Best Printable Vinyl For Shirts: Reviews, Buying Guide, and FAQs 2023

by Karen Jones

You have two options in front of you when you are tasked with creating designs for shirts or other kinds of fabric.

  • The first thing you can do is take what you need to specialize in doing such things. While this is easy to do, it may not be possible to do in your area, and it is not nearly as cost-effective.
  • The second thing you can do is do it yourself, doing the same thing that embroidery shops do.

This is made possible by way of the best printable vinyl. Utilizing heat transfers, printable vinyl makes it easy to create logos, names, or other visual features for any fabric.

Top Picks: Best Printable Vinyl For Shirts in 2023 by Editors

Top 5 Best Printable Vinyl for Shirts: Reviews in 2023

Best Printable Vinyl for Shirts
Best Printable Vinyl for Shirts

1. 25 Pack 8.5×11 Inch Printable Iron-on Heat Transfer for Dark Fabrics by NuFun Activities

NuFun Activities Inkjet Printable Iron-On Heat Transfer For Dark Fabrics, 8.5 X 11 Inch, (25 Sheets) Make Your Own Custom T-Shirt
NuFun Activities Inkjet Printable Iron-On Heat Transfer For Dark Fabrics, 8.5 X 11 Inch, (25 Sheets) Make Your Own Custom T-Shirt

One of the most significant issues most printable vinyl sheets face is that there are not enough sheets in the pack. Unfortunately, it isn't much you can do when you only get 5 or 10 sheets in a pack. This is especially true if you are tasked with making designs in bulk, such as making uniforms or anything of that nature.

With 25 sheets coming in the pack, you'll have all you need to do whatever you need with NuFun Activities' vinyl sheets. This best printable vinyl makes them perfect if you need to make uniforms or any other situation that requires you to make a lot of the same logos, names, branding, or other visual aspects for fabric.

It is effortless to use NuFun Activities' transfer sheets as well. All you need to do is make the design, print the design, peel it off, place it on the piece of fabric you want to iron the design on, and then physically iron the design. So again, there is the minimal effort needed to do this, and it is not complicated at all.

You will probably struggle using NuFun Activities' transfer sheets on brighter colored fabrics. While it is possible to do this, the paper itself uses pigments that heavily favor dark-colored fabrics. As a result, you'll likely need to find different transfer sheets if you are looking for the best printable vinyl transfer sheets that you can use for brighter fabrics.

2. 20 Pack 8.5×11 Inch Light and Dark T-shirt Transfers for Inkjet Printers by PrintWorks

Printworks Dark T-Shirt Transfers For Inkjet Printers, For Use On Dark And Light/White Fabrics, Photo Quality Prints, 20 Sheets 8 ½
Printworks Dark T-Shirt Transfers For Inkjet Printers, For Use On Dark And Light/White Fabrics, Photo Quality Prints, 20 Sheets 8 ½

Although most vinyl transfer sheets work perfectly with darker colored fabrics, most struggle to create good designs on lighter colored fabrics. This makes a significant issue for anybody who needs to develop strategies for lightly colored fabrics, and there aren't many vinyl transfer sheets that can do this.

One of the best things about Printworks' vinyl transfer sheets is that you can use them on dark and light fabrics. This makes them much more versatile than other vinyl transfer sheets since you can make a design for a dark fabric with one sheet, then turn around and make a design for a light fabric using the same sheet.

You also do not need expert knowledge to apply Printworks' transfer sheets. All you need to do is create the design, print out the design, and then peel it off and iron it onto your fabric. This process takes a short time, less than 10 minutes.

The only thing you might need to watch for with Printworks' transfer sheets is that only 20 sheets come in the pack. While 20 sheets are still plenty to work with, you would be surprised at how many more options you have with the packages that contain 25 or more sheets. Of course, whether this limits you depends on your situation, but it is still something to watch out for.

3. 5 Pack 8.5×11 Inch Heat Transfer Paper for Dark Fabrics by Avery

AVERY Printable Heat Transfer Paper For Dark Fabrics, 8.5' X 11', Inkjet Printer, 5 Iron On Transfers (3279)
AVERY Printable Heat Transfer Paper For Dark Fabrics, 8.5' X 11', Inkjet Printer, 5 Iron On Transfers (3279)

Most fabric transfer paper does not resist washing. While the designs from the paper may come out looking acceptable right after you have applied them, the designs will usually fade as soon as they are washed, which is highly frustrating to deal with.

