Making stickers is a fun, easy way to customize all sorts of things. You can make your own stickers with a few simple supplies and some creativity. Your homemade stickers will be great for crafts, hobbies, or even to sell.
Here’s what you need to make stickers:
- Access to a printer
- Sticker paper or label paper
- Access to a machine cutter, or an X-acto knife
- Basic design skills, either by hand or digitally.
What to do if you don't have these items
Except for the sticker paper, you could potentially use your local library for computer access, and if they don't have a printer, the local UPS store would be able to print for you for a low cost. In other words, you don't need to run out to the store and buy the latest, greatest equipment to make stickers.
Step 1: Design your stickers
Nowadays, it's very easy to create designs for stickers, even if you're not the best artist in the world. If you want to make stickers, but aren't good with computers, drawing the design by hand is the best way to go about it. It'll be much quicker for you to make what you want by hand, then just take a picture and clean it up.
Digital sticker design
If you want to design your stickers digitally, there are a lot of programs out there that you can try using. Procreate is a popular choice for people who own iPads. I personally love desktop programs that work with tablets - Rebelle 5, Affinity Designer, and even Sketchbook are all great programs to try. If you like Adobe products, then Illustrator and Photoshop should help you do the thing. If you own a Cricut cutting machine, you can use the Cricut Design Space app to make small, basic designs on the Design Space canvas.
Paying someone to design stickers
If you're not into design, but you have ideas, that's ok! You can pay a graphic designer to make your sticker designs for you. A graphic designer will help you make professional looking stickers, promotional stickers, and brand stickers really easily. You can still print these stickers at home - you're just paying for the design.
Using Cricut Design Space
If you're cutting stickers with a Cricut machine or other cutter, Cricut Design Space is likely your best option. A brand new Cricut machine is $100-200, and you'll need either a tablet or computer to use the program. Stickers fall under a "Print Then Cut" option.
To use Cricut Design Space to cut, you'll need to import your files into Cricut Design Space. As you do, be sure to clear any backgrounds you don't want. When you save it in the Cricut Design Space library, be sure to select the version that has color, not the dark gray outline. That will save it as something that you can print.
After you've brought your files into the Cricut Design Space canvas, resize them and click the Make button in the upper right hand corner. It'll give you a preview and then you'll have the option to print. To create a printed sheet, you'll need your sticker paper and access to a printer. If you don't have access to a printer, save the print file as a PDF and come back to Cricut Design Space after you've successfully printed.
Step 2: Buy some sticker paper
There are tutorials out there that will show you how to make your own clear stickers with packing tape, but it's just not a very effective method if you want to make a lot of stickers. Plus, printable sticker paper is very affordable, and you get it in many different forms. You can buy vinyl sticker paper, matte sticker paper, and glossy sticker paper all right at Michaels or your local craft store. I don't personally use Cricut brand sticker paper, but some people swear buy it.
Printed sticker paper backing
Most sticker papers have blank backs. If you're feeling very creative, you could print on the backs with your new business logo or even just a fun message like "be happy" - it's really up to you.
Types of printed sticker paper
A note about printable sticker paper - please be sure that the printable vinyl that you buy is compatible with your printer. Not all papers are made for all printers. You may need to use an inkjet printer to print on certain types of paper, and a laser printer for others. Read the packaging of your matte sticker paper or glossy sticker paper to figure out what type of paper you have. You could ruin your printer by using the wrong type of paper.
Step 3: Print out your stickers
After your design is finalized, you'll want to get them printed. If you have a home printer - great. Just use that. Printing stickers is a bit of a process, so follow our guide on how to cut stickers with Cricut if you've never done it before.
If you don't own a printer but you do own a Cricut machine, you'll want to get your stickers printed somewhere. You can access the color printer at your library, or you can use your local UPS store. In Cricut Design Space, simply save the print file as a PDF instead of trying to send it to a printer. Then, bring the PDF to your store or library to print.
When you're done printing, you'll need to cut out your stickers.
Step 4: Cut out your stickers
If you have a cutting machine, you can use it to cut all of your stickers at once. If not, an X-acto knife will be just fine for one or two stickers. I have a Cricut cutting machine and I love being able to use it whenever my brain wants to see something made real.
You won't be able to use your Cricut Joy to do a print then cut project, but you can use Cricut Design Space with a different cutting machine to cut your stickers out. It's pretty easy to cut stickers, it just takes a little bit of time.
Cut stickers with your Cricut machine
To cut stickers with your Cricut machine, you'll need to have printed out the correct material as detailed above. Make sure you printed on your matte sticker paper or glossy sticker paper (whichever you chose), and then load them onto the cutting mat with the left upper edge lined up correctly.
Most sticker papers will cut straight through on the Cardstock setting, so set your Cricut machine to Cardstock when you go to cut stickers. If it's your first time trying to cut stickers, you may need to tweak a few things before you find success. Just be patient, and change one thing at a time until you get it right.
Cut your own custom stickers out with a cutting mat
To cut stickers out by hand, you'll need a sharp knife, a protected surface, a steady hand, and some patience. You can cut stickers out of any printed sticker paper by hand. If you're really careful, you can even make your own sticker sheets. DIY stickers are about patience and practice.
Try to keep the border around your stickers even. If you're not sure about a cut, leave a thicker border on that part, so you can come back and cut it later. Self-cut stickers are time consuming, but they're good if you're into sticker making for only a short time.
BONUS: Make A Sticker Sheet
A sticker sheet is a bunch of stickers all on one sheet of paper. The effect is achieved by cutting partially through the sticker, but not the backing paper. These are also known as kiss-cut stickers. Like normal stickers, a sticker sheet can be printed on vinyl stickers, matte sticker paper, or even glossy paper. To print stickers for a sticker sheet, you'll just need to set up your Cricut project appropriately. You can use the Cricut Maker or the Cricut Explore series to make a sticker sheet. See this tutorial:
BONUS: Make Clear Stickers
Many normal printers can create printable stickers on clear sticker paper. The only thing that normal printers can't do on clear sticker paper is print white colors. So just be aware of that in your design. We've got a great guide on clear stickers for you to use.
BONUS: Our Recommendation For The Best Sticker Paper
We try not to preach one particular brand over another, but if you love stickers, you'll love OnlineLabels branded sticker paper. It's affordable, available in bulk, and creates clear, excellent prints. They even send free samples!
BONUS: Can I make bumper stickers on my Cricut Maker?
Yes and no. The printable space for Print And Cut stickers is 6.75" x 9.25". So, you can make a bumper sticker as long as it fits within that size. If you want to make it larger, you'll need to cut by hand, use special paper, or pay someone else to print it. Luckily, most stickers are smaller than that cutting space, and you can use your normal set up to make them.