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Silhouette Hack: Sketch and Nest HTV Designs for Perfect Alignment & Limited Waste

Today is another Silhouette hack that will have you stumped in a "duh" moment.   There's a thin line between wasting HTV and perfect alignment.  When cutting HTV it's almost always an either/or: you either waste a ton of heat transfer vinyl so you can keep your design cut in one large piece or you break up the design and cross your fingers that you can re-align it perfectly when you press it.

Silhouette, Silhouette Cameo, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, nest, sketch
Well today, Becky and Glenna from My Paper Craze are here with a clever solution for you so you can both conserve your vinyl and have a perfectly placed design! 


So many times I want to conserve heat transfer vinyl, but hate worrying about lining it up correctly before I press it on a shirt.  Most of the time I end up wasting a ton of vinyl just to keep the spacing even (ugh!). Or what about when you're cutting a multi-color design. How the heck do you get the design lined back up perfectly after it's cut?

So, a few things that you will need are...
  1. Gently used HTV backing (the clear sticky sheet)
  2. Cutting mat (any brand)
  3. Pen or marker holder
To get started, create you design in Silhouette Studio and size it (as one large design) to fit the shirt or wherever you will adhere it.  In this case, I'm working with a toddler-sized shirt. 

Silhouette, Silhouette Cameo, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, nest, sketch 

It is important that you do not resize any individual piece from this point forward or your alignment will not work out later.

Normally you would group all of the like colors together to cut them at the same time. This is where the wasted materials come in.  By keeping the design intact you end up wasting material.  Look at all that space between "she be but" and the arrow.  That's all wasted black vinyl..same thing with Little and Fierce.

Silhouette, Silhouette Cameo, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, nest, sketch 

This is where this little Silhouette trick comes in.  Instead of grouping the like colors, keep your design in the correct arrangement - as you originally designed it. 

Before we cut this design, we are actually going to sketch it.  So go into the Cut Settings window and change the Material to Sketch Pen.
 
Silhouette, Silhouette Cameo, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, nest, sketch 

Grab your extra HTV carrier sheet (sans the heat transfer vinyl).  Make sure it's at least as large as your design.


Silhouette, Silhouette Cameo, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, nest, sketch 

Place the clear carrier sheet onto the cutting mat - STICKY SIDE DOWN. It's hard to see here, but the carrier sheet is on my mat.

TIP: This works better if your mat is used and not super sticky.

Silhouette, Silhouette Cameo, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, nest, sketch 

Swap out the blade in your Silhouette CAMEO or Portrait for marker. Set up your pen or marker (I used a Sharpie marker with the Chomas Creations Marker Holder) as you normally would for a sketch design. 

Silhouette, Silhouette Cameo, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, nest, sketch 

Now you're going to draw your design onto the clear backing with the Sharpie! Make sure you have NOT flipped or mirrored your design yet. You want it to draw the same way that it will look on the shirt!

Silhouette, Silhouette Cameo, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, nest, sketch 

After the sketch is complete, you can remove the carrier sheet from your mat and set it aside for the ink to dry.

Silhouette, Silhouette Cameo, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, nest, sketch 

Back in Silhouette Studio, now you can mirror the design.  You can also freely re-arrange your design in the world space to use as little HTV as possible.  If you have DE, the nesting feature is a good option. 
 
Silhouette, Silhouette Cameo, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, nest, sketch 

Cut your design on the appropriate colored heat transfer vinyl and weed.  Trim pretty tightly around each piece of the HTV design, being careful not to snip the actual vinyl. 

Now grab that sketched carrier sheet and the HTV pieces you just cut.

Flip the HTV backing over so that the sticky side is facing up (your image should now be mirrored). 
Take each piece of HTV and align it with the sketched image. 

TIP: Before you press, be sure NONE OF THE HTV BACKING OVERLAPS ONTO ANOTHER HTV PIECE or you will adhere the backing between the htv and the shirt when you press.


Silhouette, Silhouette Cameo, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, nest, sketch 

On this design, you can see there is a small area that overlaps. That's okay! Just align the parts you can and we'll repeat this process again with the second color HTV

Now flip the large sketced carrier sheet back over and onto the shirt so the HTV is touching the shirt and ready for pressing.  Remember, the ink is on top of the clear backing, so you don't have to worry about the ink getting on your shirt. Also, we had no evidence of the ink on the teflon sheet either!

Silhouette, Silhouette Cameo, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, nest, sketch 

After you've pressed, peel off the carrier sheet and the htv backing from all of the htv you just pressed on.

Silhouette, Silhouette Cameo, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, nest, sketch 

Now use the sketched carrier sheet to align your next round of htv - in this case, glitter gold!

Silhouette, Silhouette Cameo, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, nest, sketch 

Use the sketch on the sheet, to line the htv up with the design already on the shirt for a perfect fit!

Silhouette, Silhouette Cameo, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, nest, sketch 

Press one final time (or repeat until finished) and your project will be done! This is also great if you need to make identical shirts, you can use it over and over (or until the sticky runs out!).

Silhouette, Silhouette Cameo, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, nest, sketch

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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14 comments

  1. Replies
    1. It's the clear plastic that you peel off after you press and throw out...just keep it for future projects!

      Delete
  2. the carrier sheet is what the HTV is stuck on and you peel off after you have ironed/pressed the HTV onto the garment. You could always resticky it the same way you do your mat. Excellent article

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great tip but how do you get an extra carrier sheet? I guess you have to make a large 1 color design so when it's weeded and pressed all you have it the clear sheet then save it?

    ReplyDelete
  4. You can also buy the carrier sheets.

    ReplyDelete
  5. If the design is printer paper size, you can print it on vellum or clear acetate using your printer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OOps- forgot to say it won't be sticky but you can still line it up.

      Delete
  6. This just totally saved my butt!!! I just had to do another birth stats pillow. The first time I did one it took me half an hour and a whole lot of stress to line it all up. This time, 3 minutes including pressing. YOU ARE A CRAFTING GODDESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Can anyone tell me where I can buy the carrier sheets seperatly? I'm from Belgium, so a European retailer would be perfect, but an American one can do as well. Tank you for a great post!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have never seen a sticky carrier sheet. Once you pull the vinyl off, it is just a plain piece of plastic. Either I use something different from everyone else or I don't understand this process. I thought about using tape to tape it to the carrier sheet, but I'm afraid the tape would melt and cause a mess. What am I missing here?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Can someone please tell me where I can buy the htv carrier sheets at?

    ReplyDelete
  10. I really like this idea. It might also be helpful to add centerlines on the carrier sheet to help with placement.

    ReplyDelete

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