How to Layer Vinyl Using Transfer Tape - Tips & Tricks (2023)

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By learning to layer vinyl, you can create dimension in your Cricut Explore, Maker, and other cutting machine projects! It’s easy to layer vinyl using transfer tape—here are the best tips and tricks for getting it right the first time.

How to Layer Vinyl Using Transfer Tape - Tips & Tricks (1)

Adhesive vinyl is one of the staple materials that many cutting machine crafters love to work with. In the last few years, I’ve come to really love iron on vinyl, but lately I’ve been returning to adhesive vinyl for a lot of projects, like pantry labels, tumblers, and more.

It helps that there’s all sorts of amazing colored vinyl out right now, like these amazing bright shades from JOANN!

How to Layer Vinyl Using Transfer Tape - Tips & Tricks (2)

When I recently made over my craft room, I wanted to add some labels in an attempt to keep myself a little more organized. A lot of times I feel like craft room organization is a bit of a lost cause, but I do think that I should at least make an attempt!

One of the hardest things for me to organize is my adhesive and iron on vinyl. I had it all in rolls, but I had so much and found I was constantly not sure what I had, plus storing vinyl rolls is just awkward. So I decided to remove my vinyl from the rolls and store it in a drawer unit under my crafting table.

I’m surprised how well this has worked for me! Taking the vinyl off the rolls and cutting it down to fit was a bit of a pain, but now I love being able to just slide open a drawer to find what I’m looking for.


How to Layer Vinyl Using Transfer Tape - Tips & Tricks (3)

I knew I wanted to make labels for my vinyl drawers, so I created these fun layered labels. Anything to make my craft room more bright, fun, and easier to organize! Head to the bottom of this post to download the organizational labels for this project.

Table of Contents

What Type of Vinyl Can I Layer?

Let’s start with what kinds of vinyl you can layer. It’s a lot easier than iron on vinyl—there are just two basic guidelines.

  • Permanent or removable vinyl is perfect for layering vinyl. It can be used as the top, middle, or bottom layer. Layer at will!
  • Glitter and other specialty vinyl should only be used as a top layer. The uneven surface makes it impossible to get good adhesion if you put more vinyl on top of it.

How Many Layers of Vinyl Can I Use?

Next, let’s see how many layers of vinyl you can use before things get dicey.

  • If you’re using it on something that isn’t handled often, like a wall or a piece of artwork, have at it! You can use as many layers as you want, within reason.
  • If you don’t want too many layers of vinyl right on top of each other, you can use the Slice Method to build your file in Design Space—this means you can use a lot of colors without actually stacking vinyl on top of vinyl.
  • If your surface is something that is handled more (like a tumbler), I’d stick to one or two layers, or maybe three or even four if you’re using the Slice Method.

How to Prepare Your Surface for Adhesive Vinyl

Vinyl works best on solid surfaces, like plastic, glass, and painted wood. You can wipe down your surface with rubbing alcohol to make sure it is free from any dust or oils. This will help ensure your vinyl sticks well.

(Video) Transfer Tape Tips & Tricks

How to Layer Adhesive Vinyl Onto Transfer Tape

Let’s get layering! It’s actually easy to layer vinyl. Working with more than one layer of vinyl may seem intimidating, but it can create such depth and style to your projects.

We’re going to use the transfer tape method—this allows you to put the layers of vinyl on your surface in one shot, vs. trying to line up each layer on your surface. You line it up on the transfer tape itself!

Here’s what you’re going to need:

Start by cutting and weeding both layers of your labels. I used several colors of adhesive vinyl from JOANN—five of my colors were the JOANN brand, and I threw the bright green Cricut adhesive vinyl in there as well. I used my gorgeous Wild Rose Cricut Explore Air 2, exclusive to JOANN! You can also cut these SVGs on a Cricut Maker or other cutting machine.

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Unlike iron on vinyl, you do NOT need to mirror adhesive vinyl when cutting it—what you see is exactly what goes on your surface.

