to ensure that you are applying heat to the heat activated vinyl. The side you iron on is likely to be glossy, so always feel for this.

Hopefully this article has helped you learn more about applying heat transfer vinyl. Check out the rest of our website for more tips and tricks. Good luck with your next craft project!

Michael Moore

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