Heat Transfer Vinyl: What to Use When

By Dave Harding, Customer Service Representative at STAHLS’

Are you new to the heat pressing business and not sure where to start? Are you a heat press veteran but overwhelmed by all the material options? Don’t worry, Stahls’ has you covered. We released a Heat Transfer Vinyl Reference Guide that showcasing CAD-CUT heat transfer vinyl, available colors, pricing, and heat application instructions. But, that leaves you with an important question, when should you use each type of vinyl?

We will explain the attributes of each Cad-Cut heat transfer vinyl and the best choices for use below in three categories:
1. Most Popular
2. Special Effect
3. Reflective

Most Popular CAD-CUT Heat Transfer Vinyl

STAHLS’ tried and true, the old reliable. Thermo-FILM is a foundational heat transfer vinyl for any business. It is best suited for polyester sports apparel. The vinyl is abrasion resistant, making it the #1 choice for full contact sports. Thermo-FILM will also inhibit dye migration, keeping your vinyl color vibrant throughout the season and multiple wash cycles.

Premium Plus®
When you see Premium Plus, think performance wear. This vinyl applies at a low temperature of 280 degrees to prevent scorching of heat sensitive polyester, Lycra, and spandex blends. Premium Plus has the highest stretch and rebound of any of our materials, making it the best choice to move with garments such as dri-fits, yoga pants, sports bras, and compression shirts. The material is also our thinnest vinyl, giving it the softest hand after heat application.

Fashion is in the name, it’s the best choice for fashion apparel. It’s thin, lightweight, and available in a wide array of color options, including electric foil-like finishes. Fashion-FILM will be your go-to heat transfer vinyl for cotton T-shirts or hoodies. It’s also the best choice for fine detailed designs.

Silicone Dye-Block™
This heat transfer vinyl has the dye blocking power of silicone, even on sublimated polyester garments. If you are concerned with any bleeding from your garments, Silicone Dye Block is your best choice. It has a nice stretch and rebound, making it great for athletic garments. Silicone has a grip-like texture and is highly durable.

Special Effect CAD-CUT® Heat Transfer Vinyl

Glitter Flake™
If you’re looking to add a little dazzle and bling to your decoration, Glitter Flake is where you’ll start. The material is our most popular special effect heat transfer vinyl. It’s great for spirit wear, cheerleading, gymnastics, or anything you want to stand out on your garments.

CAD-CUT® Patterns
This material provides you the option to cut multi-color graphics without using a print/cut machine. You can customize your heat transfer vinyl roll with stock patterns or choose your own color combinations. The rolls are digitally printed in full color with the pattern of your choice and sent to you to cut in house. Patterns are a great option to provide full color decoration without having to invest in any equipment other than your vinyl cutter and heat press.

CAD-CUT® Adhesive & Heat Transfer Foil
This is a two-step decoration method resulting in the truest foil finish. The adhesive will be cut on your vinyl cutter and applied to the garment first. Then you’ll apply a sheet of foil slightly larger than your cut adhesive design. For a distressed foil finish, crinkle the foil sheet before applying to the adhesive.

Flock II
Flock has a fuzzy, velvet like texture with high density fibers. Flock will provide a soft specialty feel with a vintage style. It’s great for a throw-back look or for garments you want to mimic a fabric feel such as sweatshirts and hoodies. It’s also an alternative to embroidery.

Hologram has a smooth, prism like finish the creates a rainbow effect. The vinyl color shifts as the garment moves and light hits from different angles. This is a great choice for youth garments and parties or events.

Chroma Bling
This is an eye-catching, iridescent special effect vinyl. Depending on the garment color and lighting, the vinyl color shifts to create a shiny metallic finish with hints of sparkle and reflection. Because the material is semi-transparent, it will take on some of the garment color underneath. Chroma Bling is unique and can vary in look based on what it’s applied to. It’s also great choice for birthday parties and children’s garments.

Our glow-in-the-dark option for heat decorating. The vinyl will appear white but emits a green glow when lights are off. The glowing ability is charged with regular light, so if the garment is being worn during the day it will have no problem glowing at night. Of course, a great choice during the Halloween season, Glow can also be used for kids or artwork that you’d like to see the glow effect.

Reflective CAD-CUT® Heat Transfer Vinyl

Hi-Vis Color Reflect
The reflective trend is growing with performance wear for runners, cycling clubs, or anyone that wants to stand out with their garments. Hi-Vis is a reflective option outside of your standard silver. Available in 9 different reflective color options, allowing you to decorate apparel for fashion, streetwear, and sportswear. The retroreflectivity is 300 candlelight power.

3M™ Scotchlite™ 5807
Silver reflective heat transfer vinyl designed for EMS, Police, Fire Fighters, or Construction Workers that require high visibility. This product also meets ANSI requirements, so if your customer requires safety certifications, 3M will be your best choice. The retroreflectivity is 500 candlelight power.

Reflective II
This heat transfer vinyl is the STAHLS’ brand of silver reflective. It’s an excellent choice for added visibility to garments with a lower application temperature for heat sensitive items. The retroreflectivity is very close to the 3M™ coming in at 495 candlelight power, but the material does not meet the same safety compliance requirements. Reflective II is a more economical option for silver reflective if you do not require the ANSI certification.

Download this chart to have a handy one page reference of each of these types of heat transfer vinyl for your reference. Download now.

Don’t miss any chance to wow your customers or meet their requests. Now that you’re powered with the knowledge of all our CAD-CUT® heat transfer vinyl types, you can be the expert for your customers and even provide suggestions for their needs.  Download a copy of the CAD-CUT® Heat Transfer Vinyl Reference Guide and order swatches of each material to have on hand as a resource for both you and your customers!

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