Top 6 reasons your HTV just won’t stick

Woman T-Shirt

Are you struggling with why your Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) won’t stick to your material? Did it fall off straight away and shortly afterwards? Diagnosing this problem requires a review of how you went about pressing the HTV. Here are the Top 6 reasons why your HTV came unstuck.


1. The Wrong Material

Your HTV only works with a certain type of fabric and it’s vital to get the right match. Journey Crafts HTV works on 100% cotton, 100% polyester
Poly/cotton blends and acrylics fabrics. Make sure you check the tag on the garment to ensure it is the correct fabric for your HTV. If your trying to press HTV onto something different, you’ll need to find a specialist HTV.

2. Incorrect Temperature

Getting the right temperature and pressure are essential ingredients to a great press. Journey Crafts HTV is best pressed at temperatures between  140°C(284°F) ~ 150°C(302°F). You can’t always trust the temperature gauge on your heat press, so an infra-red thermometer comes in real handy if your want to be accurate. On the flip-side, be careful not to press for too hot for too long as this can burn off the adhesive layer.

3. Incorrect Pressure

The combination of correct temperature and correct pressure allows the adhesive backing to bond with the fabric. We recommend a Medium level of pressure or around 65 pounds (30kg) of pressure.

If you find a press does not work the first time, then try again a bit hotter and with a bit more pressure. You can use a Teflon sheet or some parchment paper to place over the design to prevent any vinyl sticking to the heat press platen.

If your pressing a thick garment (like a hoodie), you might need to get yourself a Teflon pillow to place between the layers. This increases the direct pressure below the design and improves the chances of getting it right. Zip, pockets or folds in the fabric can do the same thing and prevent the heat press from clamping down tight. A Teflon pillow is great investment for the serious crafter.

4. Peeling Off Wrong

You need to check what peel type your HTV is before you being. Cold Peel HTV means you need to wait until the HTV has cooled down, before you remove the clear carrier sheet. Hot Peel HTV means you should peel it off straight away whilst it’s still hot.

Journey Crafts HTV Glitter is Cold Peel and our Colors and Hologram HTV’s are Hot Peel.

5. Protective Coating

Some garments have a protective coating on the fabric to protect it during transit, whilst in the store or from spills. It is recommended to wash garments before pressing any HTV on to it.

6. Too long or too short

Just like temperature and pressure, the timing needs to be correct to ensure the HTV adheres to the fabric. Press around 8-10 seconds for Glitters and 10-12 seconds for normal colors.


The Bottom Line

There are a few variables involved when pressing HTV and it is important to follow the instructions to ensure the best result. A good ‘press’ is a combination of temperature, pressure and time.

If your HTV is not sticking start with:

  • Check the fabric type is correct
  • Ensure the fabric is flat and not too thick. Make sure there are no zips, pockets, folds etc. blocking the heat press. If so, use a pillow (or mouse pad) to prop up the fabric to ensure even pressure.
  • Check the temperature is accurate
  • Double-check the peel type for the HTV – Cold Peel or Hot Peel
  • Give the fabric a wash first
  • Press a little bit longer and a little bit stronger

Happy Crafting!

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