Tips to layer multiple colors of Iron-on or HTV vinyl

Discover simple but very useful tips on how to layer several colors of vinyl by using this cute SVG cut file of a Valentine’s Day gnome.

I admit I am not the most experienced person when it comes to Iron-on or HTV. I made a lot of stuff with my Cricut, but I didn’t really feel the need to try applying vinyl to fabric.

I was wondering why people were doing this.

I have teens, they are not very motivated in having vinyl on their t-shirts.

It was like that for me until I planned a Disney trip.

No, I didn’t make matching t-shirts for the family! I rather had fun making funny and original t-shirts like this one that I made for my husband who’s a Pokemon fan. (You should see him taking pictures with this shirt and ALL the princesses he could find!🤣)

T-shirt with Iron-on vinyl of Pokemon. Disney princess silhouettes written underneath : Gotta catch 'em all

And this is when…

I got.THE.bug!!

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A gnome for Valentine’s day

Now I have to hold back when I see beautiful files and slow down my brain that can’t stop finding things I could do with them !!!

And this is exactly what happened with this Valentine gnomes SVG file that I showed you on my Facebook group.

I just fell in love!

So I decided to take one of the gnomes in the file to make a pyjama t-shirt. Eh hum… MY pyjama! (we really need to make more things for ourselves don’t you think?!)

layered Iron-on vinyl of a Valentine gnome on a gray t-shirt

Since it contains several overlapping colors, I decided to show you how I did it. Always sharing my good moves and above all, my mistakes! (This is how we learn the most!)

The difference between HTV and Iron-on

Before we start, I just want to tell you what’s the difference between Iron-on and HTV. It’s easy, there’s no difference! HTV stands for Heat Transfer Vinyl and Iron-on is the name of the Cricut brand HTV. That’s it!

Materials and tools you need

Layer Iron-on vinyl or HTV

The first important thing to know when layering Iron-on vinyl (or HTV) is that it’s better to limit the layering to a maximum of 2 or 3 layers.

This gnome SVG was perfect for that because only the part of the hands over the heart added up to 3 layers thick.

By applying this design to a t-shirt, I also learned another very important thing: it’s always better if the first layer applied is the one that is located furthest back in the design.

For this gnome, the order of the layers to apply would be:

  • The feet
  • The tunic
  • The beard
  • The hat
  • The little hearts, the big heart and the nose
  • The Hands

As you will see in the video further down, I did everything backwards which caused some small mistakes.

Look at the photo below, do you see my mistakes? It’s subtle!

layered Iron-on vinyl of a Valentine gnome on a gray t-shirt

The tunic is a little over the beard which would not have happened if I had applied the tunic before the beard.

This is because vinyl stretches when it is heated. This is why it is better to press only 5 seconds per layer when layering multiple colours.

Also, the big heart is made of Iron-on Foil. This Iron-on is much more sensitive to demarcations. We can therefore see the mark made by the outline of the carrier sheet which held the hands.

For all the details, mistakes and tricks learned, see the video. And don’t forget to subscribe to my channel.

Summary: Tips and Tricks for Layering HTV or Iron-on Vinyl

  • Limit the layering to 2 or 3 layers thick.
  • “Flip” your drawing directly on the canvas. This will prevent you from forgetting to “Mirror” when cutting.
  • Find the center of the t-shirt by folding it in half evenly and pressing it with the Easy Press.
  • Start by applying the furthest layer in the design.
  • Apply layers one by one, pressing for only 5 seconds. Only the last press will have the total number of seconds required.
  • Be careful not to mark the vinyl with the outline of the carrier sheets of the following layers.

If you know of other tricks, don’t hesitate to leave them for me in the comments.

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