Vinyl stickers are widely used and diverse products that come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours and designs. They’re used for labelling, decorating, customising and branding, and are crazy popular in advertising because they easily draw attention.
If you are an aspiring sticker maker, here’s some important information on how to make personalised vinyl stickers.
Hardware you need to make personalised vinyl stickers
Poor equipment can cause you a lot of frustration, so you should try to buy the best equipment you can afford.
If you don’t already have one, you’ll need to get a personal computer with internet access that can run design software. Most computers nowadays can, but to be sure, you are looking for a 2.0 GHz processor or better, at least 2 GB of RAM and 4GB of space on the hard drive.
You will have to invest in an inkjet printer unless, of course, you have one already. Any inkjet printer can be used in combination with a special type of vinyl that can be printed on with a regular inkjet printer. You don’t need special ink either.
You don’t have to purchase an electronic cutting machine to cut vinyl. You can cut it with a pair of sharp scissors or a craft knife. However, if you want to make a real business out of your personalised vinyl stickers, a vinyl cutter will save you a lot of time and effort while also allowing you to get precise cuts. The cost of a vinyl cutter ranges from £250 to £3000.
You can design your stickers and have an established business print and cut them for you. In that case, you will just need a computer and design software to create your artwork and send it to the provider.
Design software and vector graphics
Most people spend too much time buying hardware and not enough buying design software. The right design software can make a big difference when making personalised vinyl stickers.
To make professional-quality vinyl stickers, you will have to work with vector graphics. While printers can work with different types of graphics, cutting machines can only cut vector graphics. Some cutting machines come with vector-based design software, but if one is not included, you will have to get it.
What are vector graphics?
Vector graphics is a computer image format composed of straight and curved paths with start and end points rather than small squares or dots called pixels. These paths are based upon mathematical equations and determine how the blade moves across the vinyl. Sounds complicated, but don’t get discouraged.
Why vector graphics and not some other format?
Most people are familiar with raster graphics such as .jpg, .png and .tiff files. When you zoom in really close, raster graphics look “blocky” because colours turn into a grid of pixels. Editing raster graphics is time-consuming and zooming in always results in jagged lines and blurriness. The lines, curves and points in vector graphics remain smooth when scaled to a larger size and don’t lose any image quality.
What design software to use?
Vector-based design software is the most efficient and dependable option for creating your designs. With such software, you can easily manipulate text, add colours and edit graphics. CorelDRAW, Adobe Illustrator and AutoCAD are all vector-art-making programmes that, once you learn how to use, make vinyl design fun and easy.
Inkjet printable adhesive vinyl
You will have to buy sheets of inkjet printable adhesive vinyl (sticker vinyl). They come with a clear laminate overlay that can have a matte or glossy finish and will make your stickers durable and water and weather resistant. There is also a sticky adhesive on the back, which is protected by a paper that must be peeled off in order to attach the sticker.
You can buy inkjet printable adhesive vinyl in brick and mortar craft stores or order some online.
Making vinyl stickers step-by-step
- Prepare your designs in a design programme.
- Load a sheet of inkjet printable adhesive vinyl into the printer.
- Print your designs.
- Set the printed page aside for about five minutes to allow the ink to dry.
- Cut out your designs with a vinyl cutter.
- Weed! Vinyl cutters cut but won’t remove the negative parts of your designs, so you will have to remove those pieces by hand.
Making professional quality vinyl stickers requires some investment, but not as much as you might have thought. Personalised vinyl stickers can be used for a variety of purposes and by a variety of audiences due to their versatility. If you are creative enough and polish your design skills, you too can profit from the sticker craze!