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What Can I Use Instead of Transfer Tape?

what can i use instead of transfer tape

Transfer tape is an adhesive strip used for transferring vinyl from its backing and onto the surface where it is necessary. This helps make the process of transferring vinyl stickers quicker and a whole lot easier. This is also recommended if the vinyl sticker has a lot of small and delicate parts.

So, what can I use instead of transfer tape? If for some reason or another, you run out of transfer tape in the middle of a large project, and you don’t have time to run out to get some more, there are a few alternatives that can work almost just as well.

What Can I Use Instead of Transfer Tape?

What can I use instead of transfer tape for vinyl? If you run out of transfer paper at an inopportune time, there are several alternatives that you can try. The good news is that you might already have them right in your home.

To help you out, here are some of your best options:

Masking / Painter’s Tape

masking painters tape

The nice thing about masking tape is that it comes in various widths, so it is ideal when working with small vinyl decals. In addition, the adhesive is strong enough to pick up the vinyl off its backing, but not so much that it would leave a sticky residue behind.

You can still use this material even if you will be working with a huge vinyl sticker. You just need to place overlapping strips of tape over the vinyl. Be very careful when you are working with highly detailed pieces. As much as possible, the small pieces should not cross the overlaps.

Adhesive Shelf Liner / Contact Paper

adhesive shelf liner contact paper

Adhesive shelf liners are great for, of course, lining and protecting hardwood shelves, drawers, and cabinets. However, they are also great for use when it comes to protecting the covers of your books. The adhesive is not so strong that it can rip the paper. This makes it ideal for use as an alternative to the more expensive transfer tape.

In addition, shelf liners come in different-sized sheets, so you can cut them according to the size that you need, just like transfer paper. The problem with using this material is that it is not clear like transfer tape, but there are ones that are quite translucent, so you can still somehow see what you are doing.

Lint Roller Paper

lint roller paper

This is one of the best alternatives to actual transfer tape because it can pick up anything quite easily. It does not also leave any sticky residue. Also, you can buy rolls of this material for quite cheap. It is much cheaper than brand-name transfer tape at least.

Scotch Magic Tape

scotch magic tape

This product is quite a remarkable product. The adhesive is quite strong but you can easily peel it off without leaving any trace of adhesive. You can even remove it from the surface of a sheet of paper and it will not rip it.

Just like masking tape, you can overlap as many strips of Scotch tape as you need to cover the vinyl. Just make sure that you are careful with the positioning of the small pieces. The adhesive is strong enough to pick up the vinyl but not so strong that it would leave any trace of adhesive on the surface.

What Materials Do You Need to Avoid?

electrical tape

Electrical Tape

This type of tape is completely opaque, so you will not be able to see if the placement of the vinyl is correct. Also, the adhesive on the electrical tape is quite loose, so you will always leave a lot of residue on any surface it sticks to. It is also quite difficult to remove.

Duct Tape

The problem with duct tape is that the adhesive is so strong that it might not even release the vinyl once stuck on the tape. In addition, duct tape can also severely damage the surface it sticks onto.

Helpful Tips and Advice

If you are having trouble getting the vinyl to stick onto the transfer tape, the adhesive must not be strong enough to pick up the vinyl. This usually happens when you are working with thick vinyl, like the ones with glitter on them. If this is the case, then there is no other option other than getting a stronger transfer tape.

On the other hand, if you have trouble getting the vinyl to release from the transfer tape, that means that it is too sticky. Rather than buying less tacky transfer tape, for now, you can “de-stick” whatever tape you already have. Just stick the tape onto a clean and smooth surface to loosen the adhesive a bit before using it to transfer the vinyl.


Brand-name transfer tape can be quite expensive, and it is quite hard to come by and is usually only available online. So, when you need an alternative immediately for a project you’re working on, or if you just want to practice a bit, there are several viable options that you can try. Most of these materials are already available at home.

However, keep in mind that these alternatives are not permanent solutions. If you want your projects to come out as good as they can, you should use real transfer tape.

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