You’ve created the artwork, cut the vinyl, now comes the part that can sometimes be a little challenging: weeding and properly placing the design on the garment. In an article featured in Printwear Magazine, STAHLS’ educators, Josh Ellsworth and Zach Ellsworth, will let you in on 3 Heat Transfer Hacks that will take the struggle out of weeding and properly placing heat transfer vinyl:
- Weed vinyl with a sticky carrier on a heated surface.
- Use weed borders around your graphics.
- Designate a placement table and use a laser alignment tool or make a placement template.
Weed Vinyl with a Sticky Carrier on a Heated Surface
Weeding heat transfer vinyl on a heated surface will ease the effort it takes to remove excess vinyl away from a design. There are heat printing accessories available, such as a weeding panel and weeding table, but perhaps the added equipment isn’t in your budget. What can you do?
Hack: Use your heat press. Simply turn on your press, let it get to the desired temperature, then apply some heat to the lower platen. Place your unweeded design on the now heated lower platen, then weed your design.
Use Weed Borders Around Your Graphics
What is a weed border? It’s a box placed around the outside of your design, creating a boundary. Typically, when you cut a design on the vinyl cutter a weed border is added around the entire design.
Hack: Create smaller weed borders within the design. Maybe your design has small text or fine detail. By adding weed borders to surround each design element, you’ll speed up the weeding process. With these additional borders, you no longer have to pay excess attention to the small details while having to focus on the larger portions of the design.
Designate a Placement Table and Use a Laser Alignment Tool
Now that you have a couple of tricks up your sleeve for weeding, you’re ready to apply the design. This can pose another challenge, proper placement.
Hack: Use a table with a straight edge along with lasers to assist with design placement. Instead of loading your garment onto your heat press and “winging” the design placement, place it on a table with a straight edge. Line up the seams with the table’s straight edge. Use a laser alignment tool to determine exact placement for your design. Create a laser line parallel to the top of the table, then use a second laser to create a line perpendicular. You’ll place the center of your design where the two lines intersect. If you are using an HTV with a sticky carrier, once the design has been placed you can move your garment right to the heat press for application. If not, add thermal tape to adhere the design to the garment, then head to the heat press.
Bonus Hack: Make a cardboard template to help with placement. If you’re not able to invest in a Laser Alignment System, cut cardboard to the exact placement measurements and lay your cardboard template on the garment to place your design.
Definitely take a moment to download our free eBook, “The Ultimate Guide To Design Size and Placement.” You’ll find that you will refer to this guide often as it gives you dimensions for design sizes and measurements for ideal design placement. And be sure to read “5 Unique Design Placements for Heat Printing.” This blog post gives some great information on tools and accessories that will streamline placement.
Here’s a video that goes over these “hacks” in detail:
By incorporating these simple tricks into your production process, you’ll be amazed at how efficient and accurate you’ll become.