The Key Differences Between HTV and DTF

Personalizing garments, such as custom t-shirts, hats, and canvas bags, are growing in popularity. Custom Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) and Custom DTF are two popular methods for creating unique designs on fabrics. Whether you’re a t-shirt business owner or a frequent crafter, both of these methods are great options to consider.

Both HTV and DTF have their own unique advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to weigh these factors carefully before making a decision. By understanding the differences between the two options, you can make an informed decision that meets your specific needs. Keep on reading to find out the difference between HTV and DTF, and decide which option is best for you.

What is HTV (Heat Transfer Vinyl)

HTV is made up of a thin and flexible vinyl material that is backed with a heat-activated adhesive. To apply HTV on your garments, you must heat press it with sufficient time, temperature, and pressure to activate the adhesive and permanently transfers the vinyl design onto the fabric.

How to apply HTV

First you will need to mirror your design.
Then Use a vinyl cutter or scissors to cut your design. Be sure to remove the excess vinyl parts and leave only your design.
The last step is to position the vinyl onto your garments and use a flat iron or heat press to adhere the vinyl to the fabric.

What is DTF (Direct to Film) & How to Apply DTF

DTF is another type of printing technology that prints your artwork in full color to a film. The DTF also has heat-activated adhesive backing. The application is the same as with HTV, but with DTF, you need one more step — Peel off the backing film after applying the artwork onto the garment.

Difference Between HTV & DTF

For multi-colored artwork, DTF printing is better since it can print in full color. HTV is best for solid colors, but it offers many effects such as glitter, metallic, holographic, or glow-in-the-dark.

Which one is expensive?

Most online articles discussing usage costs often factor in the cost of purchasing machines. However, “you don’t need to buy a cow to have milk.” In other words, when it comes to starting a custom t-shirt business using DTF, buying a DTF machine isn’t necessary.
Instead, we recommend purchasing designs printed by a DTF supplier online. This is a more straightforward and simple approach compared to buying a DTF printer, which requires more time and money to learn how to use and maintain. It’s common to experience issues such as color discrepancies and machine debugging when using a DTF printer.
However, numerous high-quality, cost-effective, and fast turnaround custom DTF suppliers are available on the internet. Choosing one of these suppliers is all you need to do. is an online supplier that offers high-quality HTV and DTF with a very low minimum order quantity, so feel free to place a small order of Custom DTF or Custom HTV to test the quality.