I just use a plain old iron.  I set it between cotton and wool.
No steam.
It's a thrift store iron.  It cost me $2.  It's good and heavy - and old.  Probably a 1980's model. 

I generally I use Siser Easyweed.  I've used some Stahls as well. Early on I used a little of the cricut htv, but it is generally more expensive, and I don't like it as well as I like the Siser.

parchment paper, silicone baking sheet, thrift store iron, on an ironing board.

I work right on my ironing board.  I think it works so well for me because it's the perfect height for me. It's an antique, all wooden, ironing board, if that makes any difference.  It  belonged to my husbands grandmother.   My craft space is a corner of my laundry room, so the ironing board  is just convenient for me.

Silicone Baking Sheet

I use silicone baking sheets inside my items when ironing.  It reflects the heat back,and gives me a nice flat surface inside the item..  Ok, I don't really know why this helps.    Its just how I do it, and it works well for me, so I keep using them.  :-)  

A few have  messaged me, they  did not have silicone baking sheets and wondered what I would recommend in their place.  Honestly, I recommend ordering silicone baking sheets..  but after taking to one woman a bit, we came up with the idea to wrap piece of cardboard from a cereal box in aluminum foil.  I heard back from one of the women who tried this and it worked great!  I haven't heard back from the other, so maybe it didn't work at all for her.  I don't know - it's just an idea.  :-)

Cover With Parchment Paper

I place parchment paper over the carrier sheet.  Most of the time. I've done a few items without, and it's sometimes fun to watch the carrier sheet melt up a little...  but I'm usually afraid I will mess up the design if I do not use the parchment paper.  

I have used wax paper when I was out of parchment paper.  Apparently you shouldn't do that, it could transfer the wax from the paper to your item and ruin your t-shirt or pillow or whatever.    I only did it a few times, and it was cheap wax paper, so maybe there wasn't enough wax to cause a problem.  I'm not recommending it, I'm just telling you that I am very casual with the "rules" and so far have not had any problems.  


I press for 15-30 seconds in each area.  Just press.  Not stand on the iron.  Not make my arms tired.  Press the iron down, do not move the iron back and forth as you would if you were ironing.  I usually start with 15 seconds or so, then try to peel back the carrier sheet.  If the vinyl sticks to the carrier sheet, I put the carrier sheet back down and press it a few seconds more.

The most important step!  Hold your item up to a good light, and look for the fibers to show through the vinyl.  Your vinyl should now have the pattern of the material showing through it.
If you cannot see the pattern, put the parchment paper back on top, and press again.

Another example - this is on a t-shirt

And one more example.  This particular shirt has been washed MANY times.
When I have had htv peel, It was always, always, because I was in a hurry and didn't check to make sure I could see the fibers through the vinyl.  I'm so used to this working so very well, that sometimes I get careless and do not check well enough.  Since I don't sell, it's never an issue for me to go back, those very few times (maybe 3 times in 3 years?), and iron the loose section back down.  In every case, the part that didn't stick was small detail  - in one case VERY small text on a t-shirt, in another a small line in a pumpkin design on a textured pillow.  Simply place the parchment paper over the design and press again.

This is one of my husbands favorite shirts.  It's been washed dozens of times.  The top and bottom are htv, the center circle is print and cut on avery transfer paper.  It was all pressed with an iron, and it has helf up great!  It's just starting to show a little wear (which is more noticible in the photo than in person) on the left side of the circle. Nothing is peeling, but the print and cut paper does tend to wear a bit more in repeated washings.

I do not wash anything special.  Everything gets tossed in the regular wash, and if it happens to be inside out, it's only because that's how it was tossed in the hamper.  I line dry in the summer and use a dryer all winter.  No problems with either.  :-)

  It's not unusual for me to make 5-10 shirts in a week, we have a huge family.  And grandchildren.  And a son who deployed, so that was a LOT of red friday t-shirts...  But I do not sell.  I wish I could, but it is just way too stressful for me.  

  You can see some of my many htv projects here, along with step by step tutorials for just about every other project I have attempted, here - https://fieldsofhether.blogspot.com/2018/10/heathers-cricut-tutorials-step-by-steps.html

I won't tell you you don't need a heat press.  I don't really  know what you need.  All I can tell you is that I most certainly do not need a heat press.  Thankfully - because as you can see here, I really don't have room for one! (You can tour my very small cricut/soap making/sewing space here - http://fieldsofhether.blogspot.com/2018/04/my-cricut-craft-space.html  

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  1. where do you keep all your supplies, Shirts, cups etc...

    1. You can see some of them here, on that shelf at the top of the room. More are in the cabinet over the sewing machine. :-)