What is HTV sublimation [3 simple steps]

What is HTV sublimation? With the world evolving and the printing industry advancing, different printing methods are being discovered yearly, heat transfer vinyl printing is one of the dominant techniques in the game, this amazing method is cherished by professionals and enthusiasts alike because of its straightforward nature and its ability to deliver excellent results.

what is htv sublimation
Image credit: avivawholesale.com

Everything you need to know about this awesome printing technique will be explained in detail in this article as we explore the world of sublimation.

Heat transfer vinyl: overview

First things first, what is heat transfer vinyl? It is an amazing material that has an adhesive that is activated when subjected to high heat, it is known for its fantastic versatility and compatibility with numerous canvases.

With this fantastic method, nice designs can be turned into vinyl and then transferred to almost any garment using a heat press from designing on cotton blends to creating lovely custom t-shirts. The end product of vinyl designs is mind-blowing if they are done correctly, you get premium-quality custom fabrics with remarkable longevity and a stunning appearance.

Image credit: atlantavinylstore.com

Once applied, heat transfer vinyl forges a strong, lasting bond with the canvas, and when it cools, the design becomes permanent. With proper care, heat transfer vinyl clothing may withstand years of wear and can be washed just like any other fabric.

Another part I find exciting about heat transfer vinyl is the endless range of finishes and designs, from a matte black shade to a glossy and pleasing hue, the options are endless. No matter the appearance you have in mind for your cherished fabric, heat transfer vinyl has got you covered.

Heat transfer vinyl sublimation

Heat transfer vinyl sublimation or HTV sublimation is a printing method that involves using heat and pressure to transfer a design onto a fabric.

With heat transfer vinyl you can personalize your belongings and almost any fabric you can get your hands on, and the best part is the design options are endless, from the flag of your country to the logo of your favorite football club, this amazing printing method has made anything possible.

Heat transfer vinyl has made personalizing items and customizing materials very easy, as long as the right steps are followed you have nothing to worry about, the easy to understanding nature of the process has made heat transfer vinyl the next big thing, crafters and enthusiasts are diving into the heat transfer press sublimation business at a mind-blowing rate.

Before you become too excited and begin making your designs I recommend taking the time to get familiar with the world of heat transfer vinyl and know how to effectively produce your creations.

Sublimation printing: overview

Sublimation printing is a popular printing technique that uses heat to transfer wonderful creations to different canvases. The technique is widely used on mugs, shirts, and canvases with a polyester coating.

This popular technique is commonly compared with heat transfer vinyl due to the few similarities they share. Sublimation printing uses a special material referred to as sublimation paper to transfer designs, sublimation paper.

Image credit: silhouetteschoolblog.com

Sublimation paper carries sublimation ink making the transfer of your creation to the canvas swift and easy. Using this wonderful technique promises a fun and thrilling journey.

You should know that regular paper can’t be used as a substitute for sublimation paper because it cannot carry sublimation ink. So purchasing sublimation paper is vital if you are interested in sublimation works or making sublimation prints.

Image credit: technologystudent.com

Additionally, this exciting procedure involves utilizing specialized sublimation ink, which is dye-based and needs heat to activate. When the right amount of heat is supplied, it turns from a solid into a gas and transfers onto the canvas, forming a permanent and beautiful finish.

Advantages of heat transfer vinyl sublimation

  • Swift: heat transfer vinyl is fun to work with and is a perfect place to begin your printing journey, heat transfer printing is also a fantastic starting point for newbies.
  • Not messy: heat transfer vinyl is less messy than most alternatives, in techniques like sublimation printing you might spill sublimation inks, but there is nothing spilling ink when using heat transfer vinyl.

Disadvantages of heat transfer vinyl sublimation

  • Time-consuming: heat transfer vinyl might be time-consuming if you are doing bulk projects, the process will be slow and require much labor.
  • Expensive: if it’s your first time trying a printing method the initial investment might be expensive.

Design considerations

Some canvases are easier to work with than others. Working on soft and basic materials like cotton shirts shouldn’t be too difficult, but how about a nylon tote bag? Unlike polyester fabrics, materials that are synthetic or semi-synthetic, such as nylon and spandex might present difficulties so they should be worked on carefully.

Image credit: craftercuts.com

For example, go for a heat transfer vinyl that will repel dye if you’re dealing with sublimated polyester fabrics. Application temperature is an additional factor to consider when decorating synthetic materials.

