Introduction: Removable, Custom Bumper Stickers

Sometimes you want to to able to have a removable bumper sticker - for instance, you lease your car and want to remove all the "My Child Was Citizen Of The Month at Einstein Elementary" badges before you turn in your car.  Or perhaps your political leanings change over time, or you are embarrassed to display a losing candidate's sticker after the election. 

Most bumper stickers have notoriously agressive adhesives on them, and can damage your paint when you finally decide to remove them.  This Instructable will teach two skills - the first is a simple way to create a removable sticker from an existing sticker, and the second is how to create a custom bumper sticker. 

This presupposes that your vehicle has some steel on a panel that you want to display the sticker upon. If you drive a Corvette, this won't work.  It also will not work on the actual bumpers of cars made in the last decade or so, as nearly all of them have plastic bumper covers. Most modern cars' trunks or tailgates are still steel, so this should work somewhere on your car or truck.

Materials needed:

- flexible magnetic material
- bumper sticker
- windex or other glass cleaner
- squeegee
- paper towels
- straight edge
- razor blade or exacto knife

Step 1: Get Magnetic Material

The first step is to acquire the flexible magnetic material.  I got mine at TAP plastics, which is a west-coast plastics supplier. It is sold by-the-foot, and comes on a roll that is 24" wide.  This is the key ingredient to this instructable, so google "flexible magnetic sheet" if the is no place like TAP in your neighborhood.

One foot of this material is enough to make a several stickers.

Step 2: Stick Your Sticker to the Magnetic Material

Lightly spray the magnetic material with the glass cleaner.  Remove the backing from your bumper sticker, set it on the wetted material and use the squeegee to smooth out the bubbles.  Use a paper towel to sop up the excess glass cleaner. 

Step 3: Trim the Sticker,and Apply It to Your Vehicle

You can either trim with a scissor, or a sharp knife.  The knife and straight edge will give a better look. Since the magnetic material is white on the front, trim carefully if your sticker does not have a white background. 

Step 4: Make a Custom Bumper Sticker. Cut the Graphics on the Vinyl Cutter

I used the vinyl cutter at TechShop in San Jose to create a custom bumper sticker. 

First I created my basic design in Adobe Illustrator, than transfered the curves to the FlexiStarter software used on the vinyl cutter. Once the design was cut out, I "weeded" the vinyl, that is, I pulled off all the stuff I didn't want on my sticker.  This is usually the most time consuming step in the whole process.

Step 5: Prepare Vinyl for Transfering

Once the vinyl is fully weeded, place the transfer paper over the sticker, and smooth it with the squeegee.

Step 6: Apply the Sticker to the Magnetic Material

Just like we did for the non-custom sticker, spray some glass cleaner on the magnetic material.

Peel the sticker away from the backing material using the transfer paper. 

Place the sticker on the magnetic material, and smooth it with the squeegee.  Peel the transfer paper off, and dab the excess glass cleaner with a paper towel.

Step 7: Trim the Material, and Apply Your Masterpiece to Your Vehicle

Trim the material using a straight edge and an exacto knife. Be careful not to cut your finger while slicing!

Don't worry if you can't cut the all way the way thru the magnetic material - once it is scored, you can bend it and it will snap off.

Place your temporary sticker on your vehicle, and show off your politics proudly! 

The vinyl-cut stickers can be directly applied to windows as well, and are easily removed with a razor blade and some glass cleaner (as seen on the truck windows in the last photo).