How to Use a Heat Press on Polyester Bags


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Learn how to put iron on vinyl on heat sensitive items like polyester without burning the fabric!

I won’t lie, I’ve burnt a thing or two in the past because I put too much heat on them. The most memorable fail was burning a hole through my Nightmare Before Christmas Halloween tote bag. Luckily I had a spare!

There are certain items where you have to be careful with the temperature and pressure that you use. Too much pressure or heat can cause the vinyl to bubble or even burn the item you’re pressing your vinyl on to.

On this post we’re using a heat press on polyester bags so that’s what we’re going to focus on most. But, any time you’re using a sensitive fabric (like silk, wool, or faux leather) you should be incredibly careful to take care of the heat settings and pressure!

Materials like cotton or a cotton/poly blend are easy to use the heat press on because unless you’re using ridiculous amounts of heat your project should turn out fine.

But you still should be very careful and check to make sure the heat settings you’re using are ideal and are what is recommended.

I use the Cricut Easypress and they have a heat guide right on their website to help you figure out what settings to use for your projects. I highly recommend starting there if you’re unsure!

7 Tips for using a Cricut Easypress on polyester bags.

How do you know if an item is heat sensitive?

All items should come with a tag inside for care/wash instructions.

Find it and read to see what it says about heat. If you see the words “dry clean only” or “dry on low heat” it means you need to use lower temperatures if you’re going to heat press them.

Sensitive fabrics will not hold up to high heat or prolonged exposure to heat.

What heat settings do you use for a polyester bag?

Because I own the Cricut Easypress I like to reference their user guide for all of my projects.

You can put in the type of heat transfer vinyl you’re using, the material you’re putting your decal on, and whether you’re using a pressing pillow (I recommend using one!) or a towel.

For a Polyester Bag it’s recommended you use these settings:

  • Temperature: 315 degrees
  • Time: 30 seconds
  • Pressure: Light
  • Peel: Warm
  • Additional Tips: Flip material and press for an extra 15 seconds

What happens if I press the design for too long or use too much heat?

The short answer is that you will burn your fabric. You can also melt the fabric or discolor it depending on what it is. That’s why it’s really important to check what heat settings you should use with your heat press.

Should I test the fabric before pressing a large design on it?

Yes! Find a small section of the fabric and use your heat press on it. If you notice the spot becomes discolored or burnt you most likely have your heat press too hot.

Double check the settings against the Cricut Easypress heat guide. If you used the right heat settings try testing in a small spot again but for a shorter amount of time.

What if the bag has pockets on the inside and the seams cause the heat press to not lay flat on the bag. How do I get an even press?

I had this problem on my bag and it was frustrating to pull up the carrier sheet on top of my vinyl time and time again to find that certain spots still hadn’t stuck to the bag.

To fix this, I turned my Cricut easypress on it’s side (be careful not to drop it or burn yourself) and gently rub the trouble spot for 5 seconds until the vinyl was stuck to the bag.

Definitely not ideal but it did work! You could also use a Cricut easypress mini or an iron for this!

Do you need to preheat the polyester bag before pressing your design on it!

Yes! Preheat your bag for 5 seconds then press your design like you normally would.

What tools do you need to heat press on a polyester bag?

You’ll need:

When it comes to personalizing items for my son I always am cautious about putting his name out there because, well…weirdos.

So I am constantly on the lookout for cute things that will make his items stand out but also not give out any personal information.

My favorite things tend to be Disney or Harry Potter quotes (shocker, I know) or animal decals. For his swim bag I ended up doing a mash-up of Disney and animals and it came out perfect! Nothing personal on there but we’ll be able to spot his bag in a cubby very easily at his next swim lesson!

How to Use a Heat Press on Polyester Bags

How to Use a Heat Press on Heat Sensitive Materials

How to Use a Heat Press on Heat Sensitive Materials

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $30
Learn how to put iron on vinyl on heat sensitive items like polyester without burning the fabric!


  1. Download your SVG files and upload them into your software. I used the DORY file from here and the WHALE file from here.
  2. Cut and weed your designs and set them aside. (make sure you flip your designs in the software before hitting CUT).
  3. Heat up your Cricut Easypress to 315 degrees. Set it aside.
  4. Once your heat press is ready to go, spot test a small section of the bag to make sure it can stand up to the heat (I recommend using the bottom).
  5. If your bag is fine, put your design on the bag and then lay the teflon sheet on top of it.
  6. Lay your heat press on the teflon sheet and press for 30 seconds. Make sure you're using LIGHT PRESSURE, do not put your whole body weight down on the press, this can cause your fabric to burn.
  7. Pull the teflon sheet off your vinyl and then carefully remove the carrier sheet. If you notice your vinyl isn't stuck to the bag then repeat step 6. (SEE NOTE #3)
  8. Cricut recommends you to turn the polyester material over and press for an additional 15 seconds. I did not do this because mine is a bag and I couldn't fit my heat press in the compartments but if you can do this you should!


1. Always check the care instructions on the tag inside the bag before pressing. This will tell you if it's a heat sensitive item or not!

2. Test a small spot of the bag with your heat press before you press the design. I recommend the bottom of the bag.

3. If your bag has pockets on the inside you may have an issue pressing your design because of the pocket seams. They'll stop your heat press from getting an even press and the vinyl that goes over the seams will not stick to your bag.

To solve that particular problem do one of two things:

  • Turn your Cricut Easypress on the side (taking care not to burn yourself or drop it) and use the edge to heat the part of the vinyl that isn't sticking, OR
  • Use an iron to heat that section of vinyl.

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