This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. If you make a purchase through one of my links I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
How to Apply Transfer Tape to Vinyl Without Bubbles
Hello crafty friends! Today I’m going to show you an easy way to apply transfer tape to vinyl without bubbles.
The last thing you want is for your vinyl to be covered in wrinkles and bubbles, or for you to go from a gorgeous project to a sticky mess in less than ten seconds.
So today you’ll learn a quick and easy way to keep those vinyl projects looking beautiful and clean!
But first, what is transfer tape for vinyl?
Transfer tape is a clear, sticky tape that is used to move vinyl from its backing to the project you’re working on. In order to do that, you first need to apply the transfer tape to the vinyl, and that’s where things can get a little sticky!
I have found the best transfer tape for vinyl is clear contact paper like this.
How to Use Vinyl Transfer Tape Video
The video below will show you the method I use to apply transfer tape without bubbles. Scroll just past the video for written instructions.
Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the post for the list of transfer tape FAQs.
How to Transfer Permanent Vinyl
To begin, DON’T start by peeling off the entire backing of the transfer tape. That’s a quick and easy way to end up with a big sticky ball of tape.
Instead, take your transfer tape and just start to peel off the very edge of the backing. Pull it back just a little, so that you have one section of stickiness along the end of the transfer tape, and make a crease in it.
Apply the Transfer Tape to the Vinyl AND to the Table
Next, take that sticky section you just created and apply it to the end of the vinyl you need to transfer. And while you do this, also apply part of that sticky section to the table or to the project you’re working on.
The idea is to hold everything down and keep it together while you’re working, so you don’t end up with bubbles, wrinkles, or a huge sticky mess on your hands.
Remove the Backing While Smoothing Down the Front
The key to this step is to do two things at once: remove the backing of the transfer tape with one hand, and smooth down the front of the tape onto the vinyl with the other hand.
Tip: You can just use your hand, or you can use a large scraper to help you smooth it down. A small scraper will work, but if you have a large piece of vinyl, it’s best to use your hand.
So let’s recap a little. Right now, you have your vinyl with the transfer tape stuck to one end, holding it down on the table or project. On the back side of the tape, you have that little tab you created by folding back and creasing the tape backing.
Pull that tab away from the sticky edge to remove the backing, and, at the same time, take your scraper or your hand and smooth the transfer tape down in a line across the center.
Both of your hands should start at the same end of the vinyl (the end you stuck the transfer tape to) and move towards the opposite end at the same time.
In the video above you’ll be able to see how this motion works.
Then, once you have removed the backing, smooth out the rest of the transfer tape, starting from the center, scrape down or burnish it onto the rest of your vinyl.
It’s as easy as that.
Don’t worry if it doesn’t turn out perfectly on the first try. You might need to practice a few times to get it totally smooth, and that’s fine! Once you get the hang of it, though, you’ll be applying your transfer tape with ease – and without the mess.
Frequently Asked Questions About Using Transfer Tape:
Do I need transfer tape for vinyl?
Yes, unless you want to take forever transferring one letter or piece at a time. And the vinyl may stretch and tear if you transfer it in this way. Using transfer tape makes it easy to transfer the entire vinyl together, much faster.
What can I use instead of transfer paper for vinyl?
One Cricut transfer tape alternative that you may have on hand is Glad Press’n Seal. But I prefer to use clear shelf liner that you can find at places like Walmart. (Check the Amazon price here) That is the best transfer tape for vinyl that I’ve found.
UNLESS you are transferring glitter vinyl, then you will need a special strong adhesive transfer tape.
Can you use transfer tape on paper?
The short answer is no. If you try to use sticky transfer tape on paper, it will tear.
My Cricut transfer tape is too sticky, how do I get the vinyl off?
There are few things worse than a transfer tape that is too sticky. First, make sure you’re transferring your vinyl to a clean surface so it will stick.
Use firm pressure with your scraping tool to burnish (rub really hard) the vinyl onto your project.
If the vinyl still won’t come off the tape, grab your weeding tool. Use the end of your weeding tool to pull the vinyl off the transfer tape and hold it down while you remove the tape.
What’s the best transfer tape for vinyl lettering?
My favorite thing to use for regular vinyl is clear contact paper from places like Walmart. (Check Amazon Prices here) It’s the perfect amount of sticky for transferring vinyl.
The only exception to this is when using glitter or other textured vinyls, they need a super-strong transfer tape.
Do I need transfer tape for heat transfer vinyl or HTV?
No you do not. Heat Transfer Vinyl or HTV comes with its own carrier sheet.
My Cricut transfer tape is not working, why?
If your transfer tape will not stick to the vinyl first check your vinyl type. Glitter vinyl will need a stronger transfer tape. Next make sure you are applying firm pressure with your scraper tool (also called burnishing) over the entire area of vinyl you are trying to transfer.
Now you know how to apply transfer tape to vinyl without bubbles, wrinkles, or a sticky mess. Plus you know the best transfer tape to use for vinyl and what to do if things don’t go quite as planned.
I can’t wait to see what you make! 😊
Thanks for crafting with me today!
Chris Butler has helped thousands of crafters learn how to use their Cricut machine without feeling overwhelmed. She is a best selling author and an up and coming designer. For fun Chris enjoys designing SVG Files, hanging out with her family (preferably at the lake), traveling, and volunteering at her church. She is a wife and mom of two crazy fun kids.
Hi! Newbie here, I was trying contact paper as my transfer tape and there’s sticky residue on my vinyl now. Any thoughts on how to safely remove that without ruining my project? Thanks!
Chris Butler says
Oh no! What brand was it?