How to Layer Heat Transfer Vinyl

example of layered heat transfer vinyl

Some of the best designs involve using different colors or patterns of heat transfer vinyl in multiple layers.

In this post, we'll show you how to design and create a t-shirt design that uses foreground text in one color and a background effect in another color. This is a great way to add some life to what would otherwise be a pretty simple text-based t-shirt.

The first step is to design the foreground text and the background shading. This can be accomplished using any number of cutting-machine software programs. In this example, we'll be using the software that comes with the Silhouette Cameo 2, "Silhouette Studio."

Make sure to setup the page to correspond with the size of heat transfer vinyl you're using. If you're using HTV from Rozzy Crafts, set the size of the sheet to 12 inches by 10 inches and orient the page in the "portrait" mode. Then choose a font and enter the text of your choosing.

We're going to cut the foreground text first, so go ahead and reverse the image so it comes out the right way when all is said and done.

Load your cutting machine with a sheet of whatever color you want your foreground text to be. In this example, we're using a sheet of Rozzy Crafts Neon Pink for the foreground text color and a sheet of Rozzy Crafts Royal Blue for the background effect. Both colors are included in our 12 Sheet HTV Starter Pack.

Make sure to load the sheet with the final color face down. So, with the Hot Pink, you should load it with the light-pink side facing up.

Send the design of the reversed foreground text to your cutting machine. Be sure to use the settings that work best for your blade and machine. We're setting our blade to "2" and selecting "Heat Transfer Vinyl - Smooth" for the material.

After your machine completes the cut, weed away the excess material using a weeing tool to reveal your foreground text. Although not pictured, we usually like to take a scissors and cut closely around the design in order to minimize the amount of material we need to weed.

Put the weeded foreground text to the side and turn back to your software. Make sure the text is selected on-screen and then navigate to the "Offset" menu. In Silhouette Studio, this can be found under the "Object" drop down menu at the top, or by clicking the icon at the top (highlighted in the picture below).

The "Offset" function creates a new design based on an original design. Here, our original design is the foreground text, "Rozzy". The outline of the original design is then offset a certain amount of distance in order to create a new design. You control the distance of that offset. Here, we're selecting an offset distance of 0.5 inches. The result is a new design that consists of an outline of the original design, with a gap between the two of 0.5 inches.

We already cut the foreground. Now we want to cut the background. Select the foreground text and delete it, which should leave only the background.

Load a sheet of your background color into your cutting machine with the sheet's desired color face down. After the cutting, weed away the excess material. You should now have background vinyl that perfectly complements your foreground design. [Note: In the picture below, the weeded sheet was simply placed in front of the cutting machine for the picture. It did not come out of the machine that way.]

As you may have guessed, the background goes on the t-shirt first and then the foreground. So take the background transfer and place it on the garment. (We like to first give the garment a quick ironing where the transfer is going to go.)

Use a heat press or your home iron to apply heat to the transfer. If you're using PU HTV from Rozzy Crafts, heat at 300 to 320° F for 8­ to 10 seconds. (If you're using a home iron that doesn't cover the entire design at once, follow those directions for each section of the design.) Allow the transfer to cool and then carefully peel the top sheet away.

Now take your foreground text and center it on top of the already-applied background vinyl.

Apply heat as your HTV instructs. Allow the top sheet to cool and then carefully peel it away.

VOILA! You now have a brand new multi-colored layered t-shirt design!

Got a question or an idea for improving this design or method? Leave it in the comments below!


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