Articles Printers

What is Heat Transfer Vinyl? Learn Here

Heat transfer vinyl is becoming a popular method for printing your customized designs on fabric.

You can not only decorate your garments, bags, or other material but can be creative and make use of this wonderful technology in different projects as well like decorating promotional products.

In this article, we will discuss What is Heat Transfer Vinyl, how it works, and relevant questions and concerns.

Heat Vinyl Transfer is a process of transferring designs, text, or graphics on different garments or fabric material.

First, the design to be printed on the fabric is transferred to a special apparel vinyl. Later that design is cut and weeded. The finished design is placed on the fabric, and with a heat press machine or iron, the designs are transferred to the fabric.

What is Heat Transfer Vinyl or HTV?

What is Heat Transfer Vinyl

Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) is plastic material that comes in the form of vinyl sheets or rolls.

These sheets are used for transferring designs. Its material is either  polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyurethane (PU) that is attached to clear carrier sheets.

The same plastic is used in car wraps or making signboards. The sheets for transferring designs on the t-shirt is of premium quality, but the basic material is the same.

Vinyl printing designs are available in the form of single-colored sheets. The sheets are non-abrasive material that is soft to touch and is suitable for washingdrying, or wearing.

The design sheets for t-shirts are made with special material that looks great and can be used for selling customized designs on t-shirts. These shirts are made for personal use, for gifting, or even for professionally selling these t-shirts.

Vinyl printing is best for simple designs as each layer of color needs to be cut or weeded before it is transferred on the fabric. However, the multi-colored design can be achieved by layering different colored vinyl.

HTV sheets are available in a different colors and finishes such as gloss, flocked, embossed, glow in the dark, or glitter.

How to Print Heat Vinyl Designs on Fabric

Now that you know what heat transfer vinyl is, you may also want to know how to use it to print on fabric.

We will try to give a basic guide here.

Simple ready to use Heat Transfer vinyl sheets are available in the market that makes your job easy and all you have to do is to press the design on your fabric.

Heat Vinyl process is a step by step process. Let’s look at this process in detail.

Related: What Exactly Is Screen Printing?

1. Creating Design

Making of design is simple, especially if you are creative and know how to use designing software.


You can use special graphic designing software like Photoshop for creating your personalized design or you can simply cut the HTV sheets if you are good with hands.

Once you are done with creating the design, you need to scale the design according to the area you want to cover while printing.

It can be on the bag, shoe, decorative pieces, or t-shirts. Scale the area you want to cover with the design.

Scaling is important, or your design can be too big or too small and may not look good. You can measure the area with the help of a scale.

Once you know how wide or long the design should be, you can adjust the measurement of your design when printing.

After scaling, the design is realigned and flipped because the design will be placed on the backside of vinyl. So, you need to make sure the design is aligned right after heat transfer.

Related: What Is Sublimation Printing?

2. Printing The Design On Vinyl Sheets
printing vinyl

Vinyl sheets of different colors are used for printing the design.

They have a plastic adhesive design that is cut away before heat-pressing the design on your document.

One side of the vinyl sheet is shiny. This side is called the carrier. The plastic carrier holds the design in one-pieces and is aligned correctly.

3. Weeding

Weeding is the process of cutting off the extra paper or adhesive sheet.

Weeding is done on the adhesive side, and different tools are used for weeding process.

For home users and simple designs, you can use scissor. Special sharp tools like Silhouette are used for weeding.

weeding vinyl

For professionals, weeding machines are also available that cut the design on vinyl sheets. These machines are called cutters.

Weeding with hands can be difficult, especially for beginners and you may need to practice before you become perfect in weeding.

4. Iron Heating
heat press

Once heat transfer vinyl sheets are ready with designs and are weeded perfectly, the last step is to transfer the design on fabric.

This process is simple.

  • Place the design on the fabric carefully with the glossy or sheet side up.
  • Lay another piece of cloth on the plastic side.
  • With the hot iron, press the design a little longer on design.
  • Let it cool for a while.
  • Peel off the plastic sheet carefully.

And your vinyl heat transfer print is ready.

What Can You Make With Heat Transfer Vinyl?

You can do a lot of creativity with HTV. Print your t-shirts or kids clothing and create some awesome designs at home. It will look great.

Besides clothing, you can use HTV for printing on mats, bags, pillow, cushion covers, or even on your shoes.

It is fun to add your personal bits to different projects and use them as a gift to your loved ones.

What Fabrics are Good for Heat Vinyl Transfer?

HTV is traditionally used on textile.

It is good for the fabric and materials that can take pressure or heat well. Heat Transfer Vinyl is good for cotton, cotton with different blends like polyester, nylon, or leather material.

Ready-made vinyl sheets come with the list of fabric or materials they can be used on.

Once you know all about  “What is Heat Transfer Vinyl”, vinyl printing can be used for multiple projects.

It opens up new horizons of creativity, and you can make use of this process for personal or professional use or as a hobby.

It can add your personal touch to your belongings and provides a way of transferring your creativity to different products for selling professionally.