You are currently viewing Printable Vinyl Sticker Sheets VS Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl

Printable Vinyl Sticker Sheets VS Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl

The word “printable vinyl” is often used in the crafting world, but did you know that there are type main types of printable vinyl?

There is printable vinyl sticker sheets -made for creating DIY stickers, and then there is printable heat transfer vinyl (HTV) – made to create custom T-shirts.

What Is Printable Vinyl?

Printable vinyl is a specialized vinyl sheet commonly sized in 8.5″ x 11″ that is designed to be compatible with inkjet or laser printers.

But where people get confused is when they find out there are two main types of printable vinyl.

Two Types Of Printable Vinyl:

  • Printable vinyl sticker sheets (for printing, cutting, and sticking on DIY stickers)
  • Printable heat transfer vinyl, also called iron-on or printable HTV (for making custom printed vinyl graphics on T-shirts or cotton-based apparel 
FeaturePrintable Vinyl StickersPrintable HTV
MediumHard surfacesClothing
Compatible with Cutter?YesYes
Cutting Method:Scissors/Cricut/SilhouetteWeeding/Cricut/Silhouette
Can Print Then Cut?YesYes
Lifespan:5+ years indoors, ~1 year outdoor~30 washes
Can Laminate?YesNo
Mirror Image?NoNo
Need to Seal?Optional (increases durability)No

What Printer Is Best For Printable Vinyl?

Most printable vinyl on the marketing is specifically for inkjet printers.

However there are also options for laser printers, and even some printable vinyl that can accept both!

Inkjet Printers For Printable Vinyl:

Inkjet printer uses water-based ink that is separated into two main categories: dye-based and pigment-based ink.

Dye-based ink is more common and provides vibrant, high quality prints at the cost of water-resistance.

Pigment-based ink is more water-resistant, UV-resistant, and is less likely to run or bleed, but is less common and less vibrant.


Feature:Dye-Based InkPigment Ink
Drying timefastslow

What Side Of Printable Vinyl Do You Print On?

If you examine each side of the printable vinyl you will notice that the printed side tends to be glossy or have a vinyl texture.

Flipping the sheet over you will notice the backing sheet is made of paper and is often not shiny and sometimes marked with a line or different color/logo depending on the brand.

The best way to test which side to print on is to print a normal sheet of paper as a test and note which side goes face up or down depending on your printer.

You can even mark the top side as “top” and the bottom side as “bottom” with a pen or pencil to note which side is printed on during the test.

Once you find out which side is printed on, adjust your printer settings to the printable vinyl type being used (glossy photo paper for glossy/clear printable vinyl, matte paper for matte printable vinyl.

Is All Vinyl Printable?

Not all vinyl is printable – and not all printable vinyl is the same!

Only vinyl that is marked as “printable” on the product packaging is able to be printed on by inkjet or laser printers.

If you are new to printable vinyl, you need to know how to use printable vinyl and it’s basic properties to take full advantage of it to have a good experience. 

How To Use Printable Vinyl

To make your own printable vinyl stickers or printable heat transfer vinyl, follow the basic steps outline below:

  1. Design your sticker using Canva, Word, or inside Cricut’s Print Then Cut feature in Design Space
  2. Set up printer & load printable vinyl
  3. Print your design after adjusting your printer settings.
  4. Cut out design with scissors or a Cricut/Silhouette machine
  5. Peel and stick your vinyl sticker onto the desired surface for printable vinyl sticker sheets, or iron-on or use a heat press 

Leave a Reply