There are two options that you have 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 simply take what you need to a place that specializes in doing such things.
While this is easy to do, it may not be possible to do in your area and it is obviously 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 printable vinyl.
Utilizing heat transfers, printable vinyl makes it easy to create logos, names, or any other kinds of visual features for any kind of fabric.
Top Picks : 5 Best Printable Vinyl For Shirts
Top 5 Best Printable Vinyl for Shirts
1. 25 pack 8.5×11 inch printable iron-on heat transfer for dark fabrics by NuFun Activities
One of the biggest issues that most printable vinyl sheets face is that there are not enough sheets in the pack. There 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 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 very easy 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 that you want to iron the design on, then physically iron the design on your fabric. There is very little 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. You’ll likely need to find different transfer sheets if you are looking for 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
Although most vinyl transfer sheets work perfectly with darker colored fabrics, most of them struggle to create proper designs on lighter colored fabrics. This obviously creates a significant issue for anybody who needs to create designs 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 both 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 than turn around and make a design for a light fabric using the exact 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, then peel the design off and iron it onto your fabric. This process takes a very 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 is still plenty to work with, you would be surprised at how many more options you have with the packs that contain 25 or more sheets. 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
Most fabric transfer paper does not resist washing. While the designs from the paper may come out looking acceptable right after you have applied it, the designs will usually fade as soon as they are washed and this is extremely 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 to where any given fabric will never fade no matter what the design may be. It is perfect for complicated logos and other kinds of branding that demand much stronger transfer paper.
Different from most heat transfer sheets like this, it is not difficult to apply Avery’s heat transfer paper. You can apply it just like any other given transfer sheets, by printing the design out, peeling the design off, then ironing it on. You can also use a heat press, but you are not limited to a heat press like with other transfer sheets like this.
Only 5 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 more of them. They also do not work with brighter fabrics at all. You’ll need completely different heat transfer sheets for that.
4. 6 pack 8.5×11 inch printable heat transfer paper for light fabrics by Avery
The majority of transfer paper works for dark fabrics and nothing but dark fabrics. Even though it is possible to create designs on light fabrics with transfer paper like this, 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 paper 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 bright fabrics with it, the designs themselves will not fade immediately after being washed. This quality is at a 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 in order to properly apply it. Doing this is a complicated process. Fortunately, Avery’s bright fabric transfer paper can be applied just like any transfer paper that is 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 bright fabrics. It is impossible to apply it to dark fabrics. Also, only 6 sheets come in the pack, which means you’ll need more if you are tasked with making a bulk of designs such as making team uniforms and other such things.
5. 10 pack A4 size heat transfer vinyl paper by Hutu
Nearly all heat transfer vinyl paper follow one size: 8.5×11 inches. This makes it very difficult to create bigger designs, if not impossible. You’ll need to use two different sheets if you need to make a design that is bigger than 8.5×11 and dealing with this is very frustrating.
Hutu has the solution for you if you deal with this. With their 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. It 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 that has 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 10 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 for. 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.
Printable Vinyl for Shirts: A Buying Guide
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 light fabric or dark fabric?
This is the first consideration you should have and other considerations 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.
There are other transfer sheets that 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 on how many pieces of fabric.
Because printable vinyl for brighter fabrics tend to come in fewer quantities, you’ll also need to accommodate for this
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 bigger designs that this size of 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 to?
While the designs from most printable vinyl sheets tend to last more than a few washes before fading, you might find that certain 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 a lot of 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 you can use a heat press.
You’ll need to physically print out the design before performing any of these.
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 actually print this kind of sheet out before you do this. While most printers can do this, there are a surprising amount that do not.
After your design has been printed on your sheet, you now have the choice to either iron on the design 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 piece of fabric.
The only thing you might need to do is slightly increase the heat levels of your iron, 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 to a proper level to firmly affix the design onto the fabric.
However, there is less risk involved in using a heat press and it makes your design a little more resistant to fading.
The next time you need to create designs for t-shirts, resist the temptation to go to an embroidery shop.
You can easily do what they do all by yourself by using printable vinyl paper.
Doing this is much easier than you think and it does not take nearly as much time as you think.
If you have access to a printer, an iron, and an ironing board, you can create nearly any design on any t-shirt effortlessly.
Take some time to see what kind of transfer paper you need and what kinds of designs you can make with your transfer paper.