Heat Transfer Vinyl Apparel
One of my favorite things to do is to make things by hand. From concept to finished product, there is a certain pride you get from doing the job yourself. A recent tool that I purchased to help me with my making is the Cricut maker 3. This little cutter has so many different uses, but its basically a staple in any vinyl cutter shop.
When it comes to making apparel I am skeptical about anything other than traditional screen printing. Screen printing gives the best quality and the longest lasting apparel you can buy, but it's often expensive to make, and messy to produce. Theres tons of chemicals involved and you need a dark room to develop screens, so this method is not really a DIY project for everyone. The next is heat transfers. Theres two types of heat transfers, the Vinyl kind, and the screen printed kind. As with screen printed apparel, the screen printed transfers tend to be a bit pricy. Theres often minimums and your bill can be anywhere from $50-$250 for a pack of transfers. These are easy to use and store but you run into problems when customers want something custom. This is where heat transfer vinyl shines!
I was never a fan of heat transfer vinyl due to its lifespan. The graphics tend to crack over time and if not pressed right, they can peel. Wanting to be able to offer custom designs and have full control over my product, I decided to dive into the Cricut world and pick up a machine. I was pleasantly surprised by the finished product! The vinyl feels soft to touch and adheres well to the garments. So far I am happy with the results and will be adding some custom HTV products to my store in the future!
Aside from just HTV, this Cricut machine can cut wood, leather, paper, and a ton of other materials. I haven't explored it's many uses just yet, but I would like to try out cutting leather for my leather crafting. The cutter uses a computer program to lay out the cut lines and basically acts as a CNC machine to a certain extent. Perfect cuts every time :) and you can't ask for more than that, or can you? So far I am pleased with this purchase and look forward to working with this machine more and more.