Heat transfer vinyl
This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (October 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Heat transfer vinyl, or HTV for short, is a specialty vinyl polymer that can be used on certain fabrics and materials to create designs and promotional products. It comes in a roll or sheet form with an adhesive backing so it can be cut, weeded, and placed on a substrate for heat application. Heat transfer vinyl is made in single colors and also has special options such as patterned, glitter, flocked, holographic, glow-in-the-dark, reflective and 3D puff.
Heat transfer vinyl brands
There are several large manufacturers of heat transfer vinyl along with a few companies that have branded versions of their own vinyl.
Brand selection is determined by the substrate the HTV is being used on, the method of heat transfer, and characteristics of the viny desired.
Each brand has various versions of vinyl that are made for specific fabrics, substrates, and looks with many of the versions overlapping.
Testing of each is recommended to determine which is the best vinyl for the application being used.
|Triton||Oqaque||5 Yard Rolls||T-shirts & General Use, Easy Weeding|
|25 Yard Rolls||General Use, Soft Touch|
|Glitter||5 Yard Rolls||Dancewear, Glamor|
|25 Yard Rolls||General Use, Soft Touch|
|Neon||5 Yard Rolls||High Visibility, Opaque, Easy Weed|
|25 Yard Rolls||General Use, Soft Touch Safety Products|
|Chemica||Hotmark||(none)||Adheres to stretchable fabrics like performance wear|
|FirstMark||(none)||General applications (low cost)|
|Quickflex||(none)||Adheres to stretchable fabrics like performance wear|
|Revolution||Adheres to stretchable fabrics like performance wear|
|Electric||Vibrant colors with pearlescent metallic sheen|
|Extra||Adheres to nylon|
|Glow||Glows in the dark|
|Stretch||Adheres to stretchable fabrics like performance wear|
|Sub Block||For application on dye sublimation-printed fabrics such as sports jerseys|
|Adhesive||Substrate for adhering foils and other typically non-applicable materials to fabrics|
|BlackBoard||Flexible chalkboard material|
|StripFlock Pro||Raised texture with a similar look and feel to embroidery|
|Brick 600||Thick 600 micron material|
|Specialty Materials||ThermoFlex Plus||Matte||General applications|
|Metal Flake||Contains flakes of glitter|
|Neon||Vibrant neon colors|
|Glossy||Material with a glossy sheen|
|ThermoFlex Turbo||(None)||Adheres to nylon and discourages dye migration|
|BlackBoard||Adheres to many fabrics, can be written on with chalk|
|Dimension 2||Thick material averaging 750 microns|
|Premium DecoFlock||Raised material, feels like flock|
|GlitterFlex Ultra||Made from glitter flakes|
|ThermoFlex Fashion Patterns||Variety of patterns|
|DecoFilm Soft Metallics||Thin metallic colors and patterns|
Types of heat transfer vinyl
Heat transfer vinyl comes in single colors, in the specialty options listed above, in full-color pattern options, and in a printable version that must be used with solvent ink & a solvent printer. It is best used for simple designs with minimal colors since each individual color or pattern used in the design must be cut, weeded, and heat pressed. Certain heat transfer vinyl can be layered to form multi-colored designs. The more layers involved, the harder it is to match up each to achieve the end result. Heat transfer vinyl cannot be used for full-color pictures or anything with gradients. There are other applications for those options.
Heat transfer vinyl can be used to create special effects with its glitter, flocked, holographic, glow-in-the-dark, and 3D puff options. The layering of these types of vinyl is dependent on the type of vinyl used.
Heat transfer vinyl is available anywhere from small sheets, to large "master" rolls, that can be up to 60" x 50 yards. Typical sizes are 15" and 19" wide rolls in 1 yard, 5 yard, 10 yard, 25 yard, and 50-yard lengths.
Heat transfer vinyl is traditionally placed on textile products. Because of the nature of the way the vinyl is applied, it must be used on products that can take the heat and pressure required to make the transfer adhere properly. For fabrics and clothing, typically this is temperatures in the range of 250-300 deg Fahrenheit, or 120-150 degrees Celsius. The product (also known as a substrate) will also need to hold up under the clamping action and pressure of the heat press.
Each heat transfer vinyl manufacturer will list what products can be used for each type of vinyl. Fabrics such as cotton, cotton/polyester blends, polyester, and canvas work well with heat transfer vinyl. There are types of vinyl that can also be used with nylon and leather. However, products such as paper and plastics do not work well because they cannot take the heat required to adhere the vinyl to the substrate. It is very important to make sure the correct vinyl type is used with the correct substrate.
Equipment needed to work with heat transfer vinyl includes design software and a vinyl cutter. Desktop cutters are suitable for low volume and low budget while standalone cutters are more appropriate for higher volumes. Print/cut printers have the ability to do printed vinyl.
Weeding tools are used to remove the heat transfer vinyl that is not going to be pressed onto the product from its adhesive carrier sheet. A heat press or iron is used to transfer the vinyl onto the product. Heat presses have the ability to set a specific temperature and pressure level to suit a specific vinyl and is recommended for professional results.
Heat transfer vinyl should last the lifetime of the product if it is attached to the substrate according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- "Specialty Vinyl Types". B-Flex America. B-Flex. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
- "ColDesi releases Newest White Toner Laser Printer by Oki".