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How to Add HTV on Towels

I'm answering a reader question today - one I've been asked many times - about how to add heat transfer vinyl to towels.   I sacrificed a small hand towel for this little experiment in case things went sour. But they didn't! It actually worked nicely.

Silhouette Cameo, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, towels, DIY, do it yourself

Silhouette Cameo, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, towels, DIY, do it yourselfThe first thing you want to do is get your towel and iron it. I can pretty much guarantee you this is the first - and last time - I'll ever iron a towel.  I'm working with a heat press so I just pressed the towel for about 10 seconds.   You can do this with an iron as well.

Next you want to fold the edges of the towel in like you would when it's hanging on the towel bar.  This will help you with sizing the design so it's not half folded over or way too small. Press again to mark where the folds are.

Measure the distance between the two creases and that's going to give you an idea of how to size the design.

Now go into Silhouette Studio and create your design.  I unfortunately, and without thinking it through, picked a frame with what seemed like 803 tiny dots (someone stop me the next time I think that's a good idea) and added a monogram inside.  The distance between the two folds on my hand towel was about 7" so I made my design about 4" wide.

Mirror the design and then cut it.  And now you can see why this design was my nemesis.

Silhouette Cameo, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, towels, DIY, do it yourself
And now we're ready to press the design onto the towel.  Place the decal where you want it to be - measuring it to ensure it's centered between the two creases.   Remember, the time and temperature that you need for the HTV will depend on the type of heat transfer vinyl.  Siser North America's app makes it very easy to make sure you're getting it right.

Silhouette Cameo, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, towels, DIY, do it yourself

Before I pressed, I placed a piece of cardboard box under the towel to increase the pressure. This helps to ensure that the HTV really melts into the towel since it's got texture to it.   I put my teflon sheet over the htv/towel and then pressed.

TIP: If you are working with an iron I would HIGHLY suggest you work on the floor so you can really press down on the iron from above.

After I pressed the first time, I removed the clear sheet.  Just to ensure the heat transfer vinyl was pressed really well into the towel, I flipped it over and pressed again.

Silhouette Cameo, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, towels, DIY, do it yourself

Seriously easy and they make a big impact and a great gift!

Silhouette Cameo, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, towels, DIY, do it yourself

Silhouette Cameo, HTV, heat transfer vinyl, towels, DIY, do it yourself

I have thrown the towel in the laundry (washer and dryer << against my own advice) and it turned out okay. The HTV was fine and didn't peel, but it was a little 'wrinkly' so you may want to press it from the back side again after washing.

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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  1. Thank you so much Melissa!! I've wanted to try a towel for a while but was worried about it. Now I get to make the wedding gift I've been pondering for a while :D

  2. Just a question...How do you "print" with the Silhouette. You often show such cool things you can print but I'm presuming you're using the sketch markers, one color at a time. I love the cupcake you did and wondered if you are printing with a printer or sketching with Silhouette one color at a time.

    1. Christine they don't print but you can design things using images and send to your printer and then cut it out on the Cameo. Registration marks are used to make sure you cut perfectly around the edges.

    2. You use images as part of your design and add the registration marks. Send it to your colour printer and then cut the image on the Cameo. You can also use markers but using the fill feature helps colour designs and you can print and vut those as well. Hope this helps?

  3. What kind of vinyl (brand/# etc.)? How high a pile is the towel? We got new towels that are 100% cotton and velour/loops sides and wondered what's the best medium to personalize (other than embroidery since I don't have a machine?)

  4. What type/brand HTV did you use? I have cotton 100% (velour/chenille ) like towels will this work?


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