Stickers: you can make them too

Smaller than a US quarter and made of vinyl, I’m obsessed with my own homemade stickers. Creating them in my time between fuller tasks, hiding them for others when I can steal an extra moment, turning my day into a scavenger hunt: I love it. Being able to spread a bit of anarchy and happiness and scratch a small itch for vandalism; all summed up as a marketing campaign no less!

This is to help inspire you to just DO it, and catalogues the steps I’ve taken so far. I started with a bit of my own investment: one Canon Pixma Inkjet printer to start. This is not the highest-quality printer, an Epson model like the WF-2630 or higher might show better results, but I started with browsing on Amazon to make that first ‘down payment’ so I could start putting my existing designs on some vinyl. I like PPD’s glossy option- I tried a matte option from another company which turned out much thinner like packing labels, but Photo Paper Direct has had my return business a few times now: https://amzn.to/3cpBD9o

Be aware: The ink used on this paper is still sitting on top of glossy vinyl. You can let it dry for a time, but I highly recommend that you at least use some Mod Podge spray to coat a sheet before cutting it. You can also get transparent films to lay over fresh sheets, these options can even allow you to add metallic or glitter effects– they’re surprisingly tough so search for, but you can find some lovely options linked on the images below- plus you might be able to find some options at your local craft store:

I’ve started out slowly, so I chose to use Mod Podge a sealant and I’m without a cutting machine. I was luckily able to borrow one for a time, and it can be a bit finicky. Cricut doesn’t technically “see” your design on a sheet, which I hear that a Silhouette machine can do. With Cricut, you need to make sure that the cutting area is lined up according to your board and specific machine.

It’s recommended that you ‘prime’ your boards so you can print larger pages and break out of the default registration marks, I had to learn the hard way until I found this video that explains preparing a board to simply cut out a negative space from some tape so you can get the perfect placement:

Regardless of owning a cutting machine, a good X-acto blade is indispensable.

I don’t recommend spending all of your time making manual cuts, but it can help a lot in a pinch or when you might need to salvage part of a sheet. Remember that you want to try to turn out a profit, or at least stay out of the negative.

Though I had some of my own sketches and memes in mind, I just decided to draw some simple designs based on the game we were all playing on our phones. You know the one, those familiar old creature designs: and so I started with fan art. I used the catch-and-trade language we all know, to help get people talking and trading my art around my office. It’s a bit tougher to implement in a wider public setting; since each sticker is about the diameter of a quarter coin, sometimes people don’t see them or the wind could easily catch them. I mainly try to keep to some ‘rules’ in the game: hide them for people to find, inside the building around hip-to-eye height, and don’t stick them. I’m not making this for vandalism: I enjoy seeing them on my coworkers’ badges and littering their desks.

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