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How to apply Heat transfer vinyl with an Iron!

One common thing I hear is that people think you HAVE to have a heat press when using heat transfer vinyl! LIES! I don’t even have a heat press. (they are super awesome and make quick work if you are doing this professionally!) BUT you can totally use an iron! I do! There is some tips that I will share to make it stick on and not peel up! 

First…weed your vinyl! If you are new to heat transfer vinyl please check out this post all about it to catch you up to speed!  You can see it’s all weeded…and the carrier sheet is intact!

Heat transfer vinyl comes with heat settings by degrees. My iron doesn’t have that! I’ve played around with scrap iron on vinyl and found that my sweet spot  is right in between the 3 and 4! Too hot and you will melt the carrier sheet and vinyl! 

The carrier sheet is a little sticky so you can place it on your project and it stays put. BUT you can still pull it up and move it around to get the exact placement! (make sure you iron your project first! Zap moisture and wrinkles!)

Okay. Time to iron. The key is to PRESS. PRESS. Think like a heat press. It is clamped down on your project. So put some pressure behind it. I usually have both hands on the iron and I put some muscle onto it! I apply for 15 seconds per spot. Too long and it will ruin the adhesive. Too short and it will fall off when you wash it! Once your 15 seconds is up…Move over to the next spot. I always overlap a little bit to make sure I don’t have any place that will peel up!


I also wiggle a little bit as I press. Your iron has holes in it. So I move it ever so slightly back and forth as I press to make sure that every spot gets an even heat! 

Then I peel off slowly. (some vinyl is hot peel and some is cold peel! Make sure to read the instructions before applying!)

Expressions has all the info at the bottom of each item. Tell you hot/cold peel. heat application and how to wash!


I peel up slowly and watch it. If any little portion lifts up or looks like it’s going to lift up…I lay the carrier sheet back down and press that spot again! 


When you are done–You get to have a fun project! Free cut file for this is HERE!


Sometimes I miss overlapping and a little portion comes up…watch The video to see how to get it lay back down!

Best of luck!

About Kimbo

Kimbo blogs at A girl and a glue gun--where she puts her hot glue gun to good use (as well as her vinyl cutter and sewing machine) She loves all crafts and is thrifty (the nice way to say she's cheap) So she is constantly trying to come up with fast and easy projects that won't break the bank! She lives in Idaho with her hot husband and 3 kiddos.