How to Make Varsity Letters with Flocked HTV

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Do you love the look of chenille varsity letters, but don’t have an embroidery machine? There is an easier way using iron-on! In this tutorial, I will show you how to make your own varsity-style letters by layering flocked (Siser Stripflock Pro) and glitter HTV. I will be using a Cricut machine and Design Space for my demonstration, but you can use any cutting machine and design software that allows you to make offsets of your design.

throw pillow decorated with embroidery-look varsity letters made from Siser StripFlock Pro and Glitter HTV

Video: How to make Varsity Letters with Siser StripFlock Pro

Using HTV is so much easier than embroidering, and you can choose any font or image you want when you make your own embroidery-look design. One iron-on truly rises above the rest when it comes to creating dimensional, velvety letters and designs that mimic embroidery: Siser Stripflock Pro. This brand of flocked iron-on has a velvety soft texture and can be layered with itself and other HTV.

Flocked iron on is so much more versatile than most people think!

I am going to demonstrate 2 different ways you can layer StripFlock Pro to create an embroidered look for letters and images:

  • flocked varsity letters layered with a glitter border
  • a glitter design (heart) with a flocked border

I will also show you how you can add an extra layer of StripFlock to make your design stand out even more.

Quick navigation:

Considerations before you begin

Design Software

You will need access to software that allows you to make offsets of your design. If you are using a Cricut, you will need the Windows or Mac version of Design Space for desktops/laptops – the Offset feature is not available for the Android or iOS versions of Design Space.

Silhouette Studio‘s offset feature is found in the top menu bar (click the star shape to add an offset and open the offset menu). Siser’s Leonardo Design Studio calls the offset feature “Build Contours” and you can find it in the bottom toolbar – click the star shape. Sure Cuts a Lot also has an offset feature, as does every other plotter software I’ve seen.

Choosing a blank/base material

StripFlock Pro bonds well to cotton, polyester, and blends, but not nylon or lycra/spandex. I recommend choosing something heavyweight because your design will be thicker and less flexible.

I am using a heavyweight 100% cotton pillow cover for my design.

Materials and tools:

  • Cutting machineI’m using a Cricut, but you can use a Silhouette or any other machine
  • Font – you can use Cricut’s Varsity font or download one like Varsity-2 from DaFont
  • Cutting mat – (unless your machine cuts without a mat). I’m using a green Standard Grip mat.
  • Brayer or squeegee
  • Painter’s tape, washi tape, or vinyl tape to tape down edge of StripFlock Pro on the mat
  • Siser StripFlock Pro – I’m using white and black
  • Siser Glitter – I’m using Silver and Hot Pink
  • Weeding tool – I mainly use Tweezerman pointed tweezers, you might prefer a dental pick-style weeding tool
  • Base material/blank – I am using a 100% cotton canvas pillow cover, but you can use a tote, jacket, or any other item you’d like to decorate. I recommend a sturdy, non-stretchy base material, no nylon or lycra/spandex
  • lint roller to clean off your blank – I use the cheap dollar store ones
  • Heat resistant tape – to tape down the edges of StripFlock Pro designs (optional)
  • Heat press – I will be using an EasyPress, but any heat press will do – even a home iron will work.
  • Pressing mat or towel – I’m using a Cricut 16 x 20″ pressing mat.
  • Cover sheet – I’m using a teflon sheet, but you can use parchment paper if you prefer

How to make flock HTV varsity letters

We will begin by making our design:

  • a varsity letter design with StripFlock letters + EasyWeed base + Glitter border (optional: extra layer of StripFlock to make the letters stand out even more)
  • a heart image made of Glitter on a StripFlock base (optional: extra StripFlock offset to add to the embroidered look)

Kerri and I lived in the Bronx for 6 years and it will always have a piece of our hearts, so I created an “I ♥︎ BX” design in honor of my favorite borough.

Create your design (Cricut Design Space instructions)

If you aren’t using a Cricut font, make sure your desired font is installed before you open Design Space. (Not sure how to do this? Check out our quick tutorial: How to add a font to Cricut Design Space). If you want to use a varsity font, you can either use Cricut’s Varsity font or download a Varsity style font from Dafont. You can use any font you want! I also used American Typewriter to re-create Milton Glaser’s classic “I love NY” design and it has the same amazing embroidered look.

