You have your design cut in vinyl, now what?! You are ready to learn how to use transfer tape for vinyl lettering and designs to get that puppy on something! If you need help cutting and weeding your design, check out my previous tutorials about vinyl design and cutting with the Silhouette and weeding a cut vinyl design.
Ok…Let’s get to it!
What is vinyl transfer tape? It is a flat and slightly sticky piece of vinyl that is used to transfer a design on to a surface. Transfer tape is like a giant sheet of masking tape with grid lines on the back. Like masking tape, it is slightly transparent and moderately sticky. This means it is the perfect tool to grab a vinyl decal so you can apply it to a surface.
Why do you need transfer tape? When you create a decal or design in vinyl and cut and weed it, the pieces are only held in place by the backing. You need to remove it from the backing without interrupting the design before you can stick it on something. Transfer tape lets you do that.
How to use vinyl transfer tape: Using transfer tape is easy. First peel the backing off of the transfer tape. Then apply it carefully so you have lined up the vinyl design with the grid lines on the transfer tape – this makes it much easier to apply the final design straight. Now rub all of the pieces of vinyl under the tape so it sticks well before you peel up the back. Some people use a vinyl squeegee for this, but I just apply pressure and rub with my fingers.
Voila! You have transferred your design to the tape! (Easy, right?)
At this point you can either apply your design to your surface (mug, glassware, car window, etc.) or if this is a decal you cut for someone else, you can send it as is….perfect and ready to apply.
Transfer tape troubleshooting
Using transfer tape is easy, but if you are having trouble, here are a few common issues and solutions.
My tape isn’t sticky at all! Does it have grid lines on it? The sticky part of most transfer tapes you will see for Cricut and Silhouette has grid lines on the back, if you don’t see those lines and it isn’t sticky and slightly transparent, you may just be using the wrong side of the transfer tape. Check the trash and cut yourself a new, clean piece of transfer material. 🙂
I forgot to pay attention to this and my grid lines don’t line up with my design! No problem, just use another method to make sure the decal is applied straight…ignore those lines. 🙂 You may even want to draw yourself a new guideline, lined up with the top of the vinyl design. Then use the fool-proof hinge method to apply your vinyl decal.
More Transfer Tape Questions
Can I use my transfer tape more than one? YES! As long as it is clean and still sticky, you can probably use it one to two more times. After that, you really can’t be sure it will stick and would hate to mess up a perfectly weeded vinyl decal.
Can I use something else to transfer my vinyl? I have heard of people using contact paper with some success. Others find this frustrating despite the cost savings. Try it and tell me what you think!
Ok, now here comes the FUN part….let’s learn how to put that vinyl decal on something!