Adhesive Vinyl vs. Heat Transfer Vinyl

Adhesive Vinyl vs. Heat Transfer Vinyl

Adhesive Vinyl vs. Heat Transfer Vinyl

There are many different ways to apply your own designs to different places. Two mainstay methods are adhesive vinyl and heat transfer vinyl, or HTV. Between the two, you can cover many kinds of surfaces, allowing you to feed your curiosity and creativity about personalizing your space, clothes, car, and more. If you want to discover more about adhesive vinyl vs. heat transfer vinyl, here’s a brief guide to help.

Adhesive Vinyl

Adhesive vinyl sticks to a surface like a strong sticker. It’s reliant on significant pressure to stay on a surface. Due to its similarities to a sticker, it affixes best to a solid, smooth, nonporous material. It doesn’t work well on fabrics because these surfaces lack the surface area for the adhesive to bind to. You also cannot machine wash something with adhesive vinyl because, like a regular sticker, this compromises the adhesive. Practically, it comes with a paper backing to cover its adhesive layer, which you peel after cutting.

Adhesive vinyl specifically works well for plastic items—if you want to put your own design on your water bottle, adhesive vinyl works best. Also, this option allows you to put custom patterns on your ceramic tiling, décor pieces, and even walls and glass. Adhesive vinyl is the way to go when adding some fun stickers to your car.

Heat Transfer Vinyl

When comparing adhesive and heat transfer vinyl, HTV has an advantage when working with fabric and some other more porous surfaces. As long the material can sustain heat during application, HTV will work. It functions well with fabrics because the heat applied secures a strong bond without relying on pressure-based adhesion. When using HTV, after cutting and weeding, running it through a heat press gives it a polished appearance.

T-shirts, towels, hot pads, all kinds of bags—all of these are ideal surfaces for HTV. The reason is that, unlike adhesive vinyl, HTV is durable after many machine-washing cycles. Also, one nonfabric that HTV works really well with is wood. Adhesive vinyl sometimes struggles to adhere to it because of its unevenness, while heat transfer vinyl provides an able alternative

If you’re curious about either adhesive or heat transfer vinyl, contact our PrimePick USA team. We have years of experience helping small-business owners create custom t-shirts through fabric heat transfer vinyl as well as great self-adhesive vinyl products.

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