If you're new to crafting, or if you don't use adhesive vinyl very much, it can be difficult to know how to use transfer tape, or even what transfer tape is! This blog is your comprehensive guide to all things transfer tape, so stick with us as we explain everything you need to know!
What Is Transfer Tape?
Simply put, it's a tape that transfers.
Transfer tape is a sticky sheet that helps your adhesive vinyl designs stay together so you don't have to move each piece individually onto your project. It makes crafting with adhesive vinyl easy and convenient!
We carry a variety of transfer tape, from paper to clear to gridlined! In this video, we go over the basics of transfer tape, as well as which sizes might be best for your projects.
Keep reading this blog to learn more about transfer tape and how it can be used!
*Please note, the video states that we carry 100-yard rolls of transfer tape. The largest size we carry at this time is 100-feet rolls.
How Do I Use Transfer Tape?
We carry transfer tape in a variety of sizes from a 12"x12" sheet all the way up to a 12"x100' roll. This video explains how to apply transfer tape from a sheet and from a roll.
A sheet of transfer tape is great if you don't use transfer tape too often and just want a little bit to keep on hand, or if you just want a small sample to see which kind you like. A sheet of transfer tape has a paper backing, similar to a sheet of adhesive vinyl. This keeps the transfer tape from being exposed until it's ready to be used. When you're ready to use your transfer tape, simply cut a piece large enough to fit your design, peel off the paper backing, and apply to the front of your design. Use your application tool or squeegee tool to burnish (or adhere) your transfer tape to the design. Make sure to try and avoid any bubbles or wrinkles during this process. Finally, peel the backing paper off of your adhesive design, and transfer your design to your project!
A 6-inch wide roll of transfer tape is great for crafters who like making adhesive vinyl designs that are six inches wide or less. A roll of transfer tape works similar to a roll of normal tape, where the sticky part is not exposed until you pull it away from the roll. This reduces the amount of waste when crafting and allows for smoother application. To use a roll of transfer tape, prepare your adhesive vinyl design, then peel the transfer tape away from the roll until you have exposed the amount that you need. Then, burnish the transfer tape to your design, making sure to avoid any bubbling or wrinkles. When ready, cut your transfer tape to the size you need, roll any exposed transfer tape back up, and apply your design!
A 12-inch roll of transfer tape is great for crafters who like larger designs, such as wall decals. It gives a larger surface area for you to use on your designs. To use a 12-inch roll is exactly like using a 6-inch roll, only with more transfer tape. Watch the video to see how we use each size of transfer tape!
Which Transfer Tape Should I Use?
Now that we've reviewed the various sizes of transfer tape, it's time to figure out which type of transfer tape is best for our project.
At Expressions Vinyl, we currently carry three types of transfer tape: clear, paper, and opaque. A big part of choosing a transfer tape to work with is preference. If you've never used transfer tape before, we recommend buying a 12"x12" sheet of each transfer tape we carry to help you experiment and find which tape works best for you.
We find that paper transfer tape works best in most situations, whether applying to a car, window, water bottle, wall, or most other surfaces. It has a strong enough tack to adhere to your vinyl and easily releases your design onto your project.
Clear transfer tape is a great option if you're doing a lot of layering or if you're reselling your designs. It's easier to see through than paper transfer tape, which helps with aligning your layers, plus it's easy for customers to see what their design is.
In this video, we go over the basics of using transfer tape with removable and permanent adhesive vinyl, as well as which tape is best for different surfaces.
Do I Need Transfer Tape For My Project?
While transfer tape isn't necessary to complete a project, it does make it a lot easier! Using transfer tape helps you transfer your vinyl to your project without changing any spacing or accidentally altering your design.
We have heard of some alternatives to transfer tape, such as masking tape, shelf liners, lint rollers, and Con-Tact paper. While these may work occasionally, we highly recommend using actual transfer tape for best results. Other materials might damage your project surface or ruin your vinyl. We would hate for that to happen to you!
In this video, we compare Expressions Vinyl transfer tape to Con-Tact paper to show you the difference. We may be a little biased, but we think the results speak for themselves!
How Can Transfer Tape Help Me With My Project?
Besides transferring your design to your project surface, transfer tape can help you weed your design, too!
In this video, we explain the reverse weeding method. This method works best for small, hard to weed designs or very complicated designs. To reverse weed, you apply your transfer tape to your project before you start weeding, then you remove the paper backing from your vinyl and weed from the back (the sticky side). This method works similar to heat transfer vinyl in the sense that the transfer tape, acting as a carrier sheet, holds the vinyl in place while you weed.
Watch the video to see this method in action!
How Can I Avoid Getting Bubbles and Wrinkles When Transferring My Design?
One of the most frustrating parts about adhesive vinyl is that it can bubble or wrinkle during application, especially with larger designs or on a curved surface. You can take it slow, carefully apply your design, and still end up with a bubble or two underneath your vinyl. The wet application method works great to help avoid the bubbles and wrinkles and give you a perfect application every time!
This method works best for flat, non-porous surfaces such as glass or plastic. Simply apply transfer tape to your weeded design, peel off the backing paper from your vinyl, and spray with a mix of water and dish soap. Then, apply your design where you want it and squeegee out the excess water.
This video gives a great example of how to use this method, as well as explaining in more detail. Remember, this method only works with paper transfer tape!
How Else Can I Use Transfer Tape?
Transfer tape can be used for applying vinyl with the hinge method. This works for large pieces of vinyl, such as wall decals, where you want to get your vinyl on straight without fiddling with it too much.
The hinge method uses transfer tape to hold your designs in place before you peel the paper backing off. Simply line up your design exactly how you want it, and apply a piece of transfer tape so that it sticks to both your design and the wall. This creates a "hinge" that will keep your design hanging exactly how you want it until you're ready to start applying it.
This video shows a perfect example of this method in action using our paper transfer tape. Check it out to see how this method works!
How Do I Use Transfer Tape For A Large Design?
Larger adhesive vinyl designs can be intimidating, especially when one wrong move could mess up the whole thing! As before, we recommend using the hinge method, but also working in smaller sections, as this video shows. JoAnn is applying a large decal to the wall and, once she has her transfer tape hinges in place, cuts the vinyl into smaller sections. This allows more focus on one area without worrying about the rest of the decal.
Click here to see how she does it!