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Learn How to Weed Iron on Vinyl!

Step two in a series of Cricut tutorials on making a heat transfer t shirt. In this tutorial, watch a video on cutting and weeding vinyl iron on.

Hi Friends!! We are in the middle of a three-part blog series on how to make a DIY shirt with a Cricut from start to finish.  Making your own custom shirts is one of the easiest ways to use your Cricut.

In step one of the Cricut tutorials, I showed you how to create a file in Cricut Design Space and I also gave you free SVG files.

Now we are moving on to actually using our Cricut!  Woo Hoo!!  It really isn’t as hard as you think.  If you don’t own a Cricut but thinking about one, make sure to check out my post on which Cricut is best for you.

In this tutorial on weeding HTV, I’ll show you all about cutting and how to weed iron on vinyl.

Follow these heat transfer vinyl Cricut instructions and you will have your iron-on vinyl ready to apply to your project in no time!  

weeding vinyl

Different Types of Vinyl

First off, let’s talk about the names of vinyl because they can be confusing. There are two major types of vinyl:  adhesive vinyl and iron-on vinyl.

Adhesive Vinyl

Adhesive vinyl has different varieties including removable (or indoor) vinyl and permanent (or outdoor) vinyl.  Cricut carries both removable and permanent vinyl. 

Another brand I like is Oracal.  Oracal 631 is vinyl that you can remove easily and Oracal 651 is permanent/outdoor vinyl. 

Even though it is called permanent, it can be scraped off or come off in high heat.  That’s why do not place objects with vinyl on in microwaves or dishwashers!

diy mug with vinyl

Adhesive vinyl can be used on tons of different surfaces, including glass, wood, mugs, tumblers, walls, car windows, etc. 

With adhesive vinyl, you put the vinyl face up on a regular or light grip mat. Then you cut the SVG files or images out normally and will use transfer tape to place them on the surface. 

If you’d like some tips on how to weed and apply vinyl lettering so that it’s straight, make sure to check out my applying vinyl to a tumbler post.

Iron On Vinyl

Cricut iron on vinyl or heat transfer vinyl (or HTV) is vinyl that needs to have heat applied to it so that it adheres to material, most likely a type of fabric or wood.  HTV is most commonly used for making custom shirts, pillow cases, totes, shoes, etc.

Spoiler Alert:  Heat transfer vinyl (HTV) and iron on vinyl are the same exact thing!!  Cricut just calls their vinyl “Iron On” while most other companies call it “heat transfer vinyl”. 

My favorites??  I usually work with Siser Easyweed  or Cricut brand that I get off Amazon or Ebay. 

If Cricut products are on sale at Joann, Michael’s or Cricut.com, I will buy some of the specialty iron-on vinyl like glitter, holographic, patterned, and metallic. Most of these can also be found on Amazon too.   

I always check the prices between those four companies before I purchase products.  Every so often Joann Fabrics will have their Cricut products on sale for 40 or 50% off so I stock up then!  Crafters always buy what they don’t need just because it’s on sale, right??!!!

What you Need to Know about HTV

Iron on vinyl needs to be cut on MIRROR setting because the plastic backing acts as the transfer agent.  You will be flipping it over and applying heat to the plastic side so that the vinyl itself melts into the material.

You can click on the “mirror” setting in the Prepare screen and also the final cut screen.

design space mirror setting

Let’s Continue on with our Iron On Vinyl Project

Make sure to check out the previous post so you can see what we’re working on!  There is a free “God Bless America” SVG cut file that I will be showing you what to do with after you have everything in Cricut Design Space.   

At the end of the last video, I showed you how to change everything to “mirror” setting before you cut.  Make sure to check that out if you don’t know how to do it.

I have a full video of these steps below, but I’ll also write them for you, in case that’s easier for you!

Just a reminder, these are the products I used for this project that you can get on Amazon.   

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links from Amazon and/or Cricut. I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my links.

Cutting HTV with a Cricut

As I said before, make sure that you have clicked the “mirror” setting in CDS on the page when the mats show up.  This will flip the image over.

weeding vinyl

Click continue and connect your machine.  Then select your material.  If you are using a Cricut Explore, turn your knob to “Iron On”. 

If you are using a specialty iron on, turn your dial to “Custom” and search for the type of vinyl on the drop-down menu.  If you are using a Cricut Maker, select “iron on” or whatever type of iron on you are using in the drop-down menu.

htv cricut settings

Make sure to place the vinyl on your mat SHINY SIDE DOWN.  I use a light grip mat for HTV but you could also use an older green mat that has lost some stickiness.  Press the vinyl down flat with your hand or a brayer.

htv shiny side down on mat

The Cricut’s arrow light will blink when it’s ready for you to insert your mat.  Make sure your mat is placed all the way up to the rollers. 

