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fabric-ink-diy-heat transfer material

Why I Prefer Fabric Ink Over Heat Transfer Material

Fabric Ink vs Heat Transfer Material

Why I prefer fabric ink over heat transfer material.


I know, I know. I am definitely in the minority here. I just DO NOT LIKE heat transfer vinyl. I have tried all brands, all types (smooth, flocked, glitter) and I have yet to find one that really gives the look and feel of a quality made item. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great product, it’s just not for me.

Fabric Ink is a whole different story, I love it. I hoard it because I love it so much. Let me tell you why.

Why I prefer fabric ink over heat transfer material:

(1) It’s forgiving.

If you make a mistake in the middle of your project you can just wash it off and start over. The ink doesn’t fully set until you apply heat so until then you can wash and redo to your hearts content.


Believe it or not this bag originally had black dots.

(2) It melds with the fabric.

I hate the way that heat transfer material sits on top of fabric. It’s bulky, and God forbid you have to layer more then one color because then it just gets ugly. Plus, you run the risk of melting your last application if you leave the press down for to long. It shouldn’t be that complicated.

Fabric ink on the other hand, is easy to layer and blends right into the fabric with no bulkiness!



You just can’t get the same results with HTV.


(3) When you wash it, the quality doesn’t change.

Lets face it, even if you carefully follow all washing instructions, heat transfer material just doesn’t hold up well. Eventually it begins to peel, wrinkle or simply washes right off the first time. Fabric ink is much more durable. I have shirts and tote bags that have been through the wash countless times yet look as though they were just created.




(4) It’s affordable.

You guys, fabric ink is $4.99/bottle. That is far more affordable then HTV which will cost you $16.99/roll. Plus, a little goes a long way. I have been using the same bottle of black fabric ink for over a year now and I have created 20-25 projects with it. The inks are richly pigmented so literally, a dab’ll do ya. 



'Merica prefers Fabric Ink.

‘Merica prefers Fabric Ink.

So thats the gist of it. In my opinion fabric ink is just better! What do you think? Leave me a comment below and tell me why you prefer one over the other!


Happy Crafting!


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  • January 25, 2017 at 11:47 am

    I haven’t tried the fabric ink yet but now I want to! Your projects are so colorful!

    • January 25, 2017 at 5:01 pm

      Thank you!

  • January 25, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    It’s cheaper than that if you buy acrylic craft paint from Michael’s and mix it with fabric medium. I’m with you, on the whole—I do like the super-sparkliness of the glitter HTV but paint feels a lot nicer. I did a project recently where I used both, and I’m sure the detailed part of my design wouldn’t have stuck on very well with HTV. But transferring the stencil from my machine to the fabric was a bit of a challenge!

    • January 25, 2017 at 5:00 pm

      Why have I never thought to do that!? Does it hold up well with washing?

  • January 25, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    I’ve haven’t tried fabric ink either. And I’ve not had good luck with heat applied vinyl and finally just gave up due to peeling issues. Do you have a tutorial on how to use fabric ink? I’d love to see one! Thanks for the post. Beautiful projects!

  • January 25, 2017 at 1:16 pm
    Kristi Blackwood

    I also like the fact that fabric ink changes the feel and drape of the fabric much less than heat transfer vinyl.

    • January 25, 2017 at 5:07 pm

      I agree. No stiffness occurs when you use fabric ink! I am so glad I’m not alone. 🙂

  • July 12, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    Can you re-use the stencil?

    • July 20, 2017 at 12:15 pm

      You can if you’re really careful when you remove it!

  • July 25, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    It takes some time to use paint instead of just vinyl , however I love the process of painting the fabric.

  • August 18, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    What’s your favorite brand of fabric ink?

  • March 21, 2018 at 3:28 am

    Do you have a file for the SVG for the ‘Merica shirt?? I would LOVE to make one like it!!

    • March 21, 2018 at 11:42 am

      I snagged it from google! It’s a free download somewhere!

  • March 29, 2018 at 12:02 am
    Shirley Ellis

    I, too have thought I like the idea of paint. Didn’t think about investing in fabric ink. I’m sure that’s even better.
    My question for a project I want to do right now (with my brand newly delivered Cameo 3) is the horse head with bandanna. I’m wondering if it will look okay to do the black lines of the horse head with paint; and then HTV glitter for the bandanna?? (Hate to ruin the shirt).

  • April 12, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    How do you apply your fabric paint? With brush or like screen printing with squeegee? ?

  • September 5, 2018 at 2:59 am
    Lori Ham

    I want to know with does silhouette have glitter paint or is there a brand that has glitter that you recommend?

    • September 5, 2018 at 3:35 pm

      Silhouette doesn’t have a glitter paint, are you looking to make shirts with a glitter paint?

  • October 15, 2018 at 2:15 am

    Love the idea of using fabric paint over HTV for some halloween costumes. Would white fabric paint show up on a black fabric? Also what brand of fabric paint do you prefer?

    • October 21, 2018 at 11:31 pm

      Hey! I havent tried white on black so I’m not sure how well it would show up! So far the only brand I’ve tried is Silhoutte’s brand. It works well!

  • July 8, 2019 at 11:36 pm

    I want to do a project that would look awesome with part font done in glitter. Is there a good glitter fabric paint that you know of?

    Also, I’ve made a skeleton shirt for Halloween with a black shirt and white fabric paint. Totally doable! It will just take longer. Best to do 2-3 coats and allow to dry in between coats.

    • July 8, 2019 at 11:37 pm

      *part of it not “part font” 😄

  • July 16, 2020 at 2:08 pm

    Hello! I was wondering if you use a screen ever. If not, why? Thanks!

  • April 19, 2021 at 8:19 pm

    Do you prefer vinyl or freezer paper to create the stencil?

    • May 5, 2021 at 8:42 am

      I haven’t tried the freezer paper method but people seem to get great results using it!



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