How to cut heat transfer vinyl with silhouette cameo

Angie Renner
Published by 
Angie Renner
Last updated: 
February 1, 2024

We have a lot to be thankful for great designs, signs and stickers that we see almost everywhere. Technology really improves each time. We look at these signs, billboards, and stickers and we are full of appreciation and delight from what we are seeing.

How in the world are they able to make their picture appear on a shirt like that?

How are they able to come up with such a huge billboard or sign?

Those are indeed beautifully done that you basically know that ordinary printers don't have anything to do with these. Yes, printing and graphic equipment’s like vinyl cutters can make all these possible.

What Is Heat Transfer Vinyl?

Heat transfer vinyl is a unique kind of vinyl that can be sliced/cut on the silhouette machine and transferred to fabric through vinyl printing. This fabric can be t-shirts, bags, pillow covers etc.

What Is Vinyl Printing?

Vinyl printing utilizes CAD cut vinyl. Your design is created on the computer and then cut out from vinyl using a cad cutter. The design is then applied to your t-shirt using the best heat press machine. Vinyl is very durable and is a great option for more basic designs.

What Is Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) Used For?

HTV is used on fabrics to make designs and promotional products. Its comes in a sheet so that it can be cut, and kept on a substrate for application of heat. HTV is made in single colors and has special options such as 3D puff, glow in the dark, holographic among others

How To CUT A Heat Transfer Vinyl

Step-1: Hinging is a term used to affix the graphic or lettering in a way that makes the vinyl easier to apply and manage. Once you have established the position of your vinyl hold firmly against it and have someone help you by placing a piece of masking tape across the center or top of the T-shirt; 1/2 inch tape is sufficient enough for most projects.

This will allow you to work with one-half of the application at a time; not the entire application, which if not careful could ruin the vinyl install and take a chance of misalignment or major wrinkles and the vinyl would need to be removed.

This would require more vinyl to be cut, and the process started over again.

Step-2: The application can now begin with the project, peel back the transfer sheet up to the point of the hinge; making sure that your graphic or lettering stays adhered to the transfer.

Use scissors to cut away the excess backing sheet to expose the surface area. Using a squeegee to start from the center and working outwards pressing firmly to remove any air pockets or wrinkles by working it slowly as the other hand keeps slight tension allowing you to control or feel out how the application is being applied.

Step-3: After you have completed this step then you can remove the hinge; the graphic or lettering is in a stable place. The next step is to fold the other side of the application back on the adhered side that you are just done and slowly remove the backing from the transfer sheet; making sure the vinyl adheres to the transfer sheet.

Discard the remaining backing sheet and squeegee in the same way as you did on the other half by keeping slight pressure with one hand and working the squeegee with the other from the center outwards and pressing any air bubbles from under the vinyl.

Peel the transfer sheet from the vinyl by grasping one corner of the transfer sheet and pulling it slowly against itself; making sure the vinyl is adhering to the surface.

Step-4: Once you have completely removed the transfer, you can check it for excess bubbles and correct this by using a knife point or pushpin to make a small hole in the bubble area and use the squeegee to push the air bubble out of the hole.

You can clean with alcohol or water depending on the surface. Air bubbles are typical in most applications, so don't be too alarmed because everyday heat will smooth the application out nicely.

Cleaning the vinyl can be as healthy as it gets. Regular cleaning or washing will not affect the vinyl only be cautious when using high-pressure washes by not directly hitting the edges of the vinyl; which could lift the vinyl and cause it not to adhere to the surfaces.

How To Use A Heat Transfer Vinyl

Using vinyl is one of the popular ways to create advertisements. Vinyl is a polymer that is commonly used on billboards to create larger than life advertisements. Now, vinyl has a new use. Best heat transfer vinyl papers are now being used to print on a variety of fabric.

In dye sublimation printing, a vinyl base is IMPORTANT. The process of printing on transfer paper vinyl is simple. A vinyl sheet is cut into a shape and fed into the dye sublimation printer. The picture is opened on the computer, flipped horizontally since it is formed in its mirror form and then printed dye sublimation printer.

Here, the t-shirt printer directly passes from the solid to gaseous phase, without passing the liquid phase. Hence no time is required for the printer ink to dry.

Once the image is printed, it is now ready to be printed on any material. If a t-shirt needs to be printed, then it can be done using an iron. The t-shirt will have to be pressed first to remove moisture and wrinkles.

Within minutes, the image is transferred to the t-shirt. Since it is translucent, the colors come out really well on the surface of the t-shirt.


Indeed, we see a lot of printing businesses that are flourishing today. If you want to go into this kind of business, you have got to invest on these vinyl’s cutting plotters. They make excellent prints for designs, signs, banners and stickers.