Paint Protection Film

Home >> News

What Is Heat Transfer Vinyl?

Feb 15, 2023

Heat transfer vinyl is a vinyl made from polyurethane with a heat-activated adhesive on the back. It sticks permanently to most types of fabrics, wood, and other surfaces. The most popular use of heat conductive vinyl (HTV) is to decorate T-shirts and athletic clothing.


HTV is different from regular sticky vinyl, which already has a sticky, tape-like back. The common adhesive vinyl can adhere to many surfaces such as glass, ceramics and plastics, but it does not adhere permanently like HTV. Heat transfer vinyl doesn’t feel sticky on the adhesive side until you heat it up (that’s how you can distinguish it from regular adhesive vinyl!).


Some brands give these two different types of vinyl special names. For example, Cricket refers to adhesive vinyl as Cricket vinyl and HTV as cricket iron on.


You can find HTVS in many different colors, finishes, and textures. In some cases, you can even buy HTVS that you can print!


Typically, vinyl comes in flat blocks or large rolls. Some electric cutters will only fit certain sizes of vinyl, so be sure to buy a machine that works for you.


How Does Heat Transfer Vinyl Work?

Heat transfer vinyl works through a careful application of heat. This will activate the adhesive on the back of the vinyl sheet, allowing it to bond to the fabric, canvas, or wood surface underneath. You can use a professional hot press, home alternatives such as ‘s Easy press, or even a basic ironing machine and ironing board for heat.


Most vinyl artists use electronic cutters such as ,a silhouettes, or Brother scans to cut digital designs and cut out images from vinyl. This allows you to create super professional designs, letters and logos. That said, you can also cut out a design by hand with an Exacto knife, or even with scissors and stencils if you like!


Most of the instructions in this article will show you how to create your HTV design on a shirt using a or similar electric cutter. If you choose to work by hand, you will still need to follow the instructions for heating and gluing the HTV after cutting!

Get Free Samples