CAD-Cut Vinyl: The printing technique finally explained

CAD-cut vinyl: Finally explained

Have you ever wondered how different names and numbers are printed onto the shirts of sports’ teams?

You probably haven’t, but we still have the answer – it is CAD-Cut Vinyl! As part of our printing techniques series, today we bring you a little article on the dark horse of printing techniques.

What is CAD-Cut Vinyl printing?

CAD (Computer Aided Design)-Cut printing is a method of heat transferring onto T-shirts and clothing. It is most commonly used for printing the numbers, names, and logos onto sports T-shirts. CAD-Cut vinyl is actually the material used to print onto the fabric, and it is cut with the aid of a computer.

How does CAD-Cutting work?

The process uses different CAD-Cut vinyl materials which are cut, usually into a number or name, and then applied to the garment using a heat press. To ensure the cutting is perfect a computer is used to control the process. The picking of the excess vinyl is known as weeding. Once this has been done the vinyl is heat-transferred onto the T-shirt or garment.

Types of CAD-Cut vinyl

Different vinyl colours and textures can be used to customise T-shirts and clothing. The most popular vinyl is plain block-colour, but also available are effects in polka dots, chevrons, animal print, jeans, army, leather, and stripes. Before you consider which vinyl to use make sure you consider all the options. Maybe green zebra will work for t-shirt printing for a school team or club – OR you can print the numbers of rugby shirts in pink polka print!

CAD-Cut vinyl can also be layered to create unique garment printing effects. The vinyl usually comes in a roll and is cut using a vinyl cutter, flatbed cutter or hand cut. Choosing the right vinyl for the material ensures it keeps its pristine condition and doesn’t peel off after washing. The correct application process is also vital as poor quality vinyl printing won’t last long.

The most popular CAD-Cut vinyl materials are:

  • Airflow Heat Transfer Material – this is a breathable vinyl that allows air circulation as it contains tiny holes. This is the perfect printing solution for sports shirts.
  • Thermo-FILM Heat Transfer Material – a great vinyl that doesn’t absorb dyes from the fabric (dye migration) and creates a sharp and bold transfer. Great for contact sports like rugby as it’s strong and anti-abrasive. It has a semi-gloss finish and gives sports shirts a professional look.
  • Fashion-FILM Heat Transfer Material – this vinyl is great for fashion clothing as it’s thin and very soft, has a matte finish and is good for detailed designs.
  • FLOCK Heat Transfer Material – flock has a suede-like feel and finish and is perfect for layering two colours as it has a distinctive look and texture. Flock is great for printing on fashion t-shirts and clothing.

printing compatibility, fabrics, printing techniques

The benefits of using CAD-Cut Vinyl

CAD-Cut vinyl is ideal for garment printing of 1-3 colours of smaller quantities, for example, a football team’s strip.  Other benefits are:

  1. Durable finish
  2. Easy to apply
  3. Washable
  4. Available in many colours and patterns
  5. Easy to add letters or numbers to an existing printed garment
  6. Fast – no setup time as with screen printing
  7. Matte or gloss finish
  8. Can be used on any colours

The many advantages of CAD-Cut vinyl mean it’s easy to print team shirts and other garments in less than a day.


Printsome is a T-shirt printing agency in the UK based in London that delivers all across the UK, from printing T-shirts in Brighton to York and anywhere in between. So, if you’re after a T-shirt or custom clothing, get in touch for a quote and indulge yourself in some awesome customer service.

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