Want your favorite band on your T-shirt but you aren’t sure what kind of vinyl is best suited for it? Don’t worry! You’re not alone. With so many options to choose from, it can get quite confusing. This article walks you through different types of vinyl, their advantages and disadvantages, and what type of vinyl is best suited for your T-shirt project. 

There’s no hard and fast rule regarding the right type of vinyl for T-shirts. However, a general rule of thumb is that any surface that is soft and can withstand heat, should be printed using Printable heat transfer vinyl. This includes clothing, shoes, bags and more. So, for T-shirts, HTV is the way to go. 

Types of Vinyl

In the crafting world, there are several types of vinyl. And it can get quite confusing, since you’re likely to be spoilt for choice. Which is why, we’ve neatly categorized them into two main categories which are: 

  • Adhesive Vinyl
  • Heat Transfer Vinyl 

Adhesive Vinyl

Adhesive vinyl is a thin and flexible material used for printing. It’s also commonly referred to as sticker or premium vinyl. Premium vinyl shares the working of a sticker and has a sticky backside covered with paper backing which can be peeled off and pasted on the desired surface.  

You’ll find several different types of adhesive vinyl, whether you’re team glitter, metallic or matte, there’s a vinyl design for you. You also have the option of permanent vinyl and removable vinyl. Removable vinyl is often used for ceramics, pots, walls, vases, mirrors and more. 

Advantages of Using Adhesive Vinyl

If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll be pleased to know that adhesive vinyl is lighter on the pocket as compared to Printable heat transfer vinyl. It’s also easier and quicker to apply on surfaces, unlike HTV which has a slightly complicated printing process. And lastly, you can apply adhesive vinyl to almost any surface, including glass. 

When Should You Use Adhesive Vinyl

Although adhesive vinyl is versatile, it does have some limitations. If you’re looking to print a T-shirt, or any other kind of clothing, adhesive vinyl isn’t the best choice. Instead, it’s advised to use adhesive vinyl for smooth and hard surfaces, as well as any other weirdly shaped objects. 

Heat Transfer Vinyl

Up next we’ve got heat transfer vinyl, also referred to as iron-on vinyl. It’s just like adhesive vinyl, save for the sticky backside. Instead of an adhesive backside, heat transfer vinyl, much like its name suggests, is activated by heat. You can use a heat press or a flat iron to allow for equal heat and pressure distribution for the Printable heat transfer vinyl to adhere to the surface. 

If you’re looking to design yourself a shirt with a print that will withstand time and frequent washes, using good quality HTV is recommended. 

Advantages of Using Heat Transfer Vinyl

Heat transfer vinyl is best known for its durability. You can rest assured that your design will stand the test of time, without becoming a peeling pile of mess. It’s also the first choice of many businesses, due to better printing quality. 

When Should You Use Heat Transfer Vinyl

Heat transfer vinyl, whether glitter or foil,  is best suited for cotton and polyester clothing. If you’re using stretch heat transfer vinyl, your best bet is more stretchy materials such as athletic fabric. If the design doesn’t stretch along with the cloth, there are chances of cracking vinyl designs, and we certainly do not want that. 

What Kind of Vinyl Should You Use

Now that we know what kinds of vinyl are out there, let’s get back to the question at hand: what kind of vinyl should you use for T-shirts? While adhesive vinyl may be used for printing clothing, heat transfer vinyl is a better option.

If you’re practicing your craft, you can use adhesive vinyl since it’s a cheaper alternative, and it’ll be easily removed without leaving a mark. But for longer lasting designs, HTV is the way to go. 

While crafting doesn’t really have dos and don’ts, it’s a good idea to stick to HTV for softer surfaces.

Denver Sign Supply — Materials Made to Last

Crafting doesn’t have to be all that hard. And here at Denver Sign Supply, we make sure of it. 

For your next T-shirt project, why not trust us to provide you with premium materials and tools that are bound to make the entire process seem like a breeze. As front runners in the industry, we’re committed to providing quality products, and are a trusted ally to businesses small and large looking for reliable vinyl solutions. Here, every material finds its canvas. Come find yours!