How are holographic stickers made?

If you’re in the market for holographic stickers or want to find out more about them, you’re in the right place.

We’re going to explain to you how they get made and how you can design awesome holographic stickers.

Firstly, what is a holographic sticker?

The term ‘Holographic’ means your design is printed on iridescent vinyl, giving an eye-catching rainbow effect to your design. You can see some examples here:

How are holographic stickers made?

Holographic stickers get produced like most other stickers. We print ink on vinyl then a clear laminate is applied over the printed layer. This protects the sticker making it durable, waterproof, and resistant to fading in the sun.

This image shows the construction of a holographic sticker:

Exploded view of a holographic sticker, showing each layer

But Holographic stickers are special.

We use the iridescent effect of the vinyl to create some awesome results. We do this by printing different colors on top of the holographic vinyl. See some of the colors that we can create.

Colour swatch printed on holographic

If you don’t want the holographic effect to show in areas of your sticker, white ink can be printed behind the color, like this:

2 holographic stickers in hands 1 with no white ink, 1 with white ink

Here is a short video that shows you the making of a holographic sticker from start to finish.

How to design your perfect holographic sticker

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create a holographic sticker.

How is holographic vinyl made?

Holographic vinyl starts off as a metalized polyester film (a super thin layer of metal gets applied to a thin polyester film). The manufacturer runs the metallic film through a set of rollers with a textured surface, called embossing. This embossing is so thin (around 10 microns, about 1/5th of a human hair) that it cannot be perceived by touch.

The altering of the top surface causes the light to diffract on the surface of the metalized vinyl, causing us to see an iridescent effect. This embossing process can be done using a wide range of different patterns giving us various effects, such as; holographic (rainbow chrome) stickers and glitter stickers.

Security hologram stickers – how are they different?

What is a security hologram?

Security hologram stickers are often used in official documents like diplomas or certificates to show authenticity. They are also commonly used on various products and packaging. These stickers are hard to counterfeit, giving brands a level of original product protection.

How are security hologram stickers made?

These stickers are made using a metalized film. This is a thin layer of clear plastic, usually polyester, with an ultra-thin layer of metal applied to it. This material is run through a set of embossing rollers to add to your design. It can also be done with a laser. This embossing, or etching, shows your design when light hits the surface & diffraction of the light occurs.

These stickers do a fantastic job. However, getting custom security stickers made is not a cheap process. Embossing rollers are made with your design engraved. As you can imagine, this is not a cheap or quick process and is only economically viable for large quantities of stickers. For example, starting quantities can be 30,000, with a cost close to £2000.

A low-cost alternative to security hologram stickers

A good option, allowing you to create low-cost similar-looking holographic stickers, is to print a design that imitates a security hologram. This enables you to get a small quantity of 50 stickers for less than $40.

Here are a few examples and a downloadable design for you to edit