Design Step 1: Add your text to a blank Design Space canvas

Open Design Space and start a new project, click the Text icon in the left hand side bar to open a text box and type in your text. In my case, I typed “i” “b” and “x” in separate text boxes and chose a heart from images (#M454EB4D5) to go in between them. (I contoured out the internal parts of the heart so I would have a solid shape). If you are using that Varsity font I linked to, use lowercase letters for your text (uppercase letters in this font have an outline added to them).

screencap showing text and heart image added to canvas in design space

I chose to create each letter as its own text block because I want each letter to get its own outline, but if your idea is to create a word or a name and you want multiple letters to share a continuous outline, that’s perfectly fine. Once you know the basic steps of setting up this project, you can use the technique to create any variation you like.

After you have placed the text on the canvas, arrange the layout like you want. I prefer to set the layout, then create a duplicate of my letters to set to the side. I like to have a copy that I can edit in case I make a mistake down the road.

Design Step 2: Unite or Weld your text

screencap showing text design being united in design space

My next step is to use the Weld or Unite function to transform all of the letters into a single block. This will be the layer I cut out of black StripFlock Pro. You can’t edit the text after this, but this will allow you to create uniform outlines in fewer steps.

Design Step 3: Create a base layer for your text using the Offset tool

Next, use the Offset tool to create your base layer. This is the bottom layer I am going to cut out of Siser EasyWeed. I don’t like to make this layer too much larger than my original text, but if you want to have a large gap around your letters, make it as big as you want.

In this project, when my letters are 3″ tall, I made the first offset 0.13″ or about an eighth of an inch.

screencap showing first offset added to text in design space

NOTE: I have found this process is easiest when I actually make a duplicate of this first offset. Either repeat the Offset tool step on the original later, or click duplicate on the offset shape. Set it off to the side for a minute.

Design Step 4: Create a border layer for your text using another offset

Next, I’m going to make the layer that will be the glitter border around the letter. So select the offset shape and use the Offset tool to make another offset around it. The Offset tool will automatically fill in the last value you entered, but I like to make the outer later a little thicker. In this case, I set the offset to 0.15″.

screencap showing second offset added to the text in design space as a first step in creating a glitter border around the letters

Now we use the duplicate of the first offset. Highlight the duplicate and the second, larger offset and use the align tool to center them. The smaller offset should be on top. Now open the Combine tool menu in the lower right hand corner and select subtract. You’ve got a perfect outline for your first two layers!

screencap showing the use of the subtract tool to finish creating the glitter border around the letters

To recap, I now have 3 layers for my project:

screencap showing all layers of the text for the varsity letter design
  • the original letters that I will cut out of black StripFlock pro
  • a base layer slightly larger than the original letters that I will cut out of EasyWeed HTV
  • an outline layer sized to fit exactly over the base layer that I will cut out of Siser Glitter.

Optional: Create a bigger base layer for your text to avoid problems with gaps or shrinking

An alternative you may want to try: if you don’t like working with 2 pieces of HTV that are a “just fit” like the base and border layer, you can try this alternative. I prefer having the border layer completely overlay the EasyWeed base layer, in case there is shrinking when I press the base.

screencap showing use of the contour tool to create a more substantial easyweed base for the varsity letters
  • Make a duplicate of the border layer.
  • Use the contour tool to remove the inner spaces of the letters. If you have used the Unite tool, you will have to Merge the elements on the layer before you can use the Contour tool.
  • Now you have a solid layer that it the exact same size as the outline border so you can press your project without worrying about lining up everything perfectly!
gif showing how glitter border will overlay the easyweed base perfectly for the varsity letters

Design Step 5: Create a StripFlock base for the heart.

We are now finished with the text part of the design! Next, I’m going to demonstrate another simple technique you can use to give your design the look of an embroidered border: layering glitter on a StripFlock offset.

