“If you can read this…” Socks

…a heat transfer vinyl project.

Heat transfer vinyl designs to apply to sock bottoms. FREE Silhouette file.

Many months ago, a photo of these socks crossed my desk: “If you can read this” on one sock and then ‘Bring me a beer’ on the other, so when the wearer sits with feet up, others in the room can read the message. Yowza, I thought, what an awesome idea to personalize for the hard-to-buy-for folks on my Christmas list this year!  I tucked the idea away to bring out in the fall, and then BOOM!  …the idea took off in Silhouette land; the socks became *a thing*.

My friends who use their Silhouette machines for business can’t make them fast enough…they are flying out the door. And I can see why. They’re fun, inexpensive, and quick to make—the perfect gift trifecta—and suitable for everyone from close friends & family to neighbors, the landlady, and the mailman.

Included in the free Silhouette file below are the first few I did this year. In addition to the traditional beer and wine messages, I tailored socks to the horse lover, book lover, tea lovers and scotch lovers in my life. Download the file and you’re all set to make your own socks.

Heat transfer vinyl designs to apply to sock bottoms. FREE Silhouette file.Free Download
Silhouette .studio3 SocksFile HERE
Silhouette LEGACY v.2 Socks File HERE
Personal Use Only

Edited to say: the above files now also contains this design:

toolate
But…ya know, half the fun is matching the saying to the person receiving the socks, so don’t be limited by what I’ve done or what comes up on Pinterest. Make up something new and fabulous that’s especially suited to your recipient. What do they love? What are their hobbies? …favorite drink or food? In my next batch, I’ve got ‘Bring me a wee dram’, ‘Rub my feet’, ‘Bring me chocolate (the good stuff)’, ‘Shh… I’m watching the game’, ‘Bring me cake’, and ‘Bring me a thimble’.

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What you need…

  • Heat transfer vinyl (HTV) – Stretch or regular (I used regular Siser Easyweed, which has a good bit of stretch in it)
  • Socks – the higher the natural fiber content, the better
  • Silhouette machine – Mine is a Cameo
  • Iron – or heat press
  • Parchment paper – or Teflon sheet or pillowcase (for pressing)
  • Free Silhouette cut file (above) or create your own file


What to do…

This is a pretty straightforward project (I told you it was quick and easy!). Cut and weed the design from heat transfer vinyl as you would normally, and apply with an iron or heat press. For details on how I work with HTV, check out my article HERE.

Tips & tricks…

Font – Choose an easy-to-read font and size the text large enough that it can be read from across the room. Due to the knitted sock texture, simple fonts will show up better and last longer than fancy or serif fonts. Avoid thin fonts, or thicken them with an offset before using. If you want to use the same font I did, it’s Lumberjack, a free public domain font from Dafont.com.

Size – I aimed for a design area of slightly smaller than 3″ x 5″. At that size, I could use vinyl pieces in nice round measurements, and the words stayed on the bottom of the foot (no wrapping around).

HTV – You want folks to be able to read the message from across the room so choose an HTV color that contrasts well with the color of your socks. Go bold.

Socks – Polyester and other man-made materials have a tendency to melt when the temps get up there, so I chose socks high (60%+) in natural material such as cotton and wool to avoid melting issues. The Kodiak socks I used come in men’s and women’s sizes and worked well. These are the women’s socks I used:Heat transfer vinyl designs to apply to sock bottoms. FREE Silhouette file.

Positioning – It’s super easy to center the design on the sock bottom if you cut a piece of cardboard about 4″ x 12″, slide it inside the sock, and center the sock on the cardboard. You can see exactly where to place the HTV words. The cardboard also stretches the sock slightly to add more “give” to the HTV.

Heat transfer vinyl designs to apply to sock bottoms. FREE Silhouette file.And that’s it. :^)  Have fun!

