10 Transfer Tape Tips for Beginners
Cricut beginners — this one's for you! Are you struggling with using transfer tape on vinyl? We have ten tips to hopefully help you get successful transfers.
1. When applying transfer tape, start at one end and slowly place it down.
It can be so tempting to just want to throw the transfer tape on carelessly— been there! When you're applying it, I like to start at one end, push down a little and then slowly apply the rest as you make your way down. Slow is key here! This way you will get everything applied evenly. If you don't get it applied evenly, then you're at risk for having kinks in the tape and the vinyl. It also may not apply correctly onto the vinyl and you can potentially risk your project. The end goal here is to get your tape applied evenly on the vinyl so that you can successfully transfer it to your blank.
This tip works for both when you apply the tape on top of the vinyl (as seen above) and also when you're applying it onto your surface.
2. Burnish your tape on the front AND back using a scraper tool.
After you've got your tape on your design, make sure you are burnishing (rubbing) on the front and back of the vinyl/transfer tape combination. This will help will getting the vinyl to stick to the tape.
3. When removing the tape, pull down at a 45-degree angle.
This has helped me SO much! First, pick a corner and remove at a 45-degree angle. You'll obviously start this way since you're starting in a corner but I like to continue using this angle as I'm removing it.
4. Rock your 45-degree angle back and forth (left-to-right/right-to-left) as you go.
As I'm removing the paper that the paper that the vinyl was adhered too, I like to gently rock the 45-degree angle back and forth slowly. I don't really know why this helps to be honest, but I've found it to be extremely helpful!
5. Pull down tightly, keep your paper almost level with your surface.
If I had to pick one tip to share with you today, this would be one of the most important in my book. Do you see how I'm pulling the transfer tape across the chalkboard? Now that we've got our 45-degree angle and we are rocking back and forth slowly, it's also important to pull tightly, almost just dragging it across the surface you are working on. This has helped me a lot! Again, you can use this tip for when you are removing the paper backing from the vinyl and also when you are removing the tape from your surface (as seen above).
6. Save your scrap vinyl to practice!
When I first got started with transfer tape, I was terrible at it and I didn't really understand it either. I have had a Cricut for nearly five years now, so I've had a lot of practice working with transfer tape! I really believe the more you practice, the easier it will become. So all that to say, save your scrap pieces of vinyl and practice, practice, practice! You can apply vinyl on just about anything — maybe keep a cardboard box and practice applying on that. You've got this!
7. Strong Grip vs. Regular
If you didn't know already, Cricut carries two brands of transfer tape— Strong Grip and just regular transfer tape. The Strong Grip is for really thick, heavy duty vinyl that they carry— like glitter vinyl. Sometimes you'll find that the glitter vinyl comes with the transfer tape! If not, you'll need to get Strong Grip. But for basically every other kind of vinyl, use the regular transfer tape! If you apply Strong Grip on top of regular vinyl, you may not be able to get it off. I've definitely done this before and ruined my vinyl.
8. Re-use your transfer tape
Maybe this is common sense but I didn't know this in the beginning and I threw away A LOT of transfer tape. Now I continue to reuse my transfer tape until it's barely sticky anymore!
9. Try different kinds of transfer tape!
To be honest, Cricut transfer tape is all I have been using the past few years. But there are other options and there are other kinds of transfer tape too (some are clear, some have grids, some are more like masking tape, etc). I've also seen people using press-n-seal or contact paper as transfer tape. You just have to find what works for you, so start small (i.e. maybe don't buy a 100 ft roll of transfer tape until you know you like it) and make sure to practice, practice, practice!
10. Slow and steady wins the race
We've talked about this a few other times in the past nine tips, but really I can't emphasize this enough— go slow! This is especially true when you are working with intricate vinyl designs but if you're a beginner, I can't emphasize this enough.
So there you have it! Ten tips for working with vinyl and transfer tape. With these tips, you can use all of them or some of them. Just try it out and see what works for you! I almost always use all of these though in my vinyl projects and they have been a game changer for me.
If you're more of a visual person, here's one of our YouTube videos explaining the differences in Cricut's transfer tape and also showing you how to apply transfer tape. I cover some of the tips in the video too!
Happy crafting, friends!