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Peeling StarCraft Transfers for Dark Materials

Peeling StarCraft Transfers for Dark Materials

Inevitably there are a few people each week that struggle with peeling the Transfers for Dark Materials from the paper backing.  Some people have commented that "tons of people are having this issue" or that "must be something wrong with this batch".  I would like to clarify that we sell THOUSANDS of sheets of this product every month and in reality only a handful of people have issues--nowhere near even 1% of the purchases. If everyone who successfully used the product posted, it would bury the issues and we'd probably never see the posts.  That said, I do want to shed some light on the consistency of the issue and what I have found so far as the cause.  Most people would probably cry if they saw the amount of material I wasted trying to duplicate the issue because I almost did. 

Even though the instructions do say you can cut it with scissors, I do recommend die-cutting so the excess can be weeded away. This leaves you with a full backing sheet with a printed image that has been cut and weeded around it (like you would have with adhesive vinyl) then apply the transfer mask to lift the image from the backing.

If your machine is cutting into the backing even the slightest bit, it will cause the backing to split and come off with the image.  With a Cricut Maker you can use the "Rice Paper" setting and with the Explore series (One, Air, Air 2, etc) most people are having good success cutting on Paper, Paper- and some have had to increase pressure to Paper+ or Vinyl. The product is very thin so you might have to use a scrap sheet of the product to test for your best cut settings.  You can do this using a small basic shape like a star and cut it about 1/2" to 1" tall.  I recommend cutting it, then cutting around it with scissors and weeding it, then peel the star or shape off the paper.  Roll the paper back and forth to ensure it did not cut into the backing at all. If it did, then you need to decrease pressure a bit. 

If you choose to cut with scissors or to peel the whole sheet, you have to be careful how you do this.  If you peel with the backing (logo side) face up and try to peel the paper away from the image, this will usually make it very difficult to peel cleanly.  Once it starts to split and shred, it's all down hill from there and very difficult to work with.  It is HIGHLY recommended to peel the image away from the backing and not peel the backing away from the image.  I know it seems like it would make no difference but it really does.  To get the separation started cleanly you do have to be very careful because the printed image is somewhat fragile until it is pressed.  

In some cases, using a print then cut method is the best option even if it seems like it may not make sense.  As an example, one user was using the scanner portion of their printer to simply photocopy a recipe onto the StarCraft transfer then cut it out with scissors.  I suggested they scan a 300dpi or higher quality image, upload it to Cricut Design Space and crop it to the proper size, then use Print Then Cut with the Cricut to print and die-cut the image, then weed away the excess and apply the transfer mask as I described above.  She replied with pictures of how well it worked compared to the previous method she had tried.  

Another scenario that has been encountered was a design being cut that had a lot of cuts in it.  With Dark Transfers the more solid your image is, the more luck you'll have being able to peel it cleanly.  With this product, if you print an image that also has a bunch of cuts in it or has thin lines or small parts in it, the more likely you are to run into issues peeling it.

You really need to peel the image away from the backing, which is why transfer mask is recommended.  Before applying the transfer mask, you can use a weeding tool or hook to separate the edges like I show in the video link below to help get it started.  Once you have a clean separation started, the transfer mask should lift the image from the backing much easier as shown in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BC6z7KONyUs

One other scenario I encountered was related to a very old printer.  I expect this to be the exception rather than the rule, but the user had an HP 5550 printer which was a 12+ year old inkjet printer.  I actually owned this exact printer several years ago and it contains a heating element that dries the ink as the image printed.  This is a problem because it fused the adhesive in the product.  

Hopefully this information will help ease the pain for those who have encountered the issue of trying to peel the paper away from the image rather than die-cutting or peeling the image away from the backing, instead.
 

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