Reflective heat transfer vinyl 101: What, Why and How to use Reflective HTV


"Chinastars has all kinds of reflective iron on vinyl to meet various customers' requirements, and target different base fabrics such as spandex, flame retardant, waterproof fabrics, etc. We strongly believe that the extensive range of reflective heat transfer vinyl and iron-on reflective tape we supply will suit all of your transfer printing needs, whether they are for fashion, leisure, sports, or work wear."

Iron on reflective HTV and tape

What is reflective heat transfer vinyl?

Reflective heat transfer vinyl, or reflective HTV in short, is composed of PET protective film liner, micro glass beads, and hot melt glue. It is a special vinyl polymer that can be used on certain fabrics and materials to create designs and promotional products. It comes in roll or sheet form with a plastic liner so it can be cut, weeded, and placed on a substrate for heat application. It is easy to use and provides both safety and customization for all kinds of garments, shoes, caps, bags, etc.

How many different types of reflective HTV are there?

Why use reflective heat transfer vinyl(HTV)?

Compared to the sew-on reflective material, Reflective heat transfer vinyl has the following advantages:

iron on reflective HTV on clothes

  • 1. Seamless without stitching, allows more comfort, and skin-friendly.
  • 2. More convenient and SAVE YOUR COST on waterproof garments: You have to use seam sealing tape on all stitching lines when using sew-on reflective material. But with reflective heat transfer vinyl and tape, no seam sealing is needed.
  • 3. Reflective heat transfer material offers more possibilities for design purposes: You could create thousands of unique ideas to apply the reflective on your products, for example, your brand logos, segmented tapes, perforation and etc.segmented iron on tapes reflective logo

Compared to the normal heat transfer vinyl, a major benefit of using reflective heat transfer vinyl on clothes is it helps enhance the visibility of the wearer in nighttime or low-light conditions when illuminated by a light source.

reflective HTV logo jacket night running

How to choose reflective heat transfer vinyl?

As we know, reflective heat transfer vinyl (HTV) is widely used in t-shirts, sports equipment, and other fabric projects. However, its washing fastness is dependent on the backing fabrics and operation methods, not like the sewn-on reflective tapes. So how to choose the high-quality reflective heat transfer vinyl? Two factors are very important, one is easy to use with plotter cutting and heat application, and the other is good quality for reflection and washing durability.

Chinastars reflective HTV vinyl does a very good job for the above two factors. We developed the sticky base for reflective heat transfer vinyl, the sticky base helps to grasp the logo properly when peeling the material, and the sticky base could fasten the logo in the right place of the fabric during heat transfer.

The reflection quality of chinastars reflective heat transfer vinyl is certified by EN 20471, ANSI 107 standards, it could pass over 50 cycles home washes if well applied on proper fabric.

For peace of mind, Chinastars' reflective HTV vinyl is also OEKO-TEX 100 certified to ensure it is free of harmful substances. Choose Chinastars Reflective HTV Vinyl for a high-quality, durable solution to all your reflective needs.

How to apply reflective heat transfer vinyl (HTV)?

The steps for applying a reflective heat transfer vinyl onto a garment are as follows:


  • Step 1. Remove adhesive side liner, exposing the dry adhesive. Do not remove the reflective side liner.
  • Step 2. Place the heat transfer film on the fabric with the adhesive side down and apply heat and pressure as described below.
  • Step 3. Allow heat transfer film to cool to room temperature. Remove the reflective liner by lifting one corner and pulling (180° angle) in a continuous, smooth manner.

How long do you press reflective heat transfer vinyl?

The different types of heat transfer reflective vinyl require different operation methods, such as the temperature, line pressure, and dwell time. Before buying the heat transfer reflective vinyl, check the fabric condition and application of the products, then choose the suitable quality reflective heat transfer tape. In this way, our sales team can recommend and give you the detailed suggested operational methods. It will be great if you can send the backing fabric to our test lab to do the washing test.

Below is a table of recommended iron conditions for each vinyl and machine for your reference. Alternatively, feel free to contact us by email at [email protected] and we’d be happy to discuss your needs and give you our advice.

