We express ourselves both verbally and non-verbally. In fact, you can learn a lot about a person by their clothing and accessories — their favorite sports teams, entertainers, companies, and more. It’s not just t-shirts that clue us in on a person’s preference. In the last couple of decades, phones, tablets, and iPads have become a common accessory, and customized cases for them is a form of expression.
For example, if you see a phone case with a superhero on it, you get an immediate impression that the owner admires (or wants to be) that superhero. For crafters or sign businesses, creating custom phone cases is an easy way to let the world know what cause, team, or company your customers support.
Bling, text, unique designs — all these are non-verbal ways for a person to say who they are or what they enjoy. But sometimes customers cannot buy from the big stores just the design they want. You can give them what they are looking for by creating custom phone cases using HTV or adhesive-backed vinyl. Better yet, you do not need to be a seasoned pro to create and apply these designs.
To Heat or Not to Heat
Let’s talk about the differences in application methods so you can decide if HTV (heat transfer vinyl) or adhesive-backed vinyl (no heat required) is the best way for you to create custom cases to keep, gift, or sell. Both have advantages and disadvantages, so it is good to investigate both methods before undertaking your new hobby (or product) or creating custom cases.
Of course, depending on the phone case material, you cannot use heat at all. However, some case material can withstand a short amount of heat.
Pros and Cons of HTV and Adhesive-Backed Vinyl
- You can use a heat press or a home iron (home iron method is only for Siser vinyl)
- Siser HTV comes in over 50 colors and peels hot or cold
- Logical Color WarmPEEL HTV comes in 32 eye-catching popular colors, including metallics and peels warm
- HTV is more permanent and less susceptible to edge peeling than standard vinyl
- Requires a heat press or home iron to apply to phone cases
Adhesive-Backed Vinyl Pros:
- Vinyl doesn’t require a heat press or iron
- There are many more decorative vinyl colors and options, including holographic and chrome patterns
Adhesive-Backed Vinyl Cons:
- Less permanent and more susceptible to edge peeling than HTV
Which Vinyl to Use for Custom Cases
There are many choices in HTV and standard vinyl, so it can be difficult to choose which one to use. SignWarehouse especially recommends two types of HTV for custom cases – Logical Color Universal WarmPEEL vinyl and Siser vinyl.
HTV vinyl: The Logical Color Universal WarmPEEL vinyl is named “universal” for a reason – it is so versatile! It can be applied to almost any kind of material, and it can be layered over itself. That means you can create amazing designs for custom cases for your personal or customers’ needs. Siser heat transfer vinyl comes in a variety of colors and patterns, and a home iron can be used when applying it, which is great for crafters or if your heat press is taking a vacation from work.
Adhesive-backed vinyl: For adhesive-backed vinyl, the Endura and Oracal lines of vinyl are always a good choice. In matte, gloss, glitter, and more patterns, these vinyls are proven to be long-lasting and provide a variety of choices for creating custom cases for phones, iPads, and tablets.
Logical Color WarmPEEL Universal HTV Vinyl Overview
- Clear self-adhesive polyester liner for easy weeding and more forgiving cutting parameters
- Easy to cut and weed using a standard 45° plotter blade
- Peels warm
- Over 32 eye-catching popular colors including metallic colors
- Can be layered (Do not layer or overlap with other brands of HTV)
Applying Logical WarmPEEL Universal Vinyl
Using a heat press:
- Use light pressure and press for 5 seconds at 300°F (149°C).
- Peel warm.
Siser HTV Vinyl Overview
- Semi-gloss finish
- Peels hot or cold
- Layerable for multi-color jobs
- Thinner than most HTVs, so easier to weed
- Weed small letters and fine designs easily without losing pieces
Applying Siser HTV
With Siser HTV, you need either a heat press or a steady and a heat-consistent clothing iron.
Siser HTV application instructions (Siser HTV page):
Using heat press:
- Preheat garment in heat press or at 320° F for 2-3 seconds
- Position HTV on garment and heat at 320° F for 15- 20 seconds on medium pressure.
- A Teflon sheet should always be placed between the heat platen and the plastic carrier sheet to prevent sticking and edge damage to the transferred design.
- Peel carrier warm
Using home iron:
- Set iron setting between cotton and linen
- Cover heat transfer design with a heat transfer cover sheet of multipurpose paper
- Place on flat, hard surface (an ironing board is NOT recommended)
- Press iron with medium/firm pressure (do not slide iron)
- Press each section of design for 10-15 seconds
- If areas of design lift after application, replace cover sheet and re-press for 10 seconds
- Peel carrier warm
If you are not a fan of heat, you can use standard or adhesive-backed vinyl to create custom cases. No doubt you already know how to apply vinyl to signs, and applying it to create custom cases is fairly similar, just on a smaller scale.
Our previous blog will give you some basic insights into cutting, weeding, and applying adhesive-backed vinyl for custom cases.
Become a Chief
So whether you use HTV or standard vinyl, consider adding custom phone cases (or iPad or tablet cases) to your catalog of products. Corporate-branded products are always needed, so perhaps gift one of your current customers a custom case as a bonus to their order so they can see your quality work and order thousands for their employees, making you their company COCC – chief of custom cases!