You’ll notice that each file has a triangle to the left. The triangle functions as registration marks for each layer and will help you line up your vinyl.

Vinyl Layer #1

Cut a piece of transfer tape slightly larger than each label.

(Video) Layering Cricut Vinyl using Transfer Tape

How to Layer Vinyl Using Transfer Tape - Tips & Tricks (5)

Peel off the backing paper on the transfer tape and place it over the colored label, pressing it into the label using your fingers or a burnishing tool.

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Peel up the transfer tape and the vinyl should come with it. If it doesn’t burnish some more.

How to Layer Vinyl Using Transfer Tape - Tips & Tricks (7)

Vinyl Layer #2

Now take that piece of transfer tape with the vinyl and line it up over the black layer of vinyl. Line up the triangles perfectly on top of each other and your two layers should line up perfectly!

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If you’re making your own files in Design Space or other cutting machine software, you can add your own registration marks. Some people use one or two rectangles or other shapes—whatever works best for you! I like triangles, but you can use whatever shapes you like.

Press the second layer of the label into the transfer tape, and peel up the transfer tape and the two layers of vinyl should come with it.

How to Layer Vinyl Using Transfer Tape - Tips & Tricks (9)

Putting Layered Vinyl on a Surface

Before you put your decal on your surface, peel off the layers of registration triangles off the transfer tape and discard. You don’t want them on your project!

Now let’s put that vinyl on your surface—mine is the set of drawers.

(Video) Cricut for Beginners: How to Layer Vinyl from Start to Finish (And my trick to make it easier!)

Carefully line up your transfer tape with your two layers of vinyl on the drawer. If you want it to be precise, you can use masking tape to tape off exactly where your labels should go. I’m pretty good at eyeballing, so I just placed it on my drawers. I did use a level to help make sure everything was even.

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How to Layer Vinyl Using Transfer Tape - Tips & Tricks (11)

Press your vinyl into your surface/drawers, burnishing with your fingers or a tool. In this case, I prefer my fingers because I don’t want to damage the surface.

Then carefully peel back the transfer tape at a 45° angle or more. If your surface is smooth and nonporous like my drawers, the vinyl should stick fairly easily. If you are having trouble, burnish again and peel even more slowly, using your fingernail to help “guide” the vinyl off the transfer tape. But really, it should work really nicely on most smooth surfaces!

How to Layer Vinyl Using Transfer Tape - Tips & Tricks (12)

Craft Room Organization Labels

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(Video) How To Layer Vinyl - Parchment Paper HACK!


Is there a trick to Cricut transfer tape? ›

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.

Do you put transfer tape sticky side up or down? ›

Once you have your vinyl ready to go, cut a piece of transfer tape slightly larger than your design. Peel the backing paper off the tape and place it sticky side down on the top of your vinyl. If your project is large, start by peeling off a corner of the backing paper and stick that corner onto the edge of your vinyl.

Why is my vinyl sticky after transfer tape? ›

Solution: If your vinyl is not releasing from the transfer tape then your transfer tape may be too sticky! If it's too sticky, the vinyl will stay on the tape no matter what surface you are applying it to. Use a different tape that is not as sticky. Another way to help this, is to de-stick your tape.

Do I mirror for transfer tape? ›

As a general rule, you do not mirror adhesive vinyl. If you're using HTV (heat transfer vinyl), you DO mirror your image before you cut and be sure to place your vinyl glossy side down or dull color side up on the mat.

How many times can you use transfer tape? ›

Did you know you can reuse the same piece of transfer tape multiple times? It's true! I can use pieces of my favorite clear transfer material three or four times each. So, when you peel off a piece of transfer tape, don't throw it away!

What is the difference between transfer paper and transfer tape? ›

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 layer permanent vinyl on top of each other? ›

Permanent or removable vinyl is perfect for layering vinyl. It can be used as the top, middle, or bottom layer. Layer at will! Glitter and other specialty vinyl should only be used as a top layer.

