We express ourselves both verbally and non-verbally. When you are on the opposite side in a competition or socially, you're likely to hear a lot verbally.

You can also learn a lot about a person by their clothing and accessories -- their favorite sports teams, entertainers, companies, social causes, and more. It's not just t-shirts that clue us in on a person's preferences. In the last couple of decades, phones, tablets, and iPads have become a daily necessity and even an 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. Let's talk about heat transfer vinyl ideas and projects you can consider implementing.

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

Don't be impulsive! First, lets consider whether or not you should implement your heat transfer vinyl ideas or use adhesive-backed vinyl for your projects. We will look at the pros and cons for each.

HTV Pros:

  • You can use a heat press or a home iron (not all HTV can be applied with an iron)
  • 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

HTV Cons:

  • 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 EasyWeed heat transfer vinyl comes in a variety of types and colors, 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

Logical Color WarmPEEL HTV vinyl in a variety of colors
Logical Color WarmPEEL Universal HTV colors create beautiful custom cases
  • 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:

  • For cotton, use medium to firm pressure and press for 5 seconds at 300°F (149°C). 
  • For polyester, use light pressure and press for 5 seconds at 265° F(130°C).
  • For Nylon, pre-heat fabric for 5 seconds. Then, press for 5 seconds with light pressure, at 302°F (150°C).
  • Peel warm.
  • For decorating hard surfaces, instructions may vary depending on the item. Here's how to apply WarmPEEL Universal to mugs!

Siser EasyWeed HTV Vinyl Overview

  • Semi-gloss finish
  • Peels hot or cold
  • Layerable for multi-color jobs
  • Self-adhesive carrier makes it Easy to Weed
  • Weed small letters and fine designs easily without losing pieces

Applying Siser HTV

Siser Heat Transfer Vinyl in Glitter Bronze
Siser HTV can help you bling up your custom cases

With Siser HTV, you need either a heat press or a steady and a heat-consistent clothing iron.

Heat Press and Home Iron Tips

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

Decorative Adhesive-Backed Vinyl

If you are not a fan of using heat or heat presses, 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.

Glitter vinyl for phone cases

Decorative adhesive vinyl creates eye-catching phone case designs


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!