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Applying Heat Transfer Vinyl on Glass: Silhouette Tutorial

Did you know it's possible to apply heat transfer vinyl to glass? Totally is! Today Becky and Glenna from My Paper Craze are back to explain exactly how to do this!
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I'm constantly stocking up on glitter everything.  Between me, my daughter and my friends, there's always something that needs glittered up.  I love keeping it on hand, but when a project arises, it always seems like I have stocked up on everything EXCEPT what I need. So for this project, I typically would have chosen glitter permanent adhesive vinyl, but I already had the HTV (heat transfer vinyl) on hand and I knew the colors were perfect. The only question was, could I put it on glass?

Silhouette tutorial, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, glass

After doing some research and polling my local vinyl supplier, we determined that (kinda obvious) heat is what activates the glue on HTV for it to adhere to fabric. In theory, the same should apply when applying HTV to other surfaces. We have concluded that HTV can be applied to any material that can withstand the heat. In this case, glass is typically not a concern, it is not vulnerable to heat (or flammable!). Now I do want to issue this warning before we go any further.

Warning: Hot


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I don't mean it's a little hot. I don't mean it will be hot for a minute. Glass is an excellent conductor of heat (think of a glass baking dish). When applying heat to glass, it will get hot and stay hot. Typically, with a decent length fingernail, I don't have a lot of problems handling fairly hot (lightweight) items. This was not the case in the project, so crafter beware! You have been warned. HOT. HOT. HOT. So use an oven mitt when doing this!!

In my project, I decided to create beautiful masterpieces to hang for my daughter. I love shadow boxes and this project was no exception (and I snagged them at 50% off at my local craft store!). So for any frame or shadow box, you'll start by removing the glass from the surrounding wood/plastic frame (be careful of fingerprints, you'll have to clean them off later!).

Silhouette tutorial, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, glass

After you've isolated all your glass pieces, you can proceed to cut the HTV. You'll still need to mirror your image because it will still be flipped before applying. I used my Dritz Cutting Mat to help me center my HTV image. Apply like you would on fabric, leaving the clear backing in tact and pressing it with your fingers onto the glass.

Silhouette tutorial, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, glass


WARNING: once you heat the glass, do not set it back on your cutting mat, it will warp from the heat. Mine did eventually return to normal, but better safe than sorry!

Here's where it gets a little tricky.  I used my PowerPress Heat Press, the same as I would for t-shirts. However, I may consider using a household iron next time. The way my heat press is designed (clam-shell style), the top heating plate comes down at an angle, so keep that in mind as I explain the process below. You can preheat your heat press at the same settings as suggested by the manufacturer.

Start by laying a towel or other similar material on the bottom pad of the heat press. Since glass is breakable, I felt like the towel would provide a little cushion against the pressure of the press. Now, lay your glass (with HTV in place) on the towel.

Silhouette tutorial, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, glassSilhouette tutorial, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, glass

Once your heat press is fully preheated, use the handle to lower the top heating plate onto the glass. DO NOT FORCE THE HANDLE DOWN TO LOCK THE PRESS CLOSED. 

The thing to remember is that these won't be going through the wear-and-tear as a shirt. We need to apply just enough heat that it activates the glue on the reverse side of the HTV. If you apply too much pressure with the heat press, the glass will break, so keep it gentle. 

I gently pressed for 10-15 seconds. If you're using a clam-shell heat press, here comes the tricky part.

The heat press will activate the glue on the HTV that the top plate comes into contact with. †Since the heating plate is lowered at a slight angle, it may not cover the entire HTV design and you can't lock it down without breaking the glass. 

Instead of stressing about the issue, I instituted the turn method (it's very high-tech). After the first press (and using something to protect your fingers!), rotate the glass 90 degrees (either direction is fine). Press again for 10-15 seconds. Turn another 90 degrees. Press again for 10-15 seconds. I think you're getting the drift.
Silhouette tutorial, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, glass

After you've pressed each side, there won't be any reason to doubt that the HTV glue has been activated on all sides.  It is safe to remove the clear film from the front of the HTV (don't forget to protect your fingers, it's still very hot!).

