Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Learning: what is a slip sheet, and when is it helpful?

Transferring vinyl lettering and graphics to any surface has its challenges. Transferring vinyl on top of vinyl, layering if you will, is an entirely different issue. Usually, one can cut their lettering or graphics, weed them, pick them up with transfer film, and carefully lay them down on a surface that will only partially grab the adhesive from the vinyl during the positioning stage. But when the adhesive side of vinyl touches the smooth side of other vinyl, let's just say it's like the wedding vow "what God has joined together let no man set asunder." It grabs with all its might.

Therefore, a slip sheet is needed that only allows a small part of the vinyl, that's to be transferred, to touch the surface of where it will eventually rest. The slip sheet should have a slick surface, so I save vinyl backing paper just for this purpose. It is also nice to have some handles out to the side of what is being transferred so that some centering and aligning can be manipulated from outside of the live area. Therefore, make sure the slip sheet is, left to right, much wider than your transfer area.

Usually, this opaque piece of vinyl backing is just the answer. But one occasion, there are special projects that need closer attention to detail. Case in point, the Easter message I needed to place on a wooden egg was designed to have color text layered on top of a larger white border. This would essentially give the visual impression of a thicker white outline around the type. When I used the opaque slip sheet, I could not see the lettering top to bottom. Since I was centering the color text onto a while outline and attempting to maintain a consistent border, I really needed to see the entire letter. After some quick thought, I wondered how plain old wax paper might work since it has a shiny, slippery side and it is at least translucent. Surprise! It works like a charm. 

Note: a word of caution here. Make sure you have the slippery side up for the vinyl adhesive to rest upon. Secondly, I found that repeated uses of the same paper must remove some of the wax and therefore allow the vinyl to begin to stick to it. Since wax paper is such a common household item, and it is quite inexpensive, rip away and use as much as you want.

Shown using the opaque slip sheet method (vinyl backing piece)

Shown using the wax paper method allowing for
better clarity of items below transfer film

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