Popularly called HTV, heat transfer vinyl has become all the rage in the custom t-shirt industry in recent years. It is also casually referred to as t-shirt vinyl or iron-on vinyl and is an extraordinary variety that can excellently adhere to all kinds of t-shirt fabric.
However, finding the best vinyl for shirts is not as easy as it may seem at first and can be especially challenging for amateur apparel decorators. This article features a comprehensive guide to help you find the best possible vinyl for your custom T-shirt designing business.
What to Look for in Vinyl for Shirts?
T-shirt vinyl has become an indelible, massive part of the global T-shirt printing industry. Inevitably, an increasing number of small business owners, large manufacturers, and entrepreneurs are regularly investing in vinyl.
But before you choose any particular type of vinyl, you should be aware of what to look for in it. To do this, consider the following fundamental points carefully.
- What is It Made of?
Most folks already know that HTV is made in single colors and has exciting options that include glitter, neon, patterns, and holographic, among others. But what many people perhaps do not realize is that they should check what material the vinyl is made of before purchasing it.
Typically, vinyl is made of two primary materials: PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) or PU (polyurethane).
PVC is usually the cheaper variety of the two and is thicker and more challenging to work with. Therefore, the finished T-shirts, mugs, and other products may not have a very refined quality.
In contrast, PU vinyl is a lot thinner and softer, proving to be more effective in completing custom T-shirts that are elegant, smooth, and long-lasting. As an added benefit, it also washes better.
- What is Adhesive on the Carrier Sheet?
The carrier sheet is the clear, shiny sheet to which the vinyl is attached using an adhesive. The quality of this adhesive is paramount since the sheet is meant to hold the vinyl in place while you cut it.
Poor-quality sheets have a flawed adhesive that can be very sticky and incredibly tough to weed. Furthermore, specific carrier sheets have no adhesive at all, making it nearly impossible to cut them as the vinyl keeps peeling off.
Look for sheets with a top-quality adhesive that is strong enough to hold the vinyl in place and mild enough to weed.
- How Well Does It Weed?
Weeding is a critical step in the heat transfer vinyl process where you need to peel off the excess vinyl after the cutting is done.
Ideally, the task should be quick and easy, with you pulling off the extra vinyl to enable faster production. However, you do not want to accidentally pull away letters or tiny bits of the design along with the excess vinyl when you weed. That’s why it is essential to buy excellent quality t-shirt vinyl, as it can prevent that from happening.
- How Well Does It Wash?
The main idea behind top-quality vinyl work is for the design to stay on the fabric even after several washes. Low-quality vinyl peels away after heat-press, causing you to lose customers and resulting in a loss in your business. Generally, the peeling process will begin with the edges and corners of the design coming off, eventually causing the entire image to fall off.
Therefore, it is imperative that you buy high-quality vinyl that stays for a considerable period on the garment. Moreover, it is compatible with diverse materials such as cotton, blended fabric, nylon, polyester, and other mixed textiles.
Essential Tips for Buying the Best T-Shirt Vinyl
Carefully consider the following essential things when buying vinyl for your t-shirt decorating business. It will help make an informed and sound choice, ensuring you successfully create stunning and unique t-shirt designs for customers with varied interests.
- Buying vinyl from just about anyone can prove to be a costly mistake, causing you to lose precious time, energy, and money. That’s why you should look for reputable vendors who offer high-quality, best vinyl for shirts and money-back guarantees on them. These reliable suppliers will often refund the shipping charges, provided you return the items within their stipulated time frame.
- As mentioned earlier, purchasing PVC vinyl may not be the best idea as it is harder to work with. Consider investing in PU heat transfer vinyl, perfect for working on t-shirts of all possible materials. Also, it should be durable and compatible with machine washes. Generally, it should also be dried in standard settings after each wash.
- Choose a vinyl with the right amount of thickness. Ideally, it should be around 90–100um thick, which is robust enough to cut through and weed while also being considerably lightweight on a garment. Any thickness level too high or lower than this can be challenging to work with.
- Look for the best quality and most versatile vinyl that can be used in a hot, warm, or cold peel process. This kind of flexibility will ensure quicker production, ease of work, and faster returns on your investment.
- You should pick a t-shirt vinyl with a top-quality adhesive that can comfortably stand heat press temperatures close to 300 degrees. Higher temperatures, such as from 350 to 400 degrees, can often damage t-shirt materials or cause them to discolor.
- If you are new to the heat transfer vinyl process, it will help to watch a couple of informative videos about it. Learn the proper techniques of cutting, weeding, and pressing steps in the process.
While you may get used to the heat transfer vinyl process quickly enough, buying from the right dealer is vital. That’s because once your business picks up, you will need a regular supply of high-quality t-shirt vinyl. Therefore, always buy from reliable vinyl dealers who can ensure a constant supply. Look for licensed, reputable, and trustworthy sellers who offer quality products and top-notch customer service.
Some dealers offer white toner printers and other accessories that go well with t-shirt vinyl. This can be an incredible boon for entrepreneurs who need all these products, as they will be able to buy them from the same dealer at a reasonable price. Furthermore, honest and respectable vendors often provide free demonstrations and even training videos for amateur custom t-shirt decorators.