Have You Tried: Packing Tape Transfers?

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By General Crafts Contributor Michelle

Packing Tape Transfers

Here’s a cool technique for making transfers to use you in your crafting that you can make in no time at all, with minimal supplies.

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Here’s what you’ll need to make your own:

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To begin, select your images, and roughly cut them out.  Cover the front of the image with strips of packing tape, overlapping them about 3/8-inch, to cover the entire image–I just tape mine down to the table I’m working on.  (Fold the end of the tape onto itself to help you peel it off of your work surface when you’re done.)

Tape 4

Using the plastic handle of your scissors, thoroughly rub the image all over to burnish the image onto the tape.

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Carefully peel up your tape, and cut off the excess tape around your image.

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Place the taped image into your bowl of water, and let it soak for a few minutes to soften the paper.

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Remove the image from the water, and place it tape-side down onto your work surface.  Using your finger, gently rub the paper back of the image until the paper begins to rub off.


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Continue rubbing the paper away to expose your image.  Dip back into the water, as needed to soften the paper, and continue rubbing until the image is paper free.  Blot off excess water with your paper towel.

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Your image is now transparent and has a slightly sticky back from the tape.  You can cut the image down more with your scissors, if you desire.

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Whatever was white in your original image is now completely clear, as the white was the color of the paper, rather than ink.

Packing Tape Transfer Candle Holder

I cut out my images and stuck them onto a glass container to create a decorative candle holder.  You can use a light coating of Mod Podge on the back of your images to help them stick more permanently to whatever surface you choose to adhere them to.

Candle Holder made with packing tape image transfer technique

These images are great attached to clear glass surfaces, due to their transparent nature, but could also be neat used on wood, in mixed-media artwork, for journaling–the creative possibilities are endless!

Packing Tape Image Transferring Technique

You can even take your favorite photographs to a copy center, have them printed on a laser printer, and use the same transfer method–they must be toner prints, rather than inkjet (like a desktop printer). How could you use packing tape transfers in your crafting?

Happy crafting!

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7 thoughts on “Have You Tried: Packing Tape Transfers?

  1. Mary Lawson

    I love how everything old is new again. I am in my late 70 and taught this method 40 years ago. Great ideas never go out of style. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Randi

    I want to try this idea. When you put the ink image on the glass do you press the ink on and remove the tape, or is it the ink and tape both that are left on the glass? I can’t tell from the pictures. Thank you.

  3. Michelle

    Randi, you use the tape just like you would a sticker–the ink stays on the tape, and you apply the tape to the glass; tape and ink are both on the glass. This process just adheres the ink permanently onto the tape, so you wind up with a transparent sticker. If you want the tape to stay adhered more permanently to the glass (like I did), just brush a thin coating of Mod Podge onto the sticky side of the tape, before you smooth it onto the glass. I hope this helps! Happy crafting!

  4. Randi

    To Michelle in Idaho, from Randi in California…Thank you. I understand now. Really like creative uses for old magazines, and transferring pictures is always fun.

  5. barb macaskill

    This is awesome!! I really love how the candle holder came out and am headed to Amazon to order some packing tape right now!!! TFS!

  6. Carolyn

    I think this is JUST the idea I’ve been looking for, for making some DIY coasters with ceramic tile. I don’t want to just glue a picture to the tile, and have not had great success with transferring images to the tile. The semi-transparency will add a wonderful added effect. Thank you!

  7. Judy

    Carolyn Did you try this on the coasters yet? I have been searching for a good way to do this for some time now. Excited to try this. I have done paper napkins but want to transfer pictures to ceramic tile a glass. Thanks Michelle for the information.

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