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Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) to alter colors and graphics

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Posted (edited)

As I often find myself doing, I will ‘take a break’ from normal chores and tasks around the house that, frankly, require all of the attention - Buy a house that requires work if you want the thrill of a lifetime… a lifetime which feels like it’s getting shorter with each successive ‘project’. Take away consistent hockey, add in being considered an essential worker in an area of the country that appears to desire contracting a virus that we cannot inoculate against, all while attempting to help support a woman who is one of the amazing front-line healthcare workers that specifically takes care of children, and it would seem that the Venn diagram of physical health, mental health and scheduling would not be so accommodating of such a potentially stupid and futile project. So, with sore and unsteady hands, and limited skills and tools, I ‘re-graffic'd’ some gloves, blockers and a set of pads using heat transfer vinyl (HTV) as @bunnyman666 has alluded to and outlined prior (search “HTV” and you will find plenty). Also, I enjoy writing every now and again, so…

The Goal

Leg Pads - Vaughn Ventus LT98, “Detroit” colorway

I despise the tribal graphic variants that Vaughn used for years. Good riddance. These pads, however, are really quite amazing (to me). They were light to begin with, but after removing some straps and other features I will never use, they’re even lighter - probably close to 4 lb. per pad. I’m not really a pad guy, so I could probably be could with whatever is stiff and light, but the graphic on these is brutal. My goal was to cover the red graphic with white HTV. As I was finishing up that task on the first pad, I decided that I would get more ambitious and create a ‘vintage’ graphic with fake knee rolls in black with matching outer rolls. In my head, I’m seeing a set of Ed Belfour’s Brian’s from 1991. I went for “Looks fine from 10 feet way”. I feel I ended up with “Looks good from 2 feet away”. Pleasant surprise.

Gloves - Brian’s Heritage, White/Black and “Detroit” colorways

As you will see, there isn’t a drastic change to either glove, but a little seems to go a long way here. Again, the goal was 10 feet. These are also good from about 2 feet away. As an aside, the Gnetik / Heritage gloves have made me officially retire my V1/Kipper-spec/7000/7700 mitts. These gloves were as game-changing for me as non-cowling skates. I grew up wearing Brian’s mitts, so perhaps there’s some nostalgia there. 

Blockers - Brain’s Heritage, White/Black and Brian’s Optik White colorways

Another goal of “10 feet”. The Heritage blocker, like the gloves, wasn’t drastic. The Optik blocker, however, was clearly ambitious and a labor of stupidity and pushing the boundaries of my artistic ability, of which I have none. I will likely redo the logo, but not anytime soon. I’ll call the Heritage blocker good from 2 feet and the Optik blocker good from 5 feet, although I’m likely being generous with the latter. The Optik blocker, as I have espoused elsewhere on this wonderful forum, is an incredible piece of gear. I have, in all seriousness, been credited with an assist due to how hot this blocker is. A good enough shot can turn into an outlet pass if the other team isn’t careful.



This was perhaps the most straight-forward part of the process. I did the least amount of research and decided that Siser Easyweed Heat Transfer Vinyl was likely the most correct product for the application. I say ‘most correct’ because time and abuse will truly determine whether this project was a success or ‘File Under: You can but should you?’ Anyhow, Siser’s HTV product is kinda incredible when you look at it: It’s essentially a film, it’s extremely flexible over a wide temperature range, and it comes in nearly every color you could desire. It has a heat-activated adhesive that is very strong, but you can remove it with patience and time. I purchase a roll of white, three rolls of black, and a roll of red. That was more than enough what I wanted to accomplish. I purchased these from Michael’s here in the States, but it appears to be available in many markets. Here’s a link for the product (zero affiliation): Siser HTV

Parchment Paper

This will act as a temporary barrier between the iron and the HTV. As I will outline, using this was not always required or necessary.



I have a $25 garment iron with multiple heat settings. It is entirely the wrong tool for the job, and it worked smashingly well. It’s really a rare experience where the wrong tool does everything you want it to do. If you don’t believe me, go and use Imperial tools on metric fasteners, then report back here about how happy you are with this decision. 


I used a small scissor and a single edge razor blade. No self-heal artist mat or any appropriate cutting surface. I could have done much, much better with upgrading these two items alone, but I didn’t. 


I began this project using a machinist’s ruler and a tailor's tape. I ended the project using neither. Do you see a theme, here?: I’m kinda wingin’ this whole thing. No excuses, but I spend my days at work and working on a house where I’m required to exhibit highly repeatable accuracy. I was not in the mood to give this project that much attention, and while I believe anything worth doing is worth doing right, I needed this to be much more of an artistic release… which is just a b.s. excuse for being lazy and inattentive. 


