What is the best vinyl transfer tape?
Should you use regular grip, strong grip, or an alternative transfer tape? Where should you buy it from, and what are some tips and tricks for using it?
We all have lots of questions about transfer tape when we’re first starting to use it, and we’ll share with you what we’ve learned in this post!
Vinyl Transfer Tape
What is transfer tape?
Transfer tape is used to lift a vinyl decal off the backing paper, in order for it to be transferred and applied to a particular surface. Sometimes people also refer to it as vinyl transfer paper.
Imagine if you had a decal with 20 different pieces and you had to peel each piece off and stick it down manually! It wouldn’t work – everything would be crooked and nasty!
Transfer tape keeps everything in the correct position, and is especially great for multicolored vinyl decals.
Here are some recommended transfer tapes and alternatives. Then we’ll take a closer look at some particular brands and show you how to use it!
Cricut Transfer Tape
We often use Cricut transfer tape for vinyl projects, not because it’s necessarily the best, but just because we picked up a lot of it!
There are many who complain about Cricut transfer tape, but we haven’t had any issues with it at all. It always does the job it’s supposed to, and is easy to use.
The different types of Cricut brand tape are:
- Standard Grip
- Strong Grip
Standard Grip is perfectly fine for most vinyl transfers, whereas Strong Grip is best for a few specialty vinyls.
Which Tape To Use
The type of transfer tape you use will depend on a few factors:
- The size of the projects you are doing
- How often you will be using transfer tape
- The type of vinyl you are working with
Here are some examples of when to use which type:
Standard Transfer Tape:
- Standard vinyl
- Holographic vinyl
- Premium vinyl
- Premium Glossy Outdoor vinyl
- Dry Erase vinyl
- Stencil vinyl
- Adhesive Foil
- Adhesive Foil, matte
StrongGrip Transfer Tape:
- Glitter vinyl
- Premium vinyl shimmer – permanent
- Chalkboard vinyl
For an example of when to use StrongGrip tape, check out this Cricut Chalkboard Vinyl project. I had first tried Standard Grip (what Cricut recommends), but it was not strong enough.
Oracal Transfer Tape
Oracal Transfer Tape for vinyl is another top brand.
Made for use especially with Oracal 651 Vinyl, but perfectly good for use with all other brands. It comes in many sizes, including bulk.
Bulk transfer tape is best for those in business, or for those who are applying large vinyl decals to signs or vehicles.
Silhouette Transfer Tape
Users of the Silhouette Cameo may prefer to use Silhouette transfer tape!
It’s very similar to Cricut, and usually around the same price. It’s a clear tape with grid pattern to help with the alignment of vinyl decals.
Currently it only comes as a 12 inch wide roll (in varying lengths), but with the release of the Silhouette Cameo 4 in larger widths, we can expect some wider rolls to be released in the future.
Cheap Transfer Tape
While I haven’t used this myself, there are so many people who swear by this contact paper from Dollar Tree.
These are rolls of ‘Con-Tact Quick Cover Clear Self-Adhesive Shelf Liners’ which apparently work perfectly for transferring vinyl.
Here are quotes from a popular Cricut Facebook Group:
- “Only stuff I use…”
- “I usually buy a ton of rolls at a time and the cashier is like…are you a teacher?”
- “Love this as transfer tape!”
However, there are detractors from those who love it…
- “I don’t understand how everyone loves this stuff it never works for me. I love blue painters tape though…”
- “Don’t care for it…”
- “It never works for me I have 4 rolls of it too 🙃…”
Unless you know it works for what you need it for, it might be best to pop down to your local store and test out a single roll before you buy 16!
How To Use Transfer Tape
We have a ton of posts on the site where we show you how to use transfer tape, and specifically, how to use Cricut transfer tape.
Here is the process we used to apply vinyl decals on kitchen containers.
- Cut your design out of adhesive vinyl with your Cricut machine
- Weed away all excess vinyl leaving behind only your design
- Apply transfer tape over top of your design slowly, burnishing as you go
- Remove vinyl backing paper
- Apply vinyl to your desired surface
- Burnish over top of the transfer tape so that the design is well-adhered to the substrate
- Roll the transfer tape back onto itself to remove it (slowly)
Here’s a look at the process of using transfer tape to apply adhesive vinyl:
The transfer tape is applied to the weeded design.
The backing paper is removed, the vinyl is now stuck to the transfer tape.
The vinyl design is applied to the cannister and burnished with a squeegee.
The transfer tape is slowly rolled away, flat onto itself.
The project is finished!
Transfer Paper For Vinyl
Here are some more projects on the blog which show you how to use transfer tape with different types of vinyl.
Using Cricut StrongGrip transfer tape to make a Christmas chalkboard countdown sign.
How to do a multicolor vinyl decal using clear Cricut tape.
Some tips and tricks for using transfer tape to apply vinyl to a curved surface.
Best Transfer Tape For Vinyl
I don’t believe there is a single best transfer tape for vinyl, because it’s going to depend on the type of vinyl you’re using, the substrate you’re applying it to, and your budget!
You certainly don’t have to use the same brand transfer tape as the vinyl you are using, and there are many Cricut transfer tape alternatives.
Certain tapes work really well for some, while others absolutely hate it!
It’s all about testing out a few different kinds, and learning how to use each one. Thankfully it’s not a hugely expensive product, and I’m sure it won’t take long before you find one that you love!
Let us know down below your preferred type, and we’d love to test it out ourselves and add it to the list!
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