5 Transfer Tape Alternatives: Easy Finds You Can Use Instead - SVG Spree (2023)

by Lauren M

Transfer tape is one of the essential supplies needed for creating Silhouette or Cricut vinyl projects. However, it can get expensive and usually only comes in a large quantity so you might be looking for some ideas of what you can use instead.

Whether you’re using a Cricut machine or Silhouette Cameo, these transfer tape alternatives will work for many of your vinyl crafting projects.

What else can I use instead of transfer tape?

  • Masking Tape
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Adhesive Shelf Liner
  • Lint Roller Paper
  • Scotch Tape

Making vinyl decals is mostly impossible without transfer tape. Once the vinyl has been cut and weeded, there has to be a way to transfer the vinyl onto the desired surface all at once without messing up the design and also while keeping all of the pieces together and from moving out of place.

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Can you imagine how hard it it would be to transfer vinyl pieces one by one? What a job, especially for small decals and intricate designs! Or even if your decal is only one piece, keeping it bubble-free and from bunching up would be very difficult without transfer tape. This is where transfer tape comes in and saves the day.

Transfer tape or transfer paper makes the process of transferring your decals super simple. Just place the transfer paper sticky side down on top of your weeded vinyl, then peel away the paper backing. Now, just stick the decal onto whatever is being decorated, make sure all pieces stick to the surface, and peel away the transfer tape. Easy peasy!

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It is important to note, that transfer tape is not is not used with heat transfer vinyl/HTV. It is only used with adhesive vinyl that is used to make decals. For heat transfer vinyl, something called a carrier sheet is used. You can learn more about HTV here.

While transfer tape is necessary for adhesive vinyl, it can get expensive. And if you don’t need a large amount or are just practicing, you may not want to buy a huge roll.

For these reasons, knowing about other materials you can use instead is helpful. Some of these materials you probably already have around your house. And if not, you can find them all for purchase at most home goods or hardware stores like Walmart, Amazon, Home Depot, or Lowes.

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Masking Tape

Some types of transfer tape are very similar to masking tape so of course, masking tape is a great alternative. Masking tape is easy to use because of its easy-to-tear qualities and pressure-sensitive adhesive. Since masking tape is frequently used for things like marking floors and other surfaces, it doesn’t leave a residue behind.


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Masking tape is available in a variety of widths, so make sure that you measure your decal and buy the proper width. Going too large is always better than going too small; you can always cut away the excess.

Even if your roll isn’t wide enough for your decal, you can still overlap and use several strips until it covers all the vinyl. Just be careful when removing it from the decal as using multiple pieces could cause the decal to tear more easily since it wouldn’t be transferred with one solid piece.

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, masking tape is it. A single roll can be purchased for under $5 at most stores.

Painter’s Tape

Yes, I know masking and painters tape are basically the same things, but I thought it was worth mentioning separately since they are typically marketed as different types and do have a few differences. The two most notable differences are their color and the strength of their adhesive. Painters tape is usually blue and its adhesive is typically not as strong as masking tape.

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Now, let’s talk about similarities. This transfer tape alternative has the same qualities as masking tape that make them both a good choice for transferring decals. Just like masking tape, painters tape is easy to tear, leaves no residue, is easy to find, is fairly inexpensive, and comes in various sizes.

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Painters tape is made by several brands including Scotch, FrogTape, and Duck.

Contact Paper

Adhesive shelf liner, sometimes called Contact paper, is a popular alternative to transfer tape. It has a sticky backside and is typically used as a protective covering for things like shelving, books, papers, etc.

Contact paper comes in a variety of trendy colors and designs which is nice if you are using it for decorative purposes, but for transferring decals, you will want to use just plain ol’ clear contact paper. Using transparent or clear contact paper to transfer your decal makes it so much easier to get the placement just right.

Since Contact paper is sold by the roll, it can be purchased in large supply for less money than transfer tape. Some brands of shelf liner also come with a grid printed on the paper backing making for easier cutting and measuring.

