How to make car stickers

Are you looking for a fun, creative way to express yourself and show your personality? Car stickers are the perfect solution! With car stickers, you can turn any vehicle into a rolling statement of who you are.

From funny sayings and images to more serious messages such as political or environmental statements, there are many possibilities when making car stickers.

This article will discuss tips on making customized car stickers from scratch, including choosing materials, designing your sticker, and applying it to your car. So let's get started!

Create your design

Creating your custom design for car stickers is where the magic happens. Whether you want to showcase your love for your favorite sports team, witty sense of humor, or passion for the environment, the design brings it all to life. Start by brainstorming ideas and sketching out rough drafts. Consider the size and shape of your sticker and the colours and fonts you want to use.

If you have plenty of design experience, you won't need us to tell you how to use Photoshop or Illustrator. But if you are new to design, explore free online tools like Canva for editable templates or icons that are free to use.

The shape of your car sticker is also part of your design. You can add a custom cutline to create your shape, or if you are outsourcing the printing to a professorial, skip that step and let them know what shape you'd like.

Export your design

Once you have perfected your design, export it. For the best possible result, export it as a vector file and ensure that you have the following:

  • converted your fonts to outlines
  • set the colours to CMYK
  • exported the highest quality

If you submit an image instead of a design, ensure it has a resolution of at least 300 DPI. Otherwise, it might print pixelated.

Source the right material

Various materials and adhesives are available depending on where you want to apply your car stickers and how often they will be exposed to direct sunlight. Vinyl is famous for car decals because it is waterproof, UV-resistant, and durable.

Most vinyl stickers have a medium-strength adhesive that is perfect for sticking to your car and makes removing stickers from your car easier.

However, opt for a static cling material if you want something more temporary or removable. These function like a suction cup and can be removed easily.

Print your stickers

Now that you have sourced the materials and perfected your design, it's time to print! If you are printing your car sticker yourself, make sure you use an inkjet printer that prints crisply.

Check if it is compatible with your chosen materials and design colors. However, if you want professional results and don't have access to a high-quality printer, outsource it to a professional printing service.

Do you need to laminate them?

Laminating your car stickers is unnecessary, but it will protect your design and extend the life of your sticker if you plan on using it outdoors.

If your chosen material is not laminated, but you want that extra protection, you can run your prints through a laminator, or alternatively, you can coat your design with clear nail polish for some glossy protection.

If you get your car stickers professionally printed, they will usually be laminated, but it can be worth asking.

Cut your custom car decals

Cutting custom car decals by hand can be a tricky and time-consuming, but with the right tools and technique, it is possible to get great results.

If you have a simple shape for your sticker such as an oval or rectangle, then an Xacto knife is all you need.  Make sure you use a ruler to draw out the shape before carefully cutting along the lines.

For more detailed shapes like words or intricate designs, a cutting machine like Cricut may be better suited as they are specifically designed for precision cuts.

And that is it - you've just made your own car stickers! Still, have questions? Don't worry; we have the answers.

What machine do I need for car stickers?

You don't necessarily need a machine to cut car stickers. However, a cutting machine like Cricut can be handy if you have intricate shapes or plenty of stickers to cut.

Cricut Explorer 3 cutting machine on a table

Cricut machines are designed for precision cuts and can handle a variety of materials, including vinyl, paper, and cardstock. With the assistance of a Cricut, you can cut out large amounts of stickers quickly, making it an excellent investment for those who plan to make and sell car stickers regularly.

Can I make car stickers by hand?

Yes, you can make car stickers by hand. In fact, old-fashioned sign-writing was done by hand, using paints.

All you need is a sharp knife, colored vinyl, some patience, and a good eye for precision. Draw out the shape of your sticker onto the material with a ruler & light pencil, and then carefully cut along the lines.

Green cutting matt with ruler knife scissors and a pen on a yellow background

How do I make car window decals?

Car window decals are just vinyl stickers that can either be front or back adhesive. A back adhesive sticker is a traditional sticker that has the sticky side on the back. A front-adhesive sticker has glue on top of your design, meaning you can stick it to the inside of windows.

You can follow the above-outlined design steps. However, DIYing front adhesive stickers can be tricky as you have to apply the adhesive after printing your stickers. If that sounds like too much hassle, contact a professional printer for help.

Will car stickers devalue my car?

No - car stickers generally don't affect the value of your car. However, it is important to be aware that poorly applied stickers can damage your paint job, which may reduce the resale value of your vehicle. To avoid this problem, use quality materials and follow proper application techniques.

How do I apply car stickers?

Applying your car stickers is mostly a simple process, but you need to ensure you have the right tools and techniques. Once you know where to put stickers on a car, you can get started.

Make sure your car's surface is clean and dry. Then firmly press the sticker onto the desired area and rub it down with a plastic squeegee or credit card to remove any air bubbles.

To finish, you can use a hairdryer to improve the adhesive sticks. However, be careful not to burn or expose the sticker for too long, as this could damage your paint job. 

Can I remove car stickers easily?

Yes - car stickers can be removed relatively easily if you take the right precautions. Start by heating the sticker with a hairdryer, then gently peel it away from the car. If parts of the sticker are still stuck to the surface, use some WD-40 or another adhesive remover to help remove those stubborn bits.

You can find more tips in our article: how to remove car stickers.

How can I make waterproof car stickers?

Waterproof car stickers are usually made with vinyl or a laminated material. Vinyl is a durable and waterproof material, making it an ideal choice for car stickers that need to stand up to rain, snow, and other inclement weather. Lamination also helps protect your sticker from water damage as it seals the design with a plastic coating.

Creating your own car stickers doesn't have to be complicated. The steps are relatively simple and straightforward, whether you make them by hand or use a cutting machine. With just a few materials and patience, you can create beautiful car stickers that will last for years in any weather!

If you're overwhelmed with all this information or need help creating waterproof car decals, don't hesitate to ask for professional assistance. With the proper guidance, you'll soon have unique custom-made car stickers that stand up against rain and snow alike - so what are you waiting for? Get started today!

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