How To Apply Vinyl Decals With Transfer Tape

When I got my first cutting machine, I had absolutely no idea what transfer tape (aka application tape or transfer paper) was, how to apply vinyl decals with transfer tape and why I even needed transfer tape.


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Well, you cannot be without it if you’re making decals, especially if you plan to cut a lot of intricate patterns and/or text. There are lots of different brands, I prefer to use a medium tack paper transfer tape like this one. Here’s how to use it.

Applying Your Vinyl Decals Using Transfer Tape

Decals with transfer tape are made up of three layers:

1. The backing paper that the vinyl is stuck to.
2. The transfer tape which is the layer on top of the sticker.
3. The vinyl sticker itself which is sandwiched in between the backing paper and transfer paper.

How To Apply Vinyl Decal

Step 1: Prepare Your Vinyl Decal:

You must first remove the backing paper the vinyl is stuck to. You can do this peeling the decal and transfer tape off the backing paper as shown in the picture below.

Alternatively, you can do this step by placing the decal face down first and peeling the backing paper from the decal and transfer tape.

how to apply vinyl decals using transfer tape

Step 2: How To Apply Vinyl Decal To Your Chosen Surface

Before you do anything else, make sure the surface you are applying the decal(s) to is completely clean, dry and free of any residue, dust or particles.

Now, position the sticky side of the decal and transfer tape onto your chosen surface. Then make absolutely sure your decal is aligned to exactly the position you want it to be in. Then, using your fingers, credit card or flat spatula, rub thoroughly across the entire surface of the decal.

Make sure you’ve thoroughly rubbed the vinyl down, especially at the edges. These areas are the most likely to lift and stay stuck to the transfer tape if you haven’t applied good pressure while rubbing the decal onto the surface.


Step 3. Peeling Back The Transfer Tape

This is the final step and the most satisfying! Slowly start to peel the transfer paper back on itself at a 180 degree angle.

Do not peel at a 45 degree angle as this angle makes it more likely for the decal to lift. You should peel the transfer back flat on itself (180 degrees) as shown below.

how to apply vinyl decal

Sometimes part of your sticker will lift while you’re peeling back the transfer tape. If this happens, simply smooth the transfer tape and sticker back down, then rub over it firmly again and the re-peel. Voila! Job Well Done!


Here is an example of what the Damask SVG I used to make the decals, looks like on bathroom tiles around a wash basin.

cricut transfer paper

There you have it, a quick, step by step guide to applying decals using paper transfer tape. I hope you find this tutorial useful 🙂


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