What is Flocked iron on and How is it Used?

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Flocked iron on is a heat transfer vinyl (HTV) product that has a soft, velvety feel. It’s a thicker vinyl product that you can use to make tote bags, hats, hoodies, bags, and more. The most popular and commonly available brand is Siser StripFlock Pro.

If the examples you’ve seen of flocked iron-on have been single-layer snoozefests, you’re missing out on the versatility of this cool HTV. StripFlock Pro in particular can be layered to look like embroidery and can even be used to make super thick 3D decals.

Let’s learn all about this groovy iron-on!

What is Flocked HTV (vs smooth HTV)?

Flocked iron on is a textured heat transfer vinyl that is soft and fuzzy, like velvet or suede. Flocked iron-on differs from more common types of HTV with a few special characteristics:

  • Flocked iron on is dimensional, textured HTV. It is thicker than regular HTV when pressed and has a soft, fuzzy texture
  • Because of its raised, soft appearance, flocked HTV can be used as a faster, less expensive alternative to embroidery
  • Flocked HTV is not as stretchy as more common types of HTV. You should consider this before applying it to t-shirts or other stretchy fabrics

Tutorials: flocked HTV projects you can make right now

Project 1: Want to start a flocked HTV right away? Jump to my tutorial showing you how to layer flocked iron-on to make professional looking varsity letters. This beginner-level tutorial will let you get familiar with the ins and outs of layering flock HTV on other iron-on and itself!

Project 2: This is a tutorial showing you how to use multiple layers of Siser StripFlock Pro to create eye-catching 3D decals. You can use this technique for decorating bags, backpacks, hats, notebooks and more. Even if you think this is intimidating to try, my tutorial breaks it down into basic steps that anyone can do!

What can you apply flocked iron on to?

Most flocked iron on is compatible with cotton, polyester and blends. You can also apply it to fabrics like rayon, modal and acrylic. I decorated this 100% cotton T-shirt with just a single layer of StripFlock Pro for the bunnies:

Cotton toddler's T-shirt with single-layer StripFlock Pro bunnies and Siser Holographic butterflies
Cotton toddler’s T-shirt (2T) with single-layer StripFlock Pro bunnies and Siser Holographic butterflies

Fabrics you should avoid when applying flock HTV: nylon, lycra and spandex. Flocked iron-on materials are not particularly stretchy and do not pair well with athletic fabrics. Like most HTV, I don’t know of any brand of flocked iron on that will bond to nylon.

In my experience, as a thick HTV with little stretch, flocked vinyl is best used on heavier-weight blanks. When decorating shirts with flock, I stick to smaller designs to keep my garment flexible (like the kid’s T-shirt above).

Flocked iron-on works great on pillow covers, hats, cases, bags, backpacks, denim, sneakers, hoodies, and even towels. This versatile HTV is truly a Swiss army knife for crafters!

Messenger bag decorated with Siser EasyWeed and 3D StripFlock Pro/Siser EasyReflective decal.
Messenger bag I decorated using Siser EasyWeed and 3D StripFlock Pro/Siser EasyReflective decal.

What is Flocked HTV made of?

Two materials make up most flocked HTV: PVC or Viscose-Rayon.

PVC is polyvinyl chloride, a plastic polymer. This is what people commonly call ‘vinyl’ and it is more commonly used for adhesive vinyl (permanent/removable) than HTV. Most conventional HTV is made from polyurethane (PU).

If your flocked HTV is PVC-based, we recommend that you make sure it is CPSIA certified (safe for children) before you use it on any clothing for kids. Most cheap off-brand flock HTV lacks CPSIA certification.

Viscose-Rayon is a “semi-synthetic” material derived from wood pulp/cellulose.

Due to the unique composition of flocked vinyl, you should always follow the manufacturer’s recommended instructions for your cutting machine. Although I have found flocked vinyl easy to cut and weed, it is a bit different than conventional PU-based HTV.

Flock vs Puff vinyl

Many users confuse Flocked HTV with Puff heat transfer vinyl. They are both dimensional heat transfer products, they both have soft, plush texture but they are separate products.

