If you’re making a sticker or a vinyl decal, you’ll need to use transfer tape—unless you’re using the kiss cut setting. Transfer tape lets you apply your design while seeing exactly where you’re applying it.
Using transfer tape has a learning curve that you won’t overcome if you aren’t patient. However, if you want to move beyond simple card cutting and start with vinyl, you’ll have to muster the patience required to pull off (pun intended) transfer tape perfectly. So here’s how to use Cricut transfer tape.
Choosing Your Transfer Tape
It may be easy to assume that transfer tape is a one size fits all material, but it is not. You should purchase a transfer tape that can handle the weight of the vinyl you’re using.
Cricut makes two different transfer tapes, one that can handle most vinyl (Cricut Standard) and another made for heavier vinyl (Cricut StrongGrip). You should not use the StrongGrip transfer tape for all-purpose use. Both transfer tapes work with textured metallic vinyl.
Cricut Standard Transfer Tape
You’ll be using Standard grip for vinyl that is smooth and non-textured.
- Holographic Sparkle
- Premium Vinyl
The Cricut Standard transfer tape is compatible with all Cricut machines.
Cricut StrongGrip Transfer Tape
The StrongGrip transfer tape is for any vinyl too heavy or textured to work with the Standard. Cricut made this transfer tape specifically to handle its Glitter vinyl. It is also compatible with all Cricut machines.
Why Cricut Brand Transfer Tape Works—and Why It Doesn’t
People love using Cricut brand transfer tape for several reasons:
- It’s easy to work with
- Fairly affordable
- Designed for Cricut machines
In fact, it should always work well for Cricut users. If you’re having trouble using it you should make sure your project surface is clean and dry, you’re using a proper burnishing tool, and have the appropriate tape for your project.
Some have, though, followed every step perfectly, and the transfer tape still does not transfer. You can always find Cricut transfer tape alternatives that are just as effective if this is the case. Some people even prefer to use painter’s tape (though we wouldn’t suggest using it unless in a pinch).
Using Your Transfer Tape
Regardless of what kind of transfer tape you’re using, the steps are the same. You’ll need the following tools:
- Cut and weeded vinyl
- A burnishing tool
- Your Cricut transfer tape of choice
Your burnishing tool can be a Cricut scraper, roller, or anything else that you can smoothly press, push, and pull against the surface of your transfer tape without tearing the design.
Applying Transfer Tape to Your Design
- Do not peel the backing off of your cut and weeded vinyl. You will need the backing to properly apply your tape.
- The transfer tape will come with an adhesive side covered by a liner. Peel the liner off. Carefully apply a small section of your tape on top of your vinyl adhesive side down.
- Take your scraper or burnishing tool and apply the rest of the tape over your design. Work the tape outward from where you attached it.
- Flip your design, with transfer tape applied, and burnish the other side. This will fully transfer the vinyl onto the transfer tape.
Applying Your Design to Your Surface Material
Cricut suggests that you clean and fully dry your project surface before applying your design. Use rubbing alcohol for plastic and glass. Be careful using rubbing alcohol on plastic. If the plastic is soft or painted, it can crack the paint and damage the surface.
- Peel the vinyl liner away from your design.
- Similar to how you applied the transfer tape to the vinyl, place a small part of the design to your project surface (center or otherwise).
- Burnish the design onto the project.
- Carefully peel away the transfer tape.
Tips for Using Transfer Tape
Sometimes transferring your design doesn’t go as planned. Keep in minf these tips during the process.
- Repeat the burnishing process if you’re having trouble removing the vinyl liner or the transfer tape.
- Remove both vinyl liner and transfer tape at a 45-degree angle.
- When peeling away the liner, keep it close to the surface. If you pull upwards too forcefully, it could accidentally remove a piece of your design.
- Don’t rush the burnishing process when applying your transfer tape and design. Work deliberately, making sure that there are no bubbles in the material.
- You can reuse your transfer tape until it is no longer sticky.
Keep a roll of transfer tape handy, even if you aren’t going to use it immediately. Consider it a part of your Cricut starter kit. When you are ready to use it, slow and steady wins the race. It’s better to take your time to apply it properly than have to repeat the process.