How do I transfer layers? ›

Do one of the following:
  1. Choose Select > All to select all of the pixels in the layer, and choose Edit > Copy. ...
  2. Drag the layer's name from the Layers panel of the source image into the destination image.
  3. Use the Move tool (Select section of the toolbox), to drag the layer from the source image to the destination image.
15 May 2021

How do I move multiple layers at once? ›

Press-and-hold the Command (PC: Ctrl) key and, in the Layers panel, click directly on the layers you want to move to select them (each layer will become highlighted as you click on it).

When using heat transfer vinyl do you put the shiny side up or down? ›

When working with heat transfer vinyl, the shiny side of the material always goes face down for cutting. This shiny side is called the “carrier.” It covers the face (the colored side that will face out on the garment) of the HTV and holds the cut pieces in alignment during cutting and applying.

What happens if vinyl won't come off transfer tape? ›

If it's hot where you are however, the transfer tape can sometimes lose some of its tack and the vinyl won't come off the backing paper with it - if this is the case, stick the decal in the fridge or a cold place for a while and hopefully that should help.

Do you peel the back off vinyl before cutting? ›

No, do not remove the paper backing before cutting the vinyl. The paper backing protects the vinyl adhesive until it's time to apply the vinyl to your project.

How can I make my vinyl stick better? ›

If your vinyl isn't sticking, you can use heat to affix it better. Use a hairdryer or heat gun on the surface of the self-adhesive vinyl while applying it to your desired surface. Using heat will help it conform to any uneven surfaces a little quicker.

Why is my transfer tape leaving residue? ›

Tape often sticks or leaves residue behind as it dries on a surface. When you leave tape too long, it has the chance to bond onto a surface and create residue or become a pain to remove.

Why is my transfer tape not picking up? ›

There can be a few reasons for why your vinyl isn't sticking to the transfer tape: The vinyl is 'old' Poor quality vinyl (Oracal vinyl is recommended) Poor quality or low tack transfer tape (here's the transfer tape I recommend)

Why is my transfer tape not sticking? ›

You'll need to stick your transfer tape to a few surfaces before sticking it to your vinyl. This makes the transfer tape less sticky, and you'll be able to get the vinyl off it for transfer. It's as simple as sticking the tape to some fuzzy surfaces a few times.

Do you iron over transfer tape? ›

To activate the adhesive on the heat transfer vinyl, you need two things: heat and pressure, both of which we can get using an iron. If you use a lot of heat transfer vinyl, then you may want to get a heat press or Cricut Easy Press down the road, but for today we will just focus on using an iron.

Do you need iron-on transfer tape? ›

There is no transfer tape required with Cricut Iron-On Vinyl because the plastic carrier sheet is already attached to the iron on vinyl. It makes it REALLY easy! Also, it is why you put the SHINY SIDE DOWN when you cut Cricut Iron-On Vinyl!

Which is better dark or light transfer paper? ›

In general terms, a dark image works on light coloured shirts but a light image will only work well on white. When using coloured garments, in order to guarantee the image appearing on the garment exactly in the same colours as appears on the paper, you need to use the dark transfer paper when printing dark garments.

What are the 3 types of transfer? ›

• Types of Transfer

* Positive transfer - when learning in one context enhances a related performance in another context. * Negative Transfer - when learning in one context undermines a related performance in another context. * Near transfer - transfer between very similar but not identical contexts.

What is the point of transfer tape? ›

Transfer tape, also known as application tape, is a paper or plastic film that can be placed on the top of the sticker or piece of vinyl to make the sticker easier to apply. Transfer tape allows the installer to see exactly where they are placing the sticker on the substrate.

What side faces down when cutting permanent vinyl? ›

Place vinyl (liner side down) onto Cricut StandardGrip cutting mat. Select images and size and load the mat into the machine.

How many times can you layer vinyl? ›

Can I layer regular heat transfer vinyl? Yes! You totally can. Smooth (sometimes called regular or basic) htv can be layered up to four layers.

