How to choose the perfect custom sticker

Are you unsure which custom sticker is best for you?

We’ve spent months creating the most comprehensive resource available online to help you get the ideal custom stickers.

This guide will give you enough information to make the right decision but doesn’t get bogged down in technical jargon.

We’ve split this guide into 4 sections:

  1. Choosing the right material
  2. Should your sticker be laminated; Yes or No?
  3. Getting the adhesive right
  4. Choosing the perfect cut

Once you’ve read this guide, you’ll be in the best position to buy the perfect custom stickers for your use.

Experience tells us that many people buy the wrong sticker and pay more than necessary. This guide will help you make the right decisions, saving you time and money!

So let’s get started.

1. Choosing the right material

This is the most important part. Getting this right could mean the difference between your sticker enjoying years of happy sticking and looking great, vs disintegrating at the first touch or drop of water.

But don’t worry! It’s easy to make the right decision with the information we’re about to give you…

When we talk about the material, we mean the layer your design is printed onto.

There are 2 main categories of material to choose from, they are paper or plastic. Here are some highlights of both:

Plastic

  • Durable & hard-wearing
  • Tear-resistant
  • Waterproof
  • Suitable for outdoor use
  • Options to choose flexible plastics
  • Recyclable options available
  • Available in many color options
  • Flexible so can go on curved surfaces

Paper

  • Short-term or indoor use only
  • Most aren’t waterproof. If they are it’s not as resistant as plastic.
  • Low cost
  • Easily recyclable
  • Great textured finishes are available
  • Available in nearly as many color options as plastics

Typical uses

A useful way to understand what material is best is to get inspired by other people. We have listed some of the most popular uses for each material below:

Plastic

Paper

A common mistake

Many people don’t realize paper and plastic are available in many colors such as metallic, holographic, and neon. However, it will be much easier to find plastic stickers in these colors on the market. So, speak to your supplier if you want a color other than white or clear.

2. Laminated – Yes or No?

Understanding if you need a laminate on your custom sticker or not will save you valuable money.

What types of laminate are available?

There are two main options; matte or gloss. Which one you choose is mostly down to preference.

Gloss

A gloss mirror silver rectangle sticker applied to an electric scooter stem

Matte

Matte square Adidas sticker applied to a water bottle

You can get ‘liquid laminates’ that are clear coatings that help give some resistance to scratching, but they don’t get close to the protection a layer of plastic gives.

Yes

If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you need a laminate on your sticker.

Is your sticker used outdoors?

For example, on a bike. If yes, it needs the UV, water, and scratch resistance from laminate.

Will your sticker be scratched, rubbed, or held repeatedly?

For example, on the back of your phone or laptop.

Do you have a premium brand and you want to give a perception of quality?

The extra layer of laminate gives your sticker the thickness to make it feel premium, like a beautiful thick business card.

No

If you answer yes to these questions, you don’t need laminate on your stickers.

Are you looking for the lowest cost option?

The extra layer of laminate adds cost and complexity to the manufacturing process.

Are your stickers for a single-use?

For example, takeaway food packaging or event name stickers. No laminate is needed as they are used for such a short time.

Are your stickers only being used indoors?

For example, for beverage bottles (think fancy gin bottle sticker) or for product marking like a QR code on an electrical product.

Top tip

If you want a clear or transparent sticker choose a gloss laminate otherwise you won’t get good clarity.

3. Getting the adhesive right

Knowing this, and getting the adhesive right is really important to ensure your custom sticker doesn’t peel and look bad within a few hours – not ideal.
Whilst there are many different types of adhesive the most important factor is strength. We will focus on this.

Removable adhesive icon

Removable

Stickers with a removable adhesive are used when you want to remove the sticker after a very short time and to leave no residue.

Permanent adhesive icon

Permanent

Over 90% of stickers and labels use a permanent adhesive because it’s optimal for sticking to nearly all surfaces (see the list below).

