Vinyl stickers, are those which can be affixed to any smooth surface for informational or decoration purposes. They are also known as wall stickers, wall tattoos or wall vinyls. Various images, designs and wordings are printed onto these before being cut with a vinyl cutting machine. Printing of vinyl stickers is a cakewalk considering no professional attention or costly equipments are required. Of course, these could be enhanced in quality by using a few extra tools that might be a little difficult to procure, but the basic technique for printing is a simple and straightforward one. Vinyl sticker printing can also be done at home using a few easy-to-use tools. All that is needed is a reasonably good image editing software, a vinyl printer paper, and a laminate to protect the stickers from sunlight, that is, the UV rays, and for waterproofing the sticker.
Vinyl sticker printing leaves the door open for a wide range of imagination. There are almost no limitations on the different types of stickers that can be printed. It is one of the best and most creative ways of putting forth a thought or an idea that needs to be physically put somewhere. Vinyl sticker printing throws open a platform for integrating different colours, shapes, sizes, images and words into one entity and forming an attractive, eye catching design that can be put up on a large platform.
All that is required for printing a vinyl sticker is some creativity and patience. These, plus, of course, some vinyl printer paper, an inkjet printer and a lamination sheet. Given that these are easily available, it should not be very difficult to get these things required and to start off with the printing activity. Like any other procedure, an idea of how to go about the activity before starting off always helps. Make sure the prerequisites are ready before venturing off into printing a vinyl sticker!
The following are the steps to be undertaken for the printing of vinyl stickers:
Decide what purpose the sticker is going to serve, why it is needed and where it should be used. Once that is known, designing an appropriate sticker becomes easy.
For instance, designing a sticker for a slogan would be designed differently from a sticker for a children’s party.
Look around, search the internet and spot things that catch your eye for the kind of sticker that needs to be printed. By noting these down, there is a clear image about the likely designs for the stickers required.
For example, if a sticker for a mug is required, look at other mugs, or designs that fit into the sizeof the mug.
Once an approximate idea is got, narrow down on the designs that are more appealing. Choose carefully, as the purpose demands. The design should be compact, eye catching and to the point.
The first look of the design is very important. This is the basis for the entire design. This is to get a vague idea of the sticker design before the actual implementation of it on the computer.
Things to be kept in mind while sketching the design are the size(8 x 11 inches) , simplicity of designs for starters and colours.
The design is now replicated, with more detailing, on any image editing software. Apart from softwares like Photoshop or Illustrator, free softwares like GIMP are also available that could be used. To create the design, either draw it using the tools provided by the software or scan and upload your sketch. If the design involves colours, make sure they are bold, bright and clear. Keep the resolution of the image high, preferably, 300 pixels per 2.5cms (or 1 inch).
Open the image as a document in the image editing software of an appropriate size(8 x 11 inches) . If the software does not allow specification of the size during opening of a new document, then resize the image after opening it.
Place the design in the orientation required for printing. If multiple stickers are involved then put them on the same page if space permits. Be careful to avoid margin spaces as they would cut out the image during printing.
This shows exactly how the print would come out. In case of getting cut off by the margin or any other kind of unsatisfactory result, reorient the images to give out a better result.
Load the inkjet printer with a 20.3 x 29.7 cm or 8 x 11 inch vinyl printer paper. Make sure to load the paper in a way such that the non-adhesive side is the side on which printing happens. In case of a doubt, test run a rough sheet to check for the side of printing.
Connect your computer to the inkjet printer. Set it to the inkjet printer so that the printing happens via the correct printer. In the image editing software, locate the button for printing and click on it. Wait for the stickers to come. And viola! The printed vinyl stickers are out.
Apply a laminate sheet over the stickers for a glossy look. Not only does it enhance the appearance, but it also protects the stickers from the Sun’s UV rays and water. To apply the laminate, peel the top of the laminate sheet and line it to the top edge the procured printed material.
Once the edges are aligned, peel the rest of the laminate sheet slowly, and simultaneously run a ruler over the other side to apply pressure and avoid air bubbles. This has to be done very precisely and carefully as even a small air bubble could mean that the sticker cannot be used at all. Continue doing this until the entire sheet is laminated. Press the ruler on to the laminate and apply pressure to eliminate air bubbles. Keep applying pressure on the sheet until convinced that there are no air bubbles.
Use a pair of craft scissors to cut the stickers as required. For cutting the edges straight so as to get a square background, use a ruler for support. Discard the leftover scraps after cutting out the stickers from the sheet.
The stickers are now ready to be used. Start peeling them off from the corners and slowly pull it away to use the stickers. Stick them on any flat and dry surface. The stickers are all set to jazz up a workspace, beautify a bedroom wall or decorate a playroom!
In the beginning it might feel a little difficult to go on with, but with a little practice it is going to top everybody’s DIY activity list.
Vinyl sticker printing has numerous advantages.
Having said all of the above, there definitely is no doubt about the fact that vinyl sticker printing is easy, fun to implement and a pocket friendly activity that anybody can use! So what are waiting for? Print, peel and stick away your vinyl sticker!