What is Heat Transfer Vinyl?
Heat transfer vinyl (HTV) is vinyl media for T-shirts and garments, which can be cut through a vinyl cutter and applied to the fabric with a heat press. This type of vinyl has a layer of adhesive which is only activated by heat and comes in a wide variety of colors and textures.
T-shirt vinyl needs to be cut on the back side (that would be the matte side) with the image horizontally flipped (mirrored). Once the excess background is removed with a weeding tool, the mirrored design remains on the clear carrier and is placed on the garment for pressing.
The durability of heat transfer vinyl ranges and depends on the vinyl used. Standard vinyl generally lasts the life of the garment when pressed correctly which makes it extremely popular and fairly permanent. Specialty vinyl such as foil or mirror vinyl is made for eye catching decorative designs and can delaminate after improper washing fairly quickly. Pressing and washing instructions are especially important with this product.
What is Sign Vinyl?
Sign vinyl is vinyl media geared towards indoor and outdoor use such as decals for windows, cars, walls, and other flat and slightly curved surfaces. Sign vinyl is great for computer cutting and is compatible with most vinyl cutting machines. Heat is not required most of the time as most rolls have the back side coated with sticky adhesive, ready to be immediately transferred to the surface of choice.
Sign vinyl needs to be cut on the front side, with the image right-reading. Once the excess background is removed with a weeding tool, the design will remain on the back carrier awaiting to be peeled off, if a simplistic design, or to apply a tape to pick up a detailed design.
An application tape is highly recommended with this process.