May 19, 2016

DIY Harry Potter T-shirts (HTV tutorial)

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you may have noticed a recent obsession with creating things with heat transfer vinyl. 
That's because... well. I'm obsessed. 

I tried my hand at it several years ago with some off-brand vinyl and didn't really love the results. 
So I just kind of held off on playing with it anymore until recently. 

My Silhouette and I have an on/off relationship where we will sometimes take long breaks from each other. 
Sometimes it's just necessary :) 

But we've been teaming up a lot lately and heat transfer vinyl has been at the top of my list of projects for the past couple months. 

When we were planning for the epic Harry Potter Party, I wanted to come up with some easy shirts that wouldn't cost a pretty penny. 

Here's what I came up with & I was pretty psyched with how they turned out...

Didn't they turn out cute? 
My favorite one was the "Straight Outta Hogwarts" one and all of them only took minutes to make!!
I'll walk you through the process the best I can. 
Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) can be a little intimidating if you haven't worked with it before. 
But once you have it down, it's the easiest thing ever. 
I'd rather transfer it to fabric than mess with transferring vinyl to wood any day :) 

First things first, 
create your design in the Silhouette Studio software and make sure you've measured your shirt to make it as big as you want. 
Once you have your design down, BE SURE to 'mirror' the image.
You can do this easily by clicking on 'Object' at the top of the screen, then clicking 'mirror'. 
This will flip your image so it'll be cut out in reverse, making it not be backwards when you iron it onto your shirt. 

After you've mirrored your image, cut it out using the vinyl specifications your machine tells you. 
Make sure you're cutting on the matte side of your vinyl- the clear plastic piece should be face down...
It's hard to get a good picture of it, but the picture below shows the machine cutting on the matte side: 

Once cut out, you should be able to flip your vinyl over and see the outline of your design through the clear liner. 
This is how you know your design cut out deep enough. 
Sometimes it's a little bit more faded but usually you can always see part of an outline through the back. 
Here's what mine looked like after it was cut: 

After you have it cut out, carefully weed your design. 
This is where I've found that the different brands you use make a big difference!
I've used the Siser brand (that you find mostly online at cheaper prices) and was completely underwhelmed by it. 
I've become a big fan of the actual Silhouette and Cricut brand HTV. Although it is pricier- so look for sales & coupons for it. 
I know many people have had success with Siser brands and I plan on trying it again now that I've learned a few tricks but for now, I've been using just the Silhouette/Cricut brands. 

After weeding, you'll want to prepare your shirt for transferring your image.
Make sure you iron is set to it's hottest setting (mine doesn't have set temps so I set it to cotton). 
Once hot, run your iron over the shirt a few times to pre-heat the surface.
I've found that this really does make a big difference in how the vinyl adheres to it!!

Then carefully place your transfer onto your shirt. 
You can adjust it a couple times if you do so carefully!

Tricks I've learned about applying your transfer: 

1. Preheat your fabric item before pressing your transfer onto it. 
2. When applying your HTV, press your iron down firmly on one area and count slowly to 30. Then move onto the next area. I wiggle the iron a little just so it doesn't just sit in one spot. 
3. After pressing FIRMLY for 30 seconds on each area, I run the iron over the whole item quickly one more time. 
4. Let it sit for just a few seconds and then carefully peel the plastic liner off. 
5. Once cooled, flip your shirt inside out and press the design from the inside of the shirt. 

And that's it!!

Like I said, it goes SUPER quick once you've done a couple and aren't so nervous about it. 
Unless you're just not nervous about it at all :) 

I LOVE how easy it is to transform plain shirts into something cute with HTV. 
And it's SO much cheaper than buying graphic shirts. 
Especially if you're wanting them personalized. 

Here's my cutie sporting her Harry Potter t-shirt...

And Little Man LOVED his Hogwarts shirt...

As far as washing/drying goes, I turn my shirts inside out to wash on normal cycle with like colors. 
But I do NOT throw mine in the dryer. 
I know many people that do and have good results but I hang-dry all my HTV shirts just to make sure they last a bit longer.
I've had a couple times where the design has started peeling but they were easy fixes. 

But now that I've gotten the hang of it, I've had zero problems with peeling. 

So if you haven't tried HTV, go for it!!
You'll be so glad you did!

I share a lot of my monogramming & HTV designs that I've done on my Instagram feed, so if you're not following over there, be sure to check it out! 


For more details about the Harry Potter bash we threw, check these projects out: 

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