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How do you make stickers and labels permanently stick?

When you put all this time into designing and creating your custom stickers and labels, the last thing you want is for them to not stick to your surface or start curling up while still in storage. But worry not. In this post, we will cover why certain stickers and labels won't stick and how you can make sure that your labels look perfect and stick.

Eco friendly sticker applied to glass vodka bottle next to long drink glass filled with a cocktail

Why won't my stickers and labels stick?

There are plenty of reasons why your stickers and labels are not performing the way you want them to. Have a look at the most common issues below.

Textured or unclean surfaces

Stickers and labels do not stick to textured or dirty surfaces as well as they do to flat surfaces. This is because the adhesive on the back is not able to grip onto the surface as well, which can cause them to peel or curl up over time.

To prevent this from happening, it is important to make sure that you apply your stickers and labels to flat surfaces that are free of any dirt or dust. Simply use an alcohol-based cleaner to wipe the area before applying them.

Wetness

Wetness from water or an oil film can cause adhesive to either not bond with the surface or lose its grip over time, which can lead to your label curling or peeling.

Make sure that the surface is completely dry before applying the sticker or label. If you are worried about your branding being exposed to water, choose the right waterproof label or sticker material.

Material choice

Some materials are more prone to peeling or curling under certain conditions, such as wetness or contact with oils.

If you are looking for a label material that can resist water and oils, printed plastic or vinyl material with a medium-strength adhesive is a good option.

High-quality paper material can stick just as well, but they are more likely to peel when exposed to moisture.

Incorrect adhesive

Of course, the adhesive used during the printing process is key to making sure your stickers and labels stick. Most options come with a medium-strength permanent adhesive, which makes them perfect for applying them to hundreds of surfaces.

There are also low-tack and high-tack options. However, low-tack mostly works for short-term applications, whereas high-tack can potentially damage the surface. If you are unsure, get self-adhesive samples before you place your order.

Eco friendly sticker with made for you design applied to the inside of an open cardboard box

What is a permanent adhesive?

A permanent adhesive describes the durability of the glue. Other than removable adhesives, a strong permanent adhesive binds two components (e.g. label and surface) together permanently.

Now, this does not mean that you cannot remove the sticker or label, but it ensures that they stick. Permanent adhesives are the ideal all-rounders and stick to plenty of surfaces, like:

  • Glass

  • Metal

  • Paint

  • Galvanized or powder-coated metal

  • Paper

  • Cardboard

  • Wood

  • Stone

  • Leather

  • Plastic bottles or tubs (ABS, PET/PETE/polyester plastics)

  • Fibreglass

You can also learn more by reading our ultimate guide to sticker and label adhesives.

Does heat make stickers and labels stick better?

We use a pressure-sensitive adhesive on our products. That means that the adhesive is activated once you press it onto your surface; heat is not needed.

However, the heat from a hairdryer can help mould your adhesive, especially when you are applying your stickers and labels to a curved surface. Do not worry about damaging them. All our materials withstand heat of 80 degrees Celsius.

How do I stop my stickers and labels from curling?

Curling means that the edges or corners of your stickers and labels are starting to lift from the surface and have started curling towards the centre. Once this happens, it seems almost impossible to press them back down and create a smooth look. So let's have a look at how you can prevent this.

When you order labels, they will arrive on flat A4 sticker sheets. This is perfect for keeping them straight. Lay them down flat and store them in a cool and dry place. Humid environments can cause the material to curl.

If this does happen, you can counteract it by folding your sheets or stickers the other way and putting a heavy book or other flat objects onto them.

Clear eco friendly labels applied to three different honey jars

Now that you know how to make your stickers and labels stick, are you ready to print your own? Have a look at our custom stickers and labels range and get inspired. If you are still looking for a design, check out Graphic and browse plenty of label templates.

Do you want to learn more about all things custom printing? Then have a look at these articles: