Cutting and Weeding Tips for Heat Transfer Films

Cutting and Weeding

Not all  polyurethane heat transfer films are the same. That’s because many of these films aren’t 100% polyurethane. Instead, the polyurethane based films are blends of polyurethane and vinyl. These blends are stiffer.

100% polyurethane heat transfer films, on the other hand,  are more stretchy than others. That’s a big advantage after the graphic is applied to a garment.  Sometimes, though, that stretchiness can make plotter cutting the film challenging.  Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind when cutting polyurethane films:

  • Use a sharp blade. Ragged cuts indicate that it is time to change your blade.
  • If the film is not cutting evenly, reduce the downforce and slow the cutting speed.

Weeding Tips

  • It sure helps if you can  see what you are doing. Good lighting is essential when weeding any type of plotter cut films. For detailed work, a magnifying hood is great for weeding an intricate design.
  • Keep your work surface clean. Dispose of weeded material so you don’t end up with extraneous piece inadvertently stuck to the carrier of the applique and then heat pressed onto the garment.
  • Using a good weeding tool will make weeding easier so you can be more productive.  Everyone has a favorite tool. For some, Xacto knifes, air release tools, or tweezers are the tools of choice. Personally, I like the dental pick type of tool.  Your distributor will have an assortment of weeding tools available for purchase.
  • Pick the centers of the letters first, then weed the outside matrix.
  • When weeding plotter cut graphics (reverse cut), start from the left side of the reading and work to the right. For printed and cut graphics that are right reading, work from the opposite direction.About the author . . .

    Jim Hingst, is a recognized authority in the field of vinyl graphics application. In Vinyl Sign Techniques, Hingst provides a comprehensive guide to the vinyl graphics business. Built around his firsthand experiences working for major fleet graphics screen printers and pressure sensitive manufacturers, Hingst offers a perspective on the vinyl business that thoroughly covers sales and marketing, materials, fabrication, and installation and removal of vinyl products of all kinds. Vinyl Sign Techniques has something for everybody in the vinyl graphics business. Hingst’s book, provides ideas and techniques for graphics fabricators and installers along with advice for executives and salespeople that will result in higher sales and profits.As seen on