Still trying to figure out how to use holographic vinyl? Perhaps, you have gone through a lot of trials and errors with your art projects and crafts to no avail. A bummer, isn’t it?
Thus, the ultimate question goes down to this: how can you use this shimmering aesthetic material in your craft? How to use holographic vinyl properly?
Here is a quick overview: the first step is to create an image using a design app. Next is to use a cutting machine to make a precise cutout. Then, weed the vinyl, peel it off, and transfer it to the material. If necessary, use an iron or heat press.
Looks easy! Furthermore, this article unravels more practical tips and detailed steps on how you can use holographic vinyl. Keep reading and make your artistic crafts stand out!
What is Holographic Vinyl?
A holographic vinyl is an iridescent film that gives off a metallic sheen. It can be used to create unique reflective decals and personalized embellishments on various materials and surfaces such as tumblers, shirts, mugs, containers, notebooks, and many more. It has a stunning spectrum of colors that gradually change as you view it from different angles, giving your custom designs delightful aesthetic features.
How to Use Holographic Vinyl
If you are new to holographic vinyl, keep in mind that it is crucial to have the right art tools to achieve the best results. Fortunately, it is not as difficult as you might think it is. If you have a vinyl cutting machine, you are all set for the next step.
How to use holographic vinyl, then?
The procedure is pretty much the same when working with various kinds of materials or surfaces. However, a few tweaks in the process are necessary like using an iron or heat press, particularly when customizing fabrics. This step helps the vinyl designs or decals to completely adhere to the fabric like shirts, canvas, towels, or other clothing materials.
Use the Cricut Design Space or Any Design Apps
The first step is to conceptualize your own design using your computer or compatible device. This can be done using the Cricut Design Space or any design app for vinyl images. The best thing about these apps is that they offer a vast selection of design templates that you can use. Just search for the category or design (ex. food or mermaid) and choose the image you want.
Once you have settled on the design of your choice, there are settings you can adjust according to your preferences. You can resize the image or change the color. If you want to add texts, you can customize the fonts and colors as well.
IMPORTANT TIP: There are different design apps to use with a cutting machine. If you are using a particular brand (ex. Cricut or Silhouette Cameo), you have to make sure that the app is compatible and seamlessly integrates with your cutting machine.
Use a Cutting Machine for Precise Cutting
When working with holographic vinyl, a cutting machine is a must. Many artists use the Cricut cutting machine to deliver optimum precision when cutting holographic vinyl. But this process also works on other cutting machines as long as they are compatible with holographic vinyl.
Before you proceed with the printing and cutting, it is imperative to double-check your settings and design preferences. Afterward, place the vinyl on the mat with the backside facing you. Place the mate into the cutting machine. But before you hit the button, make sure that it is held taut against the rollers so it will not jam.
When printing is done, do not pull out the mat by force. Press “unload” to get it.
IMPORTANT TIP: Remember to adjust the settings to “mirror the image” before printing the vinyl out. This is because you will be printing on the backside of the vinyl and not the color side. Thus, when you apply it to the material, the image will come off in the correct perspectives and dimensions.
Weeding the Vinyl
As soon as you take the vinyl off the mat, you can start weeding. Weeding is the process to get rid of any excess parts of the vinyl. In this way, you can trim the image with accurate dimensions and clean edges.
For quick and easy weeding, you have to trim the image out of the holographic vinyl first. Use a box cutter or an X-ACTO knife to do this.
With the use of a weeder, start from the corner to weed the image. Afterward, slowly peel the vinyl off. At this point, you will see the cutout of your design. Check the areas for any excess vinyl and use the weeder again to remove them.
IMPORTANT TIP: If you do not want to get any wrinkles on your holographic vinyl, all you have to do is flip the mat, go to the edge of the vinyl, and slowly peel it off. It is best to start from the corner of the vinyl for smooth and easy peeling.
Transferring the Vinyl Design to the Material
When the vinyl design is weeded out, you can simply transfer it to your preferred material or surface. It can be on a tumbler, a mug, a glass jar, a notebook, a laptop, and many other surfaces.
It is similar to applying a sticker. But to make sure the vinyl adheres properly on the surface, remember to use a scraper and clear any air bubbles.
Start scraping from the middle and fan it out on the sides until there are no air bubbles. The vinyl should look flat and even at this point. As soon as you see that the vinyl is perfectly placed, gently peel it off.
IMPORTANT TIP: Before placing the vinyl to the surface, ensure that it is perfectly clean – no dust or small particles. It should also be completely dry. Otherwise, the vinyl will not adhere properly. On glasses or mugs, you can use rubbing alcohol to clean the surfaces and let them dry. For other surface materials like laptops or notebooks, you can simply wipe them clean with a microfiber cloth or any soft cloth.
Using an Iron Press or Heat Press
This step is only applicable when customizing fabrics using holographic vinyl decals. Since holographic vinyl does not easily stick on fabric fibers unlike on non-porous surfaces, using an iron press or heat press is crucial.
As soon as you have weeded out the vinyl design, place it onto the fabric. Make sure to place a solid surface beneath it to flatten the design seamlessly. You can use a board and place it under the fabric.
Use a cover sheet or Teflon sheet if necessary before you press the design using an iron. This protects both the holographic vinyl and the iron. Aside from that, it transfers the design to the fabric efficiently. Fortunately, most printed holographic vinyl already comes with a cover sheet that covers the vinyl completely.
After that, use an iron press to attach the design. Your iron temperature should be 320 degrees. Then, apply firm pressure onto the vinyl for 15 to 20 seconds.
IMPORTANT TIP: Do not peel it off immediately! Let it cool for a minute before you do so. This reinforces the adhesion between the vinyl and the fabric. Once it cools down after a minute, you can simply peel the sheet off. In case the vinyl comes off a bit, just put the cover sheet back and iron it again.
In a nutshell, following the steps on how to use holographic vinyl is easy as a breeze. Just make sure you do everything correctly and use the tools recommended. In that way, you can expect the best outcome from your art projects.
If, at first, you did not get everything right, just keep on trying until you get a hang of it. And once you have mastered the aforementioned steps, you can utilize holographic vinyl for a variety of creative and gift-giving objectives. You can also add a splash of color to some commonplace items and turn them into more exciting ideas!