How Are Stickers & Labels Cut And What Are The Limitations?

There are three ways to cut custom stickers or labels; digital cutting, die-cutting or with a laser.

Laser cutting

Laser cutting uses high-powered lasers to vaporise material in its path. It can cut any shape, is super fast (up to 100m/minute) and has a cutting accuracy of 0.1mm.

More of the digital printing industry is using laser cutting because it's so fast and accurate

Digital motors control a small, ultra-shape blade to cut stickers, such as on a flatbed like this:

Custom stickers being printed on a flatbed cutter


Popular suppliers of flatbed cutter include; Zund, Summa & many others.

These machines range from entry-level to costing £100,000+ and are used to cut leather, plastics, cardboard, fabrics and many other materials. 


Traditional die-cutting had been around for hundreds of years. A metal 'die', which is a thin strip of metal, formed to the desired shape, is stamped into the sheet of printed media to cut the sticker. Like this:


Once the die has been made, it's super fast to cut thousands of stickers, which makes it an attractive way to cut labels, even today.

A more modern take on traditional die-cutting is semi-rotary die-cutting. It's used widely in the label industry. The die is attached to a roll, and as the printed roll of film passes under the roller, it cuts the sticker. 

It looks like this:

Semi rotary die cutting labels on a narrow web


It's great for simple shapes such as rectangles, squares, circles and ovals.

Do you want to learn more about custom sticker and label printing? Then have a look at our blog. You can also reach out to our experts with any questions.

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