How to apply Heat Transfer Vinyl- for beginners

If you’re crafty (or want to be), learning how to apply heat transfer vinyl should be on your to-do list. Whether you have a Silhouette or a Cricut, you can cut and apply heat transfer vinyl to your pillows, clothing, crafts, wood, glass, metal, walls…etc. There are so many different uses for vinyl, but today we’re covering how to apply heat transfer vinyl today! Yay! And if you already know how, stick around and learn some of my tricks. 😉

Materials Needed:


First step in learning how to apply heat transfer vinyl, you need to pick your design and cut it out. Your silhouette and cricut includes a lot of awesome tutorials to help you pick designs and cut them.

I picked this mermaid template from the Cricut design store. Sometimes Cricut has free images, I picked this one up and used it during the free period, but now it’s only $1. It’s my favorite mermaid on their site.

Go heat up your iron to cotton or polyester (or whatever your fabric can stand).

place heat transfer vinyl over your project

Now that you picked your design and cut it on on vinyl (the matte side, not the plastic side), place it where you want the final design. I played around and angled it this way so it would fit better.

parchment paper over heat transfer vinyl

Next step, put your parchment paper on top.

That’s my secret. It prevents your project from scorching and in case your iron got too hot, it prevents your heat transfer vinyl from warping.

iron heat transfer vinyl

Iron the vinyl, swiping it side to side, mini circles, zigzags, or whatever direction floats your boat. But keep it moving and iron the whole design for one minute.

check a corner of the design

Take it off the design.

You can reuse the same piece of parchment paper for many designs. Throw it away and get a new piece if it starts turning the color of a cookie. We don’t want any golden parchment paper.

peel off protective film

Now, I’ve tried warm peels and cold peels…and I gotta say cold peeling wins everytime. If you’re brave you can peel off the protective film while the design is still hot, but whenever I do my designs have been messed up. I wait a few minutes until it cools down to the touch and then peel up the protective film.

If a corner of the design didn’t adhere well enough, you just keep the protective film on it and run the iron over it again. Press firmly for 20-30 secs on that problem area. Wait for it to cool and remove the film.

Taa-dah! It looks so pretty! Awww. Gold foil heat transfer vinyl really pops on a dark background.

iron the vinyl

I do one more quick little run over the design with just the parchment paper and my iron. It gives it one more chance to sink into the fabric.

finished heat transfer

And that’s it!

See, it’s pretty simple. You really don’t have to worry about it.

heat transfer vinyl on free pillow pattern

I put an old pillow in this and it got an instant facelift! The free envelope pillow pattern is great for sprucing up your pillows for a new theme, season or design.

Tell us what you think!