Cutting and Applying Foil Adhesive & Finishing Foil: A Step-by-Step Guide

Finishing Foil is a cost-effective way to create a unique metallic look to apparel and accessories.

If you’re looking to easily spruce up your design with a metallic sheen, our Foil Adhesive HTV + Finishing Foil is a great solution. My favorite part about Adhesive HTV and Finishing Foils is that you get the convenience of cutting a 1-color design but get the finished look of a multi-colored design! 

 Finishing Foils

In this post, we'll cover all the steps, tips and tricks for cutting and applying Adhesive HTV and Finishing Foils.

What I used for this project:

Finishing foils are a 2-step process and require the use of Adhesive HTV. The foils themselves don’t have any adhesive backing on them, which is where Adhesive HTV comes in!

Adhesive HTV is basically a transparent glue.

You’ll cut your design out of the Adhesive HTV with a vinyl cutter, apply it, and then apply a sheet of Finishing Foil over top. The foil only sticks to where the adhesive is. 

*Cut the adhesive. Layer the foil. Do not attempt to cut the foil with your vinyl cutter.*

Finishing Foil HTV Features:
  • Great For Ironing onto Cotton, Polyester, or Cotton/Poly Blend Materials
  • Can be used with a Standard Iron, Cricut EasyPress or Heat Press
  • Roll is 12" x 25'
  • Available in 26 colors
  • Easily create distressed and multi-colored looks

Step 1: Cutting Foil Adhesive HTV

Foil Adhesive cuts just like other HTV materials - shiny side down and mirror your image. It can be cut using any type of craft cutter such as a Cricut Cutter or Silhouette Cameo. 

Cutting Reminders:
  • Make sure your design is the size you need to fit onto the item you’re decorating
  • !!!!!Mirror your design!!!!!
  • Test cut - double check your dial setting &/or force, and depth setting

For this project, I have my cutter set to Iron On setting for cutting Adhesive HTV.

Step 2: Weeding Foil Adhesive HTV

After your design is cut, remove it from your cutter. Keeping the shiny-side of the material faced down, remove the excess vinyl from around your design using your weeding tool. 

Since Adhesive HTV is clear, it makes it a little more difficult to see your cut lines. I like to weed on my Cricut cutting mat or a dark colored table. 

You could also place a dark piece of paper or fabric behind the material. This helps to see the cut lines better. 

Weeding Tips:

  • Weed on a darker-colored surface to see cut lines better
  • Make sure to have the design up on screen so you know what you’re weeding
  • For designs with small detail, use a lint roller to collect the pieces you weed away
When you’re done weeding your design, flip it over and inspect it from the carrier side to make sure everything is weeded correctly. 

Step 3: Prepping Foil

Before applying the adhesive, lets get our foil piece(s) ready. 
I like to measure parts of my design so that I know roughly what size to cut the piece of foil.


Now, using scissors, cut a piece of foil large enough to cover your design with a little extra room on all sides. 

After you have your piece(s) cut, it’s time to start heat applying! 


Step 4: Applying Foil Adhesive HTV

If you’re using a heat press, lay and position your t-shirt or item on the lower platen, keeping the location of where you’re printing centered on the platen. You can apply Finishing Foil with a heat press, home iron, or Cricut EasyPress™.

Make sure your heat press is set at the correct temperature, pressure and time.

Heat press settings for Adhesive HTV are: Temperature: 300, Pressure: Light, Time: 5 seconds, Peel: Hot

Before placing your design, close and lock your heat press down onto your shirt for 2-3 seconds. This “pre-press” will help eliminate any wrinkles and moisture that could affect the application. 

Place your design onto the surface of the item you’re decorating, sticky-side down.& carrier side face up. 

Once you’ve positioned the design to where you want it, close and lock the heat press down for 5 seconds.

Detailed application instructions can be found at the bottom of this post or on the product pages 

After the 5 seconds, open the press. Leaving the garment on the heat press, peel the carrier sheet away from the shirt while it’s hot.

You’ll see the shiny, clear adhesive is left behind on the garment. 

Application Tips:

  • If the adhesive is applied for too long or at too high of a temperature, it will seep deeper into the fabric. This can result in splotchy patches due to loss of surface coverage. Be sure to follow application instructions carefully. 

Now it’s time to shine things up by adding the Finishing Foil on top of the adhesive.

Step 5: Applying Finishing Foil

Place your piece of foil on top of the Adhesive HTV with the color side up. If you are doing a 1-color foil design, lay the piece of foil over the entire area of adhesive. 
If using two or more colors, carefully place the pieces where you want them. 

The foil can overlap each other. 

Remember, the foil will stick to where the adhesive is. Always double check that a piece of foil isn’t touching a part of the design where you don’t want that color to be.

Since the adhesive is clear, I like to check a few angles to make sure the entire area of the design is covered with the correct foil piece. 

Cover the entire foil area with a heat press cover sheet. 

Adjust and increase your pressure (about two knob cranks). Close and lock the heat press for 10 seconds. 

After 10 seconds, open the press and gently remove the cover sheet. You should be able to see the shape of the design pressed into the foil. !!DO NOT PEEL THE FOIL YET!! Foil is a cold peel. 

Slowly and gently remove the garment from the heat press and lay it on a flat surface until the foil is completely cool to the touch. Once cooled, you can pull the foil away and reveal your shiny design!

Look how GORGEOUS it looks! 

Cut a 1-color design, get the look of 2+ colors. Awesome, right? 

Obsessed with how this turned out! Actually I'm obsessed with anything made with Finishing Foils but I can't help it. They're SO fun! I hope this step-by-step guide inspires you to try them for yourself. We can't wait to see all the fun stuff you make with them!

Reminder: Take 15% off your first order with code: WELCOME15

You can find the cutting and application guidelines below as well as on the product page.

Foil Adhesive HTV Cut Guide

 Machine Material Pressure Speed Blade Type
Cricut Explore Turn Smart Set Dial to "Iron On"


Cricut Maker Under Popular Materials, Select "Everyday Iron" Standard
Silhouette Cameo Heat Transfer, Smooth 4 8 Standard

Foil Adhesive HTV Application Instructions


  • Temp: 300°F
  • Time: 5 seconds
  • Pressure: Light
  • Peel: Hot
  • Layering: Layer with Finishing Foil


  • Set iron dial between Cotton & Linen
  • Cover design with cover sheet or other multipurpose paper
  • Place on flat, hard surface
  • Press iron with medium pressure (do not slide iron)
  • Press each section of design for 15-20 seconds
  • If areas of design lift after application, replace cover sheet & re-press for 10 seconds
  • Peel carrier cold


Finishing Foil HTV Application Instructions


  • Temp: 300°F
  • Time: 10-12 seconds
  • Pressure: Medium
  • Peel: Cold
  • Layering: Layer on top of Foil Adhesive HTV


  • Set iron dial between Linen
  • Cover design with cover sheet or other multipurpose paper
  • Place on flat, hard surface
  • Press iron with medium pressure (do not slide iron)
  • Press each section of design for 20 seconds
  • If areas of design lift after application, replace cover sheet & re-press for 10 seconds
  • Peel carrier cold

Care Instructions

Wait 24 hours before washing. Machine wash inside-out using mild detergent. Do not use bleach. Dry at normal dryer setting on household machines. Do not dry clean. For best results we recommend to hang dry. 


Any questions? 
We’re here to help! Let us know if you have any questions at all or just want to chat.

Send us a chat on using the blue chat icon located on the bottom right corner of the page


Subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated on new products, special offers, how-to projects - and maybe even a few surprises. Trust me, you won’t want to miss out.