  • Glass
  • Paper
  • Metal
  • Paint
  • Galvanized steel
  • Powder coatings
  • Cardboard
  • Wood
  • Stone
  • Leather
  • Plastic bottles
  • Fiberglass
High tack adhesive icon

High tack

This is an industrial-strength adhesive for hard-to-stick applications. Choose high-tack glue if you’ve used stickers in the past that don’t stick or you’re sticking to one of these materials:

  • Rubber
  • Low energy plastic – polypropylene and polyethylene to be exact. Things that are made from these plastics are; water buckets, wheelie bins, motocross bike fairings.

Top tip

If you’re selling stickers to customers, distributing them as handouts, or unsure which is the best adhesive, choose a permanent adhesive. It’s the best all-rounder and works 99% of the time.

There are 3 ‘strengths’ of adhesive used for sticker and label applications. These are:

4. Individual, on sheets or rolls

Getting this right could save you valuable hours! Choose from; individually cut, sticker sheets or stickers on rolls?

To help explain how important this is we did a test of applying 1000 stickers that were 3cm circles. It took 2 hours and 17 minutes when individually cut whereas it took 48 minutes when on a sheet. That’s a saving of 1 hour and 29 minutes or 65%
now do I have your attention.

A die cut sticker applied to paper bags and white sticker sheets

Individually cut

If you plan to give stickers away at an event, selling them, or apply a few hundred to your products, we recommend individually cut stickers.

They’re easy to store and often the easiest to buy in small quantities.
If you choose individually cut stickers, then you have two main options; kiss-cut or die-cut.

What’s the difference?

Individual stickers get cut to any shape you want. The main difference is kiss-cut only cuts through the first sticker layer, whereas a die-cut sticker cuts through the sticker and the backing paper layer.

These images explains it the best:

Die cut

A small pile of holographic die ut tiger stickers on a table

Kiss cut

A holographic kiss cut sticker being peeled off the backing

Sticker sheets

If you’re planning to apply a few hundred or even thousands of stickers to products or packaging, choose stickers on sheets!

All stickers are kiss-cut through the sticker layer but remain on the backing paper in a sheet form, making them quick to peel and fast to apply.

Sheets come in many different sizes, but we recommend A4 and A5 if the size of your sticker allows it because this is very easy to distribute.

A White Gloss sticker Sheets Packing Deli Cup

Top tip

 

#1

Custom sheet labels are the best option if you want to add a giveaway for a magazine or logo stickers in product packing (think of the Apple stickers you get with your iPhone). Adding sticker sheets alongside your product will get your brand seen!

 

#2

If you have different designs, it might be worth adding a title, product code, or barcode to the sheet to help you identify each one. It’s especially helpful if your designs are similar, for example, on ingredients stickers.

Stickers on rolls

The benefits of getting labels on rolls are similar to sheets because they make them fast to peel & quick to apply.
Rolls are handy if you apply stickers with the help of a dispenser or machine.

Like sticker sheets, labels on rolls are kiss-cut through the sticker layer but remain on the backing paper in a sheet or roll form, making them fast to peel and apply.

There are many ways you can apply stickers on rolls; here are a few images to get your creative juices flowing.

We recommend getting stickers on rolls if you’ve got a machine to apply them for you, as it’s the fastest way to apply thousands of stickers.

A Roll label machine semi-automatic applicator
Label machine semi automatic application machine

Unanswered questions? Claim your sample pack

 

In summary, there are 4 key decisions to make when choosing your optimal custom stickers. They are:

 

  • Choosing the right material
  • Do you want your sticker laminated?
  • Making your label stick – choosing the right adhesive
  • Getting them cut right – individual or on sheets or rolls

 

If this has been overwhelming and you don’t know what’s best, try getting the best all-rounder – a white vinyl sticker with a permanent adhesive. It sticks to most things, and the white material with a gloss laminate makes your stickers look fabulous!
If you still feel like you need more information, the best option is to get some stickers in your hands so you can test them on your application.

Get a sample pack today

If you have any questions or want help finding your perfect custom sticker please contact us.