What Is a Transfer Sticker & How Is It Made?

A transfer sticker – what is it? Ever wondered what’s so good about them? Their limitations, or how to get the best results?

In the next few minutes, we’ll answer these and other essential questions you’ve got on transfer stickers.

Here we go…

transfer sticker is cut from a single piece of vinyl. The excess is ‘weeded’ away (removed) leaving just the image. Clear transfer tape is then applied over the top. This temporary layer holds all the pieces together while applying the transfer sticker.

They look like this:

Black transfer sticker with custom design applied to a clear water bottle

What’s so good about transfer stickers?

Being cut from a single piece of colored vinyl means you’ll get a really deep, solid color.

There is also no sticker around your design, as you would get on a clear sticker. So, you can see the background around your design creating beautiful, minimalist effects.

See what we mean?

White transfer sticker with owl design applied to a black mug

What are the limitations?

Transfer stickers can be expensive because they’re time-consuming to make.

A human needs to manually remove all of the excess vinyl after it’s been cut. It’s not the most fun job we can tell you.

You also cannot get super fine detail because each cut piece has to be large enough to stay in place once stuck. We recommend a minimum of 3mm or more in any direction.

Smaller pieces can pick up over time if they get knocked or rubbed.

They’re only available in a single colour because they're cut from a single piece of coloured vinyl.

How you can get the best transfer stickers

When creating your design try some options to see what works best for your design. Simplify some of your shapes or increase the size of lettering if it’s too small to be made into a transfer sticker.

We find that trying a positive & negative version of your design can create some remarkable results.

If you can’t edit your artwork get the professionals to do it. Here are some examples of how we’ve taken designs and changed them to create some beautiful designs for our customers:

 Stacks of transfer stickers on a table

How are transfer stickers made?

Transfer stickers are some of the simplest stickers to make. They’re cut from a single piece of vinyl using a machine called a vinyl plotter (or cutter).

 A vinyl plotter cutting a transfer sticker from black vinyl material

Once your sticker has been cut, the excess (the bit of your design you don’t want) is removed just to leave your design.

We then apply a transfer tape.

What is transfer tape? It’s a clear layer that gets applied to your sticker. It holds each part of your sticker together for easy application.

Applying clear transfer tape onto weeded transfer stickers

Finally, they’re trimmed into individual pieces so they can be easily applied.

Here’s a quick video that shows you the whole process:

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