You can’t use iron on vinyl instead of a heat press, using the right heat level is vital to producing an amazing result and a high-quality print.

If these factors are not taken seriously it could lead to awful outcomes, if you do something wrong you might have a ruined canvas or end up with an outcome you are not satisfied with. You could even end up with a fabric that would get destroyed after being washed a few times.

Heat transfer vinyl vs. sublimation printing

The primary difference between heat transfer vinyl and sublimation printing is the adhesion. Heat transfer vinyl involves joining a layer of the vinyl to the canvas using extreme temperature, while in sublimation printing you utilize an inkjet printer or sublimation printer that uses sublimation ink to create designs, the sublimation ink bonds with the canvas to achieve a lovely print.

Image credit: coastalbusiness.com

Sublimation printing is appliable on countless canvases and the ink looks flawless on light colored backgrounds.

The heat transfer vinyl printing process

The heat transfer vinyl printing method is a very exciting activity that can yield brilliant results if done properly.

Image credit: subprbusiness.com

What do you need to get started?

Heat transfer vinyl: what’s a heat transfer vinyl sublimation printing without the vinyl? Heat transfer vinyl is available in almost every color you can imagine, you should choose from basic colors like black, white, or red if you’re a newbie.

Heat press: I recommend getting a reliable heat press to efficiently transfer your stunning design onto your canvas in both heat transfer vinyl and sublimation. An important variable to consider is the size of the heat press, going for an excellent heat press within your budget is sure to be worth it.

Cutting machine: a cutting machine will be used to precisely cut your complex designs.

Canvas: one of the most impressive features of heat transfer vinyl is that they are compatible with so many canvases, from cotton fabrics to polyester fabrics, this wonderful quality has made choosing a canvas very easy.

Cover sheet: you will need a Teflon cover sheet for pressing your transfer. Your clothes are shielded from direct heat and won’t burn or get destroyed thanks to this bad boy.

Craft knife: this is going to come in very handy during the whole process, you will need it to weed away excess vinyl to make your cuts beautiful and precise designs.

Image credit: a4apparel.co.uk

Heat-resistant tape: I recommend getting heat-resistant tape to keep your work firm while making the ink permanent, this is vital for heat transfer vinyl sublimation.

Preparing the canvas

After getting all the essential items it’s time to get your canvas ready. I recommended washing it with lukewarm water to remove all the dirt that can affect the adhesion or reduce the quality of the result, then let it dry, and you could apply heat to hasten the process.

Creating the design

While the canvas is drying you may create whatever thrilling ideas you have for your canvas using a suitable program, you can also utilize a pre-created design if you wish.

Position the vinyl with the matte side up and cut it. Use a cutting machine or craft knife to trim precisely. You should make the cut perfect to guarantee a bold and accurate print.

Heating it

Switch on the heat press and set the design on the canvas with the shining side facing you, then place the cover sheet on top of the heat transfer vinyl. 

The average time for heat transfer vinyl is 15 seconds and the temperature is 311 ℉. Remove the carrier sheet after the given duration and there you have it, your beautiful heat transfer vinyl project.

This fantastic approach can be used to create solid blocks and photo-realistic images and can be used for both small projects and bulk works.


What is better heat transfer vinyl or sublimation?

The two printing methods are magnificent, but heat transfer vinyl offers a pleasing and beautiful print.

Can you use any HTV for sublimation?

The vinyl appropriate for sublimation includes white glitter heat transfer vinyl, holographic heat transfer vinyl, and glow-in-the-dark heat transfer vinyl.

Is there a difference is sublimation heat presses and HTV heat presses?

No, they are the same, you can use a sublimation printing heat press for heat transfer vinyl tasks.

Do I need a heat press for sublimation?

Yes, you need a heat press to make the ink permanent in sublimation, alongside other important items like sublimation dyes, a sublimation printer or inkjet printer, and sublimation paper.

Is HTV better than vinyl?

If you have a soft canvas that can withstand extreme temperatures heat transfer vinyl is the best alternative.

The bottom line

Using heat transfer vinyl is a fantastic way to personalize your fabrics and give them a touch of sophistication.

Heat transfer vinyl is what you need to step up your game in your next project. By following the necessary precautions and using this article as a guide you can produce lovely and durable outcomes with vibrant colors.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *