3 Vital Ingredients of Heat Transfers

Applying heat transfers is a lot like baking. If you combine all the ingredients in the suggested amounts, the result is a delicious treat. And for those experienced bakers out there, some might change the recipe a little bit to fit their ideal taste.

The same is true of heat transfer vinyl (HTV). If you use the correct application, the result is a beautifully decorated garment. And just like baking, some prefer to fine-tune the ‘recipe’ to fit their ideal result.

So what are the ingredients to heat transfers? We could go into a long list of different things that can affect the transfer process, but here are the 3 most important factors:

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  1. Time

    In this day and age, time is money. So does that mean you can cut corners on time when pressing your logos? Yes and No. Some vinyls are very resilient and easy to work with so you can change the time +/- 5-10 seconds, and it will still stick to the garment without any problem. However other vinyls are more difficult to work with, so generally, sticking with the recommended time is best.

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  1. Temperature

    This is one ‘ingredient’ that many people think “more is better”. But that isn’t always true. Just like the time setting, you can adjust the temperature for some vinyls without seeing any problems. But here’s the risk you take in making any changes to temp:

    • If the temp is too low, the adhesive won’t soften and stick tightly to the fibers of the garment.
    • Too high of temp, and you risk melting or burning up the adhesive.
    Either way, the result is a transfer that eventually falls off the garment.

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  1. Pressure

    Again, this is another area where “more is NOT always better”.

    • Too little pressure and the adhesive won’t get pressed into the garment. The result is having the vinyl feel like it’s just sitting on top of the garment.
    • Too much pressure and the adhesive could get pressed right through the fibers or squeezed out around the edges.


With any of these variables, if you adjust one, you need to compensate and adjust one or two of the others. (As an example: If you want to save some time and reduce from 20 seconds to 15, increase the temp from 320 to 330). Just remember that as soon as you start deviating from the manufacturer’s recommended instructions, nothing is guaranteed. ALWAYS perform some tests on some scrap garments until you feel good about the results. And it’s never a bad idea to throw those garments in the wash to make sure the vinyl is permanently adhered.

To ensure you get an accurate measurement on all 3 of these ‘ingredients’, invest in a high quality heat press (not a $200 press on online shopping sites). Hotronix Heat Presses are made in the USA and hold to a high standard of quality, support and innovation.

The Hotronix Auto and FusionIQ series heat presses come standard with a digital time, temperature, and pressure display to take the guesswork out of pressing.


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