using mask for pattern htv

Behind the Mask: CAD-CUT Patterns

by Matt DeLaere, Marketing

Most people are familiar with how handy masks can be. They help you get candy every October 31st, make a snazzy costume for parties, scare people at haunted houses, the list goes on. But some CAD-CUT® heat transfer vinyl users may not be familiar with a mask’s role during heat printing.

Usually reserved for print/cut applications, masking allows you to prepare positive-cut designs for heat application. Typically when you cut CAD-CUT® materials, you’re cutting a reverse, or mirror image – the material carrier is on the “front” of the design while the adhesive is on the back. All you have to do is flip the design over, align it, and heat press it, then peel the carrier.

Printed heat transfer vinyl is printed and cut in the positive – the material’s adhesive is on the same side as the carrier. In order to align and press the design, you have to apply a mask to the front, then peel the material’s carrier off of the back.

This step is required for new CAD-CUT® Patterns heat transfer vinyl. Patterns material is printed in the positive and should be cut in the positive. After cutting, weed your design, then apply Patterns mask. This clear mask allows you to see the design you just cut and keeps the design elements pre-aligned. Once you remove the material’s carrier, you’re ready to align it on your garment and heat press.

Here are some tips and reminders for those new to masking, so you can keep your CAD-CUT® Patterns designs looking great:

  • Accent-chu-ate the Positive – When loading Patterns material into your vinyl cutter, make sure the patterned side is facing up and that you are cutting your design in the positive.
  • Patterns Mask is available in the wizard when you order your patterned heat transfer vinyl. If you need any mask later, or forget to order it, you can also order it on the Patterns Mask page on our website.
  • Don’t discard your mask after using it – Patterns Mask can be reused as long as it retains enough tack to lift your design.
  • If you’re cutting a large number of designs, you may want to use a squeegee tool to smooth and flatten the mask on your design. These tools can be ordered on our Rhinestone Accessories page.
  • Keep the paper liner from your mask roll to put used mask back on for storage and future reuse.

Remember, while most masks hide what’s behind them, heat transfer mask will keep your patterned designs looking as good as possible.

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