In this tutorial, I am going to be using heat transfer paper with the ScanNCut DX to create a cute retro beach tee. Heat transfer paper allows you to print out a design with a regular printer (ink jet in my case), cut it out with your ScanNCut and then use a heat press or household iron to “adhere” the design to a t-shirt.
This is an easy and inexpensive alternative for complicated, multi-color designs that would otherwise require layering of multiple colors of heat transfer vinyl or a sublimation printer and the appropriate light-colored polyester blank.
It is true that heat transfer paper won’t last as long on a garment as regular HTV (roughly 30 washes vs. 50 washes) but I don’t mind this since handmade t-shirts, in my opinion, are supposed to look worn out after a certain amount of time. Heck, I’ve bought t-shirts that look worn out after 10 washes. Lol! This process gives me a great t-shirt in a very short amount of time so totally worth it for me.
Please check out the video tutorial below or scroll down for instructions with photos:
FREE SVG Design Trade
The design I used for this project is available for free through April 30, 2021 IF you participate in my Electronic Cutting Machine Survey. It is 4 questions about your machine or about any machine you are considering buying. It takes less than 5 minutes to complete. As a reward/trade, you can choose one free SVG from a choice of five and one of them is the design shown here. The survey is linked here and in the sidebar. Thanks so much in advance for participating!
SURVEY NO LONGER AVAILABLE
Prep The Design for Printing
No matter what design you use, you won’t be able to use Brother Canvas Workspace to print it because print and cut isn’t supported by the program. This is because you can just scan in whatever image you want to cut with the mat so there’s no need for the program to print images but there are a couple of limitations to this.
First, any image you want to cut out has to have a solid border all the way around it for the machine’s scanner to read it as a solid image to cut around. You can always draw a border around an image with a pencil to erase later but that means you have to be able to eyeball an even border as you draw it. Good luck! The design I used has an offset border around it specifically for this reason.
Second, you will need to have a program that can print your image at the correct size. If the size you need to print is less that 6-7″ W and 9 – 10″ H you can insert the image into a program like Word and print it from there. If you want a larger image size (mine was 9.75″ W x 8.5 h), you will need to have a graphics program like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator to print it because the margin limitations in Word won’t print something that big. Or, you can use an online program like Canva.com to size it and download it as a PDF that you should then be able to print at the correct larger size.
So, to determine the size you need the image to be, measure the place on the blank where you are planning to put the design and then resize the PNG version of the design with the offset (if using the one shown in this project) to that. I used Canva.com, downloaded it as a print-quality PDF and then used my computer’s PDF reader to print it. If you’d like to know the details of that, please leave me a comment and I can do a tutorial.
Printing on Heat Transfer Paper
The most important part of this project is the printout of the design on to the heat transfer paper. For my project, I used NuFun Activities Heat Transfer Paper for Dark Surfaces (see Supply List below). It worked really well!
But before you run out and buy the paper, you need to figure out what you are planning on putting it on – a dark surface or a light surface. The paper for dark surfaces is opaque so you won’t see any of the color of the blank through the design. The paper for light surfaces is slightly translucent so the color of the blank will show through the design (a bit) and could effect the colors and finished look. Obviously, if you are using a white blank, it will be fine. If you don’t know which color you are using, I suggest getting the transfer paper for dark surfaces so it won’t matter what color blanks you use with it.
Things To Check BEFORE Printing Your Design:
- Set your printer quality settings to High; the way it prints is what will show on the t-shirt so you want it to look as good as possible
- Check the transfer paper instructions to see if you need to MIRROR the design BEFORE printing. Mine DID NOT want the design mirrored. If yours does, you may need to mirror it in a graphics program BEFORE printing.
Leave the print material as plain paper unless you have the correct material that the transfer paper instructions provide in your printer’s choices – like Ink Jet Paper (what my paper wanted for my printer but wasn’t a choice for me).
- Test print the design on plain paper before using the fancy heat transfer paper to make sure the print looks good and isn’t accidentally mirrored or something. My printer has the option to use “T-Shirt Transfer Sheet” and that automatically mirrored the image which I did not want.
Once you have your printer setting ready, print out the design on the heat transfer paper.
Load the Mat into the ScanNCut DX
Press the printed heat transfer paper on to a Standard Tack Mat into whichever corner you like. Load the mat into the ScanNCut by hitting the Load Mat button.
Scan the Mat with the ScanNCut DX
On the main Pattern and Scan screen on your ScanNCut DX, select Scan.
On the next screen, choose Direct Cut.
On the next screen choose the image of the machine as the location to save the images.
The next screen gives you the option to change the Recognition Mode (how the scanner will recognize the images) by clicking on the wrench. I set mine to Black and White but each machine varies, so change it to Color if that is what works better for you. This is also the setting you should change if the images do not scan properly the first time through.
Click Start and the machine will scan the mat.
Outline Settings for Heat Transfer Paper with the ScanNCut DX
Once the mat is scanned, the screen will bring up the initial scanned image with arrows showing on either side of the image. Drag in the arrows to select only the portion of the mat that has the image showing on it.
Click on the Preview button. The next screen shows you the scanned image and the cut line the machine has placed around it. If the scan picked up everything, hit OK. If not, hit the back arrow and return to the Recognition Mode screen, change the Recognition Mode type and rescan. Hopefully this will allow the machine to scan the entire image and you will be able to now hit OK at this step.
