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DIY Vinyl Settings and tips

DIY Vinyl Settings and tips

Vinyl comes in many different types and thicknesses. If properly applied, they can look excellent and last a long time!

Here’s one of our proud DIYers!

Heat Transfer Vinyl

Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) is often made from PVC or other plastics. Customers can be a bit hesitant about vinyl, since they may have had a bad experience with improperly-applied HTV, which requires consistent heat and pressure uniformly applied. Here are some of the vinyls we have in shop and the appropriate settings for our cutter, a US Cutter SC2. Please note that application pressure for the heat press is very much an art and isn’t covered here, since heat presses vary quite a lot!

Glossary of Terms

Thickness – how thick the vinyl is. 70 micron+/- 20 micron is roughly the width of a human hair.

Pressure – refers to the cutting pressure of the blade required in order to cleanly cut the image into the vinyl. The SC series vinyl cutter allows you to adjust the pressure. You will need to experiment to see what works best for you, since blades are inserted differently and are at different stages of sharpness. Too little pressure and “weeding,” the process of removing the excess vinyl, will be a nightmare. Too much pressure and you cut through the “carrier,” the transparent sheet the vinyl is attached to.

Temp – refers to the temperature that you need to keep the heat press at. A heat press is required for vinyl since it can keep even and generally consistent temperature.

Press – refers to how long the image should be pressed in the heat press. Heat presses are required, as opposed to an iron, because it keeps uniform pressure across the entire image.

Peel – refers to peeling the carrier (the transparent sheet that the vinyl is attached to) off of the garment after it’s been pressed. Warm means that the garment cools a little bit before you peel, while cold means that it completely cools to room temperature.

Here are some of the vinyls you can use when you come in for your DIY.

Thermoflex Plus

ThicknessPressureTempPressPeel
100 Micron155g (SC2)330F15 SecWarm or Cold

Notes:

  • Cut on non-shiny side, mirrored
  • Carrier is adhesive, take care – it will stick to itself

Materials: Cotton, linen, wool, lycra, spandex, polyester blends NO nylon NO mesh

Economy Flex

ThicknessPressureTempPressPeel
170 micron265g (SC2)330F10-15 secWarm or Cold

Notes:

  • cut on non-shiny side, mirrored.
  • Plastic backing is NOT adhesive.
  • Second press will turn the HTV from matte to shiny.

Materials: cotton, polyester, polyester mesh, and polyester jersey NO nylon

Decofilm Soft Metallics

ThicknessPressureTempPressPeel
75 micron105g (SC2)302F-320F7-8 secWarm

Notes:

  • cut on non-shiny side, mirrored.
  • Re-press 3-5 seconds after peel for 7-8 seconds.

Materials: Cotton, uncoated polyester, cotton/poly blends, poly/acrylic with care, NO nylon

Siser Easy Reflective

ThicknessPressureTempPressPeel
140 micron210g (SC2)305F15 secWarm

Notes:

  • cut on non-shiny side, mirrored.
  • Preheat garment for 2-3 seconds using the heat press before you place the vinyl for pressing.

Materials: 100% cotton, 100% polyester, poly/cotton blends, TEST for nylon

Adhesive Vinyl

Adhesive vinyl works a bit differently – they have adhesive on the bottom and will stick to surfaces with pressure and don’t need a heat press. Using adhesive vinyl is a multi-step process that involves cutting, weeding, applying adhesive tape, and only removing the carrier when you’re ready to place it on its surface.

Oracal 631 (Indoor)

ThicknessPressureFinishDurability
80 micron35g (SC2)Matte~3 years indoors

Notes:

  • cut on color side, NOT mirrored.
  • Take care when weeding large images, since the vinyl will stick to itself.
  • Removing the vinyl from the surface it has been attached to should not remove paint.
  • Not recommended for vehicle graphics, but can be used on windows.

Oracal 651 (outdoor)

ThicknessPressureFinishDurability
64 micron35g (SC2)Glossy~3-6 years outdoor

Notes:

  • cut on color side, NOT mirrored.
  • Take care when weeding large images, since the vinyl will stick to itself.
  • Removing vinyl from the surface it has been attached to will likely remove paint
  • Resistant to cracking, shrinking, and peeling.