Weeding heat transfer vinyl – the joy and pain of t-shirt design. On the one hand it is so satisfying pulling away the excess vinyl to reveal you transfer. But on the other hand, it can take so long! You may not think that saving a few seconds weeding your design is a big deal. But when you’re weeding all day long, those seconds really add up!
Weeding Heat Transfer Vinyl
In this post we’ll give you some tips that will show you how to weed HTV quickly and efficiently, which will speed up your rate of production. You’ll be able to weed more designs and press more garments per hour, and this will have a big impact on your business.
So read on to find out our 5 tips, and we’re sure that they will make your life a little bit easier!
Tip #1 – Check Your Cut Settings
In order to weed heat transfer vinyl quickly, this first depends on whether you have selected the right cut settings on your vinyl cutting machine.
Do you have the right blade? Is it cutting to the appropriate depth? Specific settings for cutting each type of vinyl are given by your vinyl manufacturer.
If your cutting blade is not cutting completely through your vinyl then it will be much harder to weed. So to if it cutting too deeply. This can cause breakage in your vinyl and really slow down the weeding process. The goal is to be able to pull your vinyl off nicely in one go with the least amount of breakage as possible.
So first check that your cut settings are right for the specific type of vinyl you are using. Make sure your dial is turned to the correct material setting. Do a test cut if you are using a new type of vinyl for the first time. Get familiar with it first. This will save you from wasting time and vinyl.
It’s also important to check that there are no bits of paper or vinyl stuck to the cutter blade and that it is completely clean. If your blade still isn’t cutting through your material properly, then try some more troubleshooters on this page for Cricut and this page for Silhouette.
Below are two videos showing how to change the cut settings for the popular Cricut and Silhouette craft cutters. You can add custom cutting options, for materials not listed in the software, as is shown in the videos below. Make sure your cutting machine dial is set to ‘custom’.
How to change cut settings in Cricut Design Space:
How to change cut settings in Silhouette Studio:
Tip #2 – Use Siser EasyWeed Heat Transfer Vinyl
Now that your cut settings are perfect, we recommend next to make sure you’re working with great vinyl. The type of vinyl you use can also have a dramatic impact on your rate of production and efficiency in your business.
SISER EasyWeed Heat Transfer Vinyl, 12 x 15″ 12-Color Starter BUNDLE / Amazon.com
By using Siser EasyWeed, you are going to save a lot of time during the weeding process, due to this vinyl’s easy weeding properties and its pressure sensitive backing. You can find more information on Siser EasyWeed vinyl here. It’s also CPSIA certified!
What makes EasyWeed vinyl even more easy to weed, is what Siser calls the “heat press trick”. This involves heating up your lower heat press platen for 2-3 seconds (with your heat press on the same settings you would use to press a t-shirt). Place your vinyl on the warmed lower platen and the warmth will loosen up the adhesive on the pressure sensitive backing. This makes it really easy to pull away any excess vinyl. See how it’s done in the video below!
It’s also important to be weeding heat transfer vinyl with the right tools. Siser also have an awesome weeding tool called the Siser Weeder which has a hook to easily pick out small cavities in letters. This tool makes it really easy to lift up your excess vinyl and weed your design.
SISER weeder / Amazon.com
Tip #3 – Weed Into Cavities, Not Against Them
Now that you’ve got the perfect cut settings for your specific type of vinyl (hopefully you’ve also done a test cut if you’ve never used it before), and you’re working with high-quality material and tools, let’s start talking about technique.
If you can clearly see where the cut lines are, then it’s a good idea to take out the inside cavities of letters first before pulling up all your excess vinyl. Because if you pull up the excess vinyl first and then try to get the inside cavities, your hand will stick to the carrier sheet (which gets annoying!). It can be hard to see all the inside cavities in large designs. In these cases, it’s still worth trying to get as many inside cavities as you can first. If you have a small to medium design, then it’s definitely easier and quicker!
Having removed the inside cavities of the letters, the next thing is to remove your main piece of excess vinyl. However, there is a right and wrong way to do this too!
When pulling up your vinyl you need to make sure you are doing it in reverse. Effectively pulling the vinyl backwards and into the cavities of the letters. This results in lesser breakage and speeds up the weeding process!
See these two techniques in action in the video below:
Tip #4 – Use Weed Borders For Multiple Components In One Design
Another way to make weeding even easier is to use weed-borders or boxes.
If you have several different components in one design, then you can place a box around each component in your cutting software. Your cutter will cut a box around each component in your design. Then you will be able to weed your entire design in sections. You will be able to pull your vinyl up in individual strips making weeding less complicated!
If you are cutting multiple designs on one sheet of vinyl, then you can put a box around each design and weed them separately. If you have any really small or delicate details, you can place a weeding box around them so that you can be extra careful when weeding them.
In the video below, Jessica from Expressions Vinyl shows how to put in a weeding box in Silhouette Studio. Remember to flip or mirror-image the design if it is for a t-shirt.
Vinyl is much easier to work with when you separate your design into sections and weed one section at a time!
Tip #5 Use Stahls’ EZ Weeding Table To Weed Large Amounts Of Vinyl All At Once
Do you have a growing business with steady demand for your products? If so, consider investing in a Stahls’ EZ Weeding Table. The warmth provided by the table loosens the adhesive in heat transfer vinyl so that the excess vinyl is easier to remove. This results in less breakage and a faster rate of production.
This table has three temperature settings, a full yard (20″ x 36″) of weeding area, and a top clamp to hold the material in position. Stahls’ even claims that their weeding table increases production by 80%!
Check out the video below to see how this amazing tool will make your work (and life) so much easier! You’ll be able to see how you can weed large sheets of vinyl all at once!
So that’s it! Work quickly and efficiently in your job or business with these tips and tricks. If you have any other tips you’d like to share, please leave them in the comments below! Thanks for reading!
(Please note: This post contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure policy here.)