Theoretically, the ScanNCut should be able to cut exactly on the offset line around the image since it has scanned it in. But, I knowf rom experience with my machine, that is not true. If I leave it as is, the cut will sometimes be on the line and sometimes not on the line causing me to have to trim off the extra parts that don’t look good.
If your machine does the same thing (which I’m guessing it does) and you don’t want to spend a lot of time trimming the image after the cut (I don’t), click on the Outline icon on the next screen.
The next screen will ask what outline distance you want. I normally click on the + sign to add a border around scanned images. But in this case, click on the negative (-) sign. Continue clicking on it and watching the border around the image change on the screen until you are satisfied that the cut line is inside the original offset line while also leaving an even border all around the image. I chose – 0.5 as my setting but your machine may vary. Click OK.
Test Cut the Heat Transfer Paper with the ScanNCut DX
The next screen will show the mat with the outlines on it and a large Please Select button. Click on it and choose Cut from the list. Click OK.
Back on the main cut screen, I didn’t change any of the cut settings. Now select the large Test button and a small red box will appear on the mat screen. If necessary, select it with your stylus and move it on the mat to an area that has paper on it but away from the images, so you are just cutting plain heat transfer paper. You can also move the test cut box by clicking on the arrows icon and then moving it with the individual arrows on the next screen (sometimes easier).
Once the test cut box is positioned correctly, select Start to perform the Test Cut.
Once the test cut is complete, WITHOUT UNLOADING THE MAT, use a tweezers or weeding tool to remove the small test triangle that has been cut into the paper. If it removes easily, you are good to go with the cut. If not, return to the Settings menu and increase the Cut Pressure by 1 and repeat the test cut, making sure to reposition the test cut box in a new place on the mat. Repeat this process, increasing the pressure by 1 each time, until the test cut can be easily removed from the heat transfer paper.
Cut The Heat Transfer Paper with the ScanNCut DX
Once your Test Cut is successful, select the Start button on the DX screen to cut out your image.
My machine cut out my design in about 20 seconds, but yours may vary if your image size is larger or smaller than mine. The mat will push forward when the cut is done.
Remove the Heat Transfer Paper from the ScanNCut DX
The DX screen will say “Finished Cutting”. Select OK to return to the main cut screen.
WITHOUT UNLOADING THE MAT, use a tweezers or weeding tool to check the cut of the image. If it is good, unload the mat. If not, hit Start on the cut screen to cut the paper again. Repeat until the cut is good. Then hit the Unload button to remove the mat from the machine.
After unloading the mat, remove the paper from the mat by flipping the mat over and peeling it away from the paper, keeping the paper as flat as possible.
My mat did all the weeding for me since the excess paper came right off and the weeded design removed with ease.
Prepare to Adhere the Heat Transfer Paper Design with the Cricut EasyPress 2
The NuFun Heat Transfer Paper instructions says the settings for a heat press (in my case the Cricut EasyPress2) when using 50 – 100% cotton is 350 degrees (Fahrenheit) for 25 seconds so that’s what I used with my EasyPress2.
While it heats up prepare your heating area. I put down a towel, then the EasyPress Mat, then the shirt. I used a Canvas Colors 100% Cotton Black Unisex t-shirt (see Supply List below).
Run a clean lint roller over the front of the shirt where the design will go to remove any excess hair, lint or schmutz from the fabric surface. Extra bits on the shirt (even tiny bits) can interfere with the transfer.
Press the front of the t-shirt with the EasyPress2 for about 5 seconds to remove any excess moisture trapped in the fabric as well as any wrinkles.
Transfer The Design to the T Shirt with the Cricut EasyPress2
Remove the backing sheet from the heat transfer design. The design is a thin vinyl and will not be sticky on the back so it is easy to handle.
Place the cut out design, print side up on to the center of the shirt. You can measure or eyeball the placement depending on your preference. I didn’t want to press a seam into the front center of the shirt to find the middle because I wasn’t sure how the Heat Transfer Paper would work with that so I used a t-square for placement.
Put a piece of parchment paper (included in my package of transfer paper) over the design and then place the EasyPress 2 straight down on to the shirt making sure to cover the entire design. Press the green Go button on the EasyPress 2 and apply firm pressure to the machine with your hands and arms while the timer counts down.
Remove the EasyPress 2 from the shirt after the beep sounds (25 seconds) . Place the EasyPress2 back on its cradle and turn it off. Be careful as it is extremely hot!! Leave in place until it cools down completely.
Leave the parchment paper in place (if it stays – mine just flew off the table when I lifted the EasyPress – lol) and let the shirt cool completely. Once cool, remove the parchment paper to reveal the transferred design.
The Results from Using Heat Transfer Paper with the ScanNCut DX?
If you used nice firm pressure between the shirt, design and EasyPress 2, the design should be solidly adhered to the front of the shirt, much like heat transfer vinyl. You should have an amazing new beach lover t-shirt. Enjoy!!
Questions or Comments?
If you have any questions, please leave me a comment below and I will get back to you soon. Want to just tell me how much you loved this tutorial? Please leave me a comment below (lol!).
I would also appreciate any ideas you may have for topics to cover related to the software for Cricut (Design Space), Silhouette (Studio) or Brother (Canvas) and any suggestions you may have on projects to make with the Cricut Maker, Cricut Joy, Silhouette Cameo 4 or the Brother Scan N Cut DX. Please leave any requests you have in the comments. I appreciate you taking the time to visit and read my blog. Thanks!
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