Heat transfer vinyl isn't only for shirts! With a little outside-the-box thinking, you can actually apply HTV to more things than you probably ever imagined. Not only can you decorate dish towels, mugs, glass, sports bags, shoes and basically anything else that can withstand the heat, you can also give it a try with wood.

If this is your first time working with HTV and wood, we have a few tips to get you started. And we have included some videos down below if you want to see how it is done step-by-step. 

Heat Transfer Vinyl Vs Adhesive Vinyl

You can use either HTV or adhesive vinyl for your wood project. Which one you use usually depends on the look you're going for and the type of wood. HTV will look more like paint once applied with heat, while adhesive vinyl will have more of a sticker-like, glossy finish. Adhesive vinyl normally applies better to wood with some texture, as opposed to raw wood. However, there are some tips and tricks, like using a hair dryer to help to heat up to adhesive or working slowly, to help the adhesive stick. 

Here is a tutorial showing you how we applied our adhesive vinyl to wood:  

Types of wood you cause use HTV with:

You can use raw, untreated, stained, sealed or painted on wood for your iron on projects. If you are applying to a painted surface, press in small increments so there is no discoloration. Also, if the wood you plan on using has splinters or uneven surface, you can sand it down some to create a smoother surface for application. 

Try Different Materials:

You don't have to stick with just matte HTV for your wood projects. Give some of our other heat transfer vinyl materials a try with wood. The thicker materials will work the best - like our glitter, spectrum and metallic - but you can also have success applying our liquid metallic, flock and more - just have some patience and start with your heat at a lower temp and time. The sleigh pictured above was decorated with red and green liquid metallic.

Application Methods:

In most cases, your iron is going to work best for your wood projects. The thick material and decorative details can prevent an even press when using a heat press or EasyPress. If you have a flat piece of wood, however, a swing away or slide out press could work, too. When it comes to the temperature and time, follow the application instructions for the material you are applying and you should have no problems. My tips if you're working with a more sensitive material like liquid metallic are to keep the carrier sheet or other barrier, like a Teflon sheet or piece of parchment paper, over the material when applying heat at all times and to turn down your heat. You also do not need to do a final press with wood like you would after removing the carrier sheet on other projects like garments.

Be Aware How Long You're Pressing:

While you may need to iron some of your HTV pieces for close to a minute for proper application, be careful not to press the material for too long. With too much heat, your HTV can wrinkle or shrivel. Check your design frequently as you're pressing to prevent this. Typically the carrier sheet will start to wrinkle before the HTV material so if you see that, it is usually a good indication that your material is adhered or could be getting too hot.

Cold peel: 

When applying HTV to materials other than garments, I always recommend a cold peel - no matter the HTV material or the application method. Since wood is usually smoother and slicker than fabric, you need to let the adhesive cool so it properly adheres to your project. I suggest letting it cool completely before removing the carrier sheet. If you notice a piece is not adhered, cover and press again applying heat directly to the part of the design that hasn't stuck yet.

Now that you have some tips and tricks under your belt, watch these videos below and then give applying HTV to wood a try for yourself! It is such an easy and fun way personalize gifts or decor!