FREE Silhouette cut files for sock sayings.Heat transfer vinyl designs to apply to sock bottoms. FREE Silhouette file. Heat transfer vinyl designs to apply to sock bottoms. FREE Silhouette file. Heat transfer vinyl designs to apply to sock bottoms. FREE Silhouette file. Heat transfer vinyl designs to apply to sock bottoms. FREE Silhouette file. Heat transfer vinyl designs to apply to sock bottoms. FREE Silhouette file. Heat transfer vinyl designs to apply to sock bottoms. FREE Silhouette file.FREE Silhouette cut files for sock sayings.

ChMeeers!

–Eff

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38 thoughts on ““If you can read this…” Socks

    1. You’re welcome! :^) These socks are the answer to all those “What the heck do I give to so-and-so?” questions on my Christmas list this year. I love finding idea gems like that.

    1. I know…so fun. You can use them as a gift by themselves or as an add-on to another gift, and they’re small enough to use as stocking stuffers. I just keep making them. LOL…

  1. Thank you for this post! So fun! Quick question though….have you worn any around for awhile. Does the HTV stay on the bottom of the sock okay? I will probably make a pair for myself and test them out! Let me know what you have found. Thank you!! XO

    1. I wore them around the house for a while to test them out. They did fine on my hardwood floors and area rugs. If the HTV is applied properly, it melts into the sock fibers and becomes one with the socks (properly applied HTV actually takes on the shape of the material it’s applied to), so with normal wear there should be no issue of the HTV coming off. Let me know how your test goes. :^)

        1. You sure can. :^) In fact, that’s all I use (I don’t have room for a heat press). An iron takes more time, but can give the same results as a heat press. I’ve done a ton of HTV with an iron and never had a lifting problem. You need three things…and it’s like legs on a three-legged stool—you need all three…if one is missing it doesn’t work: 1. A hot enough iron (some home irons don’t get hot enough…so check that the temp of your iron matches the specs of your HTV); 2. Low-temp HTV (such as Siser Easyweed, FDC, or Silhouette brand, etc) that applies around 305-315F. Some HTV brands (Flex, for example) require higher temps outside the range of most (all?) home irons so they’ll never apply properly with an iron; 3: Enough pressure. If you’re using a hot enough iron and low-temp HTV, then pressing down firmly on a hard surface (too much padding on an ironing board may not offer enough resistance) is sufficient. The rule of thumb for a heat press is that you have enough pressure if you put a dollar bill between the plates. close it, and then not be able remove the dollar bill. That’s completely doable with an iron. Okay, so a fourth thing…follow the application directions and press for the full recommended time, at first with the Teflon sheet or parchment paper between iron and carrier sheet, then remove the carrier sheet and repeat.

          For more information on working with HTV, I did a brain dump of everything I know about HTV. You can find it here:

          http://www.whatchaworkinon.com/working-with-heat-transfer-vinyl

  2. These are so cute! A friend asked me to make these for her. Can you tell me what the size of each saying is?It looks about like 3 in x 6 in, but I am guessing. Since I have a Cricut I have to recreate the file. The tip about the cotton socks was very helpful.

    1. You got it right… 3″ x 5-6″ is a size that won’t wrap around the sock when worn. I drew a rectangle 3″ x 5″ and designed the words inside it as close to the edges as I could. Some ended up slightly larger… ‘Scotch’ was a tad wider, ‘Glass of Wine’ was a tad longer because of the extra row.

  3. Great Socks I love them. Was wondering what temputure do you use on the heat press and how long do you press them for? I bought the same brand socks as you. Thanks for any help you can offer.

    1. Thanks! :^) I love these socks. They’re SO soft.

      I use an iron, so I can’t offer much advice on heat press settings other than to say that each brand of HTV has recommended time and temperature settings for each product…they’ll vary even within a single brand—glitter HTV may have different settings/time than regular HTV, for example), so follow the application directions for the HTV you’re using. You can find that info on the brand website.

      For the Siser Easyweed that I used in this project, the specs suggest 305F for 10-15 seconds. And if it’s not adhered properly in that time, I press a little longer. You’ll know the HTV is applied properly when the HTV takes on the shape of the fabric fibers. For a photo example of what this looks like, go to the “How I Work with HTV” tutorial here: http://www.whatchaworkinon.com/working-with-heat-transfer-vinyl and scroll down to the black letters on blue denim pic.

