How Does Vinyl Stick to Canvas: Tips & Techniques

Does Vinyl Stick to Canvas

Adhesive vinyl sticks best to smooth, flat, and hard surfaces like wood, glass, plastic, ceramic, and tile.

Yes! Vinyl also sticks to fabrics like Canvas.  Vinyl can stick to canvas if you prepare and apply it correctly.  The trick is to know how to handle it, and you’ll never go wrong.

Of course, the easiest way to make it stick to canvas is through heat transfer.  A Heat Press machine, though, is not cheap.

So, a heat transfer vinyl is not always possible.  Instead, we must find other ways to make vinyl adhere to the canvas.

How do you get vinyl to stick to canvas?

Canvas is not a smooth surface, making it hard to stick vinyl on it.  So, here are tips to help us solve this.

You have to consider important factors to make vinyl stick to canvas.

Transfer Tape Matters

Does Vinyl Stick to Canvas


This time, you don’t need a transfer tape that sticks hard.  

You may even hand-place it without a transfer tape if your vinyl design is solid.  But generally, use a low-tack transfer tape.

Teckwrap has many transfer tapes to choose from; they are quality and could hold well.

transfer tape for vinyl

How You Prepare your Canvas is a Must

Your vinyl design will stick to the canvas much easier if you spray the canvas with a clear coat before sticking the vinyl onto it.

Let the acrylic coat dry for a little while, like a few minutes, before sticking the vinyl.  You may use the hinge method to ensure the vinyl decal is centered and straight.


Support Your Canvas

Make sure to have something hard to support your canvas from underneath while sticking the vinyl.

You May Want Heat Transfer Vinyl or HTV

Yes! To get vinyl to stick to canvas, heat transfer may be done!

Heat Transfer Vinyl or HTV is like a standard vinyl, except it has a removable paper covering. You will need a heat press to stick the vinyl on a canvas bag.

Getting vinyl to stick to canvas

Taken from Teckwrapcraft’s YouTube video tutorial

A Heat press is a machine used to apply vinyl on a t-shirt or, in this case, a canvas tote bag.  It is done by applying heat and pressure.

But you can use an iron if you don’t have a heat press.

Once ironed, the vinyl will stick in place. The heat is the main factor that keeps the paint in place.

Once heat transfer vinyl is ironed on totes or canvas bags, it is impossible to remove.

Simple Tips to Stick Vinyl to Plain Canvas Tote Bags

Tips to Stick Vinyl to Plain Canvas Tote Bags


Tote bags are not only in fashion, but it is also a must-have for people who love to carry things around.

Technique #1:  Using hot Iron or a Heat Press to stick HTV to a Canvas Tote

You need:

Your ready designs weeded

Printed materials

Heat transfer vinyl (Teckwrap has lots of color designs available)

Cotton canvas tote

First, cut your design and weed excess vinyl according to your desired procedures in permanent adhesive vinyl.

 heat press vinyl to canvas

Then, transfer the vinyl to the canvas using a transfer tape.

get vinyl to stick to canvas

Tip:  remove the vinyl backing and then replace it with translucent parchment paper.

It will be quickly released from the parchment.  This is what helps vinyl on canvas fabric.  And this is the main difference between this heat transfer vinyl and a regular one.

vinyl on canvas

This project can be done using your choice of vinyl, matte or glossy; make sure that you are using permanent adhesive vinyl.

preparing the canxas for vinyl HTV
Taken from Teckwrapcraft YouTube video tutorial

This time, your bag must be prepared for the application portion.  Pre-heat it for 2-3 seconds to remove any moisture or wrinkles.

heat press the vinyl to canvas
Taken from Teckwrapcraft YouTube video tutorial


Lay your bag flat on the platen surface and “punch down” the press for 2-3 seconds.

Now, your bag is ready for vinyl transfer!

heatpressing vinyl to canvas

Taken from Teckwrapcraft YouTube video tutorial

Another technique to master before cutting your vinyl is to paint the canvas first.

You may use acrylic paint to create a watercolor look.  The acrylic paint will leave an ombre effect on the canvas.

 With the paint and your creative imagination, you may get as artistic as you want with your color.  Just make sure to achieve an even paint application.



how to get to vinyl to stick to canvas
Taken from Teckwrapcraft YouTube video tutorial


Heat press the vinyl on the canvas bag by placing the vinyl transfer on the canvas tote bag; you be the master where you want it.  Use a ruler to ensure perfect placement.

Note: Use a teflon sheet to ensure you don’t burn your vinyl on canvas,  while transferring the design to your DIY tote bag project.

Lay your cover sheet or a thin tea towel over your design.  “Punch down” the press for 15 seconds (the timer will start as soon as you punch).

Technique #2  Use a spray adhesive!

spray adhesive for vinyl


Yes! Spray adhesive is another top technique for getting your vinyl on canvas.

Spray the whole canvas with the adhesive, then place the vinyl on top of it.

 Use something heavy to press down in the middle and get the vinyl to stick.

The whole canvas will dry up in less than an hour.

If Mod Podge could do the same and have the same effect on the vinyl, you may also try it.

Anyway, we learn new tricks when we are not afraid to try.  Modge podge is worth a try to seal your canvas before applying vinyl.

Applying vinyl using a mod podge is easier with a foam brush.  Apply it with even full coverage.  Then, let the canvas dry completely.

Technique #3  Painting it

Apply vinyl on a wet painted surface, then have it dry. Fast and easy!  You may even change the background color, another benefit of why you painted your material.

Technique #4  Use a Transfer Paper

You may use a cooking spatula to rub down the vinyl and get the letters to adhere to the transfer paper.  Once the letters are on the transfer paper, carefully pull the paper back. Peel it off. Voila!

Technique #5 Use a Cricut Machine for Cutting

heatpress vinyl to canvas
Taken from Teckwrapcraft YouTube video tutorial


Here is a step by step tutorial on cutting, transferring and applying vinyl.

  1. Once you have gone over the letters well with the scraper tool, peel back the contact paper slowly, and your vinyl will be stuck down securely.
  2. Go over the vinyl with the scraper tool to ensure everything is stuck in place.
  3. At this point, applying much pressure to put the vinyl onto the canvas is not advisable, for it may stretch out the canvas.
  4. Next, flip the canvas over and burnish it from the backside.  Apply the firm pressure necessary to smooth the vinyl and canvas together,
  5. Then, flip the canvas over again, and burnish it more from the back. There you go!


how to make vinyl stick to canvas
Taken from Teckwrapcraft YouTube video tutorial

To Sum It Up

Vinyl is not hard to work with. Especially if you want it on your canvas tote bag to be as fashionable as you intend to. You can get great results.

If you don’t have a heat press, you may use a hot iron to seal HTV to the canvas.  Heat transfer vinyl is like your regular vinyl, except with a paper backing that you peel off.

Don’t forget, a cutting machine is a great help when you create your designs, but if you prefer using one or you don’t have one, we have many tutorials available to help you in creating your crafty creations.

What are you looking for?

Your cart