How to use HTV on canvas, wood, leather, terry cloth or polyester

How to use HTV on canvas, wood, leather, terry cloth or polyester

In the beginning that I got to know HTV, I thought this was only something for clothing, but I was clearly wrong. You can apply heat transfer vinyl to so much more than just fabric. Let’s look at that together. I started to figure out how to use HTV on canvas, wood, polyester, leather and even on a towel. If you read this blog post all the way through, then at the end I have 10 extra tips for you on how to apply HTV on top of each other.

If you are not yet completely familiar with what HTV is, what types there are and what you should pay attention to when you buy, then it’s best to first read the blog post on What is HTV? 


If you want to print a text on a wooden surface, HTV is certainly worth considering. You don’t have to mess with transfer tape, because heat transfer vinyl is already on a carrier. You can transfer the text to wood by simply ironing the HTV text onto the wood. It adheres wonderfully. I also like that HTV is less shiny than regular vinyl and it also looks more natural when there are grooves in the wood. That way, it looks like a hand-painted wooden wall decoration with text. Or why not make these nice little blocks like smileys 😉

Flexfolie op hout bedrukken


You can create stunning creative pieces of art by pressing HTV on wood. The best wood on which you can apply heat transfer vinyl is (balsa) plywood, pine, scaffolding wood or ayous wood.

Balsa wood is versatile, environmentally friendly and very light. Ideal for plates and accessories and even small furniture!

It seems that if you try to carry out a project on very smooth wood, it is best to first treat the surface with water-based stain, paint or parquet lacquer to give the vinyl a hold.

For a more permanent solution, it is recommended to spray a protective epoxy or polycrylic topcoat to ensure that your vinly sticks well to the wood.

The steps to apply HTV to wood are the same as for any other materials. 

How to use HTV on canvas


Just as you can transfer text onto wood, you can also print your own text on canvas with HTV. I will explain below how this works. More information and useful tips I have bundled for you. you will find in a separate blog post more about HTV cutting, peeling and pressing. Certainly worth checking out. It’s going to make your life so much easier.

An important difference between printing on canvas and an item of clothing is filling up the back of the canvas so it get’s enough support. This must be filled, otherwise we cannot give enough pressure to press. There are special Teflon pillows, but you can also fold a towel or a t-shirt to fill that empty space.


  • Before applying your design to the canvas, mark the center with a pencil. Also determine the center of your design by folding it in 2 with the non-sticky sides facing each other.
  • Cut a piece of baking paper and heat your iron to the warmest setting.
  • Position your design on the canvas, put the baking paper over it and give it a firm pressure for 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Give the backing a few moments to cool down and then remove it.
  • Repeat this process for each color.
  • Applying HTV to a canvas is very fun to do and you can also make a very original gift for someone special. The prettiest htv to print on canvas, I think is the glitter foil. In the photo above, I used a nice quote from Libelle.


Did you know that you could also press HTV on leather? Really! This technique is a nice way to personalize leather gifts, such as a wallet, leather writing folder, iphone or ipad cover or bag. If you would like to print such a nice gadget yourself, then certainly read on. I will tell you everything you need to know to use HTV on leather.

What you will need :
  • heat transfer vinyl
  • Iron
  • weeding tool
  • Silhouette Cameo, Cricut or other cutter
  • Protective coversheet or baking paper
  • Your own design or use one of mine for free (not for commercial use)


  • First create your design with the software (in my blog post and video “I explain in more detail) 
  • Then you mirror your design
  • Cut your design with the cutter
  • Then peel the design by using the weeding tool
  • Once your work has been peeled, position it with the adhesive side down. This way your drawing is again with the good side up
  • Use your iron on the cotton setting and switch off the steam (it is best to use an iron without steam as water can stain and damage the leather surface)
  • Take your ironing cloth or baking paper to lay on your design and press it for 10-15 seconds (be careful not to move and only move)
  • Now pull the translucent side of the foil and you’re done!


One of my salsa friends asked me to press a text and names in HTV on a towel with clip. This way everyone had their own personalized towel they could use while going dancing…

The most important thing here is that the towel must be made of 100% cotton and that we use HTV where we can apply a low temperature and which nevertheless adheres well.

The process of applying HTV to a towel or terry cloth is similar to that of other items. I made sure that I first pressed a little beforehand so that moisture and creases were removed. Then I applied my design and printed it at 160 ° C. for 15 to 20 seconds. This HTV is a warm peel. So the backing becomes removable while it’s still warm.

Flexfolie op Handdoek


When it comes to polyester printing, there are apparently a number of things that we have to take into account. This fabric seems less suitable for printing than, for example, cotton. It is easier to press a cotton shirt with HTV than, for example, to print a polyester shirt. But I certainly did not let myself be intimidated and so I tried to apply this film to polyester. These are my findings.