Guidelines for Chinastars Reflective Heat Transfer Film
Products Applications Heat Press Machine Heated Roll Laminator
Temperature Dwell Time Line Pressure Temperature Rotate Speed Line Pressure
Grey reflective heat transfer film CSR-4002 Non-stretchable ordinary fabric such as polyester taffeta 140-160℃ 8-20s >0.5kg/cm² 120-140℃ 4-8m/min 4kg/cm²
Silver reflective heat transfer film CSR-4003
Color reflective heat transfer film
Rainbow reflective heat transfer film XC8003-A
Segmented reflective heat transfer tape CSR-4003-Z***
Grey reflective heat transfer film for graphic design CSR-4002T Specially made for graphic design for non-stretchable ordinary fabric
Silver reflective heat transfer film for graphic design CSR-4003D
Silver reflective heat transfer film with adhesive protective film CSR-4003-M
Stretchable silver reflective heat transfer film CSR-4003E Stretchable fabric such as spandex, birdeyes, elastic band, etc. 150-170℃ 10-20s >0.5kg/cm² 120-140℃ 4-8m/min 4kg/cm²
Silver stretchable reflective heat transfer film with adhesive protective film CSR-4003E-M Specially made for graphic design for stretchable ordinary fabric
Flame retardant silver reflective heat transfer film CSR-4003FR Flame retardant fabric 160-180℃ 10-20s >0.5kg/cm² 130-150℃ 4-8m/min 4kg/cm²
Industrial wash silver reflective heat transfer film CSR6670 Fabric requires industrial wash 160-180℃ 10-20s >0.5kg/cm² 150-180℃ 4-8m/min 5kg/cm²
Water repellent silver reflective heat transfer film CSR-4011 Water repellent fabric such as waterproof treated oxford 100-160℃ 12-60s >0.5kg/cm² 120-140℃ 4-8m/min 4kg/cm²
Silver stretchable segmented transfer film CSR-4003E-Z*** Stretchable fabric such as spandex, birdeyes, elastic band, etc. 140-160℃ 8-20s >0.5kg/cm² 130-150℃ 4-8m/min >2kg/cm²
Industrial wash segmented transfer film CSR6670-Z*** Fabric requires industrial wash 160-200℃ 10-20s >0.5kg/cm² 130-180℃ 3-8m/min >2kg/cm²

Why buy reflective heat transfer vinyl from Chinastars?

  • 1. Decades of Experience

    Chinastars is a marketing influential manufacturer of reflective heat transfer vinyl with over 19 years of experience. We are also a public company with China Stock Exchange (Stock code: 301077).

  • 2. Quality Control

    We prize high-quality work and hold ourselves to higher standards. Our offered products are manufactured by international standards using qualitative raw-material sourced from the famed vendors of the market. Our reflective HTV is certified to EN 20471, ANSI107. FR reflective heat transfer tape is UL certified for NFPA2112, EN469, and EN20471.

  • 3. Service

    Chinastars deem excellent services as important as extraordinary quality. Decades of experience enable us to provide comprehensive services to our customers. We put our customer needs above all else, and we serve every customer with strong business ethics and integrity. We do what we say we will do. If you have any problems, feel free to contact us by email at [email protected]

Additional questions which we’re commonly asked

  • 1. How to choose appropriate heat transfer vinyl for my fabric? Is a free sample available?

    Yes. Our company can provide free samples for testing. If possible, we'd highly suggest customers send the target fabric to our factory. Our technical person will try different heat transfer vinyl on the fabric and do a washing test after that, then we'll recommend you the appropriate heat transfer vinyl with heat conditions, and send samples to you for testing.

  • 2. Will you guide us on how to heat press your heat transfer vinyl?

    Yes. We'll send you the operation guide, handling precautions, and reason analysis for frequently occurring problems. In case of any questions during your sample testing, we'll ask our technical person to analyze and send you the solution report. We'll do everything to make sure you get the best heat condition before mass production.

  • 3. How many kinds of reflective heat transfer vinyl do you have altogether?

    We have reflective heat transfer vinyl targeting different base fabrics such as non-stretchable, stretchable, flame retardant, water repellent, industrial wash or PU fabrics, etc. We also have heat transfer vinyl specially made for engraving or laser cutting, and multiple-segmented reflective heat transfer vinyl.

  • 4. Can we order reflective heat transfer logos? Is a free sample available?

    Yes. We can customize reflective logos according to your artwork. We can provide several pieces of free samples for your reference.

  • 5. What's the MOQ of the reflective heat transfer logo?

    We don't have a specific MOQ for reflective logos. We can accept small quantity orders as well.

  • 6. Can we customize different shapes of segmented reflective heat transfer vinyl?

    Yes. We can make molds according to your artwork and then do mass production.

  • 7. Are all reflective heat transfer vinyl in stock?

    Some regular products are in stock, but we always ask you to confirm through the inquiry system before making the purchase.

Some suggestions for extending the life of reflective heat transfer vinyl:

  • 1. Use neutral detergent in hand wash. Do not use a detergent that contains bleach, acid, or alkali.
  • 2. When doing machine wash, you may use a mild detergent, but No Bleach or Fabric Softener!
  • 3. Avoid washing the reflective products with your work jeans or any clothing with rough fabric or edges. The microscopic glass beads on the reflective fabric can be worn off by the rough texture.

Handling precautions

Reflective HTV contains an aluminum layer, and sweat/oil / water stains may occur if the surface of the product has direct contact with hands during application and is then exposed to hot and humid conditions. Even though these blemishes won't affect the performance of the product, we strongly recommend handling the reflective fabric with gloves and keeping them in an environment of below 26.7 °C (80 °F) and lowering than 70% relative humidity.

Reflective HTV Storage and shelf time

Store in a cool, dry place and use within one year after the date of receipt.

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