It took me way too long to discover how to quickly and easily layer vinyl. I’m talking countless balls of waded up vinyl in the trash too long. I’m not going to lie, there might’ve been some tears along that layering vinyl road too. Well, I’ve dried my eyes and now I’m here to share with you an easy fool proof way to layer vinyl. It involves that glorious kitchen invention found all over my crafting room – parchment paper – and the right type of transfer tape!
Step 1 – Prepare Your Design
First, cut and weed your design. Then, take a full sheet of parchment paper and lay it down like it’s a mat. This way your vinyl won’t stick to anything as you are working. Next, cut your transfer tape and to fit over top of the entire design. Go a little bigger than the design size to allow yourself a little wiggle room. I highly recommend Teckwrap Matte Transfer Tape. It layers like a dream.
Next, it is important to know which order your layers go in because you are going to work backwards. You are going to put your top layer (the one that sits on the very top of your design when it’s finished) on your transfer tape first. In the example below, the bow is on top of the design, so I will start by putting the bow on the transfer tape.
Step 2 – Put Your Top Layer of Vinyl on the Transfer Tape
Take your transfer tape and figure out which area of the transfer tape the top layer should go in. In the example below my bow goes in the top middle right when I line the layers up and center the transfer tape so it covers the entire design. If you just put the bow in the middle of the transfer tape, the rest of your design will hang over the edge.
Next, take a piece of parchment paper, put the transfer tape over the parchment paper so just a small portion of the edge is hanging over. In the picture below you can see the right side is hanging over about 3/4 of an inch. Put the transfer tape on top of the bow. Make sure the bow is approximately in the same position on the transfer tape that we decided it needed to be in the picture above. Since you have parchment paper in between the transfer tape and bow, you can slide it around until you get it lined up without it sticking, just hold the right side up.
When you have it lined up, push the overhanging portion of the transfer tape on the right side down onto the bow vinyl backing. This will hold the transfer tape in place.
Pull the transfer tape back away from the parchment paper. Keep the right side pressed down.
Slide the parchment paper out and smooth the transfer tape on top of the bow.
Burnish (rub) the transfer tape to the bow. Flip it over and burnish (rub) the back to apply the vinyl to the transfer tape well.
Pro tip: while it is flipped over, pull the backing of the vinyl away from the vinyl. If you do it this way, instread of pulling the transfer tape away from the vinyl, the vinyl is less likely to pull away from the transfer tape.
Perfect! Your first layer of vinyl is on the transfer tape. Now let’s get that second layer lined up.
Step 3 – Layer the Next Vinyl Layer on the Transfer Tape
You have been through the method once, now you just repeat that for each layer. So, for our second layer, take the transfer tape (which now has the bow on it) and put the parchment paper under it again. Let the right edge of the transfer tape hang over the parchment paper. The exact amount depends on your design, but in my example it’s about 3/4 of an inch. Put the parchment paper / transfer tape on top of the second layer. In the example below it’s the white skull. Move the bow/transfer tape/parchment combo around until the bow lines up.
Once it’s lined up, push the right sticky side down onto the second layer. Next, pull the transfer tape (with bow on it) back from the parchment paper. Pull the parchment paper out and working from the right side, press the transfer tape / bow layer onto the white skull second layer. Next, burnish the front and flip over and burnish the back. Slowly peel the backing of the second layer of vinyl away.
Now you have two layers perfectly lined up, time for the last layer!
Step 4 – Continue Layering Until All Vinyl is Layered
In this example, we have three layers, but now you have the hang of it and you just continue with the same method until all your layers are complete.
Step 5 – Apply the Layered Design
We have our perfectly layered design and can now apply it to our final product (mug, blanks, etc.). Use the same parchment paper method to apply it to the object where you want it.
I hope you learned something new and this hack / method will save you so much time and frustration.