Are you looking for a sticker how to guide that shows you everything you need to make the best possible vinyl stickers? You can find plenty of information online, including our popular guide called Printable Vinyl 101. What many people also need to know, however, is to troubleshoot. Today we’ll do a different type of sticker how to guide – one that helps you avoid common mistakes, so you make perfect stickers every time.
Ready to take your hobby or business to the next level? Then welcome to our unique sticker how to guide!
Mistake #1 – choosing the wrong vinyl
One of the biggest mistakes is choosing the wrong materials to make your stickers. It’s easy to get packs of paper-based labels to make stickers, and there is nothing wrong with that! But, if you want plastic, durable, waterproof stickers that resist tearing, warping, or fading, you need vinyl.
Sticker vinyl comes in sheets with glossy, clear, or matte finishes. You choose the finish based on how you want your final product to look. For example, antique style stickers look great in matte while photo stickers shine in glossy. Clear has no background so it’s ideal for putting on objects like a mug or glass candle holder.
Once you have selected clear, matte, or glossy vinyl, the next step is to check the box itself. It should indicate if the vinyl sheets are safe for a laser or an inkjet printer. Be sure to choose the one that matches your home printer. Laser printers layer color using fine powder (toner) to create vibrant tones, while inkjets use microscopic dots to create sharp images. This matters because vinyl formulated for your inkjet is designed to handle the saturation, while vinyl formulated for your laser is designed to quickly soak up the color and prevent it from smearing on the printer’s rollers.
Mistake #2 – choosing the wrong design program
Now that you have durable vinyl that is formatted for your printer, our sticker how to guide moves to designing your stickers. It’s a mistake to think that you need a complicated program to make stickers. Any program with the basic ability to manipulate an image will do – even Word!
It is important to choose a program that matches your skill level and produces the desired end result. For example, if you have a high level of expertise with photo manipulation software and want to make stickers of your own creations, choose a program like Photoshop. However, if you just want to print things you found online (for your own use), make name labels for your family, or make stickers for pantry jars, Word will suffice. Any program that lets you crop, move, and edit a photo or image, then print, works for making stickers. So, don’t feel like you need to go right to pricey or complicated sticker software or apps.
But there is an exception.
Sticker vinyl is often confused with adhesive vinyl – because printable vinyl has an adhesive side. When looking up sticker how to guides online, you’ll find “sticker vinyl” and “adhesive vinyl” used interchangeably. They are not always the same. Printable sticker vinyl is the print-peel-stick variety where adhesive vinyl is non-printable but cut into shapes and transferred to a surface with a special kind of tape. Adhesive vinyl is a higher level of sticker making and is used by serious hobbyist. Quite often a tool like a CriCut® is used to cut intricate patterns, and those machines are tied to special manufacture’s software. In those instances, the mistake would be to not use the proprietary design program.
Mistake #3 – Limiting yourself
Sticker how to guides usually discuss how to make one kind of sticker, but there is so much more you can do with vinyl! In addition to the adhesive vinyl mentioned above, try vinyl heat transfers for t-shirt making, laminating sheets for outdoor stickers, and even magnetized sheets to turn your stickers into fridge magnets. Vinyl has a lot of very useful and practical applications – basic stickers are just the start.
You don’t have to limit yourself to just copying and pasting cute images you see online either. You can create digital art or scan things you drew or painted by hand and turn those into stickers too! Once you digitize an image or photo, it’s a sticker candidate.
Look for sticker how to guides that think outside the box. For example, most sticker vinyl sheets are not precut like labels. This means you can make one giant 8 x 11 sticker. You can turn those big stickers into a temporary gallery wall! Stickers are also great as part of a larger craft or purpose. Your kids can make their own mugs with their names on them, your teen can create custom stickers for her and her friend’s school binders, and you can print out that inspirational saying for your office wall.
Mistake #4 – Removing stickers the wrong way
There should be a sticker how to guide on how to safely remove the most suborn of stickers – oh wait… there is one! We have this sticker how to guide on our blog for both regular stickers and permanent ones. Having a sticker how to guide for removal is very important because if you remove a sticker the wrong way, you wind up with a mess.
Basically speaking, if you want to remove a sticker, you must first loosen its adhesive. For non-permanent stickers there are ways to do this while saving the sticker itself. For permanent stickers, if heat isn’t enough to break the bond, you can dissolve the entire thing (the sticker and the adhesive). You must choose the best sticker removal method that accounts for the surface too. You don’t want to put a powerful dissolver on a painted wall, and you don’t want to risk burns by heating up a metal surface.
There are plenty of sticker how to guides out there. Today we decided to do one on mistakes to avoid so you can create the perfect sticker. These mistakes include choosing the wrong sticker paper and choosing the wrong vinyl for your printer, going right for a pricey design program when software you already have may suffice, limiting yourself to simple stickers when there is a range of projects you can easily do from home, and using the wrong methods to remove stickers from surfaces. We hope you enjoyed this sticker how to guide and that it helps you avoid common pitfalls in this hobby.
Want more sticker making how to guides? Check out our blog. Ready to make your own stickers? Royal Elements sells printable and adhesive vinyl, along with transfer tape, laminating sheets, magnetic sheets, and more in our online store. We love to see the projects you make using Royal Elements products. Post your results online with the hashtag #royalelementsstickers so we can feature your designs on our social networks (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube).