Heat transfer vinyl has quickly become a favorite way to customize and create t-shirts. With the popularity of personal computerized cutting machines like the Cricut or Silhouette, anyone can create a great design. But if you are new to this type of crafting, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the different vinyl options on the market.
We’re here to help with a guide that breaks down different types of heat transfer vinyl and what it is best for so you can choose the right materials for your projects.
What is Heat Transfer Vinyl
The first thing that you need to know is that there are different types of vinyl. Heat transfer vinyl uses heat from a press to adhere to the fabric. It is considered a permanent vinyl and should not be confused with temporary or permanent adhesive vinyl used for signs and non-clothing projects. Heat transfer vinyl (HTV) comes in various colors and styles, including solid colors and glitter colors.
Related: A Beginner’s Guide to Layering HTV
What to Look for When Shopping for HTV
There are plenty of off-brand vinyl options available online. As the craze of personal cutting machines transforms the way we craft, new sellers pop up everywhere. When shopping for a quality HTV, consider features like:
- Color Selection
- Ease of Cutting & Weeding
The color selection is important because it allows for more variety in every project. Many HTV projects use layering to create dimensional designs, and a wide color selection makes it easier to create detailed designs.
The thickness is another important element. Thickness directly determines how easy cutting and weeding will be. Vinyl that is too thick will be bulky and stiff on the fabric, and vinyl that is too thin is difficult to work with and weed without compromising the design. And ultimately, when it comes to choosing a good HTV, ease of use is the single most important factor.
Avance Vinyl is a top choice for premium crafting supplies to create a wide variety of designs. We specialize in heat transfer vinyl, rhinestone applications, and sublimation transfers to give you the most flexibility with your projects. Learn more today.
Related: Summer Shirt Designs Using HTV
Top Brands for HTV
When it comes to quality heat transfer vinyl, only a few are an easy choice for professionals and crafts alike. Historically, Siser’s Easyweed HTV is an almost universal fan favorite. However, Avance Vinyl has launched its own line of vinyl that shows promising quality and has become a strong competitor for Siser Easyweed. The top choices for HTV brands include:
- Avance Vinyl HTV
- Siser Easyweed
- StarCraft Vinyl
Avance Vinyl HTV
There are plenty of iron-on vinyl options, but only a few are clearly at the top. Avance Vinyl HTV has quickly risen to the occasion, relying on the same outstanding brand quality that crafters have become accustomed to with their other vinyl products.
Where it counts, Avance Vinyl is a great choice. It works with a wide range of surfaces, including fabric and wood. It is also easy to work with, optimally designed to cut in computerized machines but easily adaptable to other brands, and easy to weed.
Avance Vinyl is a brand well-known for providing quality craft supplies. They know vinyl well, and they have an invested interest in making high-quality, easy-to-use products that work with crafting industry tools like cutting machines and heat presses.
Siser Easyweed HTV
Siser Easyweed HTV is a clear industry favorite. It is a CPSIA-certified product that is completely safe for use on clothing and accessories. And, as the name implies, it is easy to work with and durable for designs that last a long time.
Siser products are well-known for quality. They are designed to be a high-quality product and come with precise instructions for optimal machine settings across all of the most popular cutters. This product comes with a pressure-sensitive carrier sheet backing that makes it a breeze to weed and transfer designs.
Siser Easyweed is easy to work with during every step of the project. It cuts cleanly in all major machines. Weeding is effortless. And it transfers at lower temperatures compared to other brands, which means you may not need special equipment. You will always get the best results with a heat press, but it is possible to use a household iron to transfer Siser Easyweed HTV.
Another benefit of Siser Easyweed is its long-lasting durability. It won’t fade, crack, or peel when properly applied and cared for, unlike cheaper products. Siser Easyweed is 0.09 mm thick and works well with cotton or linen-blend fabrics, making it the top choice for t-shirt vinyl.
Related: How to Cut Heat Transfer Vinyl
We would probably recommend steering away from most of the off-brand vinyl, and value packs peddled on Amazon or eBay, but Starcraft Vinyl HTV is one of the better options on the market. Starcraft sells a printable HTV that gives crafters greater design flexibility.
Unlike other brands that come on their own carrier sheet, Starcraft Vinyl requires transfer tape. That means more materials to factor into the cost, which may make initial cost-savings less likely when the project is finished.
Starcraft vinyl is fairly easy to work with but does have some picky care instructions like turning garments inside out and avoiding bleach or ironing. As long as you follow instructions for heat press temperature and cool peeling, it is a good option for any project requiring HTV.
The Bottom Line on Choosing the Best HTV
Heat transfer vinyl (HTV) is a great crafting product that creates custom designs on t-shirts, hats, mugs, and much more. As the popularity of personal die-cutting machines grows, the options for vinyl products grow too. But more doesn’t mean better. There are only a few brands that offer a quality product worth paying for. Siser Easyweed and Avance Vinyl vye for the top spots. Ultimately any vinyl that offers a range of colors is easy to work with in terms of cutting, weeding, and transferring.Avance Vinyl is a family-owned and operated company providing crafters with quality supplies at great prices. Shop our catalog now.