Why I Prefer Fabric Ink Over Heat Transfer Material

Why I Prefer Fabric Ink Over Heat Transfer Material

January 25, 2017By Kayla22 Comments
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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22 Comments on "Why I Prefer Fabric Ink Over Heat Transfer Material"

  1. Face
    January 25, 2017 Reply

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

    1. Face
      January 25, 2017 Reply

      Thank you!

  2. Face
    January 25, 2017 Reply

    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!

    1. Face
      January 25, 2017 Reply

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

  3. Face
    January 25, 2017 Reply

    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!

    1. Face
      January 25, 2017 Reply

      Thanks, Glenda. I do have a couple of fabric ink tutorials on here. https://kaylamakes.com/flower-market-tote-bag/ and https://kaylamakes.com/diy-tote-bag-fabric-ink-tutorial/ and https://kaylamakes.com/diy-floral-tote-bag/

      Hopefully those are helpful!

  4. Face
    Kristi Blackwood
    January 25, 2017 Reply

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

    1. Face
      January 25, 2017 Reply

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

  5. Face
    July 12, 2017 Reply

    Can you re-use the stencil?

    1. Face
      July 20, 2017 Reply

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

  6. Face
    July 25, 2017 Reply

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

  7. Face
    August 18, 2017 Reply

    What’s your favorite brand of fabric ink?

  8. Face
    March 21, 2018 Reply

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

    1. Face
      March 21, 2018 Reply

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

  9. Face
    Shirley Ellis
    March 29, 2018 Reply

    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).

  10. Face
    April 12, 2018 Reply

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

  11. Face
    Lori Ham
    September 5, 2018 Reply

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

    1. Face
      September 5, 2018 Reply

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

  12. Face
    October 15, 2018 Reply

    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?

    1. Face
      October 21, 2018 Reply

      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!

  13. Face
    July 8, 2019 Reply

    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.

    1. Face
      July 8, 2019 Reply

      *part of it not “part font” 😄

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