Happy Birthday Bag (How to layer adhesive vinyl)

…layered adhesive vinyl on a paper gift bag

Adhesive vinyl on paper bag. FREE CUT FILES.Adhesive vinyl on paper bag. FREE CUT FILES.
Kraft bags. Anyone else in love with them? Such a sweet blank canvas—so versatile. I keep a variety of sizes on hand to use as gift bags. In a few minutes, I can personalize one for a specific person or occasion…or both!  Here’s a HAPPY BIRTHDAY design I did recently. Sometimes I add more swirlies, sometimes I swap out the black for white or the turquoise for a different color, and sometimes I swap out the brown bag for a blue, green, or other color (are they still called Kraft bags when they’re not brown???).

This design involves a little layering, but just a little, so if you’ve never layered adhesive vinyl before, this is a great first project to give it a try. The free SVG & Silhouette cutting files are available to download below, and I’ll take you step-by-step through putting it together, so let’s go!

This post includes affiliate links to help you find the products I used. If you click on a link and buy something, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.

What you need…

Free SVG & Silhouette files.Free Download
Happy Birthday Silhouette V3
Happy Birthday Silhouette Legacy V2
Happy Birthday SVG
Personal use only.

The design…

I’ve included stars as registration marks. They aren’t part of the design, but if you cut a pair with each BIRTHDAY and line up the turquoise stars with the black ones, then the BIRTHDAYs will line up properly. It makes layering a piece of cake…it’s much easier and more accurate than eyeballing.

What to do…Free Happy Birthday SVG & Silhouette files.

STEP ONE: Resize the design to whatever you’d like. I cut mine 7″ wide and that worked well for both the 8″ and 13″ bags. The file has the design separated into colors all ready to cut, so be sure to select them both and resize them at the same time so they still fit together after resizing.

STEP TWO: Cut all the pieces from adhesive vinyl. The narrow letters (turquoise) will be on top and the poofy letters (black) will form the shadow. Weed out the non-design parts, and cut the design apart like this:

Free SVG & Silhouette files.
STEP THREE: Apply transfer tape to the narrow BIRTHDAY+stars (turquoise), lining up the edge of the tape with the star edge of the design. The transfer tape should be large enough to cover the poofy BIRTHDAY+stars+flourish (black) as well. See the extra transfer tape a-flappin’ in the breeze below?

Free SVG & Silhouette files.
STEP FOUR: Burnish it (a.k.a. rub it really well) with a scraper or squeegee. Peel off the backing. The vinyl should stick to the transfer tape. Re-attach the backing so that it covers BIRTHDAY, but not the stars.

Free SVG & Silhouette files and vinyl layering instructions.
STEP FIVE: Layer the narrow BIRTHDAY (turquoise) over top of the poofy BIRTHDAY (black) by lining up the stars (the turquoise stars are exactly on top of the black stars). Thanks to the backing paper, there’s no chance the narrow BIRTHDAY will accidentally get stuck where it doesn’t belong. Be careful not to remove the black stars from the backing paper.

Free SVG & Silhouette files and vinyl layering instructions.
STEP SIX: When the stars are stuck to each other, hold them down while you remove the backing paper from the the narrow BIRTHDAY (turquoise). Then smooth the narrow BIRTHDAY+transfer tape onto the poofy BIRTHDAY. Burnish it well.

Free SVG & Silhouette files and vinyl layering instructions.
STEP SEVEN: The stars have done their job—look how perfectly the two BIRTHDAYS lined up to create a shadow effect—so you don’t need the stars anymore. Cut them off and discard them.

Free SVG & Silhouette files and vinyl layering instructions.
STEP EIGHT: Peel the backing off the layered BIRTHDAY+flourish and place it where you want it on the bag (remember to leave room for HAPPY above it). Give it a quick rub with your fingers. Try not to apply pressure to the areas with transfer tape only…you don’t want the transfer tape to stick so well that it rips the bag.

Then, slowly peel the transfer tape back on itself to remove it. I find it works best when I pull at an angle. The vinyl should stay on the bag.

Free SVG & Silhouette files and vinyl layering instructions.STEP NINE: Apply transfer tape to HAPPY (you can reuse the BIRTHDAY piece), remove the backing and carefully place it so the swoopy lower part of the Y overlaps BIRTHDAY, but the bottoms of the Ps don’t touch it. Rub the lettering with your fingers, then remove the transfer tape, leaving the vinyl on the bag. Apply transfer tape to each swirly and apply them to the bag in the same way. Remove the transfer tape. And yo, you’re done.

Free SVG & Silhouette files and vinyl layering instructions.Free SVG & Silhouette files.Free SVG & Silhouette files and vinyl layering instructions.

Happy Birthday to you, whenever you celebrate it!



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Free SVG & Silhouette files and vinyl layering instructions.









6 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Bag (How to layer adhesive vinyl)

  1. How did you know we had two birthdays this week? 😀
    Thank you for being so generous with your knowledge and talent.
    I also continue to share your FB posts to groups I am in so others can learn from you as I have. Your tutorials are really good!

    Thanx again Eff, Jerri!

    1. I know, right? It’s that birthday time of year, isn’t it? LOL…

      Glad to hear my words have been helpful. Thanks for sharing my posts.
      You’re the best!

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