The Complete Guide to Heat Press Time and Temperature

Crafting with heat transfer vinyl or HTV can be a fun hobby or even a full-blown business. However, one thing that many HTV users struggle with is getting their heat press machines at the perfect temperature.

An iron heat pressing clothing.*


Household irons don’t often reach high enough temperatures for HTV fusion. 

HTV comes with a recommended heat press temperature, but HTV needs a range of temperatures that depend on the HTV brand and fabric type.

However, heat press machines are well worth the learning curve, as they are one of the best ways to print directly on a surface. And they can help you to print multiples quickly.

Related: Layering HTV A Beginner’s Guide

Once you have your HTV, one of the most important things to do is figure out the best heat press temperature for HTV. Some HTV brands are thicker and softer than others, some HTV comes with higher recommended temperatures, and some HTV needs a lower temperature.

The good news is that this guide will help you find the perfect temperature you need.

Heat Press Temperature Chart

  1. Polyester: 270° F
  2. Cotton: 380°F
  3. Stretch Material: 335°F
  4. Full Color: 350°F
  5. Vintage: 350°F
  6. Reflective Fabrics: 305°F
  7. Metallic Finish: 320°F
  8. Multi-Purpose Material: 350°F
  9. Glitters: 350°F
  10. High-Quality Digital Prints: 305°F
  11. Glow in the Dark Fabrics: 350°F
  12. Stubborn Fabrics: 330°F
  13. Photo Transfer on Light Fabrics: 385°F
  14. Photo Transfer on Dark Fabrics: 356°F

So as you can easily see, there is a range of temperatures you can use on your machine.

Avance Vinyl offers an array of heat transfer vinyl for all of your crafting needs. Shop now.

Person standing with a custom graphic shirt.

How to Set the Time and Temperature Setting for a Heat Press

Each machine will come with its own guide. However, many of them have these same essential functions. Guides are also easy to misplace.

Related: Printable HTV vs. Heat Transfer Paper

To make sure that you get the temperature right, here is how you set the time and temperature settings for a heat press for HTV.

Setting the Time on the Heat Press Machine

Setting the time on your heat-press machine ensures that your HTV transfers properly over to the item you are customizing.

Depending on what machine you have, there are two ways that you can set the time on your heat-press.


You have to input the minutes and seconds for the desired time. You will either see buttons or a dial on your machine where you can change the time length.


Your HTV transfer has a pre-made guide that will be transferred onto your product at the end of pressing. Each of these machines has its own shut-off method to alert you when your project is done.

If you are unsure of how long you should set your timer, here is an equation to help.

Heat Press Time Formula:

Time(min) = (Desired HTV Temperature(˚C)) - (70 + (5 ˚C for every additional HVC per 5 seconds))

Press time formula: Ex: For HTV at 100˚C, 70 is the base amount.

Setting the Temperature of Your Heat Press

You will notice that machines have both F and C settings. It will either be a dial or arrow keypad. However, these machines work pretty much like an oven.

Your HTV should have come with an instruction manual that will tell you exactly how long it takes your HTV brand to reach its desired temperature. Some HTVs take only 30 seconds or less, while others could take more than 5 minutes.

Heat Press Time and Temperature Guide

The quality of your transfer will rely on factors like time, pressure, and temperature.

The HTV needs to be kept between 100 and 305 degrees Fahrenheit. Press time can vary depending on the thickness of HTV, design size, and color. Avance Vinyls HTV should be treated according to the chart based on the material you are binding to.

Light fabrics often require lower temperatures and lighter pressure. HTV that is darker, thicker, or contains metallic elements generally requires a higher temp and more pressure. The HTV type you choose will help determine the ideal time and temperature for your project.

Related: Summer Shirt Ideas

Polyester or Sublimated Fabric

Both of these fabrics are sensitive to heat and hence don't require much. Polyester HTV can be printed at 270 degrees Fahrenheit with light pressure. The HTV will remain soft and malleable until after it is done cooling.

For the best results, peel your transfer while it's still warm. Always pre-test your HTV before using it on an actual project.

An array of heat transfer vinyl colors.


This popular fabric is commonly used for shirts and is an excellent option for heat transfer vinyl. HTV requires higher temperatures and more pressure when printing on cotton.

A good rule of thumb is to use 380 degrees Fahrenheit for upwards of 15 minutes. HTV applied to a cotton garment should only be peeled off before it cools.

Stretch Material

Stretch material can be hard to work with, even in the best of situations. However, you can still use your heat transfer press with this fabric. HTV applied to stretch material should only be peeled when it's cooled.

HTV applied at a higher temperature will typically remain on stretch material much longer than HTV applied at a lower temperature. Press stretch material at 335F for only about ten seconds.


These textured designs may be intimidating to a beginner. However, it's not difficult as long as you have the right time and temperature. HTV glitters require a specific heat setting to ensure that it doesn't turn white.

HTV glitter should only be applied to non-stretch material and at a short exposure time of about 15 seconds at 350F. And be sure to peel it off while the HTV is still warm.

Metallic Finish

Metallic is an impressive finish for many projects. HTV metallic can be applied to both stretch and non-stretch material. HTV metallic takes a full 20 minutes at 320F. Make sure that you wait to remove the backing until your design is completely cool.


There are so many HTV options on the market these days. Whether you're looking for glitters, metallics, or other unique HTV designs, there's something out there for everyone. But don't forget that HTV works best under specific temperature settings; read through this article to familiarize yourself with HTV heat press temperatures.

Also, don't be afraid to test your settings on a test project before finalizing your project. Make sure you're using HTV products correctly. HTV designs may lift or shift if they aren't attached properly to the item you want them applied to.

Are you ready to begin crafting? Get crafting with Avance Vinyl. They offer a variety of HTV for all your needs.

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