Heat Transfer Vinyl Learning Curve and Tips

 I may have mentioned that a few weeks ago, I got a Silhouette Portrait.  I've wanted something like it for a long time, but didn't realize just how much it can do.  My newest obsession is with heat transfer vinyl.
I bought a roll of the Silhouette brand smooth black vinyl, and followed the instructions.  The elephant came out well, though it took me a couple tries to get it to stick.

My second attempt came out terrible.  The plastic warped and the design essentially melted.  After doing a little searching, I concluded that the iron was too hot. The instructions say your iron should be 300F which they say is a typical cotton setting.  My iron doesn't give me temperature numbers and everything I've read says a typical cotton setting is much higher than 300F. 
I tried again with some white and got much better results.  This time, I set my iron to the wool setting.  It took some work again to get it to stick. But at least it didn't melt!

For my most recent project, I think I finally got all the variables right and it worked perfectly.  This is a special little outfit for my son's kindergarten teacher.
She's pregnant with her first child and my son begged me to make something for her.  He came home with the information that she's having a boy, her favorite color is yellow, and her favorite animal is a dog (she has a black lab).
 He even requested that the hat have ears.  So sweet.  (hat tutorial HERE)
So, here's my list of heat transfer vinyl tips:

  • use a heat setting lower than cotton - I use the wool setting
  • don't use a cloth on top, instead use the parchment paper that comes with the vinyl in between the iron and the vinyl
  • use a hard surface underneath the design -I use a small cutting board


  1. Adorable! I especially love the pink onesie with the flowers. Almost makes me want another baby (almost). ;)

  2. Thanks for the tips! It's always nice when bloggers share their experiences. :)

  3. I haven't had any issues with the vinyl sticking initially but depending on the stretch, overtime it lifts. On gerber onesies it has lasted months with no issues. On H&M onesies it's good for maybe 2-3 washes and then it starts to lift, which is disappointing because H&M are my preference. I love my silhouette though, I can buy plain shirts for super cheap and make custom shirts for my little guy and it's magical for freezer paper stencils.