How to make a T-Shirt with Heat Transfer Vinyl - Learning Center

How to make a T-Shirt with Heat Transfer Vinyl

This post takes you through the process of creating a custom vinyl design on children’s leotards. These designs were created using multiple colors of glitter vinyl.

The first step in the process is creating your design in the Graphtec Studio software. To learn more on how to use this software, take a look at this blog post.

The next step is to cut out all the separate elements you want to press onto your garment using the Graphtec Cutter.

The type of vinyl you are cutting out will determine the settings that need to be applied to the cutter. In this case, we cut out glitter vinyl so our cutter was set to Glitter. You can change these settings two different ways: 1) right on the cutter in your menu or 2) using the Cutting Plotter Controller. Always do a test cut before cutting out your layers to make sure you are getting a clean cut. If your settings are correct but your cut is not clean, then you need to adjust your blade by turning the knob clockwise. Continue making test cuts until you get the perfect cut!

The next step in the process is to prepare your heat press. For this demonstration, I used our Hotronix Air Fusion. At this point, the press should be all heated up. You always want to do this first so it is preheated and ready to go when you have all your vinyl cut out. Think of it like an oven when you are cooking. For glitter vinyl, we need the press to be at 325 degrees Fahrenheit, medium-high pressure and we will press for 10 seconds. You can peel it hot, warm or cold. Since we are doing multiple layers on this shirt and not pressing the elements all at once, we will only press the bottom layers for 1-2 seconds to tack them down. The final layer will be pressed for the full 10 seconds to fully bond everything to the garment.

Since we are working with children’s leotards, I switched the bottom platen on the heat press from the full sized 16×20 to the smaller 6×10. We sell multiple different sized platens on our website that you can find here.

Now that our heat press is prepared and ready to go, we can begin applying the layers to our first leotard! First you want to pre-press your garment for 5 seconds to get any wrinkles out of it. Once your garment is pre-pressed, you can now position your first layer on the garment. Press it for 1-2 seconds to tack it down and remove the clear transfer paper.


Now that your first layer is down, you can take your next layers, position them in place and repeat the process!

We are now ready to apply our final layers. Take your top layers, position them over your bottom layers, and press them down for a full 10 seconds to completely tack them down onto the garment. Once you have done this, peel away the transfer paper and you now have your first completed garment!

For our second garment, we are going to repeat this process. Your bottom layer is the gold face (1-2 second tack down) and your top layers are the heart eyes and the inside of  the mouth (full 10 seconds).

Since we used a smaller platen than normal, you may notice a rectangle outline on the garment around your design after pressing but don’t worry! This will easily come out when you put it in the washing machine.

We hope this blog post gave you some more insight into creating vinyl designs!

If you have additional questions, please contact us at 1-800-891-1094

or visit us on our website at www.colmanandcompany.com!