You will not need to worry about this when using Avery's heat transfer paper. The paper itself is uniquely formulated, never to fade any given fabric, no matter what the design may be. As a result, it is perfect for complicated logos and other kinds of branding that demand much stronger transfer paper.

Unlike most heat transfer sheets like this, Avery's heat transfer paper is not difficult to apply. You can apply it just like any other given transfer sheets by printing the design out, peeling it off, then ironing it on. Of course, you can also use a heat press, but you are not limited to a heat press like other transfer sheets like this.

Only five sheets come in Avery's pack of heat transfer sheets. This makes it less than ideal for creating designs in bulk. If you are interested in doing something like this, you'll need to stock up on them as more best printable vinyl. They also do not work with brighter fabrics at all. You'll need utterly different heat transfer sheets for that.

4. 6 Pack 8.5×11 Inch Printable Heat Transfer Paper for Light Fabrics by Avery

Avery Printable Heat Transfer Paper For Light Fabrics, 8.5' X 11', Inkjet Printer, 6 Iron On Transfers (3271)
Avery Printable Heat Transfer Paper For Light Fabrics, 8.5' X 11', Inkjet Printer, 6 Iron On Transfers (3271)

The majority of transfer paper works for dark fabrics and nothing but dark fabrics. Even though it is possible to create designs on light materials with transfer paper like this, the chances are good that it will not come out the way you want it to. Most of the time, you'll need to acquire different transfer papers for bright fabrics, and this search is frustrating.

Your search for transfer paper that you can use on bright fabrics has ended with Avery's transfer paper. Not only can you transfer designs to colorful fabrics with it, but the designs themselves also will not fade immediately after being washed. This quality is premium with transfer paper, especially transfer paper that you can use on bright fabrics.

Most transfer paper will require you to use a heat press to apply it correctly. Doing this is a complicated process. Fortunately, Avery's bright fabric transfer paper can be applied just like any transfer paper ideal for darker fabrics. This makes it much easier to use and saves a lot of time.

As you might have guessed, Avery's bright fabric transfer paper only works on colorful fabrics. It is impossible to apply it to dark fabrics. Also, only six sheets come in the pack, which means you'll need more if you are tasked with making bulk designs such as making team uniforms and other such things.

5. 10 pack A4 Size Heat Transfer Vinyl Paper by Hutu

Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl Paper Inkjet Printer Iron On HTV For Dark Fabrics Or T-Shirts, A4 Size Pack Of 10
Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl Paper Inkjet Printer Iron On HTV For Dark Fabrics Or T-Shirts, A4 Size Pack Of 10

Nearly all heat transfer vinyl paper follows one size: 8.5×11 inches. This makes it very difficult to create more significant designs, if not impossible. You'll need to use two different sheets to make a more extensive design than 8.5×11, and dealing with this is very frustrating.

Hutu has the solution for you if you deal with this. With their best printable vinyl transfer paper being an A4 size, you'll have a lot more room to create designs than with transfer paper that measures 8.5×11 inches. This best printable vinyl heat transfer paper is also compatible with a lot more printers than you would think since it uses pigment-based ink.

You also have options with Hutu's transfer paper. You can either use a heat press, or you can iron it onto your fabrics of choice. Most transfer paper with an A4 size can only be applied using a heat press, and it is very nice that you have options with this particular transfer paper.

Understandably, you only get ten sheets of transfer paper in Hutu's pack. While this is to be expected because of the slightly bigger size, it is still something you'll need to watch. You should also expect it to fade after washing when you iron it on, which isn't very common in transfer paper for dark fabrics.

Buying Guide for the Best Printable Vinyl for Shirts

Best Printable Vinyl For Shirts
Best Printable Vinyl For Shirts

Heat transfer paper and printable vinyl for shirts and other fabrics are not all the same.

This means you'll need to consider a few things before setting out to acquire a pack.

Do You Need to Make Designs for a Light Fabric or Dark Fabric?

