Transfer tape is a staple for digital graphics to transfer your cut vinyl graphics from the release liner to the substrate. Some vinyls can be transferred by hand, but for most vinyl graphic jobs, transfer tape is essential. There are a variety of types of transfer tapes – paper and clear or transparent tape. For most applications either one will suffice so it’s largely a matter of personal preference. But there are essential differences that should be taken into account when choosing one or the other.
One of the difficulties in applying graphics is figuring out what type of tape to use for your particular job. What’s the difference between paper and clear tape? What’s the best tape for indoor graphics? How do I choose the best tape for my workflow? We aim to find your solution.
We try to match the tack level of the tape with the properties of the vinyl and substrates you’re using. There are three factors we consider; the adhesive bond between the tape and the vinyl, the bond between the tape and the substrate and the bond between the vinyl and the substrate. Ideally, the bond between the tape and vinyl should be stronger than that between the vinyl and the Kraft paper release liner. If not, the tape won’t pull the vinyl off the liner.
Once we decide to use paper or clear tape, and determined the right tack level for your vinyl graphics, we will consider the tear quality. Tape is generally used in sections, torn off by the installer. Low quality tape tears unevenly in useless, ragged little pieces. Good quality tape tears cleanly and predictably so you can pull off the size you want in one attempt. On good quality paper tapes, the adhesive tears with the paper face film. Lower quality products have adhesive coats that resist tearing producing strings of adhesive. Besides being a nuisance, this stringing can make an uneven adhesive bond with the vinyl and degrade performance.
The most aggravating aspect of low quality paper tape is wrinkling. If your tape wrinkles as you’re applying it to the vinyl, that wrinkle can transfer to the vinyl graphic and ruin it. Proper application technique helps, but opting for a higher quality paper tape makes this work-stopping problem much less frequent. In addition to reducing wrinkles, Can-Do Tape offer enhanced tape that is less likely to curl away from the vinyl once it’s applied. This benefit is primarily for those selling pre-masked vinyl graphics to be installed by the end user or a third party. Standard paper tapes will begin to curl away from the vinyl only after a few hours.
Whatever your digital graphics application, it’s a good bet you’ll need transfer tape at some point to bridge the gap from design to installation. We will consider your needs and choice of vinyl and substrates and choose the best tape for your particular operation.