Closeup of Siser StripFlock Pro HTV
Closeup of WALAKut puff htv (green)
Closeup of WALAKut puff htv (green)
  • Flocked HTV has a consistent velvety finish, but puff vinyl can have a highly variable finish depending on how it’s pressed
  • Puff iron on tends to show the texture of the fabric it’s pressed on; flocked HTV has the same finish no matter the base material
  • Flocked HTV retains crisp edges and detail when you press it, but puff HTV will inflate like a marshmallow, and the edges and fine details will get a rounded off, soft look

Flocked Iron on brands

There are two main brands of flocked HTV that I recommend, and then there are a bunch of discount brands that I don’t have any experience with and can’t offer an opinion on.

Siser StripFlock Pro

photo of Siser StripFlock Pro rolls (black & white)
Siser StripFlock Pro rolls (black & white)

Siser StripFlock Pro is the most widely available flock HTV for crafters. You can get it at big box stores like Michaels and Joann, as well as online retailers like Amazon and Heat Transfer Warehouse.

Important features:

  • StripFlock Pro is CPSIA certified, PVC-based material, and it has a plush, luxurious feel
  • cannot be laser cut (because it’s PVC)
  • You can layer it with itself and other HTV – it makes incredibly cool 3D decals!
  • Compatible with Cricut and Silhouette cutters (available in 12″ sheets and rolls)
  • Available in 20 colors
  • 410 microns/16.1 mils thick

DecoFlock Premium & Premium Plus by Specialty Materials

Specialty Materials makes 3 different varieties of flock HTV made of viscose-rayon and certified to Oeko-Tex Standard 100, making it safe for kids’ clothing and laser cutting. The only downside is that Specialty Materials HTV is mainly carried by online retailers and is not widely available in craft stores like Michaels. (Heat Transfer Warehouse carries DecoFlock products, but only in commercial quantities, starting at 5 yard rolls)

DecoFlock
Premium Plus

Premium
DecoFlock 

DecoFlock
Economy

thickness

350 microns

14 mils

425 microns

17 mils

470 microns

18.8 mils

colors

21

incl. 5 neon shades

17

15

roll width

19.5"

15"

18"

Important features:

  • Compatible with Cricut and Silhouette cutters, although available in 15″–19.5″ rolls
  • All varieties of DecoFlock are top layer only
  • Because of their composition, DecoFlock materials are laser cutter compatible

Specialty Materials also makes 100% polyester flock for sublimation, which I’ll talk about below.

Does Cricut make flocked iron on?

At this time, Cricut does not make its own brand of flocked iron on. That said, StripFlock Pro and DecoFlock are compatible with Cricut machines and can be pressed with the Cricut EasyPress.

Silhouette, on the other hand, does have its own brand of flocked HTV (available at Amazon), in 9″ and 12″ rolls and 19 different colors. I contacted Silhouette to ask what their flocked HTV is made of, and if it is CPSIA-certified. According to the spec sheet they sent me, Silhouette flocked HTV is polyester.

Can you sublimate on flock vinyl?

Most flocked iron-on HTV is not compatible with sublimation ink, which binds to polyester fibers. StripFlock Pro and DecoFlock are in this group. You can’t sublimate on StripFlock pro (even though it is a synthetic material) and you definitely can’t sublimate on DecoFlock.

There is at least one flock HTV option specifically for sublimation, however. Besides DecoFlock, Specialty Materials also makes Subli-Flock. Heat Transfer Warehouse sells Subli-Flock 5902 sheets that you can run through your sublimation printer and then cut on a vinyl cutter (or even by hand). All that’s left to do is weed and then apply with a heat press. Subli-Flock is 100% polyester.

Heat Transfer Warehouse sells packs of 10 letter size Subli-flock sheets for $19.95. Wide format rolls (20″) are available for commercial sublimation printers, starting at $13 for a 1 yard roll.

How to cut flocked iron on (Cricut and Silhouette settings)

When preparing to cut flocked HTV with your Cricut, Silhouette or other cutting machine, turn it so the shiny carrier side is facing down. Make sure you mirror your image in the design software! For Siser StripFlock Pro, you will probably have to tape the top edge down with painter’s or other low-tack tape because the carrier sheet is a little matte.

