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Thin and Soft Heat Transfer Vinyl! The Best Cut Settings for Ultralite HTV

If you've been on the hunt for the perfect thin heat transfer vinyl to avoid the bulk, wrinkles and 'patch-like' feel when layered - allow me! I recently got my hands on some Ultralite heat transfer vinyl. It wasn't love at first sight...but now. OMG.

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Here's the thing, the super soft Ultralite HTV - which is exclusively sold by Swing Design - may be super soft, thin and stretchy, but it's not the easiest to work with.  The biggest drawback is that the carrier sheet is not sticky - it is almost like a static cling on the heat transfer vinyl. That means the design will not stick to the backing unless it's cut perfectly.

For my first attempt at cutting the Ultralite, I used the default settings for Heat Transfer Vinyl - Smooth in Silhouette Studio.  The problem was, as I was weeding, the vinyl started to curl.

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Without a sticky carrier sheet the HTV easily pulled up off the carrier sheet. Because the design was pretty big, it wasn't anything I couldn't deal with when pressing the design onto the shirt. But I knew that if I had a much smaller design any curling like this could result in the entire design fully coming off the backing.

Thin soft heat transfer vinyl Silhouette CAMEO silhouette portrait screenprint shirts

But lucky for you - I spent an entire morning and a basically a whole sheet of this thin, soft HTV finding the perfect cut settings.

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So here's the deal. Any design that is pretty solid and doesn't have any intricate areas change the settings in Silhouette Studio to the following when cutting Ultralite HTV:

Blade 2, Speed 8, Thickness 16 (circled in black below)

These settings are basically halfway between the Smooth HTV settings and the Flocked HTV settings. Notice you have to increase the thickness to get a slightly deeper cut. That deeper cut makes sure there's no pulling or snagging or stretching when you weed away the excess HTV. It's perfectly and completely cut away from the design. That leaves the design right where it is on the carrier sheet. 
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I tried the same settings for a super thin and delicate design and was well aware they likely would not work. I was right. About 15 cuts and 15 different cut setting combinations later I finally landed on the following for thin and delicate designs cut on Ultralight HTV with Silhouette CAMEO:

Blade 4, Speed 8, Thickness 4, Double Cut (circled in red above)

After you cut you you can weed the design - but be very careful when weeding paying attention to the direction in which the design is if you're going 'against the grain' you are more likely to pull the design off the carrier sheet - even with the perfect cut!

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You can see that this design, which I cut with these settings, has just one little area that has slightly separated from the carrier sheet.

Once you've successfully cut and weeded the Ultralite HTV you can press it onto the surface. Now because the carrier sheet is not sticky, you may want to use some high temperature tape to keep it in place while pressing.  Make sure you cover with a teflon sheet when pressing.

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I pressed at 305 for 20 seconds with my heat press. It needs a lot of pressure - so use a pressing pillow! This stuff is a cold peel so WAIT until it's completely cool before you remove the carrier sheet.

I'm so pleased with the results - it's really soft and kind of melts into the shirt.

It also has more of a stretch to it which - let's just be honest - is helpful for women who want to put HTV on the front of a shirt and avoid awkward stretching and wrinkles.

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So do I recommend this Ultralite?  Now that I've figured out the trick to cutting it to avoid the curling - 100% yes!  I do wish it came in more than just 7 colors!

Here's a look at both the shirts with the Ultralite. And since I know you'll ask about how to cut distressed fonts on Silhouette's a tutorial on that!

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. About to try using this! Wish me luck!

  2. I am so glad I kept searching and didn't give up after the first bazillion blogs claiming to have the correct settings. This is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you for going through all the trouble and wasted vinyl so I don't have to waste quite as much. Ha!



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