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Craft Materials for Decorating Apparel and Gifts (with a cutting machine)

by Takeebie Jefferson on October 29, 2018

Hello everyone! Many of you who are new to having a cutter such as cricut, silhouette and others may need a break down of what types of materials can be used for what types of projects. Or maybe you are doing your research and keep hearing words such as HTV, HTP, Oracle 651, adhesive, and opaque tranfers and have no idea of what they are talking about.

Let me help you clear that up real quick. Below you will find some popular materials that are used to create projects with your cutter as well as information of how it can be used, when it should be used, and its street names!!

Heat Transfer Vinyl (aka HTV)

Heat Transfer Vinyl is a vinyl that is applied to a project with heat. Most people use HTV to decorate apparel, bags and purses, canvas, and other things that can take heat up to a certain degree. There are several kinds of HTV on the market with 3 popular brands that I am familiar with which includes: Siser, Stahls Fashion Film, and Cricut brand vinyl. HTV also comes in a variety of formats from:

  • Stretchable
  • Glow In the Dark
  • Glitter
  • Patterned
  • Printable and more.

HTV also comes is sizes started at 12 by 12(inches) sheets up to 20(inches) by 100 yard rolls depending on the needs of your business.

Permanent and Removable Adhesive Vinyl (aka Oracal 651 and Oracal 631)

Permanent and Removable Adhesive Vinyl is usually applied to hard surfaces such as mugs, cups, clipboards, phone cases, glass, cars, metal, etc. Oracal 651 is a permanent adhesive vinyl usually with a glossy finish and is safe to put on items that can get wet, be in the sun, etc. Oracal 631 is a removable adhesive vinyl usually with a matte finish at most people use on the walls within their homes that will not damage their walls and/or paint. There is also Oracal 751 and 951 which are permanent premium cast vinyls which are great for outdoor durability and conforms better to uniquely shaped surfaces. Although Oracal is the industry standard, like HTV there are other brand out there as well. Oracal Vinyl comes in:

  • Solid colors
  • Patterns
  • Glitter

Adhesive Vinyl comes in sizes from 12 by 12(inches) sheets up to 15(inches) by 50 yard rolls depending on the needs of your business.

Heat Transfer Paper (aka HTP)

Heat Transfer paper is a type of paper that can be printed with your household printer and heat applied to a garment of your choice. There are two types of HTP, one is used for white and light colored garments and another is used for dark garments. For white and light colored garments, I recommend Jetpro Soft Stretch(JPSS). It blends in nicely with the fabric without having to cut too close to the printed image. For dark garments, I recommend Inktra Opaque stretch. It is very flexible, and used mainly with print and cut functions on your cutters to get a more professional look. This paper also comes in a variety of sizes including:

  • 8 ½ by 11 (both)
  • 11 by 17 (both)
  • 13 by 19 (JPSS only)

Heat Transfer Foil (aka Metallic Foils or HTF)

Heat Transfer foil is a foil that is used with a specially designed adhesive to be adhered to light or dark colored garments and other favorable materials. It is softer than vinyl and gives a very professional look to any project. As with all other materials discussed, there are several brands that produce foil as well. I use Stahls Heat Transfer Foils but there are other companies out there with a larger range of colors. The most important part of this process is the adhesive, make sure you choose a high quality adhesive.

Have more questions about the materials discussed above, join our Facebook group and ask or comment below. I look forward to hearing from you and let’s get creative!!


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