Introduction: National Emergency Bumper Sticker Making (nebsi/english)

About: Also my computer-designed weaving site.

[This describes a sticker making method now called nebsi for National Emergency Bumper Sticker Instructions.]

In an emergency, keep your head down, and keep working on your bumper stickers. It's not right that this democratic channel of communication would be throttled by calamity. There's a way to make attractive, weather-resistant, and removable bumper stickers using things you probably have at home. I'll show you how.

Step 1: Tools and Supplies

Here's what you'll need:

a bumper sticker design on ordinary paper

clear packing tape

scotch tape

wax paper

a gluestick


a pencil with an eraser

a toothpick

Step 2: Find a Design

Look on the web for sites, like mine, Sticker du Jour, that have public domain bumper sticker designs, or design your own. Sticker du Jour makes available the original Pages files for its designs, so you can quickly modify a design into something that is your own.

Step 3: Print Your Design

Print your design on ordinary paper using an inkjet or laser printer. Let inkjet prints dry out for a few minutes before going on to the next step.

Step 4: Cut Out Your Paper Sticker

Cut just inside the color field so that no bits of white paper are left decorating the sticker.

Step 5: Tape Wax Paper Down on Your Work Surface

Cut a length of wax paper that is a couple of few inches longer than your sticker is wide. Tape it down flat on your work surface with scotch tape at the four corners. (Fold a bit of each piece of scotch tape over on itself to make the pieces easier to remove and reuse.) In a pinch, you can use little pieces of clear packing tape instead of scotch tape.

Step 6: Glue the Back of Your Paper Sticker

Draw lines of glue stick on the back of your paper sticker, one near the top edge, and one near the bottom edge.

Step 7: Press the Sticker Onto the Wax Paper

Press your paper sticker, glue-side down, on the wax paper, keeping a bottom margin of about 1" of exposed wax paper.

Step 8: Laminate With "shingles" of Clear Tape

Cut a length of clear packing tape about 2 inches longer than the sticker is wide. Hold the tape at each end, and, keeping it taut, bring the tape into contact with the wax paper along a line about 1/2" below the sticker's lower edge. Press it gradually down onto the sticker and onto the wax paper.

Repeat this with another length of clear packing tape, this time overlapping the first layer of tape by about 1/4".

Shingle on  more lengths of tape until you have put down the last, the one that extends more than 1/2" above the top edge of the sticker.

Step 9: Trim Around the Laminated Sticker

Cut your sticker out roughly keeping a clear margin of about 3/4". Working by eye, do the final  trim around your laminated sticker, preserving  a clear outer border approximately 1/2" wide.

Step 10: Get the Peeling Started

Peeling apart the wax paper and the tape is a bit tricky.

Apply a shearing force to the edge of the paper sticker in the vicinity of one of the corners. This causes a bubble of separation to open between the tape and the wax paper. The opening can be worked all the way out to an edge. From there you can get the true peeling started by inserting a toothpick. Use the toothpick to drag the opening to the corner. At that point you can trim off a bit of the corner from the tape (not the wax paper.) That creates a place where it will be easy to start peeling when you are ready to install your sticker.

Congratulations, your new sticker is ready to distribute to others or to take out to the bumper for installation.

Step 11: Installing—and Removing— Your Bumper Sticker

Pass these instructions along to anyone you give a sticker to:

Choose a lsurface that is flat or curved in only one direction.

Clean and dry the surface.

Peel off the wax paper. (If it tears, you won't find it difficult to peel off what remains.)

Keep the exposed sticker in tension, holding the clear tape margins on each side. Stick the left edge down on the surface. Apply strong tension need to get wrinkle-free edges. If you have a problem you can back up and stretch a little differently as it goes down. Gradually enlarge the area of adhesive contact until the whole sticker is down.

Lastly, use the eraser end of a pencil to rub firmly down on all the margins and seams. The top edge is the important area to seal, it keeps water out, keeping your water-soluble inkjet ink happy. Press closed any wrinkles.

When removing a sticker many days later, some adhesive may stay behind. Remove it this way: put some ammonia on a soft cloth; press it on the adhesive for about 30 seconds or so; then gently wipe.

These stickers work great on windows too.

(Sorry about the bucket. Sandy was already dousing my bumper when I got around to taking these pictures.)