Highlight the heart shape on your canvas. Use the offset tool to create a new layer. My heart is sized at 3″ tall, and I used a 0.175″ offset. You now have all the layers you need for a basic flock outline around your glitter heart in just this one step!

screencap showing the offset for the heart shape in design space

Optional: create inset layers to add more dimension to borders and letters

One thing I love about StripFlock Pro is its layerability. One easy way to create a more impressive varsity letter is to give it a second layer of flock. First I’ll cover the steps for creating an inset layer for the border around the heart, and then I’ll show you how to make an inset layer for the letters.

First, duplicate the heart and the offset layer. Open the Combine menu and choose the Subtract option. You should just have the outline of the heart now.

screencap showing the use of the offset and subtract tools to make an outline for the heart

Then, open the offset tool and set the value to –0.02″ (negative offset). This will create an inset, a smaller shape inside the outline. Delete the original outline. You will layer this new inset over the StripFlock base and around the edge of the glitter heart. The slight inset will give it a beveled or rounded look.

screencap showing an inset being created to create the final border for the heart

Here’s what we’re left with:

  • Original heart that I will cut out of Siser red glitter
  • Offset #1 that will be the white StripFlock base.
  • Inset #2 that will be the StripFlock border around the heart.
screencap showing all the layers for the heart image in design space

To add an inset layer to the “I BX” text layer: create an inset using the same method as above. Highlight the top text layer, open the Offset tool, and enter the negative value (-0.02″) to create the inset. Cut it out of the same StripFlock Pro as the original text layer (black) – this inset layer will be pressed as the top layer of the letters.

Make sure you mirror all of your mats when you go to the Mat Preview!

Cut your design

Cutting Step 1. Prepare your mat

StripFlock Pro in black taped down to mat at top with vinyl tape
black StripFlock Pro taped down with vinyl tape

Place your HTV on the mat, with the shinier side (carrier sheet) down. Carrier sheets cover the upper surface of your HTV, and you cut from the adhesive side (i.e. with the HTV face-down). The carrier sheet for StripFlock Pro is a little less shiny/has a bit of a matte feel compared to other types of HTV, but it should still be obvious which is the carrier sheet side. Glitter and EasyWeed are really obvious – the ‘pretty’ side faces down on the mat.

StripFlock Pro has a carrier sheet that doesn’t like to stick very well to the mat. You will probably have to use low-tack tape like painter’s tape or vinyl tape (I use the stuff that comes with Cricut Foil Transfer Sheets) to tape along the edge of your HTV.

Cutting Step 2. Do a test cut, then cut your design

Always do a test cut before cutting your full design, especially if you are cutting a specialty HTV like glitter or flock for the first time – save yourself time, materials, and a massive headache!

On your canvas:

test cut showing that stripflock pro weeds easily with default cut settings
weeding my test cut out of StripFlock Pro
  • choose a square from the Shapes menu, size it to 0.5″
  • choose a triangle from the Shapes menu and size it to fit inside the square
  • Attach the triangle and square shapes – you will weed around the triangle after your test cut
  • Make the test cut square a different color than everything else so it will be on its own mat

Press the Make It button and choose the mat with the test cut first. Cut using the manufacturer’s suggested setting first, unless you are familiar with how your machine handles these materials.

Suggested cut settings for Siser EasyWeed, StripFlock Pro, and Glitter

Explore Air 2 cut settings

  • EasyWeed: Vinyl+ on the Smart Set Dial
  • StripFlock Pro: Iron On
  • Glitter: Iron On+ – this is never sufficient – use Light Cardstock on the Smart Set Dial to start

Cut settings for Maker:

  • EasyWeed: Heat Transfer (non-Cricut)
  • StripFlock Pro: Heat Transfer (non-Cricut)
  • Glitter: Glitter Iron On – you will probably have to use “more pressure” and/or cut twice

Cut settings for Silhouette Cameo 4: (you may have to increase your force for all materials)

  • EasyWeed: AutoBlade setting 3; Heat Transfer, Smooth; force 6; speed 8
  • StripFlock Pro: AutoBlade setting 3-4 (try 3 to start); Heat Transfer, Flocked; force 6; speed 5
  • Glitter: AutoBlade setting 4; Heat Transfer, Glitter; force 11; speed 8

Siser Juliet cut settings

  • EasyWeed: 5-10 gf, 0.250 offset, speed 10
  • StripFlock Pro: 20-25 gf, 0.250 offset, speed 10
  • Glitter: 30-35 gf, 0.250 offset, speed 10
varsity letters cut out of siser stripflock pro, easyweed, and glitter, weeded and ready to press
cut and weeded StripFlock Pro, Glitter, and EasyWeed

Careful when weeding your design – although StripFlock Pro does have a sticky carrier sheet, re-sticking parts of your design that have been pulled up is not easy due to the fiber residue on the carrier.

