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What Technologies Are Used for Sticker Printing?

If you have children, you probably know that kids love stickers. They will collect them in scrapbooks, put them inside their school books, and even stick them where they shouldn't, such as on furniture or articles of clothing.

Believe it or not, stickers have been popular with kids since the 1970s when they started making decorative collectible stickers. Before then, they were used for business promotion. They are still used to promote companies.

They’re a useful promotional tool for businesses. If you give them away, and people put them on their laptops and cell phones, it is free advertising for you. stickers are one of the most inexpensive promotional tools that money can buy.

Stickers can also have a pragmatic use. You can use them to seal small bags. You can also use them to organize files.

If you’re thinking of printing stickers for your business, it may be helpful to know how stickers are made and what kind of technologies are used for making them. It will also benefit you to understand what your options are for purchasing these stickers. 

How Stickers Are Made

Stickers begin with a piece of artwork. You can draw a picture and upload it to a computer. However, most people will simply create their stickers on the computer.

Once the design is made, a technician will put a sheet of A photopolymer onto an exposure machine. The properties of this polymer change when it is exposed to light.

A negative of the art is placed on top of the sheet of photopolymer paper. Plastic is put over the  two sheets, and the machine is closed. A vacuum pulls the sheet together, and the machine emits a powerful blast of ultraviolet light. This transfers the image to the polymer sheet and makes the printing plates.

They will normally make a few different sheets with variations of the original design. To make the artwork stand out, they will remove any material surrounding the images, this will make the images come out raised.

They wrap the printing plates around cylinders, and the stickers are printed onto adhesive vinyl paper. Once this is done, they will cut the stickers. 

Die Cut Versus Kiss Cut Sticker

There are two different methods of making stickers; dye cut and kiss cut.

Die Cut 

A die cutter works by cutting through both the vinyl and its backing. The backing is made of paper. When done, the paper backing will be the same shape as the sticker. 

Kiss Cut Stickers 

This system of cutting only goes through the vinyl. The paper backing is not cut. The paper backing will be larger than the sticker. The stickers will usually be pulled off of one large rectangular backing sheet.  

Which is Better 

Die-cut stickers tend to cost a bit less. It’s faster to cut two sheets of material that are fused than it’s to leave one of those sheets intact. The stickers also tend to be raised a bit more than kiss-cut stickers.

Die cutting can mess up the edges of a sticker. It can also be murder to get the sticker off of the paper.

Kiss-cut stickers are easy to peel and will keep your design intact. The sheet will allow you to put any information you need on it, such as the name and number of your company. 

Where Can I Get Stickers Made

You will have a couple of options for getting stickers printed. You can go to a professional printing company with your design and get them to print it for you. If you need the stickers distributed, you must pay for the shipping yourself. You will have to order a certain number of sheets at a time to get a wholesale price.  

On-Demand Printing

These days you can find several on-demand printers online that can print your stickers for a lower price than a traditional printing company would charge. All you have to do is upload your images to the company website and select the colors you would like. 

They will print the stickers and send them out to you. You can order as many or as few as you would like. It’s best to find a kiss-cut on-demand printer.

Stickers are fun and a great way to promote a business. You can also let your kids create their own stickers. The internet has opened the door to many different forms of artistic expression.

About William Elward

Founder of Castle Ink, William Elward has 20 years experience in the printer industry. He's been featured on CNN Money, Yahoo, PC World, Computer World, and other top publications and frequently blogs about printers and ink cartridges. He's an expert at diagnosing printer issues and has published guides to fixing common printer issues across the internet. A graduate of Bryant University and Columbia's Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program, he's held various leadership positions at The College Board, Bankrate, Zocdoc, and Everyday Health. Follow him on Twitter at William Elward's Twitter Profile