What is Vinyl Printing Paper On T-Shirts: Step to Step Guide

Shinier and brighter than sublimation, “Vinyl Printing” is becoming the talk of the town among the t-shirt and apparel printing business.

In case if you’ve heard the term vinyl prints and wonder what is vinyl printing, here’s the simplest answer:

“It’s the type of printing that uses vinyl transfer paper to embed a design on different substrates using a heat press machine. Unlike sublimation, It works on various colors when you want to print on garments.”

But, does it satisfy your cognition? Absolutely not!

We are going to explain vinyl printing in detail. Plus, the good news is that we’ll guide you on how to get started with this type of printing in a step-by-step process.

Let’s cut right to the chase, without any further ado:

What is Vinyl Printing

To understand this type of printing, you first need the know-how of what vinyl actually is. Vinyl is a plastic material usually synthetic material which is handmade by industry experts after the chemical reaction of ethylene with chlorine.

Talking of vinyl paper, it has gummy properties, which means, you can stick the designs present on the vinyl paper on the walls, on glass, or on other substrates by simply peeling off the backend. Vinyl Printing is mostly used in making large posters, advertisements for billboards, Pena Flex, and business cards.

What is Vinyl Printing

However, recently this printing method has been utilized to get beautiful and shiny results on t-shirts and other types of apparel as well. What happens in a “T-shirt Vinyl Printing” is that you take vinyl paper, use a printer to transfer a design or artwork on it, then embed the design from this paper to apparel using a heat press machine.

That said, the results of vinyl printing will surely surprise you. Compared to sublimation, vinyl printing could be done in multiple colors. The cherry on top is that the results of vinyl printing are more detailed, highly contrastive, bright, and shiny at the same time.

This kind of printing works best, especially when you have to imprint small logos on t-shirts or hoodies, etc. That was all about what vinyl printing actually is!

Now, let us show you how you can imprint beautiful designs on shirts and hoodies using vinyl printing. Take a look:

What is Vinyl Printing Used For?

As we mentioned above, vinyl printing is durable and can withstand harsh outdoor conditions. Polymeric vinyl tends to use outdoors having the age of 5 to 7 years. I always use Vinyl sheets for making outdoor Decals.

How to Get Started with Vinyl Printing?

To get started with vinyl printing, you will need some necessary equipment first.

That would include;

Steps to follow for HTV (Heat Transfer Vinyl)

Step 1: Pick and Edit a Borderless Design

Pick an artwork or a specific logo without any borders and edit it using Photoshop or any other photo editing software you like.

Make sure that you save the design in high resolution and in PNG format so that it’s borderless. After saving the design on the computer, simply transfer it to the printer you have using USB, wireless connectivity, or Ethernet cable.

Step 2: Use Vinyl Transfer Paper for Imprinting

Adjust vinyl paper in your printer’s paper tray and get started with printing the logo or the design on the paper.

Wait for the printer to properly imprint the artwork on the transfer paper.

Yet again, ensure that the design imprinted on paper is borderless, so as to avoid any problems.

Step 3: Set your Cricut cutter

Cut your design with Cricut

Step 4: Set Your Heat Press Machine

Place the shirt on the heat press machine carefully and fix the printed vinyl paper on it according to your preferences. You can use heat-resistant tape to properly fix the artwork so that it does not move while you apply heat press on it.

Steps to follow for HTV

After fixing the shirt on the heat press, adjust its temperature and timer settings as follows:

  • Temperature: 180°C or 356°F
  • Timer: 15 to 20 seconds.

Step 5: Apply the Heat Press

After setting the temperature and timer settings, simply apply the heat press and wait for it to complete the printing task. Don’t touch the imprinted logo as soon as the task is finished because the paper is extremely hot at that time.

Step 6: Peel Off the Paper

Simply peel the paper carefully and ta-da! You have finally embedded a vinyl design on a t-shirt with ease and convenience.

How to Make Vinyl Prints Last Longer than Expected?

Compared to sublimation, heat transfer vinyl printing brings improved results, and that too on a dark and faded substrate.

However, the longevity is not as good as that of sublimated prints.

To make sure that vinyl prints last longer on apparel, follow these guidelines:

  • Wash the shirts or hoodies inside out to make sure that the print lasts longer and does not fade easily.
  • Use cold or mild water to wash the clothes!
  • Avoid machine washing at all costs.
  • Do not dry the garments through a dryer. Hang them in the open air and let them dry naturally.

Apply all these practices and you will maintain the shine as well as the brightness of the imprinted vinyl logos on the garments.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Is vinyl printing good?

In the debate of vinyl printing vs sublimation, one could say that vinyl designs are shiny, bright, and compatible with faded and dark-colored garments at the same time. While doing the comparison of vinyl printing vs screen printing, vinyl printing is much better for short-term projects meanwhile screen printing is ideal for a large printing task. (Usually 100 to 150 shirts at once)

All in all, vinyl printing is a perfect option if you want to get highly contrasting and detailed results with fade-resistant properties.

2. Can printers print vinyl?

Any standard Inkjet printer is capable of printing vinyl as far as you use a special VINYL TRANSFER paper for the imprinting job. You can get blank vinyl papers on multiple marketplaces including Amazon and Etsy.

3. What is vinyl printing on t-shirts?

Vinyl printing on t-shirts is when you use a portable vinyl sticker (vinyl paper with logo imprinted on it) and embed it on a t-shirt using a heat press machine. The process works in two steps, i.e.

1) Imprinting artwork on transfer paper using a printer.

2) Use a heat press to embed that artwork onto a t-shirt.

Final Takeaways: What is Vinyl Printing?

Vinyl printing utilizes vinyl paper to transfer the designs onto different substrates that could include t-shirts, hoodies, sweaters, etc.

The method resembles sublimation to a certain extent. However, the result it yields is simply stupendous.

Let us know what was your first experience with vinyl printing and how it was compared to other printing methods including sublimation and screen printing.

Good Luck!!


  • Hello, artists and crafters. Welcome to Our State Of the Art! I am Leo O'Neal. I'm confessing that I am an artist and printing enthusiast. I've been working with my dad in the printing business since my childhood. After spending my whole childhood in the arts, I can easily write and review art, craft, and printing products including sublimation printers, sticker printers, Cricut, vinyl projects. cardstock, Art prints, and many more. From printing t-shirts to tattooing, you'll love the in-depth reviews and how-to tutorials on our blog.