What Is Heat Transfer Vinyl?

Heat transfer vinyl on jumpers

Heat transfer vinyl can be used to customize shirts, sweatshirts, canvas bags, totes, hats and much more. Heat Transfer Vinyl is either a polyurethane ‘PU’ or poly vinyl chloride ‘PVC’ material that comes on a transparent carrier sheet. Designs are cut from the vinyl while leaving the carrier sheet intact for application. Heat transfer vinyl has a heat activated adhesive that is designed to work with any surface that can withstand high temperatures. Heat transfer vinyl comes in a range of different colours and finishes such as glitter and flock. You can cut heat transfer vinyl by either using a desktop cutter or knife.

Heat transfer vinyl can be used to create personalised gifts for friends and family as well as bespoke products for your business. Within this blog post, we have outlined the best vinyl to use for shirts, why you need a heat press for garment vinyl, what heat press you should buy and much more. Discover more about the possibilities of heat transfer vinyl today.


What Vinyl Do You Use For Shirts?

As you are creating products which are designed to be worn and washed, it is vital to choose a vinyl film which is suitable for the fabric. Almost all Basic PU and PVC films are suitable for cotton, polyester cotton, polyester blends, and acrylic fabrics. Some Synthetic fabrics may not be suitable to use because they will melt under high temperatures. The time and temperature requirements of some PU and PVC films may damage particular fabrics and the adhesive may not hold successfully.

Certain types of heat transfer vinyl will work better for different types of fabrics or designs. For example, metallic and holographic vinyl works better for small designs because it is often stiffer. All heat transfer vinyl is washable, but you should always follow guidelines to ensure your design stays intact for longer.


Do You Need a Heat Press For Garment Vinyl?

A heat press is integral if you are planning to create products which you intend to sell. Heat transfer vinyl is made to be applied at certain temperatures and pressure. Depending on what garment vinyl you are using you will either have to peel the backing of the heat transfer vinyl hot or cold. When pressing the vinyl, some people will use an iron. Unfortunately, when you use an iron you cannot guarantee the temperature you are using, and you cannot reproduce the even pressure that a heat press delivers.

An iron is suitable for personal use, but we will strongly recommend you use a heat press if you want a high-quality end product. A heat press is certainly a worthwhile investment, it will help you transfer vinyl quickly and easily and give you a fantastic end product.


What Heat Press Should I Buy?

One of the best heat presses to purchase is the F2C Pro 5 in 1. The F2C Pro is a 15” x 15” high-quality heat press machine with fantastic industrial strength and durability. The machine comes with attachments for mugs, plates, and even hats. It has 350 rotation function which provides even heating. The main reason the F2C Pro is one of the best heat presses  is because it enables you to heat press much more than clothing, making it cost-effective and convenient.

If you are interested in a simpler heat press then a Circuit EasyPress may be more appropriate. A Circuit EasyPress is a compact heat press that transfers print onto the fabric by ironing it on. The Circuit EasyPress is lightweight and portable which makes it perfect for homes, it is also easy and simple to use which makes it great for beginners.


How Do You Heat Press Vinyl?

Below, are some simple instructions on how to heat press vinyl. The process of heat pressing vinyl is usually simple, quick, and straightforward.

Before heat pressing vinyl you will need to find out what pressure you need to apply to the vinyl and how long for. You will also need to know the temperature the vinyl needs to be heated at.

  1. Set the heat press to the correct pressure, time, and temperature.
  2. Place your garment onto the heat press.
  3. Place a Teflon sheet on top of the garment and heat press the sheet for 3 seconds.
  4. Centre the vinyl onto the garment, ensuring your garment is even and flat.
  5. Place the Teflon sheet on top of the vinyl and garment, and heat press for the appropriate time.
  6. Peel the backing sheet of the vinyl immediately if your vinyl is a hot peel, if not wait till the vinyl has cooled to peel the backing sheet.

Following these simple instructions will help you to achieve a perfect end product.


Tips On Heat Pressing Vinyl

When using a heat press, it is vital you ensure that you position the heat press on a sturdy surface. The heat press is extremely heavy, and you will be adding downward pressure, so you need to make sure you are using a surface that can handle the weight. The heat press can get extremely hot so it will be best to not have any materials near the heat press that are highly flammable.

While the heat press is heating up, but before it is at the final temperature, it is useful to pre-press the garment to get rid of any wrinkles. This creates a nice flat space where you will be placing the heat transfer vinyl.

It is extremely useful to place the garment on another surface other than the heat press when centring your heat transfer vinyl. This allows you to easily assembly the vinyl and then transfer the garment onto the heat press. This makes centring the vinyl easy and straightforward in most cases, the heat transfer vinyl will stay in place as you move it from the surface to the heat press.

If you are heat pressing a large number of garments it can be useful to attach the Teflon sheet to the top of the plate of the heat press by using magnets. Attaching the Teflon is extremely useful and saves a lot of time.

After peeling the backing off the vinyl, and while the machine is cooling down, it could be useful to do one quick additional press onto the garment for around 3 seconds. This can sometimes give the heat transfer vinyl a glossy finish.

If you are using a heat press for the first time it can be useful to do a ‘burn off’. A burn-off is when you put the heat up incredibly high and for an extended period of time. Doing this gets rid of the particular smell that the heat press creates.


How Long Does Vinyl Last On Shirts?

Under normal use, vinyl should last on shirts for more than five years. To maximize the lifespan of the vinyl you should follow these simple steps.

  • Do not dry clean the shirt, machine wash the shirt warm with mild detergent.
  • Dry the t-shirt at a normal setting.
  • Do not use bleach on the shirt.
  • Wait for at least 48 hours before the first wash after printing.

If you follow these simple steps then the vinyl on your shirt should last for much longer than 5 years.

At The Vinyl Corporation, we offer flock, chrome, and glitter heat transfer vinyl from renowned brands. Our heat press vinyl is available in a range of different colours and roll sizes and is of a high quality.

If you would like to find out more information about heat transfer vinyl then please get in touch with us today. The Vinyl Corporation has been supplying high-quality sign vinyl from well-known brands such as Oracal, 3M, Image Perfect, Avery, Ritrama and LG Chem for over 30 years. You can get in touch with us by using our contact form, by emailing us at: dmtvc.march@btconnect.com or by calling us on: 0115 930 1133. Will be more than happy to answer any questions or queries you may have.