Project: WALAKut Glow in the Dark Puff Vinyl 3 ways

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Puff vinyl is hot stuff this summer, and I am here with a new tutorial showing off puff vinyl with a twist! WALAKut Glow Puff is a puff HTV that glows in the dark and comes in vibrant, neon colors! That’s right: glow in the dark HTV that comes in 7 different colors!

Heat Transfer Warehouse sent me 5 of those colors (blue, green, yellow, white and orange) and I couldn’t wait to make some new designs that show off this fun, dimensional, luminescent iron-on!

In this tutorial, I’m going to decorate two t-shirts and a throw pillow with WALAKut Glow Puff using a Cricut EasyPress. I will be using 3 different designs (use the sliders on each photo to see them in the light and the dark!). The first is a fun summer design that you can download free for personal use:

“Beach Vibes” T-shirt in the light vs. glow in the dark

The second T-shirt project was created using Access elements and is available in Design Space:

Firefly design T-shirt daylight vs glow in the dark

Last, I created a neon sign design for a pillow cover, using all 5 colors of WALAKut Glow Puff on a StripFlock Pro base:

Neon sign pillow cover – 5 neon colors in daylight vs darkness

Video: How to use WALAKut Glow Puff vinyl

Puff HTV is one of the most variable iron-on materials that I’ve worked with, and it can give even seasoned professionals a hard time. I’ve tested puff vinyl in every possible way I can think of, and my results still vary.

The following factors can all play a role in how your puff vinyl turns out, so please be prepared to set aside some time at the start of your project to test press and make tweaks to get results you’re happy with:

  • base material you press on (all brands of puff iron on will show the texture of the fabric underneath)
  • temperature
  • pressure – both how firm and how even the pressure is

In my experience, Glow in the Dark Puff cuts and presses the same way as regular puff HTV, so if you’ve got some experience with puff, you don’t have to worry about learning any new techniques to use this material.

Quick navigation:

Considerations before you begin

WALAKut Glow Puff

The puff HTV I am using for this project is special in 2 ways:

  • it is puff that glows in the dark
  • it is glow-in-the-dark that comes in – and glows – different colors

This is not the puffiest puff I have ever used, but the colors are amazing, and the multi-color glow in the dark is outstanding. This is what the HTV looks like in the light and the dark (the rolls are in the same order in both photos):

rolls of walakut glow in the dark puff htv shown in the light
rolls of walakut glow in the dark htv shown in the dark

The white WALAKut Glow Puff I used glows blue in the dark – very cool, right? Heat Transfer Warehouse also sells a white that glows the traditional green color.

You will notice in this tutorial that my puffiest results were achieved with the Beach Vibes shirt, and the least puffy elements are in the Open Late neon sign, even though I used a flock base. Puff vinyl is generally puffier when you use thicker/more solid images or fonts, but I chose the thinner neon sign elements because I couldn’t resist a design showcasing the absolutely amazing colors of this particular HTV.

If you want to use WALAKut Glow Puff on children’s clothes, it is CPSIA certified.

Choosing a blank for puff vinyl

For this tutorial, I chose 2 cotton t-shirts and a cotton pillow cover to use as blanks. But puff vinyl bonds well to poly/cotton blends and polyester as well. I would stay away from using puff vinyl with very light, stretchy fabrics and definitely don’t try to use it with nylon. It won’t stick.

It’s also important to note that puff vinyl (of any brand) will show the texture of the base fabric, so a heavily textured base like a cotton-canvas tote bag will show through puff vinyl pressed on top of it. If you want a smoother puff finish, choose a smoother fabric.

You can also press a StripFlock Pro base layer for your puff to get even smoother results. That is what I’m going to do when I press on the pillow cover.

Another aspect of puff vinyl that is important to be aware of: part of the puff effect comes from having a contracting effect on the base material. That is to say, the base material subtly pulls in as the vinyl inflates. I learned this when I tried to apply puff vinyl to a hard canvas panel. If you try to press puff on a hard base material, you won’t get any inflation and you’ll be left with a flat piece of iron on.

WALAKut glow puff pressed on hard surface (canvas art board) fails to inflate. Comparison of two samples, one pressed directly on art board, one pressed on flock htv layer

Materials I used for this project:

Materials needed:

How to make Glow Puff vinyl shirts

Prepare your Design

I am using 3 different designs for this tutorial.

