Learn how to apply vinyl using transfer paper onto cardboard without tearing the surface and ruining the cardboard with this easy hack.
Raise your hand if you love the Target Dollar Spot. I’m just going to assume that your hand is held high, and if it’s not, you’ve probably never been to a Target. The Dollar Spot is the section right at the front door and has all kinds of fun random things that range from $1-$5. There’s home decor items, organizing solutions, holiday items, small gifts, toys, school supplies, and electronic accessories.
Cardboard Paper Holder Labeling Fail
One day while I was browsing the Dollar Spot, I found these cardboard paper/magazine holders for $1 each. I knew they’d be perfect to hold all my printed Organized-ish Binder Kits and other paper supplies in my Studio, so I scooped up a whole bunch of them.
I hurried home, broke out my Cricut Maker, and cut labels for each paper holder with white vinyl. After applying the first one with transfer tape, the cardboard surface on the holder spine ripped off all over. Epic Fail…
So I did what any DIY blogger does. I experimented. And I found the best hack that actually worked. So next time you need to apply vinyl labels onto a cardboard surface, here’s what you need to do.
Vinyl Transfer Hack For Cardboard Surfaces
To apply vinyl onto cardboard surfaces, you’ll start by making your labels just like you would for any other project. Once your Cricut machine has cut all the words or images, weed any excess vinyl and trim as needed.
But before you put the transfer tape onto your weeded vinyl, stick the transfer tape piece onto your pants first. Smooth it over your pants (or shirt, shorts, dress, whatever) then peel it off. Do it a second time, then apply it onto your vinyl label.
Burnish really well with a scraper tool, then pull the transfer tape from the vinyl backing to remove your labels.
Apply the transfer tape onto your cardboard surface and remove as usual. Now the cardboard won’t pull off, and your labels still stick.
Why This Works
Most clothing has fine lint fibers (that’s why your lint trap in the dryer gets fuzzy after every use). Those lint fibers stick onto the transfer tape when you smooth it over your pants, especially jeans or cotton materials, and make it a little less sticky.
It’s still sticky enough to grab onto the vinyl labels, because you burnish it on tightly. But it doesn’t have that tape-like grip to yank off the top layer of that sensitive cardboard.
Give it a try next time you need to dress up some cardboard and let me know what you think! It’s SUCH a game changer!
If you’re loving this project and want to replicate it on your own cardboard paper holders, here’s the exact materials and fonts I used:
- Cricut Maker
- Standard Grip Mat
- Cricut Removable Vinyl in White
- Cricut Transfer Tape
- Weeding Tool
- Scraper Tool
- Portable Trimmer
- Don Juan font from Cricut Design Space
- Cardboard File Folders from Target Dollar Spot (Ikea sells these too, also for $1)
More Cricut Hacks
Follow me on Instagram and TikTok for quick Cricut crafting hacks like this one, along with video tutorials to see the process in action. And while you’re there, shoot me a DM and say hi. I would love to meet you!