How to Apply Heat Transfer Vinyl with Heat Press

Apply Heat Transfer Vinyl with Heat PressHTV (heat transfer vinyl) is the epicenter of your heat press business.

That takes in the designs to sit on top of fabrics.

While there are many other transfer papers available to add to your inventory, HTV would always top the list.

And that is the reason we see the abundance of designs backed exclusively by HTV.

It is common, inexpensive, and brings lasting results but the prime factor of its boom is commonality.

And that is the same reason why it does not feel any hardship in how to apply heat transfer vinyl with a heat press.

But of course, there have to be some best practices to cater for when applying HTV with a heat press machine for optimum results.

How to Apply Heat Transfer Vinyl with Heat Press

Be it your home-based projects or commercial; you are gonna rock both ends by providing the best designs while retaining high-end quality.

And when it comes to heat press with high-end quality, there are set roles to follow at the time of pressing HTV.

Let’s take a shirt as an example to heat press HTV.

Step #1: Pre-Heat the Heat Press Machine

Turn on the heat press machine and set its temperature at 380F to heat press HTV on a cotton shirt.

Step #2: Find Your Lovely Cotton Shirt

Starting with the heat press task, we first have to get a shirt primarily made with cotton.

Get a plain one (with no design on) and set it over the heat platen clearing all the creases.

Step #3: Set HTV on the Shirt

Get your design embossed on HTV and set it over a shirt with the top of the design facing upward.

Step #4: Apply Protection

The HTV and fabric can take on a specific degree of heat but we do not want any burning marks around.

Plus, the heat pressing directly on HTV can burn it and stick to the heat platen.

To better deal with the situation, lay the Teflon sheet over HTV and substrate before lowering the heat platen.

This Teflon sheet can be used multiple times and is super good against high temperatures.

That will hardly burn but when it does, this would ultimately be caused by really high temperature and nothing else.

Step #5: Adjust the Pressure

The level of pressure cannot be kept the same all the time, and it depends on how thick and thin the substrates that go through the heat press’ process.

So, what pressure worked for a jacket, will not work with a cotton shirt. Tighten up the pressure knob and see if the pressure is adequate to run the heat press process.

But yeah, how come the pressure could be tested when it is ready to do the job?

Well, that is entirely possible — bring a dollar bill or a piece of paper and try to insert it from all the sides and over the Teflon sheet.

If the dollar bill or piece of paper goes into the platens and see if it does not get entered.

And if it slides down without stopping, then you have to lower the pressure some more until the dollar bill does not enter any further.

Take note that the better the pressure, the better you would have the press result!

Step #6: Apply Heat

Applying heat means applying the heat for a certain period.

Once you have everything in place, lower the press handle and select the press time.

The ideal time to run a heat press over HTV and cotton is 10 to 15 seconds, so select the specified seconds from the panel,

Stay close to the machine, wait for the timer to complete, and open the lid.

Step #7: Final Steps!

You have the lid open after the completion of the heat press process, let the shirt be there for some time to cool off.

Then take it out, peel the wrapping of HTV and you have the great design imprinted on the cotton shirt making it remarkable!

Bonus Tip:  Re-run the Heat Press

You have the upper wrap peeled from the HTV, how about taking it through a 2-seconds round from a heat press machine at the same temperature?

With this, the HTV will retain the glossy finish, but it has nothing to do with the imprint. Just for the sake of bringing the shiny effect to the design.

Safety Protocols to Adhere When Applying HTV with Heat Press

    • Do not overshoot: Keep temperature and press time under the recommended levels
    • Use Teflon sheet every time
    • Remove all the creases from the substrate
    • Do not peel the upper wrap from the HTV right after completing the press
    • Keep the pressure checked and intact


How to apply heat transfer vinyl with heat press should not be a complicated process.

And for this reason, it is widely used around the world and has one set of formulas to always stick to.

So, keep up with the aforementioned process and do the fabulous work along with the projects!