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What’s the Difference: Adhesive Vinyl vs. Heat Transfer Vinyl

What is Adhesive Vinyl?

Adhesive vinyl is a glue backed vinyl product. It’s used in the same way a sticker is used and applied. Adhesive vinyl can be used on water bottles, drink bottles, signage, POS displays, plus many other uses.

However, adhesive vinyl cannot be used on clothing as the glues within this product aren’t designed to bond onto the kinds of fabrics our clothes are commonly made from. When performing clothing heat transfer vinyl (or HTV as it is often referred to), is a much better choice.

Adhesive vinyl comes in a wide range of types. The brands and ranges of vinyl available on the market vary, but some of your options include:

There are also adhesive vinyls, temporary vinyls, removable vinyls, real estate vinyls, marine vinyls – not to mention the HUGE range of specialty colours you can choose from for your project.

Popular brands of adhesive vinyls include:

  • Avery Dennison
  • Aslan
  • Metamark
  • Oracle
  • Silhouette America
  • Cricut
  • …plus many (many) more!

What is Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV)?

Heat Transfer Vinyl, or “HTV” as it’s commonly known in the industry, consists of a heat applied glue that isn’t activated until you apply heat to the product. To use this product, you reverse cut HTV and then using either an Iron, or the perfect type of Heat Press, you bond your HTV to a garment or other heat resistant product.

HTV requires the use of a vinyl cutter, such as the Silhouette Cameo, Brother Scan and Cut or Cricut cutting machines. These are the kind of machines you need to create your designs and they are applied to your choice of garment during the heating process.

HTV is available in a huge choice of colours and designs, so you can experiment and create unique designs using leopard print, glitter, metallic or neon.

Unlike adhesive vinyl, HTV is ideal for use on clothing or fabric. HTV is the best choice of vinyl product if you plan to print:

While some people use HTV on bottles and mugs, we do not recommend this. Why? HTV simply doesn’t bond as well to these hard plastic or ceramic style products as it does to fabric.

Most HTV can be applied to fabrics that are able to withstand heat such as cotton, lycra, denim, leather, PU leather, polyester and satin. Some HTV vinyls have unique requirements to keep an eye out for, such as our Vivid Flex HTV, which is not able to be readily applied to nylon fabric, but there are other brands of HTV available that can be used for this purpose.

Some simple care tips for completed HTV printed items:

  1. We recommend cold water washing
  2. The garment can be dried in a dryer
  3. We recommend ironing your garment inside-out
  4. Do not apply heat to the finished printed area (it may warp your wonderful design!)

FREE Vinyl Swatch for Creativity at Home

Request your free vinyl colour swatches from us today. The swatches will include all of our adhesive vinyl range as well as heat transfer vinyls. Simply visit our Vinyl Swatch Request Form, fill out your details and we will pop one in the post for you.

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