Press your design

I’m using an EasyPress, so I’ll be adding 30ºF to my pressing temperatures as per Siser’s directions. The press temperatures and times are as follows:

  • EasyWeed: 335ºF, 10-15s
  • StripFlock Pro: 340ºF, 15s
  • Glitter: 350ºF, 15-20s

I’m layering on heavy 100% cotton so higher temperatures won’t be a problem, and based on previous experience I am just going to press everything at 340ºF. My press times will be a little longer than normal overall. I am using firm pressure on my heavy base material, for all presses.

If you are using a standard heat press:

  • EasyWeed: 305ºF, 10-15s
  • StripFlock Pro: 310ºF, 15s
  • Glitter: 320ºF, 15-20s

Press everything at 310ºF and use my press times. You may also want to press at lower temperatures if you are using a more sensitive base material, like some kinds of polyester. Some fabrics can be discolored/show press marks at high temperatures, so be sure to test press your fabric.

I am going to show you the project with optional additional layers of StripFlock to get thicker letters and a second outer layer around the heart.

pillow cover being cleaned with a lint roller
get all the lint and dust off your blank with a lint roller

Pressing Step 1. Prepare your base material:

  • use a lint roller to clean off all the debris from your base
  • pre-press the heck outta that thing – get rid of all the wrinkles and moisture before you start layering

Pressing Step 2. Press your layers:

*NOTE: StripFlock carrier sheets will not be super sticky after weeding (little fibers stay stuck on the sheet), so if you need to hold your design in place as you layer, use heat resistant tape at the edges of your carrier sheets – do not overlap design

I used 340oF, firm pressure for all of my presses on my heavy cotton base. I used Siser heat resistant tape to keep my designs placed properly. Just 4 presses and I was done!

  1. White EasyWeed base:
    • 2-5 second press (a few seconds should do it)
    • hot peel the carrier sheet
photos showing setup and pressing of the first design layer, the easyweed letter bases
  1. Silver Glitter + StripFlock heart base:
    • 7 second press
    • StripFlock carrier gets a hot peel
    • wait 10-15 seconds before peeling Glitter carrier sheet (warm peel)
setup of the second press - glitter letter outlines and the stripflock base for the heart
  1. Black StripFlock letters (1st layer) + StripFlock heart border
    • 5 second press
    • all carrier sheets peeled hot
setup of the third press - the stripflock varsity letters and stripflock out line for the heart
  1. StripFlock letters (2nd layer) + Hot Pink Glitter heart
    • full 15 second press
    • peel StripFlock carrier sheet hot
    • peel Glitter carrier sheet after 10-15 seconds
setup of the fourth press - 2nd layer of stripflock letters and the glitter heart

And now your project is complete!

Pictures really don’t do this project justice – the glitter and flock are so cool and tactile in person. I hope you love your varsity letter project as much as I do, because it was so easy to make such an impressive result!

finished, pressed "I love bronx" design on pillow cover, showing glitter borders around stripflock letters and flock border around a glitter heart

These letters look incredible close up:

closeup of pressed varsity letters showing detailed HTV layers

And you don’t have to limit yourself to a varsity font, either. Here’s the other side of the pillow I made using American Typewriter font:

other side of pillow cover showing "I love NY" design made with the same technique but different font
other side of pillow cover showing “I ♥︎ NY” design made with the same technique but different font

I hope this tutorial helped open your mind to the possibilities of a few layers of StripFlock and Glitter. You can make all kinds of amazing designs pop with just text and simple images when you use a versatile product like StripFlock Pro. This is a technique you can use to personalize all kinds of gifts, or make items that will be popular with customers – nobody will guess how easy this was!

Please let us know below how your StripFlock letters turned out, or if you have any further questions on how to make this project.

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