This is the first consideration you should have, and other concerns will revolve around this.

Most printable fabric and transfer sheets are designed for dark fabrics but can also work with light fabric.

The problem with this is that these designs tend to fade when they are applied to light fabric.

Other transfer sheets are specifically designed for light fabrics, and these are what you should seek out if you need to make designs for brighter fabrics.

How Many Designs Do You Need to Make?

There are many reasons why you will need to create designs on fabrics.

Transfer sheets come in different quantities, and because of this, you'll need to consider how many designs you need to make and how many pieces of fabric.

Because best printable vinyl for brighter fabrics tends to come in fewer quantities, you'll also need to accommodate for this.

What Kinds of Designs Do You Need to Make?

What Kinds of Designs Do You Need to Make?
What Kinds of Designs Do You Need to Make?

Most printable vinyl sheets have dimensions measuring 8.5 inches by 11 inches, which is the standard letter size of paper.

While this works well for most designs, there are sometimes where you might need to create more significant designs that this size of the sheet will not satisfy.

There are bigger sheets out there, and you need to know that you may need to stock up if you do need sheets of this size since they usually only come in packs of 5 or so.

How Often Will You Wash and Wear the Fabric That the Design Will Be Applied?

While the best printable vinyl sheet designs tend to last more than a few washes before fading, you might find that specific sheets are better at resisting fading than others.

This is especially true when it comes to packs that contain a lot of sheets.

The designs from sheets like these tend to fade pretty quickly, where packs that do not contain many transfer sheets are usually created with fade resistance in mind.

How to Use Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl ?

There are two ways to apply transfer sheets onto your fabric of choice: You can iron them on or use a heat press.

You'll need to print out the design before performing any of these physically.

Doing this is just like printing anything else: Put the heat transfer sheet into the tray of your printer, use whatever software you need to create the design, then print the design out.

Make sure your printer can print this kind of sheet out before you do this. While most printers can do this, there is a surprising amount that does not.

After your design has been printed on your sheet, you now have the choice to either iron on the creation or use a heat press to press it onto your fabric.

Ironing the design onto the piece of fabric is very easy and does not take too long. It is just like ironing any other part of the fabric.

The only thing you might need to do is slightly increase your iron's heat level; this way, the design is clear and firmly pressed.

Using a heat press takes a little longer because it takes time for the press to heat up properly to affix the design onto the fabric firmly.

However, there is less risk of using a heat press, making your design a little more resistant to fading.

What Is Printable Vinyl and What Can It Be Used For ?

Printable vinyl is a special type of material that can be printed on with an inkjet printer. The printable vinyl is coated with a protective layer (much like standard vinyl) but has some clear areas where the ink can go through to make your design while protecting the rest of the material from being damaged. When printing on this type of vinyl you need to make sure that your ink is completely dry before you go over it again with another color or attempt to put it through a laminator.

FAQs About Printable Vinyl For Shirts

Why use printable vinyl instead of standard vinyl?

One reason may be because the designs can be changed out as often as you like without losing any of the material. With standard vinyl, once you have cut out your design it is there until it has worn away because the ink used to print on the surface has seeped so deep into the material that no amount of washing or scrubbing will ever get it off again.

How do I print on this material?

Unfortunately there is no typical inkjet printer that will work. Printable vinyl requires a special kind of thermal transfer paper, which is coated so that the ink adheres to it and then the image transfers onto the material you are printing on.

What materials can I use printable vinyl on?

You should be careful with what materials you use printable vinyl on because it can be difficult to remove. If you are working with a material that is flimsy or bends easily it may rip when you try to take the cutouts off, so thicker materials work best. Any type of wood, plastic, glass, ceramic, metal, cardboard or other paper products should work well.

What can I use printable vinyl for?

Because you design is actually a part of the material it is printed on, you can use this type of printing for anything whether it's business or personal uses. You could make stencils to paint on your walls, create custom signs, make party decorations and more!

What else do I need to know about printable vinyl?

With just a few exceptions, any inkjet printer will work with printable vinyl as long as you have the right kind of paper. This type of material is very inexpensive and can save you money because it doesn't have to be replaced constantly. Just remember that once you have cut out your designs from the material they are there to stay so you have to be careful about what types of materials you are using your designs on.

