Transfer Paper Vs Transfer Tape: Which One to Use?

Choosing between transfer paper and transfer tape can be difficult for a first-timer. The choice depends on what you need. Making an ill-informed choice will do you harm rather than any good.

So, for those of you who are having a tough time dealing with this problem, keep reading because we have got the solution! And those of you who are curious, you are welcome as well.

Transfer Paper Vs Transfer Tape: Differences

transfer tape vs transfer paper

What is a Transfer Paper?

transfer paper

Transfer papers feature an uncommon groundwork. The purpose of such groundwork is to move a plan or to engrave another surface. You can etch a surface using warmth, weight, or dampness.

It does not matter if you are moving a pencil sketch to a canvas or pressing an image onto a toss cushion. You can even attach a custom vinyl design to your water bottle. No matter the purpose, transfer papers can help you do the job.

Transfer papers are easy to use. But if you are looking for various types of unique works, you will need different exchange strategies and materials.

You will have to know precisely what it is you are looking for. If you can decide what you want to, you can decide what sort of transfer paper you need to buy and how you can use it.

1. Inkjet Transfer Paper

Inkjet Transfer Papers are most used to transfer any prints or photographs, or graphics onto household items. That means if you want to print your face on your tumbler or mug so that no one else uses it, inkjet is the way to go.

And you do not even need that many things to do this. You can do so by using an ordinary inkjet printer and typical inkjet inks. Sounds too good to be true, right?

You can use the inkjet for both light and dull shaded textures. The application technique and end results are one of a kind.

There are two ways that you can print using inkjet transfer papers. You can apply heat, or you can apply pressure to print images. 

When applied, it will create a delicate, adaptable, stretchable picture. One might ask if the picture will be ruined once you wash the surface. It will because Inkjet prints are washable!

If you are looking for household usage, inkjet transfer papers should be your first choice. It also offers a variety of options. The printed surface can also be ironed and heat-pressed.

2. Heat Press Vinyl’s

While this is not a ‘transfer paper,’ you can also apply a texture onto a surface with a heat press. They are also known as Heat Transfer Vinyls or HTVs. This item offers you a wide range of tones and surfaces. Some of them even sport sparkles.

Do note that HTVs are not printable items. Then how do you apply heat transfer vinyl? You have to remove the cover by hand, or you can have the plan cut out on a vinyl plotter. This option offers you the chance to customize the design with your PC.

The plan is then stripped off the support paper. If you think the texture will be appropriate, then you can apply it with a warm press.

Many prefer using HTVs. Because Heat Transfer Vinyls are useful when you do not want any bases, such as in lettering.

3. Plastisol Screen Printed Transfer Paper

Referred to as Hot-split or Hot-strip, this dynamic technique delivers a completed item that is indistinguishable from Screen-printing. If you are uncomfortable with direct printing on your t-shirt, Plastisol is the way to go.

The design is printed onto the plastisol paper with a screen-printer. Now you have two options. You can go for a hot split or a cold transfer.

If you use the cold transfer method, there will be no leftover ink on the T-shirt. But if you go for the hot-split route, you will have to make sure that you immediately peel off the paper when you lift the press.

Doing so will give the t-shirt a non-uniform look. Making it look unique and handmade.

This process is suitable when you have a smaller order to fill. Printing using Plastisol papers creates a lot less mess and offers you better design flexibility.

But, if you want to use this process, you may have to invest in the heat transfer press. You will also need to be able to deal with errors as this process is prone to errors.

4. Cold-Strip Screen Printed Transfer Paper

With the same fundamentals as plastisol paper, cold-strip papers are also printed using the screen-printing technique. It requires costly and robust components to print.

The cold-strip paper got its name from its printing technique. After you have printed your design or texture with a warm press, you have to let it cool down before you peel the support paper.

As the paper cools, even more ink is moved onto the surface. As a result, the end result becomes a much more brilliant and more distinctive picture.

This bright output is due to the complete ink move. Cold strip moves feel more like direct screen printing. The final product may feel rubbery when touched.

5. Sublimation Transfer Paper

Sublimation transfer paper is used for sublimation print frameworks and inks. With sublimation, the ink ‘sublimates,’ or become a gas without melting first.

There is no liquid used in this process. The inks are used mainly in their solid state. They are then converted into their gas state by applying heat. This gas-state ink is then applied to the sublimation paper.

As the ink is converted into a vaporous state, it can permeate deep inside the fibers. These heated poly fibers have their pores expand, allowing the vaporous ink to set in.

This technique is intended to be used on polyester, polyester mix, and other types of surfaces. The sublimation process is not suitable for cotton or cotton-based surfaces.

You can also use it to print other products with rigid surfaces. Such as mugs or limited-time things as long as they can let the sublimation process makes the ink settle. This is considered to be a costly technique as the gears required are very expensive. 

Also, this is not a practical method of delivering smaller orders. As a result, most print shops do not use this technique for smaller orders or individual requests.

What is Transfer Tape?

transfer tape

Transfer tapes are also known as application tapes. That is because they make it easier for you to apply any vinyl designs or stickers with their help.

Do you remember the stickers we treasured when we were kids? They had transfer tapes on top of them. These transfer tapes allow you to see what is exactly under the layer. 

They are critical in graphics design because they let the client know the result of their order without applying it.

Types of Transfer Tape

Paper tape and clear tape are two kinds of transfer tape available on the market. Either will get the job done, so it is a matter of the user’s preferences.

But, there are some distinctions between the two that you need to consider before getting yourself one.

1. Paper Transfer Tape

Paper tape is made out of a paper-based face film covered with glue. It is somewhat transparent. Compared to clear tape, paper tape is more flexible and tends to be softer.

You can easily rip a paper tape with your fingers. But the most important thing is its variation of tack levels. Paper tape can be bought in low, medium, or high tack variations.

Generally speaking, paper tape is more affordable than clear tape. Another fantastic feature that paper tape comes included with is its permeability.

Because of this feature, the paper tape gives its clients a wiggle room when it comes to making mistakes.

Paper tape comes with a wide range of applications. A high-quality paper tape may be able to fulfill all your transfer tape-related needs, depending on its tack level.

2. Clear Transfer Tape

Clear tapes are transparent or clear. That is where they get their name. Clear tapes are manufactured using plastic face films.

Because of its see-through feature, some sign makers prefer clear transfer tapes as they need visibility. 

The do-it-yourself customers also prefer the clear transfer tapes to fulfill their transfer tape needs for its visibility as well.

This vinyl’s clearness also makes it easier for the user to apply because the user can see the relative positions of the designs and the layers.

But there are also drawbacks to these seemingly attractive transfer tapes. Because of its plastic face film, the clear transfer tape is less practical than paper tape. It also lacks the versatility of use that paper tape sports.

It is also not applicable when you are handling wet tools. It is because the application fluid cannot get past the plastic face film. So, you have to be careful not to use too much glue.

Bottom Line

Now that you have come to know all the details of the transfer paper and transfer tapes, we hope you can choose suitable for your project. Both come with their set of pros and cons and ideal grounds of usage.

You only need to pick which ground is yours. And voila! You are set to go, given that these papers come with their types and categories. Make sure to choose the kind that aids your level of expertise.

They do not differ by a mile, but their outcomes will by a mile depend on how you handle them.

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