Beach Vibes SVG used for neon glow in the dark puff htv shirt

The Beach Vibes design is an original SVG I made that you can download for personal use from our Resource Library.

You can use this design on any cutting software platform (like Silhouette Studio, Leonardo Design Studio or Sure Cuts a Lot). Simply download the zip file, and choose the file format that fits your needs (SVG, DXF, PNG or JPG).

preview of the Freedom is the Brightest Light design file

I made the firefly design in Design Space using Cricut Access images and fonts. You can find the project here.

The outline of the jar and banner was cut from Siser Glitter HTV.

preview of the Open Late neon sign digital cut file

The Open Late neon sign was modified from a vector image I found on Vecteezy that was designed by Nur Wakhid Miftakhul. You can find the image I used here.

I added a 0.025″ offset in Design Space to create a StripFlock Pro layer for under the WALAKut Glow Puff.

You can check my sizing and placement guide if you need help sizing your designs. The XL shirts I used measured about 21″ between the armpit seams, so the designs could be max 10.5″ across, but I also took roll width into account.

WALAKut Puff Glow comes in rolls that are approximately 9.75″ wide. I made a conscious effort to make sure all elements of my design fit within this measurement so I minimized waste by using a strip off the top of the roll.

Prepare your mat

What side of puff vinyl goes down on the mat?

A clear/opaque plastic carrier sheet covers the upper surface of your HTV, and you place the carrier sheet down on the mat to cut from the back/adhesive side.

WALAKut Glow in the Dark Puff has a clear, glossy carrier sheet and white adhesive side. When preparing to cut, you can follow the common rule in crafting: put the shiny side down. (This is not applicable with every puff vinyl brand and variety. Make sure you double check the carrier side before you start!)

WALAKut Glow Puff HTV taped to standard Cricut mat

Most puff vinyl I have used has a tendency to curl up off the mat, so I usually end up taping the edges of the HTV to the mat. WALAKut Glow Puff was actually not that bad, and when I used a fresh mat it stayed down but an older mat required me to tape the edge.

I use the tape that comes with the Cricut foil transfer kit because it’s designed for use on a mat, it’s reusable and it’s skinny. But you can use painter’s tape or washi tape if it suits you better.

Do a test cut before you start cutting your full design

If you’ve ever read my blog before, I’m probably starting to sound like a broken record on this subject, but I strongly suggest that you always do a test cut with any material that you are using for the first time.

Cutting puff HTV is usually straightforward; I have gotten great results using the manufacturer’s recommended setting, but every machine is unique and blade sharpness can vary. We’ve all had the experience of cutting with the wrong setting then having to waste precious material to cut a second time. Save your sanity by setting up a simple test cut before you start your project.

test cut of siser easypuff yellow
add a square and triangle from the Design Space shapes menu. Attach them and resize to 0.5 inches. Cut it out of the corner of your vinyl using the recommended settings. If it weeds cleanly, you are good to start cutting!

Before you cut, make sure you mirror all of your mats when you go to the Mat Preview!

Suggested cut settings

WALAKut Glow Puff:

  • Cricut Explore Air 2: Iron-On
  • Cricut Maker: Heat Transfer (non-Cricut)
  • Silhouette Cameo: AutoBlade setting 3; Heat Transfer, Smooth; force 8; speed 10

Siser Glitter:

  • Cricut Explore Air 2: Light Cardstock (suggested setting of Iron On+ never works)
  • Cricut Maker: Glitter Iron On
  • Silhouette Cameo: AutoBlade setting 4; Heat Transfer, Glitter; force 11; speed 8

Siser StripFlock Pro:

  • Cricut Explore Air 2: Iron-On
  • Cricut Maker: Heat Transfer (non-Cricut)
  • Silhouette Cameo: AutoBlade setting 3-4 (try 3 to start); Heat Transfer, Flocked; force 6; speed 5

Trim the carrier sheets very close to the vinyl to avoid overlap

After you’ve cut and weeded your vinyl, you should trim the carrier sheets close to the vinyl. Why?

Because most puff vinyl is a single press material (ie. you only press it once because re-pressing can flatten it out) you have to arrange your vinyl so you can press every color at once, and none of the layers can overlap.

