Vinyl is a versatile medium that can be used for so much more than single-colour designs. Elena Caccia of B-Flex shares a simple and speedy layering technique that is all but guaranteed to wow your customers

“With heat transfer vinyl you can do more than numbers and letters,” reports Elena Caccia of B-Flex, the Italian manufacturer of heat transfer vinyl (HTV). What’s more, “special and amazing effects” are, she promises, more easily achieved using HTV than when using screen, DTG or DTF printing.

There are two HTV layering techniques that can be used to personalise garments: knockout and multi-layer. “With the multi-layer technique, you can work faster and easier,” says Elena. She notes that to obtain the best results with this technique, you have to choose the right mix of films and garments.

For this step-by-step guide, B-Flex created a striking bowling team logo on a hoodie. “The goal,” explains Elena, “was to make a 3D logo with some cute details.” Three different films make up the bowling team logo.

“The Gimme5 is a perfect film for multi-layering because it is just 80 microns thick and keeps the garments feeling very soft, and you can use it to overlap other HTVs. The BF Fatty series with its 750 micron-thickness gives a 3D effect, while shine is added by Special Gimme5 in a gold colour with a metallic finish.”

B-Flex HTV is available exclusively from Papergraphics in the UK.

STEP-BY-STEP: LAYERING HTV

(1) When you work with CadCam HTV, your artwork has to be mirrored. To work with multiple colours, a layering file needs to be created that relates to the number of colours and films chosen. Here, as there are three different films, the file has three layers.

(2) When cutting films, the main factor to get right is the plotter cut setting and the blade status. You need to check the spec sheet and change the blade depending on the film’s thickness. It’s important to carry out a cut test for each film before starting. For the BF Fatty, the blade is set at 60° and the force has to be greater than with the other films, but the speed must be slow. The roll must be inserted with the liner facing the floor so the blade cuts the soft part of the film.

(3) After cutting all three films, you need to weed the excess material. You can do this using the B-Flex Weeder.

(4) Before applying the film, B-Flex recommends pressing the area of the garment that is to be personalised for three seconds in order to remove any humidity and ensure a perfect glue grip.

(5) Put the first layer – the grey Gimme5 – on the hoodie and press at 140°C for four seconds at a medium pressure. Remove the liner while hot.

(6) Next, place the black BF Fatty film on the Gimme5. Set the press to 150°C and press for 15 seconds at a low pressure. Remove the liner cold.

(7) Put the metallic-gold Special Gimme5 film in place. Press it at 140°C for four seconds with a medium pressure.

(8) It’s important to press the Special Gimme5 for just four seconds so the BF Fatty maintains its thickness and creates a 3D effect. Remove the liner hot.

(9) The final product: a personalised hoodie with three different flex films applied using a multi-layer technique.