Sometimes choosing an application tape can be overwhelming. I have been working with vinyl for almost 11 years now, and sometimes I still have trouble picking out the prefect one I need. At SignWarehouse, we offer different types of tape, from medium to high tack, paper to clear tape. The top brands of Transfer Tapes we offer are R-Tape, Nekoosa, OraTAPE, and EnduraMASK.

Our best values are found in the EnduraMASK label. Our EnduraMASK transfer tape line has been expanded to better serve our craft and hobby customers. We've added EnduraMASK 165 and 160G. EnduraMASK 165 is a clear tape on a release liner that has a red grid printed on it. This is the only EnduraMASK application tape with this feature. EnduraMASK 160G is the same excellent medium high tack tape with a light gray grid printed directly on the tape. EnduraMASK 160G and 165 take different approaches to the alignment benefits of printed-grid transfer tape, but they both offer great performance, value, and clever features that will help your vinyl decal projects.

Benefits of Transfer Tape with Printed Grids

Fig 1: Coffee mug decorated with enduraMATTE and enduraMASK 160G

EnduraMASK 160G and 165 are clear medium-high tack transfer tapes with different approaches to the craft market. Crafters love transfer tape with printed grids because it makes aligning vinyl decal elements easier. EnduraMASK 160G and 165 both offer this feature, but in different ways.

160G has the grid printed directly on the tape's face film. 165 is mounted to a release liner with the grid printed on the liner. Both application tapes are medium-high tack tape with excellent layflat properties. The layflat properties means when the mask is applied to the release liner for extended periods of time, it stays flat instead of curling away from the liner.

They are suitable for use with a wide variety of self-adhesive vinyls including EnduraGLOSS, EnduraMATTE, Oracal 651 and 631. You can also use grid transfer tape to help with your OraMASK 813 stencil projects. The tape can be used to help decorate corrugated plastic signs, mugs, wood blanks, walls, and so much more.

EnduraMASK 160G
EnduraMASK 160G has a light gray grid pattern of 2cm (.8 inches) squares printed. Even if you don’t lay the grid perfectly straight on your project, you can still use the grid to help line up your decals. The lines can help while laying vinyl on a mug or wood sign.
FIG 2: The light gray grid printed on 160G. The 165 is a clear tape with a liner.

On the mug shown in Fig 1, I used the grid to make sure the arrows in the design were horizontal. The alignment of the arrows wasn't prefect in the design, but the grid tape helped me see how far it was off and place the vinyl on the mug the way I wanted. The corrugated plastic sign design in Fig 2 was a more complex design with multiple elements, but it was easy to line up with the help of the grid.

EnduraMASK 165
EnduraMASK 165 is a clear tape with a red grid printed on the liner. When using this application tape, you can pull half the liner back and use the other half of the grid to help line up. The printed, gridded offers some interesting benefits. With the liner, if you have a mutli-colored vinyl design with elements the same length, you can cut off a section of release liner and use that piece to transfer all of the elements to the substrate in one step. With standard application tapes, you have to mask and transfer each element separately. This can be a time saver. The liner can also help reduce waste. If you have a 20” roll, but your graphics for a project are only 14” wide. You can cut your mask down to size and save the extra 6” for the next project. So EnduraMASK 165 saves time and money.
Wall Graphics
FIG 3: Applying wall decals to 'knockdown' textured walls can be a challenge.

You need a transfer tape that has a high enough tack level to remove the vinyl from it's release liner but not so high that it holds onto the vinyl when you want to transfer the vinyl to the wall. It's a tricky balance. You have to try to match the tack level of the tape to the tack level of the vinyl. More about that here. Since matte vinyl made for wall graphics usually has lower-tack adhesives, it can be a challenge.

So we tested EnduraMASK 160G and 165 with our top-selling wall vinyls, ORACAL 631 and EnduraMATTE. For this wall graphic project, the tape was applied on a Friday afternoon and used on the following Sunday night. Both application tapes can be left on the design for a period and still release from the vinyl when applied. The vinyl was applied to the wall for 45 minutes to help the adhesive of the vinyl to bond to the wall’s surface. When the application tape was removed, the enduraMATTE had no problem sticking to the wall. The transfer was clean, simple, and did not try to pull up the vinyl or the paint from the wall. The Oracal 631 was given the same 45 minutes and had very little problem with the transfer. With both tapes. Because 631 has a lower-tack adhesive than EnduraMATTE, we lost a couple of small elements including the 't' in the word "with". So you can use 631 with 160G or 165, but it requires a bit more care on that final step.

How wide, how long, how much?

EnduraMASK 160G comes in 6”, 12”, 16” and 24” width. The roll are the traditional sign industry length of 100-yard rolls, which makes them a great value. Prices start at only $22.51 for 6" x 100 yard rolls. EnduraMASK 165 comes in 6”, 8”, 12” and 20” wide rolls. The five and ten yard roll lengths are perfect for crafters. EnduraMASK 165 prices start at only $5.00 for 6" x 5 yard rolls. EnudraMASK 160G and 165 are innovative products that can help small businesses or crafters complete simple or complex vinyl decal projects more efficiently and more economically. The grid patterns are a great help with making your decals look professional. For a complete guide to all the transfer tapes available from SIGNWarehouse, check out our basic guide to transfer tape.