In this “Beach Vibes” design, I trimmed the carriers very close and then taped all of the pieces together so it will be a single unit when I position it on the shirt.

Test press the puff vinyl!

I know I’ve already been harping on the testing, but trust me, when you are using puff vinyl, you really want to test your temperature, pressure, and time so there are no surprises when you are working on your project. When I press puff iron-on, especially with a Cricut EasyPress, I find I get the best results when I use a lot of pressure.

Because “lots” is a subjective amount of pressure, it’s up to you to test his out with your own press. Cut a few sample pieces of HTV (I choose a happy face because it lets me see how much the puff will fill in internal cuts), and start with the pressure you would normally use for iron-on. If it’s wrinkled or brainy, try pressing harder.

I press on a hard surface (no pressing pad) and do NOT use a teflon or parchment cover sheet with any puff HTV.

When it comes to WALAKut Puff vinyl, I have gotten good results when I use the recommended temperature and time (280ºF for 8–10 seconds). This is something you should confirm with your equipment before you start. Test one variable then make one adjustment at a time!

Press your vinyl

There are 2 key things I do when I press puff HTV:

  1. press directly on a hard surface with no pressing pad
  2. press without a cover sheet: NO parchment paper or teflon

I pressed my shirts on a wooden table top covered with an oven protector sheet. It’s important to make sure your press isn’t going to overlap any seams on your shirt. This can make the pressure uneven and cause your puff to bubble or wrinkle.

If your heat press is wider than your shirt and you are going to overlap seams, use a thick wooden cutting board.

Pressing Step 1. Prepare your base material:

  • use a lint roller to clean off your base
  • pre-press to remove moisture and wrinkles

Make sure you don’t skip this step. Even a little bit of moisture in the fabric can have a big effect on how puff HTV turns out, especially if you live in an area with high humidity.

Pressing Step 2. Press your layers

Shirt 1: Beach Vibes design

  • WALAKut Glow Puff HTV pressed in a single press of 280ºF for 10 seconds
  • press on a hard, heat-resistant surface, no cover sheet
  • peel carrier hot

Shirt 2: Freedom fireflies design

First press:

  • white Siser Glitter HTV layer pressed at 350ºF for 15 seconds
  • press on a pressing pad, using a teflon or parchment cover sheet
  • Peel carrier warm (wait 15s)

Second press:

  • yellow and green WALAKut Glow Puff, 280ºF for 10 seconds
  • press on a hard heat-resistant surface, no cover sheet
  • Peel carrier hot

Pillow cover: neon sign design

First layer:

  • black Siser StripFlock Pro pressed at 340ºF for 10 seconds
  • press using a pressing pad and teflon or parchment cover sheet
  • peel carrier hot

Second layer:

  • WALAKut Glow Puff pressed at 280ºF for 10 seconds
  • press on a hard heat-resistant surface, no cover sheet
  • peel carrier hot

Finished projects

I am absolutely thrilled with the colors and brightness of these designs, both in the daylight and the dark. I think the puffiness of this vinyl is a bit understated, but all the same, the luminosity more than makes up for any lack of dimensionality. Here are some closeups and comparison photos!

How bright does WALAKut Glow Puff glow? Very bright! The pictures taken in the dark have not been photoshopped – these were taken in a dark room after shining a black light (UV-A flashlight) on the designs.

Shirt #1 – Beach Vibes, 5 colors on purple cotton t-shirt. This was the puffiest design because it had the thickest design elements.

Shirt #2 – Freedom is the Brightest Light, green and yellow puff with white Siser glitter HTV on navy women’s XL cotton t-shirt. All the puff turned out very smooth.

Project #3 – Open Late neon sign pillow, 5 colors of glow in the dark puff on black StripFlock Pro offset. Applied to black cotton canvas pillow cover. Didn’t puff much due to thin design elements, but HTV is smooth and turned out exactly as I had hoped, colors look amazing.

I am happy to provide the Beach Vibes design free for personal use. Click the link below to go to the Resource Library and scroll to the SVG section near the bottom. The download is a zip file containing SVG, PNG, DXF and JPG versions of this design.

While you’re there, you can also check out our time/temp charts for different brands of HTV and our design size and placement guide!

If you share this design, please give credit and link back to this page.

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