Top edge of Siser StripFlock Pro taped to the cutting mat to keep it in place
Top edge of StripFlock Pro taped to the cutting mat to keep it in place

If you’re not sure which is the carrier sheet, separate your HTV at one corner: the carrier is the clear(ish) plastic sheet. It will have tiny fiber debris on it from the flock, making it a little cloudy. The fibers stuck to the carrier also make it harder to re-stick your vinyl if it lifts, so take care when weeding!

weeded StripFlock Pro showing cloudy carrier sheet covered in fiber debris
weeded StripFlock Pro showing cloudy carrier sheet covered in fiber debris

If it’s your first time using flock vinyl, try a test cut first, especially if you are using a Cricut Maker, Maker 3 or Explore 3. Although Siser gives a recommended setting for the Cricut Maker machine (heat transfer, non-Cricut), this recommendation has not changed since before the introduction of the Maker 3 and Explore 3 machines. Other settings, like Flocked iron-on, could work as well or better for you.

Here are the recommended cut settings for popular brands:

Vinyl Name

Cricut Smart Set
Dial Setting

Design Space

Custom Setting

Silhouette Studio Setting

iron-on

Fine-point blade

heat transfer
(non-Cricut)

Fine-point blade

material: heat transfer, flocked
blade: 4
speed: 5
force: 6

vinyl+

Deep-point blade

Flocked iron-on

– OR – heat transfer
(non-Cricut)

material: heat transfer, flocked
blade: 3
speed: 8
force: 8

Premium DecoFlock 

vinyl+

Deep-point blade

Flocked iron-on

– OR – heat transfer
(non-Cricut)

material: heat transfer, flocked
blade: 3
speed: 8
force: 8

DecoFlock
Economy

vinyl+

Deep-point blade

Flocked iron-on

– OR – heat transfer
(non-Cricut)

material: heat transfer, flocked
blade: 3
speed: 8
force: 8

Do you mirror flock vinyl?

Yes! Like almost all other iron on products, flocked HTV is cut in reverse with the carrier side facing down. The dry, heat-activated adhesive side faces up. When the material is cut, weed the excess HTV off the carrier sheet to prepare for pressing.

Flocked iron on temperature and press times

Press time and temperature varies for each brand of flock HTV. Time and temperature can also vary depending on the material you are pressing on, and if you are layering in combination with other styles of HTV.

I am going to share the recommended temperatures for each flock HTV below, but I always test press my materials whenever I am:

  • using it for the first time
  • pressing it on a fabric I haven’t tried it with before
  • layering it with other materials

Here are the recommended time and temperature settings for StripFlock Pro and DecoFlock materials.

Vinyl Name

Temp (ºF)

Time (sec)

Pressure

Peel Temp

Layerable?

Siser StripFlock Pro

(with heat press)

310ºF

15s

medium

hot/cold

yes

Siser StripFlock Pro

(with EasyPress)

340ºF

15s

medium

hot/cold

yes

DecoFlock Premium Plus

(with heat press or EasyPress)

320ºF

15s

medium

warm

NO

Premium DecoFlock

(with heat press or EasyPress)

320 - 340ºF

10 - 15s

medium/firm

cold

NO

DecoFlock Economy

(with heat press or EasyPress)

320 - 340ºF

10 - 15s

medium/firm

cold

NO

Cricut EasyPress flocked iron on settings

If you are applying flocked iron-on with a Cricut Easy Press, you can be reasonably confident following the manufacturer’s recommended settings. One thing to note: Siser recommends adding 30ºF to their listed temperatures when using the EasyPress instead of a regular heat press.

I have had mixed results when I follow Siser’s 30 degree recommendation, and once again I recommend test pressing whenever you are using an iron-on product for the first time, or using it in combination with a new base material. I often end up lowering my press temperatures so I won’t get press marks or discoloration on more sensitive fabrics (like a lot of polyester).

One thing I have taken away from using HTV is that there are no hard and fast, one size fits all rules. There is variation between machines, HTV varieties, fabrics, and you will always get better results if you set aside a bit of time and material to test press before you commit to your final project.

Can you layer flocked vinyl?

It depends on which flocked vinyl you buy. Most flocked iron is intended to be top layer only, but StripFlock Pro can be used as a base layer for other HTV. It can also be layered on itself to make completely amazing decals.

