Decorating Satin and Silk with Siser® Heat Transfer Vinyl

Satin and silk may seem out of the realm of Heat Transfer Vinyl possibilities, but it’s actually easier to accomplish than you think! Projects like DIY superhero capes, bridal robes, birthday sashes, and more can all be in your future by the time you finish this blog post!

The main thing to know about decorating satin and silk is that they can be heat sensitive depending on the quality of the fabric. Silks and satins of very fine quality (as well as silks and satins of more “affordable” quality) are more likely to discolor with heat marks. So the first step in decorating these types of fabrics is to determine if it is indeed heat sensitive with a test press.


Step #1: Test Press

A second garment is ideal for test pressing.  However, if you only have one garment then we typically recommend the back, inside of the item as the most inconspicuous area to test on. If you’re too nervous to even give the test press a shot, then proceed to step #2

A successful test press of EasyWeed® Heat Transfer Vinyl on Satin.

Using the standard application settings for whichever HTV you’re applying (see application settings for each product on our website and app!) press a small piece of HTV on the test area or garment. If the fabric does not discolor then you’re free to use the standard settings.

If the fabric discolors then you know it is heat sensitive and you will need to use the Lower Temperature Application Method. The discoloration may appear subtle here, but when the discolored square is front and center on the shirt it’s hard to miss. So it’s better to test press now and know how the fabric will react instead of being surprised later on.

A test press with a heat mark AKA scorch mark on satin.


Step #2: Lower Temperature Application Method

All Siser HTV can be applied with the Lower Temperature Application Method to accommodate heat sensitive fabrics. Don’t let the long name intimate you!  It’s actually a pretty simple concept that you’ll be mastering in no time.

Here’s the break down:

  • Lower Temperature: 270°F-280°F
  • Longer Pressing Time: 15-20 seconds total
  • Pressure: Use recommended based on HTV (typically medium-firm)

Bonus Tip: If the fabric is extremely heat sensitive, use parchment paper instead of a heat transfer cover sheet since the paper releases heat quicker than the non-stick cover sheet. 

Think of this as your alternate route to HTV application! The low temperature prevents most heat sensitive fabrics from discoloring and the longer pressing time allows the adhesive on the HTV to activate and bond to the fabric.

If the Lower Temperature Application Method sounds familiar, it’s probably because I’ve talked about it on the Siser Blog a few times before when it came to other heat sensitive fabrics such as: Modal, Polypropylene, Suede and Faux Suede, Faux Leather, and Nylon.


Step #3: Final Fixes

However,  the alternative route isn’t always foolproof. Some fabrics will discolor or get a shiny appearance in the pressing area no matter how much caution is exercised. In these cases, you may need to press the entire garment so the discolored or shiny appearance covers the whole garment creating a consistent appearance.

Or save yourself the trouble and choose a different garment altogether! 100% cotton and cotton blends are a good choice since heat marks will usually fade away or not appear at all.


Step #4: Watch How it Works

Rather watch than read? See these tips in action on our YouTube channel!


I hope this post has prepared you to decorate some satin ribbons, silk scarves, or something similar like this DY satin super here cape from Authorized Distributors, Ante Up Graphic Supply.

Siser® Heat Transfer Vinyl on a Satin Cape from Ante Up Graphics Blog.


Have a question I didn’t cover here?  Please leave a comment below! If this post helped you out, keep it handy on Pinterest by pinning the image below!

Satin and silk may seem impossible to decorate with HTV, but it's actually easier than you think thanks to the lower temperature application method and Siser Heat Transfer Vinyl.