Have you ever pressed heat transfer vinyl to a garment and then noticed it is not properly adhered after wear or wash? Don’t fret! While this problem is a little frustrating, it is easily fixable. And with a little troubleshooting, practice and experience, you can prevent this common problem from happening in the future.
Whether you’re working with a heat press, home iron or EasyPress for business or pleasure, take these tips into account so you can gift, sell and use the products you make with confidence.
Not Enough Pressure
First things first, the most common reason your HTV may not be sticking to your shirt, sweater or whatever else you’re applying it to may be because you’re not using enough pressure. And pressure is important. Without it, your HTV projects may not be as long lasting as you would like. But there are some things you can do to fix that.
If you’re using a heat press, you can adjust the pressure on your machine. To determine the right amount of pressure, try the dollar bill test. This easy test involves closing dollar bills (bills of any denomination work or even a piece of computer paper) between the heat press platens and adjusting the pressure until you CAN NOT remove the bill when the press is closed. You can watch how I did it here:
As you can see in the video, I was able to see that I get more pressure on the left side of my press so I take that into account pressing designs on the right.
For home iron users, you may want to find a sturdier surface to press on, or use the floor, so you can utilize your body weight to help you get the pressure you need. The same technique may also be beneficial for EasyPress users.
Improper Press Time or Temp
Pressure is definitely important when it comes to your designs adhering to your garments, but so is the press time and temperature. If you don't press long enough or at a high enough temperature, you likely won't get the material hot enough to release its adhesive so it will stick to the fabric once cooled.
We have all the temps and times for our HTV here: iCRAFT HTV HEAT SETTINGS
Layered the Wrong Materials
Another common mistake you may have made is layering the wrong HTV materials. While some of our materials - including our matte, glitter, liquid patterned and printable - can be layered, that is not true for other materials or other manufacturers.
Other materials like our hologram and spectrum are thicker materials that need to be applied directly to the garment to ensure they stick and stay put. Be sure you check with your supplier before layering your materials so you don't waste any material. While it may (or may not) adhere at first, a material that is improperly layered will most likely come off very quickly after wash and wear.
If you want to use 2 kinds of HTV together but, they are not recommending for layering, you still can! Just use the "knockout" method to slice out any part of your design that would be underneath an HTV material that shouldn't be layered.
You can check out this blog for everything you need to know about layering HTV materials from iCraft!
Seams, Zipper or Designs are in Your Way
When you're pressing your HTV, you need flat, even pressure on the entire designs so it adheres with the garment. Fabric seams, zipper, buttons and garment details could all be preventing you from getting the even pressure you need. If this is happening, place a pressing pillow or towel underneath your fabric to raise the material to meet the seams and create a flat surface. Or try hanging the offending seams or zippers off the press if you can.
Here are some examples of how I addressed uneven pressing surfaces:
Forgot about a Final Press
Did you forget to press your HTV design for a full, final press before you finished? If not, that could be a culprit for HTV that is peeling up. Before you take your garment off the press or put away your iron, make sure you go over the entire design once more with heat to ensure every layer and piece is firmly adhered to whatever you’re pressing on. When using a heat press, I typically do a final press for 10 seconds. When working with an iron I typically do a final press on each part of the design for 20 seconds. If you’re working with an EasyPress, make sure you flip it over and apply heat to the backside for 15 seconds.
Washed Too Soon
You can count on your HTV from iCraft being long lasting when washed and cared for correctly. After you have applied heat transfer vinyl to a garment or any other washable fabric, do not wash the item for at least 24 hours to give the HTV time to cure to the fabric so you can ensure it stays adhered. We also recommend washing in cold or warm water (inside out), hang drying or tumble drying on low heat, and do not recommend bleach or fabric softeners.
Low Quality Products
If you have tried the tips we have shared in this blog but are still having issues, it may be the heat transfer vinyl itself. Some HTV does not last as long as others. Make sure you’re working with a high quality product and using the correct heat and time settings so you can create one of a kind projects that last. At iCraftVinyl, we supply only the highest quality vinyl products. Additionally we offer reliable support, helpful resources so you can craft with confidence.
Bonus: How to Tell if Your HTV is Adhered
Now that you know how to fix the problem of your iron-on materials not sticking, it is also a good idea to note how to know if your HTV is properly adhered in the first place. You should first make sure you're working on a hard surface and using firm pressure.
For our thinner materials - like our matte, liquid, pattern & printable - you should be able to see the lines of the fabric through the HTV.
Check out some examples here:
For our thicker materials, I recommend running a flat hand over the finished design, feeling for any corners that are lifting. If you notice any pieces that aren't fully adhered, just cover and press again.
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