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Today I’m SO excited to be announcing a new video series to you all! I’m teaming up with my friend Alexis from Persia Lou to bring you a Silhouette Vs. Cricut challenge series. We’re going to be sharing these videos over on YouTube (and I’ll be posting them here for all you non-video fans) showing how we use a material with our individual machines. I’m team Cricut (of course) and she’s a Silhouette fan. In these videos, we’ll be sharing not only the differences between the machines, the products (vinyl mostly… and tools), and also the design software through screen recordings.
The first challenge is LIVE and guess what we’re taking on? Iron on vinyl on wood! If you’ve been reading Lemon Thistle for a while, you might remember last year when I made this GIANT installation using this technique. That was back before the EasyPress (and before my iPad Pro… which would have saved me hours and hours). BUT I got a ton of questions after I posted that. Like… I get emails about it at least once a week. I get asked why your vinyl isn’t sticking, how hot your iron should be, if this works with glitter vinyl or foil or some other kind of vinyl I’ve never heard of. All. The. Questions. And I love your questions, SO we thought this was the perfect opportunity to test out some of those variables.
In the video, I shared tips and snippits on weeding the heat transfer vinyl as well as using the EasyPress instead of an iron. You can watch for those, but as a summary…
Here’s what I tested out:
- Cricut Iron on Lite (standard heat transfer vinyl) on unfinished wood
- Cricut Foil Iron on on unfinished wood
- Glitter Iron on Vinyl on painted wood (MDF actually)
- AND sanding Iron on Vinyl for a distressed look.
Here’s what you should know about iron on vinyl on wood:
Before I share about each of these little test projects… I thought I’d give some thoughts on the basics. Like WHY you would even want to try this.
- Iron on vinyl and heat transfer vinyl (HTV) are the SAME THING just different names (Cricut calls theirs iron on)
- Iron on vinyl rocks the printable iron on material out of the water. There is NO residue where your design isn’t (you know the stuff I’m talkin’ about).
- Regular ol’ vinyl on wood can have trouble sticking (unless you use outdoor vinyl, which is super glossy) and it LOOKS like a sticker is on there. Iron on vinyl has a more matte finish and allows the texture of the wood to show through (especially with a thinner iron on vinyl, like iron on lite). This looks like a painted wood sign.
- The finish of a heat transfer vinyl wood sign will look way cleaner/sharper than using vinyl to stencil your signs (crisp lines), PLUS it will take you a fraction of the time.
- For all of these projects, I used:
- My Cricut Maker to cut the vinyl
- My Cricut BrightPad (just a lightbox) to help with weeding
- My weeding tool (from this set)
- My Cricut EasyPress to apply the vinyl
- You can use an iron as well- the biggest advantages to the Easy Press are that it’s a larger surface that distributes the heat evenly and that you can set the time and temperature exactly.
So how did each of the vinyls do on wood? Here’s the video and all the description is below!
Regular Iron on Lite Vinyl on Unfinished Wood
I’ve used this material on unfinished wood quite a few times now. For my sign in my bathroom, for a birch plywood Canada Day sign and for some projects that I’ve yet to share here ;) I love how the thinner heat transfer vinyl almost melts into the wood and gives a smooth finish. It isn’t shiny- it’s more matte. I would 100% recommend giving this a try!
First off… excuse the picture. I had a wee bit of a tripod accident and am looking at buying a new camera now. Goodbye autofocus… *sigh*
I didn’t share this in the video, but this stuff also works great on stained/sealed wood. You can see that in this post here.
The recommended application settings for iron on lite on wood is 300 degrees for 40 seconds, but I added an additional 10 seconds. Make sure to let this one cool before peeling back or you’ll risk stretching the lighter material and getting some wonky designs (like that sad U in the word ‘tub’).
Glitter Iron on Vinyl on Painted MDF
Okay, MDF isn’t technically wood… but it’s painted, so it’s pretty much the same thing ;)
I’d been asked about glitter iron on vinyl AND painted wood specifically. And guess what? It worked just fine for me! BUT it did take way more time than it suggested. I probably doubled the 40 seconds it recommended at the 300 degrees. I would actually say this was the easiest iron on material to work with NOT because it went on super quick… but because there was no wrecking it.
Also… I’m just now noticing how sad my fiddle leaf fig is looking. And I haven’t watered it since I took these photos last week. *sigh*
Foil Iron On to Unfinished Wood
I’m all over this one. It really looks great and I can’t wait to create more projects with this technique! I’m thinking of one for Saint Patrick’s Day, maybe.
Since it’s coming up on Valentines Day, I made this one a whole post of it’s own. If you’re lovin’ it too and want to make your own (and grab the free design), you can hop on over and do that RIGHT HERE.
Sanding Iron on Vinyl on wood to Distress
I’ve read that you can sand iron on vinyl to distress it to look more like a painted sign. Virginia over at Fynes Designs shows that she’s done it but didn’t go into too much detail so I had been dying to try it. I don’t know what vinyl she used but I will say that the technique was not impressive with the Cricut iron on lite. I did use a super fine sand paper because I didn’t want to sand down the thin wood too much. But it kind of peeled up the edges instead of distressing.
This first picture on the cake is before sanding. I like how this looks better, honestly. I’m going to be doing a video about this fun cake soon too :)
If I were a fan of distressed finishes (honestly, it’s not my thang), I would probably try this again with a lower grit sandpaper and a different brand of iron on vinyl on wood.
Alright… this was such a freaking long post! I’m going to leave it at that! If there are materials you’d like to see us take on in the challenge be sure to comment and let me know!