How to Reverse Weed Vinyl and Why Should You Do It

Weeding out your design from backing paper before using a transfer tape is a basic step when applying vinyl. All the excess vinyl needs to be removed before you transfer the vinyl, so conventionally, we weed the design before applying the transfer tape.

However, you might have heard of a new trick called reverse weeding, and you might be wondering how to reverse weed vinyl for your next design.

To help, we’ve created a step-by-step guide on how to reverse weed vinyl. But more importantly, we’ll discuss what exactly this new technique is, when it should be used, and why you should do it.

So rev up your Cricut machines and grab onto your weeding tool, because the reverse weeding processing is going to make your life easy.

What is Reverse Weeding?

reverse weed

As the name implies, the process of weeding your design is reversed. The standard method to weed your design involves removing excess vinyl directly from the backing paper. This leaves only your desired design. The adhesive vinyl is then transferred onto a transferring tape and can be pasted wherever you’d like.

However, in reverse weeding, the traditional approach of transferring vinyl is altered to allow for an easier and less time-consuming method. Essentially, everything remains the same, except that instead of using your tools to weed off the excess adhesive vinyl from the backing paper, you transfer the entire vinyl to the transfer tape.

The weeding of the design is then done while the adhesive vinyl is attached to the transfer tape. This has many advantages of the standard weeding method, which we’ll discuss.

When Do You Need to Reverse Weed Your Vinyl?

As we already mentioned, when learning how to reverse weed vinyl, removing the negative vinyl after transferring the entire image onto the transfer tape will save you a bunch of time.

For intricate designs that have flairs or smaller, isolated sections, weeding directly from the backing paper can be a nightmare. You may also ruin your design and have to do it again.

Since the adhesive of the transfer tape is stronger than that of the backing paper, the vinyl will stick to the design better. So, when reverse weeding, the odds of pulling off your design or ruining are reduced. Plus, you’ll be able to save time without being overly cautious, so it’s a win-win.

Supplies Needed for Reverse Weeding

Before we move on to how you can reverse weed, let’s take a look at everything you’ll need to reverse weed.

  • A functioning Cricut Machine
  • An adhesive vinyl sheet of your design
  • Any downloadable design file of your liking
  • Transfer tape or any of its alternatives
  • A squeegee or a scraper tool
  • A weeding pen or tool
  • A Cricut sticky mat (optional)

How to Reverse Weed Vinyl: A Step-By-Step Guide

woman hand reverse weed vinyl

Now that you know everything about how to reverse weed vinyl and have all the supplies required, let’s get weeding.

Step 1: Pick a Design

Pick and download any design you want from the internet. For instance, you can go with a beautiful butterflies SVG file for your design.

Step 2: Cut Your Design

cricut machine maker

Use your Cricut machine or any electronic cutting machine to cut out the image you choose. Make sure to input the appropriate setting into the cutting software.

The color, thickness, and quality of the adhesive craft vinyl that you choose are entirely up to you. To conserve the maximum amount of vinyl, take note of the general size of the design you want. Afterward, cut off an appropriately sized section of the vinyl sheet to use in the cutting machine.

Step 3: Move the Design Onto the Transfer Tape

Once the machine has cut your design out, move it onto a transfer tape.

If you’re using glitter vinyl for your design, then opt for a strong-grip transfer tape. For everything else, a standard grip transfer tape should suffice.

Cut out a piece of transfer tape that is large enough to cover the entire image of the design. Remove any paper backing from the transfer tape to expose its sticky surface.

Simply place the sticky surface of the tape onto the adhesive vinyl. Make sure you use a squeegee tool to press onto both sides to make sure the vinyl is attached properly. Remove the backing paper from the vinyl to expose its adhesive side.

Step 4: Weeding

Take your transfer tape with the entire design on it and place it on a sticky mat if you have one. This will make weeding out the negative space much easier. In case you don’t have a sticky mat, just place it on any surface with some grip. Now you can go and grab your weeding tool.

Start weeding from one end of the vinyl. Depending on how elaborate the design is, the entire piece of excess material should come off easily.

Note that we are dealing with the adhesive side of the vinyl, so you don’t want anything to stick on it or accidentally pull a design piece off with your hand.

Once the outer part of the vinyl is removed, carefully start weeding the negative vinyl inside cavities until you’re only left with your design.

Step 4: Apply the Vinyl

Carefully align the design with the surface you want to place it on. Paste the vinyl and use a squeegee to make sure it adheres to it completely.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully learned how to reverse weed vinyl!


The process of reverse weeding may seem confusing at first, but once you learn about it, it becomes second nature.

Now that you know how to reverse weed vinyl designs, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of time and energy with this technique. For intricate designs, we highly recommend you reverse weed the vinyl instead of the conventional method.