There are two main types of vinyl which are used – heat transfer vinyl and adhesive vinyl. Both might seem similar, but they are actually made to stick to different surfaces.
Heat vinyl is best used with a heat press and sticks securely onto fabric. Adhesive vinyl, on the other hand, is made to stick on a hard, smooth surface. It doesn’t require a bulky and often pricy heat press machine, which is why it appeals to many. Adhesive vinyl may have you wondering about your options as well.
Can you use adhesive vinyl on shirts? You should not use adhesive vinyl on shirts. Adhesive vinyl is ideal for hard, smooth surfaces and will not ‘stick’ well to fabric. Heat transfer vinyl is better for shirts and fabric items.
Although you technically can use adhesive vinyl on shirts, it will not give you great results, if it works at all. Adhesive vinyl is best suited for items such as wood, metal, or any surface which is flat and smooth. Stick with heat transfer vinyl for fabric items like shirts.
Understanding what you can use adhesive vinyl for, and which adhesive is best for shirts, will help you decide which is best to use in different situations. So read on to learn more about your options and which will work best for your projects.
Can You Use Adhesive Vinyl On Fabric?
As there is no other pressure, heat, or adhesive used, adhesive vinyl isn’t suited to be used on fabric. It might stick to the fabric initially, but it will not withstand washing and will peel off over time.
Adhesive vinyl is very much like a sticker. One side of the vinyl is sticky, and it is applied to a surface with the sticky side down, with pressure applied to help it stick.
Adhesive vinyl can be prepared in the same way that heat transfer vinyl is, and then cut down into shape the same as well.
When using this type of vinyl, you will only be relying on the strength of adhesion of the sticker to the surface you have chosen. Therefore you are quite limited as to what you can use adhesive vinyl on.
Smooth surfaces allow for better adhesion. Textiles and fabrics – which are not smooth even surfaces in the same way metal or glazed ceramic can be – are not ideal. Heat is necessary to help work the design into something like fabric.
What Can You Use Adhesive Vinyl For?
You will not need any equipment to press the vinyl onto a surface, but you will need to apply a decent amount of pressure to allow it to stick.
Adhesive vinyl is a good choice for flat, smooth surfaces, and can be used indoors and outdoors depending on the vinyl you have chosen. While you cannot use adhesive vinyl on fabric, there are many other things you can create with it.
Here are some of the different projects you can use adhesive vinyl for:
- Making signs for houses, business, for ornaments decorating the home or signs for the garden.
- Decorating mugs – you can easily peel and press the sticker into place.
- Adding stickers to household ornaments to give them a new look.
- Outdoor use vinyl can be used for metal business or house signs, or as stickers for a car or van.
- Decorating glass or mirrors, as they adhere to a glass surface well.
- Adhesive vinyl works well to decorate water bottles and lunchboxes.
There is so much you can do with adhesive vinyl, and the great part is that you do not need much equipment to use the vinyl. You also do not need to mirror image the vinyl when printing as you will be sticking it facing up on the project.
Can You Use Oracal Vinyl On Shirts?
If you’re new to vinyl and attempting to sort out what’s what, you may have seen the term Orocal pop up.
Oracal 651 is an adhesive vinyl. It is used to make stickers and decals, and cannot be used in a heat press. It has an adhesive backing that is pressed down onto the surface it is meant to stick to.
As you can probably guess by now, Oracal is not good to use on shirts or fabrics. It may stick to fabric for a while, but it will come off when the fabric is washed or even while the fabric is being worn or used.
However, if you’re looking to use Oracal for other projects, here are some of the pros and cons of using it:
- Good to use on surfaces on which you cannot use a heat press, such as oddly shaped items or glass.
- Can be used outdoors as it is a weatherproof vinyl.
- It is a permanent adhesive vinyl.
- You do not need specialist equipment to apply it.
- It is easy to use so it is suitable for beginners.
- Can’t be used on fabrics. Will peel off if the fabric is washed.
- It takes practice to learn how to cut the vinyl.
What Kinds of Vinyl Are Best For Shirts?
Avoid using adhesive vinyl on shirts, and instead use heat transfer vinyl to ensure that the vinyl sticks to the fabric and has a permanent bond, to not peel off when washed or worn.
