Referred to as HTV, heat transfer vinyl comes in a sheet or roll form and has an adhesive back. Typically, HTV has to be cut before applying heat on one side to transfer the vinyl design onto the surface of a t-shirt by using a best 6 in 1 heat press machine.
HTV is very different from silkscreening because silkscreening produces many different colors stacked and mixed into each other. Vinyl, on the other hand, involves single colors per section. Also, each layer has different qualities. This is what sets vinyl apart from a typical screen-printed t-shirt design and material.
Vinyl-transferred t-shirt comes with different types: glitter vinyl, holographic design, glow in the dark, 3D, reflective, and flocked.
Obviously, vinyl provides you with extreme flexibility as far as looks and texture are concerned, compared to traditional t-shirt ink. In fact, there is no comparison at all. If you want to create eye-catching t-shirts and make the wearer the center of attention, you may want to consider producing t-shirts using the HTV method. Silkscreening simply takes too much time, effort, and yes, money. Since vinyl transfer materials are so affordable, producing shirts with vinyl saves you a lot more money if you’re looking for intricate or fancier designs.
Lots of Brands
Interestingly enough, HTV comes in a wide range of brands. In fact, there is no shortage of brands for this essential t-shirt production material. The reason behind the increasing number of brands is they tend to specialize at certain ranges of vinyl versions. The market demands a wide range of options and many vinyl producer brands have stepped up to the challenge. Regardless of the look you are in the market for, there is sure to be a heat transfer vinyl source that will meet your needs.
Vinyl has many different versions and types. You need to take note of this because t-shirts also come with its own types of fabric that are only compatible with certain types of vinyl. Don’t think that vinyl is vinyl; and that it would work on any fabric material. The last thing that you want is to apply it to the wrong type of fabric and watch it fade away in a very short period of time. Too many newbie t-shirt entrepreneurs find this out in the worst way possible. They end up having to waste tons of time and money as they ‘burn’ through shirt after shirt. Many actually end up printing a complete batch (we’re talking hundreds of shirts here!) only to be met with angry complaints from customers who say that the vinyl either cracked, slid, or flaked off. Don’t let these disasters happen to you. Make sure you pick the right vinyl product that matches the fabric of your shirts. The biggest victim of such bad choices is not your wallet but the local t-shirt business brand you are trying to build. Don’t let such missteps haunt your business and prevent you from rining up new sales.
Vinyl’s One-Color Issue
One key disadvantage of HTV is that it only comes in one color. While you can try to stack it, most t-shirt producers only use one HTV and thermal paper per t-shirt. This is going to be an issue, because your t-shirt would only have one color. So, it makes sense to use HTV only for t-shirts that have very minimal designs. In short, the simpler the design, the more likelihood for the t-shirt to fit the HTV.
The good news is that there are certain types of vinyls that allow you to use layers more easily in case you want to apply different colors onto your t-shirts. But you have to be cautious on how to perform layering on your shirts. You have to make sure that thermal paper is lined up properly with the shirt so that the layering can take place smoothly and correctly. The last thing that you want is a bad-layered t-shirt which looks like your cat threw up on.
Kidding aside, the great thing about HTV is that it lasts a lifetime. The vinyl can be very durable as long as apply it correctly and follow the manufacturer’s instructions through the letter. And as long as you use the right type of vinyl, you won’t have to worry about it cracking or fading.
Now that we’re clear on all these points, you already have a better idea on how to weigh HTV’s pros and cons. It’s definitely a great choice for certain types of t-shirts. However, by all means, it’s not a one-size-fits-all or cookie-cutter type of solution to all t-shirt creation issues.