    1. The higher the synthetic content (e.g. acrylic) of the sock, the more likely it is to melt under a hot iron or heat press. I haven’t experimented with socks other than the Kodiak ones I mentioned in the blog post. Even those ones are only around 60% natural fiber and are clearly marked “Do not iron”, so I was a little leary about how they’d do, but after a couple dozen socks, I haven’t had any melting issues. If you want to try a high acrylic sock, I would proceed cautiously and experiment on one to see if it melts. If it does, you may be able to reduce the temperature enough to prevent melting. If you do reduce the temp, you’ll probably have to press for a longer time.

  4. Hi Eff, I LOVE your website! You mentioned your friends in business who are selling these socks. Can you please refer me to them? I would love to get a bunch of these socks for Christmas. I am in Ventura County, Calif and would be shipping them here and possibly to Phoenix, Arizona, in case that matters. I would like to purchase approx. 20 pair of the “Bring me my Starbucks” socks. I saw a post with them on FB that my d.i.l. and granddaughter liked and said how much they wanted these. Searched for commerce sites carrying these socks and only came up with bellelily.com (which appears to be a scam site) and The Mint Orchid (which seems really nice but is quite expensive, is located in Canada, and won’t ship for at least two weeks or more). Thanks SO much for your time! ~Janet

    1. Thanks, Janet! There are independent crafters with small businesses all across the continent that make these socks. The problem is we’re only a week out from Christmas with little time left for Christmas delivery. All of the folks I know who make/sell them have cut off taking new orders…they’re working on the orders they have and then stopping to spend time with their families for Christmas. Many have already stopped and won’t ship again until January. I belong to several Facebook groups and can see if I can find someone in your area for after Christmas, if you’d like. Let me know if you’d like me to do that. Sorry, the news isn’t better.

      1. Eff, I understand perfectly; it was a very long shot that someone might be able to do this at such a late hour. And yes, I would love to get connected to someone who could do this for me in January. Thank you SO much for taking the time to help me with this. I hope you have very Merry Holidays and a shiny bright New Year!

  5. Hello! I am new to your site and I am in love! Thank you for sharing all of this great info. I have just purchased my Silhouette cameo and have tried to make these socks and have made a few pairs (some with glitter HTV and some with regular) and sold them to friends. One friend has complained that he HTV is coming off on the bottom (the top is completely adhered). I have given her a new pair of socks and they are also peeling off!

    I don’t know what I could be doing wrong as I have altered my techniques in hopes of solving this problem!

    Any ideas would be amazing!!

    Thank you in advance! :)

  6. I’m glad you found me! Thanks for your kind words. :^)

    Applying HTV with an iron is entirely doable–I do it all the time—but if the HTV is coming off, then something went awry in the application process. Without knowing your process, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what went wrong, but it boils down to one of four reasons:

    1. Wrong HTV – When applying with an iron, you need to use a low-temp HTV (with an application temp of 315F or lower). If you used Siser Easyweed, FDC or Silhouette brand, they’re all low-temp, so your HTV isn’t the problem . If you used any other brand, check the application temp, and if it’s higher than 315F use a different brand next time.
    2. Iron’s not hot enough – even low-temp HTV is at the upper end of the temp range of most irons, and some irons just don’t get hot enough.
    3. Not enough pressure – You need good solid pressure on a surface that will resist.
    4. Not pressed long enough You must use the manufacturer’s full recommended time, and maybe a bit longer. Use the second hand on a clock; counting out loud is notoriously inaccurate. It’s better to go longer than shorter.

    You’ll know HTV is applied properly when it takes on the shape of the fabric fibers underneath. I’ve got a picture of what this looks like, how you can test your iron temp, and lots of other detail about these four points in How I Work with Heat Transfer Vinyl here:

    http://www.whatchaworkinon.com/working-with-heat-transfer-vinyl

    Hopefully this helps, Jen. Let me know how it goes. :^)

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