Below are the some of our top recommended heat transfer vinyl options to use on T-shirts:
|1.||J&J Packaging Heat Transfer Vinyl Bundle||42 colorful pieces of 12x10"|
|2.||ARHIKY Heat Transfer Vinyl For T-Shirts||12 colorful roles of 12" by 5 feet|
|3.||TransWonder Glitter Heat Transfer Vinyl Rolls||Choice of colored roll of 12" by 5 feet|
You can use these with your heat press machine to make perfect custom or branded T-shirts. Keep reading for more about each of these great heat transfer vinyl options.
1. J&J Packaging Heat Transfer Vinyl Bundle
These heat transfer vinyl sheets are thin, but have excellent dimensional stability, and have very good cutting application characteristics.
As the vinyl is thin, it can be cut with most cutting machines. The backing of the vinyl is white, so it is easy to layer and distinguish the cutting side.
This heat transfer vinyl is easy and safe to use and quick to apply. You need to use a heat press machine to adhere the vinyl to fabric. It is eco-friendly and has good elasticity and softness, which makes it ideal for decorating clothes, and even to be used on children’s fabric.
The vinyl is durable and machine washable and is easy to handle compared to other vinyl. The pack comes with 42 vinyl pieces, measuring 12 x 10″ each. There are 5 black bundles, 5 white bundles, and 30 assorted bright colors.
2. ARHIKY Heat Transfer Vinyl For T-Shirts
These rich and colorful vinyl rolls come in all the colors you could want, and allow you to customize your own pattern with 12 unique colors!
The high-quality vinyl has high elasticity, and will withstand repeated cleaning, and will hold onto its color and flexibility well. This makes it ideal to use on T-shirts, for a permanent bond and color.
Easy to cut and weed, the vinyl backing is sensitive to pressure and temperature and is easy to peel off once the design has been transferred to the fabric surface.
It is a safe and durable vinyl, made from high-quality, environmentally friendly polyurethane, which has wonderful elasticity and softness.
This 12 pack of vinyl rolls, measuring 12″ by 5 feet each, is easy to work with and suitable to use for making shirts for the whole family. The colors included in the set are lemon yellow, red, purple, dark blue, green, silver, black, white, gold, orange, pink, and rose red.
3. TransWonder Glitter Heat Transfer Vinyl Rolls
The TransWonder Glitter iron-on vinyl will take your T-shirts to the next level! It is stronger and more durable than many other heat transfer vinyl brands, and is sparkling and vibrant, with fine glitter to really make your designs stand out.
The biggest advantage of this vinyl is that it will not flake, crack, fade, or peel. It is smooth and soft and holds to fabric even after washing. The cardboard roll also maintains the stretchability of the original vinyl, so it never loses its elasticity.
It is easy to cut with nearly any die-cut machine and makes vinyl applications an absolute breeze. You can transfer the vinyl onto fabric using a heat press machine, or a simple household flat iron.
Available in a range of glittery colors, the TransWonder Glitter Vinyl is an eco-friendly and high-quality material, offering up the best results!
Why is Vinyl Peeling Off My Shirt?
There are a few reasons why vinyl might be peeling off a shirt. The first is that the wrong vinyl was used. Adhesive vinyl is not suitable for fabric, and if it is used on fabric, it will begin to peel after being washed or while the shirt is worn.
Another reason vinyl might peel off is because the pressing time was too long or too short. If there is not enough heat pressing time, the vinyl will not stick properly, and too much time might destroy the bond.
Is Iron-On Vinyl the Same as Heat Transfer Vinyl?
Iron-on vinyl and heat transfer vinyl are the same thing. This type of vinyl needs heat and pressure to adhere to a surface and is best used on fabric. Iron-on vinyl is available in a variety of colors, designs, and finishes.
Do I Need to Wash a Shirt Before Doing Heat Transfer Vinyl?
There is no need to prewash a shirt before placing heat transfer vinyl on it unless it is a used shirt which has gotten dirty. The heat press removes moisture and wrinkles, so washing it before has no other benefit.
Adhesive Vinyl For Shirts
It is not recommended to use adhesive vinyl on shirts and fabric. It might stick for a little while, but after washing and wear, the vinyl will begin to peel off.
For a more permanent design, heat transfer vinyl should be used on fabric and shirts!