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How To Remove Heat Transfer Vinyl From A Shirt

Haven’t there always been times when you felt tired of the same old shirts with boring prints?

If you could, wouldn’t you get rid of the little cartoon on your striped shirt, that’s been keeping you from channeling your inner Coco Chanel?

Or, maybe you found the perfect black top but it has “Daddy’s Little Princess” written across the chest and that’s just not how you roll.

So, what do you do then? Do you throw the shirt out? Or give it to charity?

Let’s face it, the latter is a much more humane thing to do, but what if you could keep it?

Maybe you could even keep that shirt you love with fading, peeling letters!

Better than just throwing out your shirt…with just a little DIY.

Removing Heat Transfer Vinyl From A Shirt

All you need is a few home appliances and the shirt you want to work on. This little article will provide you with instructions, and examples, on what you could use to remove the vinyl designs and prints, from your shirts.

Just keep reading and remember, since these processes require hot objects, they’re not applicable for kids!

Iron it off!

An iron and an ironing board is probably a staple for any home. And even if you don’t own an ironing board, you could just use a table, or any flat, hard surface, to get your work done.

First things first, put your shirt, with the transfer facing up, on the board or table. Next, find a towel, cardboard cutout, or any thick material to put inside your shirt. You don’t want to iron one end of the shirt with high heat and destroy the other at the same time.

Place wax paper over your shirt, so a hot iron can melt away the vinyl easily. Once your shirt is ready to be ironed, plug in your iron and determine which level of heat is preferable to you.

Remember, the iron has to be hot enough to melt the print but not so hot that your shirt will suffer damages. Some clothes have directions on their tags, which you can check to decide on the optimum temperature.

Otherwise, start from a medium level of heat, and slowly move up, until you notice that the vinyl has started to melt. When you see that the vinyl has melted completely, you can slowly peel it off, which is super and kind of fun, even.

Easy Breezy

If an iron is not your thing, you could opt for a hairdryer too. Simply, place your shirt somewhere flat. Make sure your platform is not sensitive to heat. Again, to protect the other side of your shirt, put a cloth or thick paper in the middle.

Crank up your hairdryer to its highest heat and blow the air very close to your vinyl transfer. It may take some time but slowly, the transfer will loosen up.

If you don’t want to use a hairdryer but would like to protect the material of your shirt better, you could always use steam. Just place a small wet cloth on top of your transfer, and press a hot iron over it.

That way, the original material is well protected, and the hot steam can help make the transfer removable.

You will notice when the transfer gets malleable enough for removal yourself. If you see that, get a small knife and start scraping the vinyl off. It’ll come off easily but don’t get too excited and cut your shirt instead!

A Trip To The Store

Vinyl is a material very similar to nail polish. Yes, you guessed where I’m going with this. You can find this product right at home. But let’s assume you don’t paint your nails.

Just make a little trip to the nearest grocery store and you can get yourself a bottle of nail polish remover. Once you have that, you’re sort of set. To prepare your shirt for this method, place it in the dryer and heat it up for a few minutes.

Now, turn your shirt inside out, and place the side with the vinyl transfer on its other side so it faces you. Now, you can see the back of the transfer, where you will apply the remover.

Pour some of the solvent onto the area and wait while the vinyl loosens up. Remember to check first, if the material of your shirt reacts dangerously to the abrasive solvent. You could also refer to the tag on your shirt to see if it warns you about the use of chemical solvents.

You will need to repeat the process of pouring and waiting a few times until the transfer is ready to be removed. Now, you can peel the whole thing off in one quick satisfying flourish (it may take more than one), or you can scrape it off slowly with a small knife.

That’s really your call. Instead of using nail polish remover, you could also use alcohol to take off the vinyl. It should work just as effectively.

Remove heat transfer vinyl from a shirt: Final thoughts

Knowing a number of easy ways to remove heat transfer vinyl must be pretty handy. Especially, if you have a creative eye, and you want to try a new look, or are just experimenting, these would be great methods to follow.

If not that, you can at least refrain from wallowing over perfectly good shirts that must be thrown out because of the ruined vinyl transfers. I mean, who doesn’t want that, right?

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