Silhouette tutorial, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, glass

Allow the glass to fully cool before handling and reassembling your shadow box. Here is a sneak peek of the final product, feel free to jump over to the project post on My Paper Craze for the full run-down on assembling these gorgeous Mermaid Shadow Boxes for my daughter's decor.

Silhouette tutorial, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, glass, Silhouette Cameo

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I receive a small commission. That's what helps fund Silhouette School so I can keep buying new Silhouette-related products to show you how to get the most out of your machine!

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23 comments

  1. Would it be possible to use a heat gun instead of a heat press?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I imagine it would be similar, but I would try it on a small portion first. I know a household iron would work wonders. I'm not sure how the HTV would react without a surface to keep it flat against the glass. If you decide to try it, definitely let us know!

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    2. PLease don't use a heat gun, a press and an iron deliver even heat when they are used to press a heat gun produces direct uneven heat when you use it and you run the risk of burning parts of your design. Also heatguns are flammable on certain products.

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. what temp did you heat your press to?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Debbie! The heat press was set to 305 degrees, which is what I use all the time. However, each manufacturer will have their own recommended heat and time setting, so be sure to check there first.

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  4. On my goodness I love how you did the love. So unusual and I have a Christmas ocean them so I love your mermaid.

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  5. Question what would you set the iron to and put it directly on the glass and vinyl? Nothing between? bdtliv@msn.com I love this idea and would like to do it with my eggplant Christmas theme, so that I can do some glass coaster. Eggplant items are just hard to fin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In the past when using an iron, I turned it all the way up with NO STEAM. For the heat press, I still used the teflon sheet, so you can either get something similar OR you can use a simple barrier like a pillow case or other thin barrier. I'll shoot you an email as well.

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    2. Thank you for replying. I am going to have to try that.
      I also am going to do the coasters. I went to order them they were out, so I asked when they were getting them in. Next day they weren't out of stock so I ordered and got 3 sets. Today they are back out of stock. So I am really excited to get them and start the coaster project.

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    3. Never received an email. I did stick on for my coaster but no I am looking for iron to do on some cups for a Christmas theme.

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    4. Still haven't received as email as you stated above. I purchased HTV and want to iron on my mugs. So use the Teflon and do high temp no steam and then 20 seconds?

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  6. is there any reason why to use htv instead of vinyl for this kind of project?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jane! We had a few reasons for using HTV, other than to just experiment (which is fun all by itself!). #1 - We already had the HTV on hand, so we didn't have to order any new supplies. #2 - The glitter HTV came in an abundance of colors and had better choices than regular glitter adhesive vinyl. Different manufacturers will have different color selections, so you may be able to find glitter adhesive vinyl in your color choices. Another reader commented that HTV would probably be useful to prevent bubbles, so that may be another benefit to using HTV, we sure didn't have any bubbles!

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  7. I bought the heat press with the attachments. One of the attachments is for a cup. I have never used it (I don't know how). Could this be possible to use with the attachments? Could I put htv on a mug and put it into the mug press to heat it?

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  8. I have a question. I am interested in doing some coffee mugs. Can you tell me how I would go about doing this. Obviously the oven mitt, but would you recommend iron, or in the oven? Any suggestions would be wonderful. bdtliv@msn.com

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  9. DVD has a higher determination versus low-determination simple feature. By utilizing feature changes to DVD, the sign dependably stays in the advanced configuration without corrupting the sign every time it is played back or saw like a VHS tape. VHS to DVD transfer

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  10. Hi, looks fun. Be careful, some glass may shatter from rapid temperature change. If the glass is cheaply made, it can have weak areas. Just a note, you got a spam post above mine, delete it if you so desire.

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  11. does anyone know what kind of vinyl I can use for a glass dish that will be used for baking?

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  12. does anyone know what kind of vinyl I can use for a glass dish that will be used for baking?

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  13. does this help eliminate the bubble issue that you have when applying vinyl to glass?

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  14. I made a register stand for my craft shows. i wanted to vinyl the front with my logo. vinyl is kind of tough to put on wood even with a clear coat on it sometimes. so i decided to try it out. It worked like a charm! plus it is glittery! i wish i could post a picture of what i made, it turned out awesome!

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  15. BUT.... Why not use just regular glitter vinyl on the glass instead of HTV? Does it do anything different than regular permanent vinyl?

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