There are several different brands that make adhesive shelf liner, some well-known ones being Contact and Duck brand. Because of this, it can come with varying degrees of tact so be aware that if left on the vinyl for long periods of time, some could potentially leave behind a residue. With that said, some styles of adhesive liner are actually suggested to be used with crafts and are advertised to not leave behind any residue.

Lint Roller Paper

This item may be quite surprising, but it can get the job done and is handy to use when you are in a pinch! Just like the other alternatives on this list, lint roller paper is a transfer tape alternative that you probably already have in your home.

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Think about it: lint rollers are made up of adhesive sheets that don’t leave residue, and can be bought cheaper than the real stuff. When using lint roller paper, you want to be mindful of the width and length of the vinyl. You may need to layer multiple sheets to cover all the way around the edge of the vinyl.

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Scotch Tape

We get pretty resourceful when we are in a bind and that is how Scotch tape ended up on this list. I don’t recommend using this regularly as a transfer tape alternative, however, it will work in some instances if nothing else is on hand.

I’ve only ever used Scotch tape on small decals and doubt that it would be very effective with larger decals. The key to using Scotch tape is being very careful when lifting the tape off of the vinyl once it has been placed. With this alternative, it would be very easy to rip or tear the vinyl so use with caution.

Alternatives to Avoid

I can’t give you a list of the best transfer alternatives without also warning you about some to avoid! Contrary to the name, you can’t just use any type of tape to transfer vinyl.

Some common types of tape found in most households like Duct tape, shipping tape, and electrical tape should not be used as vinyl transfer paper. These all have strong adhesives that would most likely tear your vinyl decal that you worked so hard on, not to mention leave behind a heavy residue.

Wrap Up

With this new information under your belt, you can create many vinyl projects with your Cricut machine or other vinyl cutter without having actual transfer tape.

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Whatever your reason for seeking out these alternatives, being aware of your options is always a good thing! Transfer tape may cost more money than you are comfortable with spending or maybe you just don’t need a huge roll. Either way, using the alternatives discussed in this article can help you in your vinyl crafting journey.


Can I use my Cricut without transfer tape? ›

So do you need transfer tape? In short, probably. You can move vinyl from its backing to another location without transfer tape, but if there are any spaces or intricate details it will be very difficult. If you're new to using transfer tape, we have a great video tutorial!

What is the easiest transfer tape for vinyl? ›

  • BEST OVERALL: YRYM HT Clear Vinyl Transfer Paper Tape Roll.
  • BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: HTVRONT 12-Inch by 120-Inch Transfer Tape for Vinyl.
  • BEST WITHOUT GRID LINES: Vinyl Ease Paper Transfer Tape.
  • BEST SHEETS: Selizo Transfer Tape for Vinyl.
  • BEST NARROW: HTVRONT 6-Inch Transfer Tape for Vinyl.
23 Sept 2022

What can I use instead of transfer? ›

  • alien,
  • alienate,
  • assign,
  • cede,
  • convey,
  • deed,
  • make over.

Can I use parchment paper as transfer paper? ›

Parchment paper is an economical substitute for expensive transfer paper. Baking parchment paper has a slightly waxy coat. This coat allows the image to transfer easily and without smearing. The paper is the right thickness for printing and will not stick to your clay.

Which transfer tape is best for Cricut vinyl? ›

Best transfer tape for Oracal 651: We love transferring our Oracal 651 decal designs with R-TAPE. R-Tape is a high tack rubber adhesive transfer tape. Best transfer tape for Cricut vinyl: We recommend YRYM HT for your Cricut vinyl, it is cheaper than the Cricut transfer tape and works beautifully.

What is the best transfer tape for stencil vinyl? ›

Regular transfer tape works well with most vinyl materials. However, if you are using more coarse material, like glitter vinyl, then you must use a strong grip transfer tape. You will need the extra strength to transfer the glitter design. For stencil vinyl, you can go with regular transfer tape.

