Transfer Tape Selection Guide: Which Transfer Tape Is Right for Your Project

Transfer Tape Selection Guide: Which Transfer Tape Is Right for Your Project

Transfer tape, also called application tape, makes the placement of vinyl easier. But, what transfer tape is right for your project? There are different types of transfer tape suitable for different projects and needs, but it's necessary to make the right choice. From paper and clear options to varying levels of tackiness, application tape has a range of potential for your projects.

Because application tape is essential for preventing damage to your vinyl, decal, sticker or other projects, you should understand what transfer tape tack level to buy along with the types of transfer tape out there. Use our transfer tape selection guide to discover which transfer tape is right for your project.

Understanding Transfer Tape Tack Levels

The tack levels of application tape refer to the stickiness of the tape. There are three primary transfer tape tack levels: low, medium and high. However, some products come in in-between levels, like medium-high. 

When you decide which transfer tape tack level to buy, you have to think about the type of project you're making and where it's going. In doing so, you'll also need to consider the bond between:

  • The transfer tape and the vinyl.
  • The vinyl and the surface you're applying the vinyl to.

You'll need a balance between those various bonds, or you'll risk the application going wrong. The bond between the transfer tape and vinyl can't be too strong, or you won't be able to pull the tape away from the decal after application.

You'll also want the strength of the bond between the tape and vinyl to be stronger than the bond between the vinyl and the release liner. You will be able to pull the liner away from the vinyl easily if the tape has a better hold on it. It may take some adjustments to discover what works best for the products you use and your various applications.

If you have access to several types of application tapes and aren't sure how to choose the right transfer tape, start with the lowest tack. To choose the right tack level, you need to understand the characteristics of each:

Low Tack Level

A low tack level will have the minimum amount of stick to hold onto vinyl or other materials for transfer, but it won't be overly sticky. You may find that low-tack application tape works well for projects with larger graphics. If your vinyl has a low tack level, be sure to use low tack transfer tape to ensure it sticks to the substrate. Decals with a higher tack level may work with certain low-tack options, but you might have a challenging time removing the vinyl from the release liner with a low-tack transfer tape.

Low tack transfer tape will have the minimum amount of stick to hold vinyl or other materials for transfer.

Use low-tack transfer tape for: 

  • Digital printing projects
  • Larger graphics such as full-wall murals
  • Billboards
  • Tractor-trailer graphics

Medium Tack Level

Medium tack transfer tapes have a wide range of uses because of their average tackiness. You can use this type of application tape for:

  • Medium to small-sized graphics
  • Large to medium-sized lettering
  • Projects with uncured ink
  • Wall graphics and removable wall decals
  • Vinyl decals for car windows
  • Frosted window graphic film

Use medium tack tape if your vinyl also has a medium tack level. Since medium tack level tape works with so many projects, you will likely use this or medium-high varieties most often in your creations.

High Tack Level

Transfer tapes with a high tack level have the stickiest adhesives of the three options. Choose high-level tack tape for projects like: 

  • Smaller sized graphics
  • Signs
  • Labels
  • Small removable wall decorations
  • Crafting projects such as small decals or lettering for mugs, water bottles, journals, candleholders and more
  • Metalized films 

Avoid using low tack vinyl with application tape that has a high tack level. If that happens, your decal will have a stronger bond with the transfer tape than the surface you apply it to. 

Paper Transfer Tape vs. Clear Transfer Tape

Paper and clear are the two most common types of transfer tape, and you'll find them in varying tack levels. Just as you should consider which transfer tape tack level to buy, you need to think about what the tape is made of and how it helps your application. 

What Is Paper Transfer Tape?

Paper transfer tape is a versatile option that doesn't require much precision. As the name implies, it's made out of paper, which gives it various advantages as a transfer tape, like:

  • It's partially see-through.
  • It doesn't always require scissors to cut.
  • It's more flexible and softer than clear options.
  • It's typically less expensive than clear tape.

However, paper transfer tape also comes with some disadvantages you should consider, like:

  • It wrinkles more than the clear variety.
  • It's less precise than clear transfer tape.

When Should You Use Paper Transfer Tape?

Because of its construction, transfer paper works great for:

  • Signs
  • Wet applications
  • Heat-pressed T-shirt transfers

If you leave the transfer paper on a project for a client to remove, paper may not be the right choice because it compromises the presentation quality. However, if you're handling the removal process, paper may be right for your projects because of how versatile it is.

What Is Clear Transfer Tape?

As the name implies, this transfer tape is made of clear plastic. Clear transfer tape has several advantages, like:

  • It's fully see-through.
  • Some varieties have a grid.
  • It's less likely to wrinkle.

However, there are some disadvantages, like:

  • It can develop static.
  • It's not as versatile as paper options.

When Should You Use Clear Transfer Tape

Because clear transfer tape is see-through, you can get a more precise application. Consider using it for:

  • Detailed projects
  • Multi-layered decals
  • Avoid using clear transfer tape in wet applications. Since the tape is plastic, it won't allow liquids to evaporate and may damage the vinyl as a result.

Get Transfer Tape You Can Trust From TapeManBlue

Do you want to complete projects with a transfer tape that provides unmatched efficiency? At TapeManBlue, we have a variety of transfer tapes to choose from that come in different sizes and materials to suit your needs. Now that you know what you need for your project, be sure to stock up on useful, high-quality transfer tape.

Browse our transfer tape options to find the perfect product to make vinyl application accurate and efficient. We offer quality paper tape and clear transfer tape to help you make any project perfect. Contact us today with any questions about our application tape. 

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