What are the drawbacks?

Just like with any material, printing on printable vinyl can sometimes take longer because it has protective coatings that must be removed before you can begin printing. Some machines may not work well or at all with this type of vinyl. When you buy your material be sure to check the manufacturer's website or call them before you make a purchase as some companies offer different types of transfer paper and not all their products work with printable vinyl.

What kind of printer will I need?

Most inkjet printers will work, but those that can use an extra tray specifically for transfer paper work best. It is also a good idea to look into the cost of ink and how much printing you plan to do as that can affect your decision as well.

Is this considered 'green'?

Yes, printable vinyl is considered green because the design only sticks where you put it and it has no toxic effects on the environment. It is also easily recycled and once the material has worn away after many uses it can be recycled again.

How long will printable vinyl last?

Most types of printable vinyl last for about six months to a year before you need to replace them. If you are careful when taking your cutouts off of the material, they can last even longer.

What are the advantages of using printable vinyl compared to regular vinyl?

Printable vinyl is cheaper, faster and requires no special tools so it's much easy to use than regular vinyl. You can also change out your designs as often as you like because once the design has worn away simply reprint it on a new section of material.

What is the best time to use printable vinyl?

You can use your designs year-round and if you have multiple holiday or special occasion themes, you can switch out what's on display whenever you like. Be sure to check with the manufacturer though as some materials don't work for colder temperatures so may not be suitable to use outside in the winter or other very cold climates.

What are some common ways to use printable vinyl?

There are so many different and unique ways to use this type of printing, you can make stencils and paint on your walls or floors, make signs for parties and decorate glassware, metal doors and even walls with ease. The possibilities are endless!

Buy on Etsy, eBay, Walmart (quality guaranteed)

HTVRONT Heat Transfer Paper for T Shirts 20 Sheets, 8.5" X 11" Printable Heat Transfer - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

20 Pieces Printable Heat Transfer Paper Fabric Transfer Paper for Dark and Light Fabrics, - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl Paper Inkjet Printer Iron on HTV for Dark Fabrics or - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

TransOurDream Iron on Heat Transfer Paper for Dark T Shirts (20 Sheets 8.5x11", Dark 3.0) - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Siser EasySubli HTV - Printable Sublimation Heat Transfer Vinyl - 10 Sheets of EasySubli - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay

Cricut Printable Vinyl, White - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

JOYEZA Premium Printable Vinyl Sticker Paper for Inkjet Printer - 25 Sheets Matte White - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay

Printable Heat Transfer Paper HTV for Inkjet Printers Iron-On Dark T-shirt Fabric - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay

Printable HTV Heat Transfer Paper for Inkjet Printers Iron-On Light T-shirt Fabric - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay

Printable Vinyl for Inkjet printer, 20 Sheets Premium Glossy White Waterproof Printable - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay

Printable HTV Heat Transfer Paper for Inkjet Printers Iron-On light T-shirt Fabric - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

12 Sheets A4 Size Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl Paper for Inkjet Printers, Iron-On Dark - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

5 Sheets Printable Heat Transfer Paper for Inkjet Printers Iron-On Dark T-Shirt Fabric - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Inkjet Printable HTV Heart Transfer Vinyl Inkjet Printer Iron on Transfers for Dark - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Conclusion for Buyers Looking for Shirt Printable Vinyl

The next time you need to create t-shirts, resist the temptation to go to an embroidery shop. You can easily do what they do all by yourself by using the best printable vinyl paper.

Doing this is much easier than you think, and it does not take nearly as much time as you feel. If you have access to a printer, an iron, and an ironing board, you can effortlessly create typically any design on any t-shirt.

Take some time to see what kind of transfer paper you need and what kinds of designs you can make with your transfer paper.

About Karen Jones

Karen Jones has always been a writer at heart. As a freelance writer and social media marketing consultant for the last decade, she's honed her skills in crafting catchy and interesting articles that reel in readers. She also enjoys traveling, which is where she gets most of her ideas for her writing. In fact, if you can't find Karen around her friends and family, it's likely because she's holed up in her home office working on refining her writing composition and printing press!

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