Transfer Tape Alternatives to Save You Money and Time

When working on Silhouette or Cricut vinyl projects, transfer tape is an essential supply. You will constantly need to transfer vinyl to various surfaces of your preference. If you’re working with a smaller budget, transfer tape alternatives can provide you with similar functionality at a much cheaper price.

Even if budget isn’t an issue, transfer tapes tend to run out at the worst moments, bringing your project to a halt. To solve that issue, we have compiled a list of 5 cheaper and readily available transfer tape alternatives to help you out.

So without any further ado, let’s get crafting!

What’s Transfer Tape and Why is it So Good?

stotch tape,duct tape and masking tape on the wood surface

If you’re not familiar with transfer tapes, then it’s important to know what it is and how it works so well for transferring vinyl.

A transfer tape is an invisible adhesive sheet that is used to transfer any vinyl from your design to a substrate. The substrate can be anything from the windshield of your car to a T-shirt.

Using a transfer tape becomes essential when the vinyl you’re transferring has smaller isolated pieces. It has just the right amount of adhesive to properly pick them up.

Once placed on the design, the vinyl will automatically stick to the sticky surface of the transfer tape. The tape is then placed on any surface to apply the vinyl. Once removed, the transfer tape can be reused for as long as it retains its stickiness.

The main reason why transfer tape is preferred over cheaper transfer tape alternatives is due to its transparency. When applying vinyl for a silhouette project, you can see through the tape and place the vinyl more accurately. For projects that require accurate vinyl placement, transfer tapes can provide you with your money’s worth.

Best Transfer Tape Alternatives for Silhouette Projects

If you want to save money, or have just run out of fresh new transfer tape, then you’ll have to make use of transfer tape alternatives. While these might not be as efficient or resourceful as the transfer tape, these work in a similar manner.

Masking Tape

masking tape

Costing only $5 per roll, masking tapes are the closest transfer tape alternative that you can find on the market.

Masking tape is usually made out of paper and is very easy to tear. Its main purpose is to mark surfaces and floors, and it’s later removed. Due to this, its adhesive isn’t very strong to leave behind any residue so you won’t have to worry about ruining your substrate. However, it’s just sticky enough for picking up and transferring vinyl, making it the best transfer tape alternative.

Masking tapes usually come in various widths, which makes it easy to find the appropriate width for your project. Buy the widest roll available – you can always cut the excess tape later on.

If the vinyl is wider than your tape, then you’ll have to layer the masking tape sideways multiple times until it’s wide enough. You’ll also note that for vinyl with highly contrasting colors, masking tape is translucent enough to see where you’re placing the vinyl.

Painter’s Tape

painter tape

While most people think that masking tape is the same as painter’s tape, that isn’t true. The design of painter’s tape is different from masking tape, which might lead to confusion for some people.

If you find blue tape with adhesive properties that are slightly weaker than masking tape, then you’ve found painter’s tape. If you cannot find masking tape at your local supplies store, then the painter’s tape is just as good of a transfer tape alternative.

Both painter’s tape and masking tape perform almost the same. Due to the higher adhesive of the masking tape, we would prefer it over the painter’s tape if given the choice. Apart from that and the different designs, painter’s tape is just as cheap and readily available as masking tape.

Scotch Tape

If you’re in a pinch and need your vinyl transferred as fast as possible, then the scotch tape can be a viable transfer tape alternative. However, transferring vinyl with scotch tape can be a risky business and in the end, it might not be worth the time saved.

Due to the highly adhesive surface of the tape, it can be easy to tear the vinyl when lifting it after placing the vinyl. If the vinyl has sharp angles, it would be wise not to use scotch tape.

Lint Roller

lint rollers

If you think about it, a lint roller is just an adhesive surface that’s primarily intended to be used for removing lint. However, if you don’t have transfer tape on you, then the lint roller can be used to pick and paste vinyl.

The best thing about lint rollers is that their adhesive isn’t strong enough to rip your vinyl.

While the alternatives mentioned above are limited by their width, with lint rollers, the length of the vinyl becomes an issue. You may have to paste two sheets together end-to-end if you want to fit a tall vinyl on it.

Clear Contact Paper

Possibly the best transfer tape alternative is clear contact paper.

Perhaps you’ve seen them being used as covers to protect drawers, cabinets, and even books. Their adhesive is just the right amount of strength – it will pick the vinyl up without tearing it or leaving behind any residue.

Unlike tapes, contact paper comes in smaller as well as larger sizes. You can buy one that’s sized perfectly for your Silhouette project, without having to layer on or cut excess paper afterward. Plus, if you buy transparent contact paper, you’re in luck – placing vinyl with it will be just accurate as it is with transfer tape.


Art shouldn’t be held back by budget constraints. For Cricut vinyl projects, even if you don’t have the best transfer tape in the market, you can still proceed to paste your vinyl.

So keep these transfer tape alternatives in mind the next time you find yourself out of supplies.