I began by overthinking this whole thing. Here’s the truth: The materials that compose goalie gear are extremely durable, synthetic products that can withstand a wider temperature range than the HTV. Neither the HTV or the materials used in our equipment will likely be exposed to temperatures that will cause permanent damage, especially while on the ice. I started off measuring and cutting pieces of black HTV to be used on the outer roll of the right leg pad, but eventually just started articulating the material and the iron as necessary. 

The HTV is adhered to whatever substrate you wish by applying heat for a short amount of time (I used the ‘Wool’ setting and applied this for anywhere from 5 to 15 seconds) to the parchment paper barrier or, as I learned, the high-temperature clear carrier film that is integrated with the cold HTV. Once the HTV is adequately adhered to the substrate, the clear carrier film begins to detach from the HTV on it’s own. This clear carrier film is thick and durable, leaving the HTV cleanly attached. I found that tacking down the HTV with heat applied directly to the clear carrier was a good way of aligning pieces both small and large prior to fully committing to their final placement. Once satisfied with the placement, I would use the parchment paper barrier and a good amount of pressure with the iron to fully adhere the HTV to the pad, glove or blocker. Where this wasn’t easy or possible, I would use the pointed nose of the iron to adhere the HTV. Overall, I used all manner of methods to do the job. As I was going along, realized that both Cordura and JenPro are incredibly tolerant of heat, although I was still careful with both temperature and time. Should you choose to do this yourself, I am certain you will discover all of the little quirks and tricks that I have. This is not rocket surgery.


Actual pads, when new, before:                                                                                           After:

Before - Photo of actual padsIMG_6430.thumb.JPG.9ba07b51fde14de6061b439658e26684.JPG



                                                                                                                                                     Gratuitous strapping photo:


Gloves and blockers before:



Gloves after:






One man’s garbage?... Perhaps, but maybe I’m offering this to folks that simply want a way to feel better about their gear. I know I do, and I typically put little stock into matching and all of that. I’m not knocking matching gear at all, - it certainly looks more professional and congruent - but if I didn’t match a team jersey, or my glove and blocker and pads didn’t match, I didn’t much care. There is, however, no doubting that some level of symmetry feels good, feels settled. One of the teams I play for is black, white and red, so there’s that. Also, I’m a Blackhawks fan and have been since Pang and Cloutier were (unfortunately?) between the pipes. 


           The Lows

  • This took me weeks and weeks to complete, which is to say probably close to 16 hours total. It’s no joke. Patience is key if you want to accomplish this with some basic level of detail. To put this into perspective: I demo’d, repaired and tiled a laundry room and a kitchen in less time than I took to do this project, and that was also something that I never have done prior AND I was fastidious in both method and detail. My priorities are clearly wacky.

  • This is fairly permanent unless you want to take the same amount of time to remove the HTV. I don’t and I don’t care if it has rendered this gear worthless on the used gear market. This is likely my last set of anything as it’s becoming obvious with each passing season that my body is breaking down beyond simple self-care and repair.

  • I have no idea how long it will last or how durable the material in this application, although it is very durable when being handled. I have played twice with the completed pads and they held up well. The second skate was moving at a pretty good pace with some solid shooters, and there is zero wear in areas with HTV. The few puck marks on the HTV look the same as those on the the JenPro

  • The colors are not perfect matches, but I feel like that with get a bit better over time with grunge and puck marks

           The Highs

  • If you will it, Dude, it is no dream - This ended up far better than I expected

  • HTV is cheap and easy to work with

  • In my opinion, this product looks far better than any of the adhesive products on the market that are designed to accomplish the same

  • Because HTV is essentially a film, it basically weighs nothing.

Final Thoughts

As likely as it is that I will never be doing this again at this scope, I would recommend this as a cheaper and more detailed alternative to the other products on the market designed to accomplish some of the same goals. I have been thinking about doing this for years, now, and idle time is the perfect time to tackle a time consuming project such as this. I will post an update at some point after I feel there is either significant wear or remarkable durability. In the meantime, flame away.

Edited by dualshowman
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The only thing I can say about htv is that it does work itself off from bending as my Brians pads have missing letters from the last person who put htv on them but its easy enough to put it back on if you use a monocote iron like you use on rc airplanes its easier to use and get into tight spots like inside inset graphics. Set it at 300 degrees  and your good. There is also htv removal stuff its liquid that you can get rid of the glue residue i discovered it when I got some jerseys that had crap didnt like on them. Great work on those pads. Get that monocote iron and some teflon paper and you can touch up where it lifts easier than with your clothes iron. 

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Can you use a hairdryer to put it on? I’m not good with this type of stuff but it interests me if it will last longer than padskinz

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22 minutes ago, A.YOUNGoalie13 said:

Can you use a hairdryer to put it on? I’m not good with this type of stuff but it interests me if it will last longer than padskinz

Hairdryer aint gonna get hot enough you need a small iron like what you put monocote on rc airplanes htv depends on pressure and hairdryer provides no pressure I think that iron costs $30

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