Multiple StripFlock Pro colors layered on black (source: youtube)

To layer StripFlock Pro: tack your base layers for 5 seconds per layer. Peel the carrier sheet, position your next layer of HTV and repeat the tack. After you’ve tacked multiple layers of StripFlock Pro, peel the last carrier sheet, cover with teflon and press everything for another 10 seconds to make sure every layer is bonded!

Flocked Iron on project ideas

1. Make your own faux Chenille letters with flock HTV (link to tutorial included)

There is a huge demand for chenille letters, and learning to make your own with flock iron-on and other HTV is not only a cool way to customize your own jackets, bags and hoodies, it’s an easy way to personalize gifts for friends and family.

Here’s a pillow we decorated with StripFlock Pro layers and Siser glitter HTV. This simple technique was able to turn a basic pillowcase into a luxe keepsake that will be treasured as a gift or personalized keepsake.

Check out our tutorial to make your own varsity-style faux-chenille letters with flocked iron on and glitter.

2. Layer StripFlock Pro to make eye-catching 3D decals (link to tutorial included)

3D decal made of 6 layers of Siser StripFlocj Pro HTV and Siser metal

Layering StripFlock Pro to make 3D decals for hats, backpacks, bags and notebooks is starting to take off. This is a great technique to learn to make personalized gifts and customized items. This is such an easy method to create eye-popping designs using just simple layers of StripFlock!

The photo above is an eight layer White Wolf badge we created using StripFlock Pro in black, Siser Metal and Siser EasyWeed Electric. Check out the full tutorial and get started making your own 3D StripFlock Pro decals and logos.

3. Make simple fuzzy kids’ shirts with sparkly embellishments

child's t-shirt decorated with fuzzy flocked iron-on bunnies and holographic HTV butterflies

Using a tactile HTV like flock on a kid’s t-shirt is sure to be a hit with your little one. Combine it with a sparkly HTV like Holographic, Sparkle, or Glitter for cute details and you’ll be creating a shirt that will be their favorite.

This super cute bunnies and butterflies shirt came together very quickly just using elements from Cricut Access. The bunnies are from image #M46104640 and I used 2 different butterfly images: #M47D1212F and #M47FD733B.

I used white StripFlock Pro and Siser Holographic Sky HTV, and I cut the carrier sheets close so I could press everything at once. I pressed for 15 seconds at 310oF, medium-firm pressure, hot/warm peel for the StripFlock Pro and cold peel for the Holographic.

If you want to see how StripFlock cuts and applies in a single layer project, you can try making this shirt. Here’s the link to the project in Design Space.

4. Decorate a messenger bag with as much StripFlock as you want

polyester messenger bag decorated with layered StripFlock pro decal and Siser EasyWeed

If you want to really get wild with a ton of HTV, heavy blanks like messenger bags or canvas totes are a lot of fun to use. I decorated this bag using a 3D StripFlock decal topped with Siser EasyReflective. The background lettering is white EasyWeed, but you can easily use more StripFlock if you want cool, vintage-feel lettering.

To make the design, I created a Mandalorian helmet using the 2 minute image to vector conversion technique. Once I had a vector image, I used the steps laid out in the How to make a 3D iron-on decal tutorial to add multiple offset layers to give the design lots of dimension.

I used the Mandalore font from DaFont to create the background layer using the original, halftone and gradient variations of the font.

I started by applying all of the helmet layers to the bag first, including the reflective layer, then applying the EasyWeed background last. (My thinking was that I might overpress the background if I was applying 9 layers of StripFlock Pro and 2 layers of reflective HTV as the second step). So I cut the middle out of the EasyWeed carrier and pressed it around the helmet decal in sections with an EasyPress and EasyPress mini.

EasyPress settings for this project:

  • 325ºF for the StripFlock Pro layers. 10 second press for layer 1 and 5 second press for subsequent layers. Hot peel.
  • 325ºF for Easy Reflective layers, 10 second press, warm peel.
  • 310ºF for EasyWeed background layer, pressed in 5 second intervals on each side of the decal.
  • Cricut EasyPress mini set to Medium to press small background pieces around the helmet.

Final Thoughts

So that’s everything I could think of to explain all of the whats, hows, and whys of using flocked iron-on. Do you still have questions? please ask in the comments. Have you tried making any of these projects? Let me know how they turned out!

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