The Ultimate Guide to Layering Vinyl

Layering vinyl can make your project look amazing, but it can be difficult to get everything lined up just right. This guide is perfect for vinyl beginners and pro crafters alike: everyone wants perfect projects! Keep reading to learn about our best tips and tricks, as well as our fails, and how we layer various types of vinyl.

What Kind Of Heat Transfer Vinyl Can Be Layered?

Layering heat transfer vinyl can be tricky. It's hard to tell which materials can be layered on and which ones can't. In this video, we explain which materials can be layered on and which ones can only be the top layer.

For quick reference, here's a little cheat sheet:

Can Be Layered*:

Cannot Be Layered (but can be the top layer):

*This chart works with vinyl sold by Expressions Vinyl. Other brands or retailers may have different rules for layering.
**EV Flex is a Vinyl Club exclusive product. To shop EV Flex, join here: Vinyl Club

How Do I Layer Multiple Pieces of Heat Transfer Vinyl?

You can definitely layer multiple pieces of vinyl on top of each other without an issue, so long as you follow the layering guide for what can and cannot be layered. In this video, we are layering multiple layers of EasyWeed Classic and EasyWeed Electric iron-on vinyl.

For this project, we are doing one-second presses for each layer. This ensures that no layer starts shrinking and that nothing starts melting or overheating during the pressing process.

We also numbered our layers with a permanent marker so that we didn't lose track of which layers came first. This is helpful for if you have a lot of layers, or if you're just a bit forgetful!

How Do I Layer Multiple Colors Without Shrinking?

Shrinking is a risk when layering heat transfer vinyl, especially materials like EasyWeed. For this t-shirt, you can see we have seven colors to layer, and we definitely don't want any part of our design to shrink. One of the best ways to keep your design from shrinking is to use Stripflock Pro as your base. This material doesn't shrink and will help with keeping the rest of your layers lined up.

Watch the video to learn more about layering with multiple colors!

Do I Have To Use A Heat Press When Layering Heat Transfer Vinyl?

There are benefits to using a heat press, such as even distribution of heat and pressure. However, that doesn't mean a heat press is the only option for adhering heat transfer vinyl. A standard home iron will do the job as well. (It's called iron-on vinyl for a reason, right?)

In this video, we show you how to layer HTV with a home iron, as well as more tips and tricks for the perfect project every time! Click the picture to watch the video.

How Do I Layer A Design With Different Materials and Thicknesses?

Using different materials and textures can be so fun! However, it's hard to know which order to press things in, which vinyl types can be layered, and how to get the right pressure for each material without ruining others.

In this video, we show you, quite literally, how to "puzzle-piece" different materials together on this adorable shirt. This project uses all Siser heat transfer vinyl, and they work really well together. This project uses glitter, holographic, metal, and Stripflock Pro heat transfer vinyl. This project was done using the knockout method, which is best when using vinyl that cannot be layered on.

Click the picture to watch the video.

What Is The Knockout Method?

The knockout or slice method is a technique used to break your design down into different sections. This is helpful when using materials that cannot be layered, or especially when you don't want bulkiness of multiple layers of vinyl.

In this first video, we go over when the knockout method is helpful (or even necessary) and how to apply your vinyl to your project. We used two different colors of glitter HTV, but this method will work for any material.

The knockout method is different for Cricut and Silhouette machines, so check out our tutorial videos for each to learn how to do it on your preferred cutting machine.

Do I Have To Use The Knockout Method?

Using the knockout method isn't necessary to have a well-done layered project, but it can definitely help decrease the bulkiness of multiple layers of vinyl.

In this video, we show you two examples of the same design. The first example did not use the knockout method, so every new piece of vinyl is layered on top of the one before it. Some layers also aren't lined up properly, leaving the design looking a little sloppy around the edges.

The second example shows the knockout method being used. Notice the difference in the flexibility of the shirt as well as how clean the shapes and outlines are.

While it's not required to use this method when using materials that can be layered, it certainly does help!


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Glitter Heat Transfer - Color Sample Kit

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Glitter Heat Transfer - Color Sample Kit

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Glitter Heat Transfer - Color Sample Kit

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How Do I Layer With Adhesive Vinyl?

Layering with heat transfer vinyl can be easier because your vinyl doesn't permanently stick to each other like adhesive vinyl does! Some crafters are intimidated by layering adhesive vinyl, but we've got a great video to walk you through it!

This project used four different colors of vinyl that have to be lined up just right. In the video, you can see how we separated our layers and added a tab to help them all align perfectly. Don't forget the transfer tape!

How Do I Best Align My Layers When Layering Adhesive Vinyl?

There are so many methods for layering adhesive vinyl, and everyone has a method that works best for them. We like using the method shown in the video because it helps eliminate the stress of shaky hands or moving vinyl while layering.

This method uses weeding boxes as a way to perfectly size your vinyl and transfer tape to hold it in place. It may take a little experimenting to see if it works for you, but it's definitely worth a shot for these results!

How Does A Weeding Box Help Me Layer?

As you can see, this project has many different colors (13, to be exact). It can be difficult to line everything up just right when it's hard to see through the transfer tape. A weeding box helps to keep every layer of your design the same size so that you can line up the borders to get a perfect alignment every time!

For this project, we used a weeding box the same size for every color, as well as kept a border around the whole design to help line everything up, that we peeled off when we were done.

Click the image to see a video tutorial about how we lined up every piece of this design.

So Many Ways To Layer!

We hope this guide helped answer your questions about layering heat transfer and adhesive vinyl and helped you become more confident in your crafting! If you found this article useful, share it with your friends!

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Jul 26th 2022 Creative Team

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