Through some trial and lots of error, we finally came up with a feasible way to make some vinyl-esque stickers. Using a combination of shipping labels and clear vinyl laminate we achieved what we think is the cheapest method with the best results. Sure, there are better ways to make them, like buying printable vinyl sheets, but this way is much cheaper and the results are pretty decent.
What you'll need
- Printable shipping labels - we recommend full sheet labels; the stickiest you can find (we recommend checking eBay).
- Clear vinyl laminate - this can be found at just about any home improvement store (Lowe's, Home Depot, etc.) It's usually located near the cabinets along with the drawer liners.
- Something to smooth the laminate onto the paper (squeegee, scraper, etc.)
- Printer (any kind will do)
- Design software (nothing fancy - you could use Inkscape, paint.net, etc) Inkscape is what we used.
- Scissors or paper trimmer
Make sure you check out the video, it shows a bit more of each step than the images do. Please enjoy and if you make it or something like it, we'd love to see it.
Step 1: Designing the Sticker
The whole thing of course, starts with your sticker design. You could do any shape you want, but the easiest solution would be a square or rectangle design. This will be even easier if you have a craft paper trimmer, especially a sliding cutter. We designed ours in Inkscape. Try to avoid curved cuts unless you're really good with a knife or scissors.
Step 2: Printing and Sticker Paper Selection
The next step is to print your design onto a good quality sticker paper. We tried a few different kinds and found that the standard scrap booking sticker paper or really any of the other big box store brands didn't work so well. They would lose there adhesion over time. So, we decided to try shipping labels instead. This worked great. They are super sticky and near impossible to remove once put in place.
The best we had found to this point came in a pack of 100 sheets and only cost 10.99 on eBay. These are super easy to find if you search for them on eBay. So, to this point we are at .11 cents per sheet or about .02 cents per sticker. Not a bad start.
Step 3: Choosing a Laminate
The next thing we wanted to do was give the sticker some protection and a little bit of that vinyl shine. In our first attempt we tried using Mod-Podge. It didn't work so well and it was prone to streaking and causing the colors to run.
The alternative was a type of laminate sheet. Luckily, we found a roll of clear vinyl laminate at our local home improvement store. It is advertised for laminating documents and pictures, but is sold along with the drawer liners or contact paper. A roll of this is about 5 or 6 dollars and you can get a lot of sheets out of it. About 72 sheets to be exact, if you get the 36 foot roll. So that puts us at about .08 per sheet or about .01 cent per sticker.
Step 4: Applying the Vinyl Laminate
To apply it, you need to roll it over the sticker sheet while pressing it down at the same time. A squeegee or some sort of smooth scraper works well for this. We used a drywall mud smoother. The main thing, is to keep the air bubbles out from between the sticker sheet and the laminate.
Step 5: Cutting Out the Stickers
Once the laminate is applied, you simply removed it from your work surface and cut them out using whatever method you choose. We used a paper trimmer for the straight edges and a pair of scissors to round the corners.
Step 6: All Done!
So, that's it. The total amount per sticker using this method is roughly .03 cents per sticker. Which is very cost effective if you don't mind putting in the time to make them which isn't a substantial investment anyway. We were able to make a sheet of these from start to finished stickers in about 4 or 5 minutes and most of that time is spent cutting.
For those who are interested, here is a cost breakdown (minus the cost of printer ink):
The sticker paper – $10.99 total about .11 cents per sheet / .02 cents per sticker
The contact paper – $5.48 total about .08 cents per sheet / .01 cent per sticker
We hope you enjoyed this DIY project and the video that goes along with it.
If you have any questions or comments please let us know, we'd be more than happy to help you out. Thanks for checking out this Instructable.