What are the three types of transfers? ›

There are three types of thermal energy transfer: conduction, radiation, and convection.

Can I use wax paper instead of transfer paper? ›

With just a few steps you can quickly transfer any printable image to wood {or any other hard surface} using wax paper and your regular ink jet printer.

Can I use baking paper to transfer? ›

Things You'll Need

Parchment paper is an economical substitute for expensive transfer paper. Baking parchment paper has a slightly waxy coat. This coat allows the image to transfer easily and without smearing.

Can you make your own transfer paper? ›

Yes, this type of transfer paper is inexpensive and easy to make, but even better, after a few uses, I can recharge the paper by layering more graphite over it. With careful storage, a sheet of homemade transfer paper can last for months or even years.

Does Glad Press n Seal work as transfer tape? ›

Start at one corner and slowly peel up the Glad Press'n Seal. The vinyl sticks to it just like transfer tape. If you have some stubborn vinyl that isn't sticking to the Glad Press'n Seal, just lay the Glad Press'n Seal back down and scrape it a little more until the vinyl sticks.

Can I use Mod Podge to seal removable vinyl? ›

We have used Mod Podge (not 'Modge Podge' as I know lots of us call it) successfully for a lot of our projects, including sealing over vinyl, making custom photo canvases, and glittering pretty things. Mod Podge is also non-toxic and generally safe to use with older kids.

What can I use to transfer vinyl without transfer paper? ›

Fortunately, you can use a number of tapes as an alternative for your transfer paper and proceed with your project.
  1. Painter's Tape.
  2. Masking Tape.
  3. Silhouette.
  4. Cricut.
5 May 2022

How do you make homemade transfer decals? ›

Make the label
  1. Soak the tape. Now toss your labels in a dish of water. Leave in the water for an hour. ...
  2. Rub to reveal the text. After an hour, remove from the water and pat dry. Gentle rub softly on the paper side to remove the paper. ...
  3. Let dry. Apply to your clay pots or your container.
3 Feb 2020

Can you use Windex to apply decals? ›

Spray the adhesive side of the decal with Windex after or as you peel away the backing paper. Use the squeegee to squeeze out all the Windex and air bubbles from underneath the decal. Wipe away the excess Windex and let the decals take a set.

Can You Use soapy water to put decals on? ›

You can apply most smaller decals without using water, but for large and very large stickers, this trick is a life-saver. After cleaning your surface area, wet the area again using a spray bottle and a solution of about 5% soap / 95% water. Apply the sticker while the area is still wet.

Are there different types of transfer tape for vinyl? ›

Expressions Vinyl offers two main types of transfer tape. We have clear and we also have paper. The clear is a plasticy film, and the paper is more like, well, a paper with a sticky back. Both types come in rolls and sheets.

What can I use for vinyl transfer? ›

Cricut Transfer Tape was specifically designed to make transferring vinyl designs to project surfaces a cinch. The clear film with grid makes it simple to position your design right where you want it. For use with most vinyl types, especially those with a smooth, non-textured finish.

Does Dollar Tree vinyl work with Cricut? ›

We're cutting both vinyl products with our Cricut Explore 3 and using the Premium Vinyl Glossy setting. Almost immediately when it begins cutting, the dollar store vinyl began lifting up off the mat. Maybe the pressure was too much – change settings and try again. We had it on Premium Vinyl Permanent Glossy.

Can you foil transfer onto vinyl? ›

Cricut's Foil Transfer Sheets work with a wide variety of base materials including paper/cardstock, kraft board, faux leather and suede, vellum, and printable vinyl (and we're still testing out some other materials for compatibility!).

Will parchment paper work for Cricut? ›

However with using parchment paper, the layers were so easy to line up. This was so perfect for someone just starting out on their Cricut Crafting journey! Remember if you do not have all the supplies (as in the vinyl) you can always find a work around and use paper layers instead.

