Difference between Adhesive Vinyl and Heat Transfer Vinyl
By Rebecca Rodriguez - January 17, 2023

Vinyl is classified into two types: adhesive vinyl and heat transfer vinyl. There are several sorts and styles within each of those two broader groups. However, before delving into these subcategories, it is critical to grasp the distinction between these two forms of craft vinyl.

Chart Summary
  1. It does not require equipment to be applied
Requires equipment to be applied
  1. Works on soft, smooth, and fragile surfaces
Works on a hardy surface
Craftsmen are using silicone adhesives

Getty images/ Moment/noprati somchit


Adhesive vinyl is a thin, flexible, self-adhesive substance commonly used to make wall and window decorations and commercial signs. It is both robust and waterproof, making it quite versatile. Adhesive vinyl comes in various finishes, including glossy, matte, glitter, patterned, and metallic. However, there are two kinds of sticky vinyl: removable and permanent.

Heat transfer vinyl, or HTV for short, is a specialty vinyl polymer that may produce graphics and promotional items on specific textiles and materials. It comes in the shape of a roll or sheet with an adhesive backing that allows it to be cut, weeded, and put on a substrate for heat treatment. Heat transfer vinyl is available in single colors and patterned, glitter, flocked, holographic, glow-in-the-dark, reflective, and 3D puff possibilities. Heat transfer vinyl is available in single colors, specialized choices, full-color pattern options, and a printable version that requires solvent ink and a solvent printer.

Adhesive Vinyl vs. HTV

Adhesive vinyl comes in various colors and finishes, but it always has a paper backing and is sticky when the backing is removed. In contrast, Heat Transfer Vinyl does not have a paper backing. Instead, a transparent plastic carrier sheet covers the top of the vinyl in HTV. The opposite side of the vinyl has the adhesive (it is not sticky or tacky to the touch), and this is the side you will cut on.
Traditionally, heat transfer vinyl is applied to textile items. Because of how the vinyl is used, it must be utilized on materials that can withstand the heat and pressure nece