How do I group all layers together? ›

Grouping Layers

To group layers, add a Group folder by clicking on the 'Create a new group' button in the Layers menu: To rename the group, simply double-click over the name and type a new name. To group layers, simply select a layer, hold down your mouse and drag the layer into the group folder.

Are there shortcuts for changing the order of layers? ›

To move the selected layer up or down the layer stack, press and hold Ctrl (Win) / Command (Mac) and use your left and right bracket keys ( [ and ] ).

Are there different strengths of transfer tape for Cricut? ›

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. For most vinyl you will want to use the regular transfer tape. The strong grip will be too strong and you will not be able to get your vinyl off and onto your surface.

Is StrongGrip Transfer Tape good for vinyl? ›

This specially designed StrongGrip Transfer Tape is made for heavier vinyl, including Cricut Glitter Vinyl. Clear with a light printed grid for precise alignment with images and surface. Create removable media covers, labels, décor, and more!

Do you peel transfer paper before ironing? ›

If you're planning to iron on your transfer to a light colored fabric, you need to wait to peel the backing off of the transfer image until after it has been ironed on. If you're planning on ironing your transfer onto a dark fabric, the backing of the transfer is going to be peeled off before you iron on the design.

Do you peel transfer paper? ›

Once you have the transfer tape on use a scraper tool, or an old gift card to scrape over the design to make sure the transfer tape is adhering to the vinyl nice and tight. Then slowly start to peel up your transfer tape at any corner. As you peel, the vinyl should come off the backing with the transfer tape.

What is SnapMat on Cricut? ›

What is SnapMat? SnapMat helps you visualize image and text placement by capturing a photo of your material on the cutting mat. You can see the layout as a virtual mat preview. Images and text can be repositioned over the photo for ideal placement.

What does Cricut Weld mean? ›

The Weld tool allows you to join shapes to create a single customized image by removing any overlapping cut lines. This can be a great way to simplify a design, keep the letters of a word connected, or combine shapes to create new designs.

When should I flatten my Cricut? ›

When should Flatten be used? You should use Flatten when you have more than one object (or more than one layer) on top of the other and you only want your Cricut to cut the outline (think of a sticker for example).

What is the easiest way to peel Cricut transfer tape? ›

Use a Scraper to burnish design onto your surface, working outward from where you attached the small area. Peel Transfer Tape away from design. Work carefully. If vinyl peels up with Transfer Tape, simply burnish Transfer Tape and vinyl back down to the project surface and peel away again.

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

Can you layer transfer tape? ›

That's when you'll want to try layering on transfer tape – because sometimes it's easier to layer onto a flat surface and then attach it to your project that has a tricky surface (like a curved bucket) in one shot.

Can you use transfer tape twice? ›

Did you know you can reuse the same piece of transfer tape multiple times? It's true! I can use pieces of my favorite clear transfer material three or four times each. So, when you peel off a piece of transfer tape, don't throw it away!

How many times can you reuse transfer tape? ›

You can absolutely reuse your transfer tape. You can reuse it until it loses its stickiness. So, if you've got projects you're doing at home and you just wanna peel it off once you get it on your wall, and keep that little piece. If you used a sheet, you can just put it back on the backing it came on.

Can you leave vinyl on transfer tape? ›

Transfer tape is only used on adhesive craft vinyl. Heat transfer vinyl has a clear carrier sheet attached to the vinyl that is used instead. Once the vinyl is cut the excess vinyl is removed (weeded) and the project should be left on the backing.

What transfer tape works best for vinyl? ›

Top 5 best transfer tape for vinyl
  • #5: Frisco vinyl transfer tape. This option is the best if you are planning to make lots of vinyl projects as it only comes in 50 ft or 100 ft rolls. ...
  • #4: Silhouette vinyl transfer tape. ...
  • #3: Cricut vinyl transfer tape. ...
  • #2: Craftopia vinyl transfer tape. ...
  • #1: Rizee vinyl transfer tape.
26 May 2022


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