Handmade Stickers

Just for Fun

I like to create personalized sticker sheets to give to friends and family. I used to sell these stickers on my old Etsy site called DIY Paper Co. Now I just give them as gifts, because the return on investment wasn’t worth it with the amount of time I was spending! They’re fun to make every now and then as a side project, though.

How to Make Your Own

To create all of these sheets, you need to have a Silhouette Curio to create the “kiss cut” (when the blade cuts through the top sheet, not the bottom) on sticker paper. If you don’t have that, you can’t really make these. BUT I recently heard from a friend that you can rent a Curio from the library! The library really has so many great resources, and if you aren’t taking advantage then you’re missing out! Thank god Ben Franklin created them way back when! But I digress…

To start out, I first make the designs in Adobe Illustrator. I lay out the artboards in the paper size that I’m going to print them in. Generally I make the sheets about 8x5 or so, because it’s small enough to mail or hand out easily, and the Curio only prints 8.5x6 inches anyway. In Illustrator I create everything from the illustrations down to the glitter particles. 

Step 1. Design the stickers in Illustrator

Step 1. Design the stickers in Illustrator

Next, I print the designs on sticker paper in a regular printer. I use semi-glossy sticker paper that I bought in bulk online (see image for my specific order). I don't have any particular tips when printing on the semi-glossy paper, other than making sure the color settings are very vibrant, and you have semi-glossy chosen as the paper type. Every printer will vary with settings, so this just takes some adjustments to get the best results.

Step 2. Print designs on sticker paper

Step 2. Print designs on sticker paper

Once the designs are printed on the sticker paper, they’re ready to be kiss cut instead of being one whole sticker sheet. This is by far the trickiest step and takes a lot of trial and error. In order to give the stickers some white space around each design, I copy each sticker and expand it by 1/4 inch or so to give it a border (still in Ai). This will be where the Curio cuts around the sticker. Next, I make an artboard with ONLY these lines, not the sticker art, and export this as a transparent png.

Step 3. Create cut lines in Illustrator

Step 3. Create cut lines in Illustrator

I open this file in the Silhouette software, and select these lines as the parts I want to cut. The settings can be tricky, but I usually use the cardstock setting at the slowest cutting speed. The slow cut speed helps prevent tears to occur around delicate turns. Make sure you have a fresh blade and that the sticky part of the Curio mat is sticky enough that your paper won’t be moving during the cutting process.  I place my printed sticker sheet on the mat, and slide the mat in. After all of the settings are configured properly, I’ll cut out a test sheet. If the test sheet shows the cuts in the right places directly around each sticker, I’ll move on to create a batch of 5 or so sheets.

Step 4. Cut sticker borders in Silhouette software

Step 4. Cut sticker borders in Silhouette software

Final Result

The resulting sheets have a perfectly-cut border. The nice thing about this project is that stickers are a very customizable gift. I made sticker sheets for St. Patrick's Day, Valentine's Day, planners, and all other kinds of themed designs. They're a bit time-consuming to make, but once you have the files made in the first place, you can re-print and cut as many as you'd like.

Step 5. Stickers are cut!

Step 5. Stickers are cut!

Resources

If you need any additional help, there are lots of resources available on Youtube that go through the Silhouette cutting process step-by-step. Here’s an example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rgWBs2lQ5k.

sideprojectsAndrea Hock