Instructions for 3M Heat-Transfer (Iron-on) Reflective Tapes

3M heat transfer reflective films can be applied to most fabrics - so long as they can withstand the heat of application.  Apply the film using a "dry" iron set to medium temperature (a "cotton" setting, or 325F).  Allow the iron's surface temperature to equalize for a few minutes before using.  Solid silver 8712 has a pinkish-mauve colored film that must first be removed before application.  Black C790 has a transparent film that must be removed prior to application.  Fluorescent 8786 orange and 8787 yellow have no removable film.  For solid silver, black, and fluorescent colors, the white paper side faces up during application.  For 5510 silver comfort trim, the blue film liner faces up.  For 5686 and 5687 bi-color comfort trim, the clear liner faces up.

To gain a sense for applying it, practice by applying a piece onto a sample of material (like an old T-shirt).  Use a solid ironing board or other surface like a smooth wooden block (good for inserting into sleeves) or the top of a dryer covered with a dishtowel.  To begin, iron your material to remove wrinkles from the material.  Cut and lay out a tape segment where you want it to be.  Make sure the liner side is on top.  Avoid placing segments across or adjacent to seams.  Starting at one end, press the iron down on a segment with very firm pressure and heat the tape for about 15 seconds.  Adjust the iron's position a few times to compensate for the steam holes in its bottom.  Heating longer than 15 seconds may scorch your material (not recommended for nylon).  The 5510 segmented comfort trims, 5686, and 5787 require about 20 seconds of heat and pressure.  For long sections of trim, slowly work your way along the tape to its other end.  Once the tape has cooled completely, carefully pick at one corner of the white paper, blue film, or clear protective liner.  Once started, pull the corner of the liner away slowly at a low angle, in a smooth continuous motion, to reveal the reflective surface.  If you see corners or strips lifting, lay down the liner again and reapply using more pressure and additional heat on those areas.

To see the tape's reflectivity, place the item in a dim or dark room, stand about 15' away from the garment and hold a flashlight near the level of your eyes.  Shine it at the tape and you will see a bright reflection from thousands of microscopic glass beadlets embedded in the surface of the tape.  These beadlets reflect light internally back toward its source.  By this mechanism, an automobile's lights will make you conspicuous to the driver long before you can otherwise be seen.

To maximize longevity, it is recommended that clothing with these reflective films be machine washed at a warm setting (104F) and then line dried or machine dried at a low temperature setting.  Note on 5686 and 5687 only, do not use bleach on, and do not dry-clean.  Continue to be safe, and please visit us again at