heat pressing 101

New to the HTV game? We’ve got your back!

Check out our handy guides here to get started. Is there something you’re not sure about? Email us at tech@heattransfervinyl.com! We’re always looking for ideas to of new guides to put here.

HTV vocab


Stands for Heat Transfer Vinyl. A material that can be applied to various garments and surfaces with heat. Make sure to check what your HTV can apply to by checking the Tech PDF!


Stands for Pressure Sensitive Vinyl! Also known as sticker vinyl. This is material you can use to create decals and stickers that’ll stick to a wide variety of things, no heat required! Cars, glasses, laptops, picture frames- pretty much everything!

Craft Cutter/Cutter Plotter

How you cut HTV! To create designs out of HTV, you need to cut a design into the material. Popular brands of cutters include Silhouette and Cricut on the cheaper end and Graphtec, Roland, and GCC on the more expensive end.


The action of pulling away excess HTV. After the HTV’s been cut, you weed away the extra HTV so you’re left with your design!

Carrier/Carrier Sheet

What the HTV or PSV is on! It’s usually plastic and a bit sticky. Each product’s a little different, so some carriers aren’t sticky and some are paper! When you’re cutting, you want to cut into the material, NOT the carrier.

Transfer Mask

Very similar to a carrier but without the material on it. It’s used often with PSV to transfer the PSV off the carrier. It’s sometimes used with printable materials too!

Cover Sheet/Release Sheet

This helps protect your garment from scorching when you press. Some HTV, like EconomyFlex, actually have different finishes based on what cover sheet you use!

Pressing Pillow

A pressing pillow can help even out an uneven surface. This allows you get a good press!


A design technique which allows you to have multiple colors on one shirt! It usually involves a base color and pressing different layers on top to create an image.

Perfectly sized for your 8 ½”  x 11″ printers! Simply save the image then print.

Q & A

What is the best heat transfer vinyl?

The best HTV is the one that works for YOUR project! In general, we always recommend ThermoFlex® Plus– it’s the best in the industry! It’s durable, soft, and comes in just about every color you can think of. If you’re looking for something a little different, click around our different categories of heat transfer vinyl! We only carry the best, so you’re sure to be impressed.

What is the difference between vinyl and heat transfer vinyl?

Vinyl typically refers to sticker vinyl or pressure sensitive vinyl. This is the vinyl that will act like a sticker. Heat transfer vinyl, HTV, or iron-on vinyl, is vinyl that is applied with heat. Because it needs heat, you’ll need an iron, an EasyPress, or a press to apply this vinyl.

Is heat transfer vinyl the same as iron-on?

Kind of! All iron-on vinyl is heat transfer vinyl, but not all heat transfer vinyl is iron-on. What we mean by this is some HTV requires higher heat and pressure than you can get with a hand iron. If you apply this HTV with a hand iron, it’s not likely to last long or to look as good. If you have a hand iron, look for HTVs that go on at lower temperatures and at lower pressures. Good examples of this are ThermoFlex® Turbo and ThermoBanner™ 2.

Is heat transfer vinyl better than screen printing?

It depends! Heat transfer vinyl is great for smaller batches of shirts or to personalize things. Screen print is great for larger batches of shirts. For crafters and small businesses, heat transfer vinyl is a great way to create custom shirts without having to invest in screen print. It also offers a wide variety of finishes!

How long does heat transfer vinyl last?

This is going to vary by HTV, but ThermoFlex® Plus is the king of durability. When pressed correctly, this HTV is going to outlast the life of your shirt!

How do you use heat transfer vinyl?

You cut a design in your HTV using a cutter (like Silhouette or Cricut), remove the excess material, and apply the heat transfer vinyl to a shirt using heat.

general printable Info

Perfectly sized for your 8 ½”  x 11″ printers! Simply save the image then print.