Heat Transfer & Vinyl

What is a Heat Transfer using Vinyl?

A heat transfer press with vinyl is a great way to personally brand any item or custom apparel. The process works by cutting vinyl from a sheet, pick out the image, applying the image onto the item, then applying heat, typically with pressure. The heat basically melts the vinyl onto the item or garment.

Vinyl with a heat transfer is a quick and simple process. There are some restrictions, however. The primary being you cannot get nearly as fine of detail like you can with screen printing or pad printing.  This is due to a blade cutting the vinyl on a vinyl cutter. Then you need to pick out the extra vinyl that will not be used and you run the risk of those fine details being damaged during that process.

Considerations for Heat Transfer with Vinyl

Artwork

Your image needs to be properly formatted in what’s called a vectored format. Read this page to learn about your artwork.

Colors

The more colors you have, the more complex the process can be. It will also drive up the cost of a custom shirt or item. This is due to each color requiring an individual piece of vinyl cut for that specific color. After one color is applied to the shirt or garment, the color needs to be heated just long enough so the next color can be applied without distorting the previous color.

Type of Fabric

The type of fabric can determine what type of vinyl may need to be used. For example, some vinyl is more rigid than others, so for a sports team jersey or a drifit t-shirt may require vinyl that is flexible. 

Number of Locations

Each location for your custom t shirt or garment requires an additional cut of vinyl as well as an additional step to heat the vinyl on the garment.  This does increase the cost per item slightly.

Quantity

Heat transfers and using vinyl allows for as low as one individual piece being decorated. The time per item is virtually the same and there is very little cost savings between 1 piece and 12 pieces. Once you get to 12 or more pieces, you will want to look at screen printing as it's more cost effective.

Multiple Uses

  • Apparel – typically lower quantities with few colors.

  • Wall Decals

  • Vehicle Decals for windows

Advantages and Disadvantages:

Pro's

  • Very fast production

  • Low quantities

  • Can personalize apparel like names on back of jerseys for team sports.

Con's

  • Not as durable – images can come off if not properly cleaned and cared for

  • A different look and feel

Ideal for the following:

  • Team jerseys

  • 1 off custom shirts

  • Wall decals

  • Window decals

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