Can you use baking paper for heat transfer vinyl? ›

Once your item is warmed up, place your design down where you want it to go and cover it with some baking or Teflon paper (you don't have to use the teflon/baking paper, but I like it for protecting my fabric and design - just heat for less time if you don't decide to use it.)

What can I use as a stencil adhesive? ›

Use painter's tape or spray adhesive to secure the stencil to the surface, so it doesn't move. Spray adhesive will guarantee security that the stencil won't move, or the brush won't catch the edge and result in paint bleed underneath.

What can I use instead of stencil adhesive? ›

Figured I would put this in here. I ran out of spray adhesive, forgot to check before I started my latest stencil, but I did have a huge can of hairspray. So I gave it a go and it worked really well.

What is the easiest way to transfer a design? ›

Carbon transfer paper, also known as Dressmaker's carbon paper, is another way you can transfer your design to fabric. The advantage of using this method is that it is reuseable and comes in different colours, even white, so it works well on darker fabrics. Using it is easy.

Can I make my own rub on transfers? ›

Use rub-on transfers to embellish items. Make the rub-ons at home using transparency sheets to not only save money but also to customize your own designs. Once the design prints on the transparency sheet, an object such as a Popsicle stick releases the image from the sheet to the object you wish to embellish.

Can you use wax paper to transfer tattoos? ›

To create a tattoo stencil you will need tracing or wax paper, stencil fluid, an ink pen with a fine tip, masking tape, antibacterial soap, a razor, and stick deodorant. It will take the most time to create a design and to transfer it to the tracing paper.

Is Cricut transfer tape the same as transfer paper? ›

Transfer tape is clear and non gridded and comes in a roll without any type of backing. It's easy to see through which makes applying the vinyl relatively easy. Transfer paper has more of a sticky paper feel and can be gridded to "help" with alignment.

Can you use contact paper instead of transfer tape? ›

Compared with transfer tape, the price per square inch of contact paper is only cheaper by 2 tenths of a penny, yet is not nearly as reliable. Not to mention, transfer tape is made especially to transfer vinyl. Yet, a lot of people use contact paper instead of transfer tape.

Which transfer type is best? ›

NEFT stands for National Electronic Fund Transfer. Transferring money from one bank account to another is considered one of the most popular types of money transfer in India.

What are the 4 types of heat transfer? ›

Various heat transfer mechanisms exist, including convection, conduction, thermal radiation, and evaporative cooling.

Can you use parchment paper for vinyl transfer? ›

Just get some good old parchment paper and you're good to go. The kind I have linked above even has grids on it! Any kind of transfer tape you want will work. I used to be a huge fan of Contact Paper but they recently changed it up some and now it's leaving a sticky residue on all my designs.

Is masking the same as transfer tape? ›

Paper transfer tape is exactly what the name says: paper tape with an adhesive backing. It is very similar to masking tape. While it is more flexible and tends to be cheaper, the downside is that it is not transparent.

Are there different types of transfer tape? ›

There are a lot of different types of transfer tape out there, but Cricut makes 2 types and that is what we are going to talk about. You can either get regular transfer tape, or strong grip transfer tape. The strong grip is made to work with heavier vinyls, specifically glitter vinyl.

What is the best transfer tape for stencils? ›

Best Transfer Tape for Stencil Vinyl

Regular transfer tape works well with most vinyl materials. However, if you are using more coarse material, like glitter vinyl, then you must use a strong grip transfer tape.

What can I use to seal contact paper? ›

If you don't have edge strips, you can push the contact paper in to the back corner and cut the paper flush against the back of the counter. Use silicone or caulking in the best matching color along the back corner to seal it and give it a seamless finish.

Can you use sticky back plastic as transfer tape? ›

Clear Sticky Back Plastic Roll Book Covering 40cm X 3m, Shackcom Self Adhesive Wallpaper – Can be Also Used as a Transfer Tape for Vinyl, Whiteboard, Shelf Drawer Liner, Cat Dog Scratch Protector.


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