Heat Transfer Vinyl

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If you have never designed and printed a t-shirt or any other apparel before, then heat transfer vinyl is a great first starter project for you. Heat Transfer Vinyl often referred to as HTV, is a particular type of vinyl that can be used on a variety of fabrics and materials to bring your designs to life. Most vinyl comes in a roll, or in sheets, and has an adhesive backing that can withstand cutting, weeding, and being placed on the materials of your choice for application to numerous substrates (using heat!).

You can press HTV onto:

 

  • T shirts

  • Sweatpants

  • Baby onesies

  • Sweatshirts

  • Hats and caps

  • Shoes

  • Wooden farmhouse signs

  • Swimsuits

  • Placemats

  • Teatowels

  • Baby and children’s clothes

  • Canvas tote bags

  • Stretched canvas (a reverse canvas project, for example)

  • Drink coolies

  • And much more!

 

What fabrics will yield the best results?

You can compare the tags of many different t-shirts and find that they truly do vary. The following materials are recommended for the best results when applying heat and using vinyl transfer materials.

 

● 100% Preshrunk Cotton: A pre-shrunk cotton t-shirt or apparel item is the most common type of item used for HTV. If the shirt is not pre-shrunk, you may find that your design is altered (may become skewed) during the washing and drying process. These shirts can be easily found in stores and online.

● 100% Polyester: There are many upsides to using polyester fabrics. They are durable, do not tend to fade, dry quicker when washed, and they’re also compatible with the vinyl transfer heat process. For the best results, consider slightly dampening the t-shirt before applying heat, possibly with a misting spray bottle.

● Cotton/Poly Mix: This mixture brings you the best of both worlds. Common in t-shirts and home decor items, it may shrink slightly – but always evenly – and is easy to use. To avoid issues with shrinking post-heat transfer, go ahead and wash and dry the item first before applying the vinyl.

● Lycra®/Spandex Blends: Many people highly favor this fabric blend. Apparel items made of a lycra and spandex blend include t-shirts, yoga pants, loungewear, skirts, and dresses – all of which drape wonderfully and are the go-to cozy type of fabric.

● Nylon: This synthetic material is commonly used in textiles and is strong, durable and known to have excellent elasticity. Nylon items include socks, windbreaker-style jackets, some undergarments, and even unique objects like parachutes.

● Neoprene: Neoprene has good chemical stability, which allows for flexibility when exposed to varying temperatures. Items made of neoprene include laptop sleeves, mouse pads, and rash guards, etc.

● Canvas: It is very durable in withstanding heat and is the most common go-to choice for bags.

● Leather: Though it seems questionable, items like leather notebooks or laptop cases are popular for applying monograms, quotes, etc. Be sure to use a protective barrier between the iron and the transfer paper, just to be extra careful and avoid any burning of the leather.

You will want to avoid the following material when doing a heat transfer vinyl design:

● Synthetic Materials: There is no guarantee with how some of the materials will work under extreme heat. The HTV process requires the application of high temperature which may cause the material to melt or burn easily.