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What is a die cut sticker?

Die cut stickers are by far the most popular sticker option. If you are researching custom stickers, you are bound to stumble over the term.

But what exactly does it mean? What is a custom die cut sticker? And what makes it special? Are you confused?

We’re here to help you. This short guide tells you exactly what a die-cut sticker really is – jargon-free and easy to understand.

We will cover everything from the die cutting process to the differences between die cut and kiss cut stickers and the best uses of your stickers.

Don’t have time to read? Then watch the short video below or read on to find out more.

What is a die-cut sticker?

The term ‘die cut’ describes how your sticker is cut. It tells you just as much about the shape of your sticker as rounded corners or square stickers would.

It means your sticker is cut in a custom shape, usually around your design. The term goes back to the old days when this type of sticker used to be cut with heavy metal dies.

Since then, technology has changed, but the name stuck (pun intended). Even though a better name for them would be custom-shaped stickers.

If you buy a custom die cut sticker today, it will be cut around the edge of your design, through both the vinyl and paper backing, like this.

Important!

The term die cut is not related to the material of your sticker. You can still choose your perfect material to make your sticker waterproof, durable, sparkly, or have a glossy or matte finish.

A great place to start is our materials page. We can die cut any material so browse the features of each and find your perfect match to create a great-looking sticker.

How are die cut stickers made?

The term comes from an old cutting technique using pre-made metal ‘dies’. You can imagine a die to look like a cookie cutter.

Thin strips of sharp metal were formed into the desired shape to make a die in the exact shape. They are expensive and time-consuming to make. After all, each of them has to be made in custom shapes.

This custom die is then used to cut straight through your materials and create the desired shape. The die cutting process looked like this:

This is how custom-shaped stickers came to be known as die-cut stickers.

However, die-cutting is outdated. Most of the print industry is now using digitally controlled knives and high-speed lasers to cut custom stickers of all shapes and sizes to save time and money. This also enables us to cut delicate designs precisely and quickly.

For you, this means that you can include more than one custom shape in one order without breaking the bank. It also shortens lead times and limits the excess material, lowering the cost of your sticker.

Just look at this example of laser cutting stickers at 50 meters per minute!

Pretty cool, eh?

To save your money when ordering anything from die cut labels to stickers, choose a supplier who uses a digital knife or laser to cut them.

Suppliers who still use the die-cutting process usually charge extra for custom shapes. How can you find out? When they want to charge you a setup fee for your stickers.

Popular uses for die cut stickers

Custom die cut stickers and labels are individually cut. This makes them perfect for many applications, such as:

  • Event giveaways

  • Stickers to be sold to your customers

  • Phone and laptop stickers

  • Car bumper stickers

  • Company logo stickers

  • Business stickers of any kind

  • Bike frame stickers

  • Short-run product packing (less than 1000 units)

Here are some images to show you how good die-cut stickers can be:

Die cut holographic sticker with future in your hands design
Die cut holographic sticker with pizza astronaut design hand held
Die cut front adhesive sticker with superduty logo applied to a window
Die cut clear stickers with cat art applied to a pink notebook
Die cut white vinyl sticker with corgi design applied to an iPhone on a table
Stack of die cut mirror silver sticker with whale design on a table
Die cut static cling with eat now logo applied to a glass door

Use these as an inspiration to create your own custom design. You can either upload it straight to our website or design your own stickers in minutes with our free online design tool called Graphic. We have pre-designed templates and elements waiting for you.

What size are die cut stickers?

The benefit of going custom is that you can choose your perfect size. This will, of course, depend on the way you intend to use your stickers.

However, we have observed a go-to size range that works for many purposes over the years. We have even made a video on the perfect stickers sizes.

But for now, here are some recommended sizes for our most popular applications:

A size comparison of different sticker designs compared to a laptop

However, if you want more than 1000 stickers and do not plan on giving them away to customers, suppliers, or business partners, we recommend getting your stickers printed on sheets. When stickers are printed on sheets, they are referred to as labels.

You can get your custom labels die cut just like stickers. But since they are printed onto a sheet, they will be much quicker to peel. This saves you lots of time, especially if you have to apply hundreds of product labels at a time.

What is the difference between kiss cut stickers and die cut stickers?

The world of sticker printing is full of fancy terms. Die cut or kiss cut stickers? That is a question we get asked a lot. So much, in fact, that it has its own blog post. Read our blog on the difference between die cut and kiss cut stickers to find out more details.

A handy distinction to keep in mind is a kiss cut sticker is only cut through the sticker layer. The paper backing stays intact and leaves an extra border around your stickers.

This gives you the benefits of a sheet. The extra backing helps protect and stabilize your stickers. It also makes kiss cut stickers perfect for businesses that want to include your brand name or other elements.

Die cut stickers, on the other hand, are cut through the sticker and the backing paper. It can sound a little complicated, but this GIF helps to explain the difference:

Want some die-cut stickers?

If you would like to get some die-cut stickers to see precisely what all the hype is about, n head over to the custom die cut stickers page to get your own custom-shaped stickers. Or you can try out Graphic to create your own design.

If you have any questions or want to tell us about how you use die cut stickers, please get in touch with us.