Tips regarding temperature:

You want to apply HTV, so you need heat to make the glue on the HTV adhere to the fabric. The problem with this, however, is that some more delicate fabrics are sensitive to high temperatures. Your fabric can get burned and even melt. So my advice here is to use a heat press if possible. You can control the temperature better with a heat press. Because to print polyester, your temperature must not be too hot. At least less than 150 ° C. If you have a label in a garment, follow the information on the label. Not all polyester is equally sensitive, but of course you don’t want to take any risks, so try testing. If you want to print multiple polyester shirts with HTV, consider using one as a test. Or see if it is possible to obtain a sample of the fabric and then start with the lowest possible temperature (135 ° C) and press a small piece of the fabric. If it does not burn, set the temperature 5° C higher and try again to see what temperature you can use before it scorches.

Tips regarding pressure:

The pressure you give during a press is also important. You need heat and pressure to make HTV adhere correctly.

If you work with a lower temperature, you must increase the pressing time.

But too much of either can damage your fabric. So also experiment with the pressure. Start with a light pressure. Too high pressure can result in a glossy print that will only get worse if you try to remove it.

Normally you press for 15 to 20 seconds and now you press 25 to 30 seconds. Be sure to also use a protective cloth during pressing.

Protection tips:

Another issue to take into account is the ironing cloth. This is used during the application of heat to your transfer and helps to ensure that your fabric does not scorch or melt. It helps to protect your garment.

However, this ironing cloth can now prevent the transfer to be carried out correctly. It is possible that the fabric does not allow sufficient heat to pass through to do its job. The result: the HTV doesn’t adhere to the polyester.

Fortunately, there is a variety of thicknesses that you can choose from. Best to also try a few of them.

Thin protection generally works best with polyester t-shirts. They will still protect the garment from damage, but they will not prevent the transfer from being successfully applied.

Some people place a layer of thin fabric over the garment that they are going to print on and then that acts as a protection. This can work, but finding the exact thickness you need can be incredibly difficult.

Another complication: polyester t-shirts with a lot of color

Problems caused by the sprouting of colors can occur on different types of material, but it is primarily a problem with polyester. It is most common on substances for which a large amount of colorant has been added during production. My tip is to wash the garment first.

The biggest problems are usually with sublimated substances. One way to see if this risk exists, is to look at both sides of the fabric. For example, a t-shirt is more at risk if the inside is completely colored and the outside is provided with a pattern.

Source: heatpresshangout

The good news:

Special types of HTV have been developed for this type of material. You must therefore pay close attention when purchasing heat transfer vinyl. I have listed a few tips for you that can be useful and that can save money. So that you do not’t make a bad decision while purchasing HTV.

Conclusion: Use the right type HTV 

The success of polyester printing with HTV mainly depends on the type you use. There are many different types of HTV, but not all of them are suitable for working with polyester.

Again, this largely comes down to the temperature at which the transfer must work. As we have already seen, polyester usually requires lower temperatures than other materials.

That is why the best vinyls for polyester are the ones that are designed to work well at lower temperatures. They ensure that the transfer stays in place without causing damage to the garment.


  1. When you have cut out an image with your cutting machine, use your scissors to cut as close to the edge of the drawing as possible. First: that saves you on material. Secondly: that gives you the possibility to place several pieces of your design under or next to each other at the same time. And third: this way you avoid the risk that the transparent liner will leave a mark on your other layers of htv
  2. Check whether you use the right material for printing: cotton, polyester, nylon or a mix of these
  3. When using your new material for the first time: do a test
  4. Check whether the temperature of your iron is correct (cotton or linen position or the hottest position that your material can tolerate) or the temperature of the heat press
  5. You can use HTV over one another. You only have to take your times into account. Each layer may only be pressed for a few seconds. That is because the htv can shrink a bit and then your design will no longer fit together! Moreover, your bottom layer would overheat if you gave each layer the full pressing time.
  6. Also note: You can squeeze more colors flex over each other but you cannot apply each htv material over another (so you cannot HTV or flocked foil on top of glitter htv)
  7. By pre-pressing your garment for a few seconds (3 to 5 “), you ensure that the moisture and any creases have disappeared
  8. Always use protection (an ironing cloth or baking paper) when pressing multiple layers. This way you protect your iron or the top plate of your heat press as well as your garment and the htv itself. When pressing HTV, tiny pieces may remain unnoticed on the heat plate, which will then end up on your garment at your next press turn. So my tip: keep everything clean by using protection.
  9. You can postpress your work for 3 to 5 seconds
  10. HTV must sit, rest and cure at least for 24 hours. So it is not advisable to wash it before that time.


So you see, there are so many more options for printing with HTV than just printing a nice glitter shirt. Let your inspiration run free and try one of the options above. Don’t forget to share your creation in the comments below so that you can inspire others too! And as always, if you still have questions, you can always ask them below.