When you push the blinking light, the rollers will grab the mat and pull it in and stop.

cutting iron on vinyl

The cut light will then blink when it’s ready to cut.  Push it and watch the magic! 

The Cricut will tell you when it’s done on the screen and also the arrow light will flash again.  Unload the mat, add your next iron on vinyl, and do it again.

Make sure to watch the video up above or sometimes it moves to the side or bottom as you scroll!

What Does Weeding Vinyl Mean?

Weeding vinyl just means taking the excess pieces of vinyl out.  The term will be used for all different kinds of vinyl so you will hear people talking about weeding HTV and/or weeding iron on vinyl or weeding vinyl.

You will weed both iron-on vinyl and adhesive vinyl. 

I think iron-on vinyl is easier to weed because it is still adhered to the plastic backing and you can pull on it pretty hard without it coming up. 

Weeding vinyl is pretty straight forward but weeding lines and intricate cuts with adhesive vinyl can be troublesome. 

How to Weed Iron on Vinyl

After the Cricut is done cutting, you will still have a sheet of HTV vinyl on your mat. The image will be cut only through the vinyl layer, not all the way through the plastic backing.

Now you have to do a little work! You get the fun of weeding heat transfer vinyl so it’s ready to apply to your project. People have a love hate relationship with weeding Cricut iron on vinyl – for some it’s relaxing, for others it’s tedious and time consuming!

I won’t tell you which camp I fall in, lol!

You will use a tool to pick out the small pieces in between the cut lines and pull off the larger pieces of unused htv off. 

I like to use my Cricut weeding tool but some people like dental probes or pointers.

Before you start weeding, trim the extra vinyl off so you don’t waste it, just make sure you don’t cut part of your image!

trimming iron on vinyl

I like to keep the backing on a sticky mat or place it back on one if I’ve taken it off and start from the top left corner (because I’m right handed). 

I hook a piece of the iron-on vinyl on the top corner and start pulling it to the right. The cut images should stay adhered to the plastic. Keep pulling off all the extra pieces.

weeding iron on vinyl
weeding cricut iron on vinyl

Then you are going to go back in with your weeding tool and weed all the little pieces out of the letters and images that shouldn’t be there. I scratch a little with my tool and the HTV starts coming up. Just make sure not to scratch into your design!

Throw away all the weeded out pieces.

how to weed iron on vinyl

Depending on your cut image, this might just be a few pieces or this can take a while!

weeding htv cricut

I always turn my iron-on vinyl over and look at it through light to make sure I’ve gotten all the little parts out of the letters before I apply it to my material.

weeding htv

Tips on Weeding Vinyl – Iron On / HTV

Remember the image will be backwards when you are weeding out the letters and pieces because it was cut on mirror setting. 

I like to open the project in Cricut Design Space on my laptop or tablet and look at the image so I know what’s supposed to be weeded out.

glitter tumbler

I think using natural light is the easiest way to see the edges. You can also use a  bright pad.

cricut bright pad

 If I’m weeding vinyl at night, I’ll grab a desk light and put it on the side.  Glitter iron on is probably the hardest to see the edges on, especially if you have an intricate cut. 

Cutting your iron on with the correct setting should make weeding easier since it’s tested best to cut that specific depth.

Sometimes I have great success weeding with scotch tape.  Check out my tutorial here on weeding with tape!  For some reason, it doesn’t always work and I can’t figure that out yet!  I have also heard of people using a lint roller but I haven’t had success with that yet.

Now that you know about weeding HTV vinyl, make sure to check out my huge roundup of HTV project ideas!

Cricut tips for weeding adhesive vinyl

You can also do what’s called reverse weeding when working with adhesive vinyl.  Reverse weeding is placing the entire image on the transfer tape first (before you remove any excess vinyl!). 

Then flip the transfer tape over and weed the extra vinyl off the transfer tape.  The small little shapes or letters will stay stuck on the transfer tape.

I hope this tutorial helps with weeding HTV.  Weeding iron on vinyl gets much easier after you’ve done it a few times. You’ll figure how hard you can pull the vinyl off and what works best for you!

In the next tutorial I will teach you how to iron on vinyl.

patriotic pillow
weeding vinyl
weeding vinyl

Thanks so much for stopping by and have a creative day!

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