A Basic Guide to Layering Siser Heat Transfer Vinyl
How to layer Siser heat transfer film
Experienced garment decorators know that heat transfer vinyl can be applied in layers just like adhesive vinyl. One of the most common questions we get is about layering different products. Can you put Easy Weed Electric on Easy Weed? What about WarmPEEL CP on Holographic? The answer is Yes and no.
While it's generally not a good idea to layer products from different manufacturers, layering one Logical Color or Siser product upon another can be done. This technique can be used to create more appealing apparel or to save time and get a complex order out the door on tight deadlines. We've already uploaded a Logical Color Layering Guide. Now we have one for Siser heat transfer vinyl too. Some combinations are not as washfast as others. Siser's testing not only tells you what cuttable products can be combined but how long they'll stay on the garment. What can Siser fans layer and how long will those garments last?
Flashy Types Don't Play well with others.Most cuttable films in the Siser family get along well. But there are a few prima donnas in the lineup who don't play well with others. You know the type. Flashy, self-centered, "look at me" types that want to hog all the attention. We're speaking of course about metallic and holographic films. Almost every other Siser product can be used as a layer with another, usually without much regard to which one is on top. Siser Easy Weed, for example, can be used as a foundation under just about any other Siser film. Not so with metallics. You can layer Siser Glitter on top of Easy Weed, but you can't put Easy Weed on glitter. The Glitter just has to be out front, hogging all the attention. So it's not really about what you can mix, but what goes on first.
Who's on First?
As is the case with our Logical Color line, some films work better as the bottom layer than they do on top. The general rule that holds true across both product lines is that PU films work better as the foundation. They adhere well to the fabric and still provide a good substrate for other heat transfer films. So you can apply a layer of flock or even a nylon film like EasyWeed Extra to a PU film. There's usually a broader color range in standard cotton PU films than in the Nylon alternative, so it's unlikely you would need to do this. But if you run out of a certain color in your standard film and happened to have it in the Nylon version, you can grab a roll of EasyWeed Extra and finish that shirt. As noted above, you can also apply a layer of Siser or EnduraTex Glitter over a layer of EasyWeed, but not the reverse.
So what happens if you do it backward? The application fails, but not immediately. It comes off in the wash. That brings up the next factor in the heat press layering equation. Even if you blend them properly and put two compatible films together, the combination may not be as washfast as a garment with only one kind of film. You may have to warn the customer that their extra super custom garment may not last as long as your usual fare.
Layered Garment Wash Test Ratings
Siser has conducted extensive wash testing of all the possible combinations of their cuttable heat transfer films and rated them in four categories ranging from zero to over 30 washes. Any layered combination that gets a goose egg in the wash test column is, of course, not recommended. Easy Weed on Glitter is one of these non-starters. Holographic and Strip Flock are two other Siser films that can't be mixed with other products. For all of the details, please click here to view the entire chart in glorious PDF. That's a quick overview of how to mix and match your favorite Siser heat transfer films. Remember to try to keep your layers in the same brand family if possible. And remember that some films work better as the foundation than they do as the main attraction. And by all means, set realistic expectations for your customer, lest they chase you down and try to beat you about the head and shoulders with a half-decorated T-shirt.