Want to make your own stickers? Well let me show you how! This post is going to show you HOW to design stickers- what software to use and what to make sure your stickers have to make a great print and cut!
I have broken down the entire sticker process! We are going to be covering
- How to design stickers (this post!)
- Best printer to use with stickers
- Best Sticker Paper (I tried out 7 most popular kinds!)
- Print and Cut (how to ACTUALLY cut out the stickers!)
Before we jump into designing stickers-I want to give you a quick warning/rundown about copyright and commercial license! I’m in lots of facebook groups and it’s pretty surprising how many people aren’t aware or properly educated about this!
Copyright and commercial license
Let’s say you decide you want to make Harry Potter stickers to sell. (because who wouldn’t want those!) You go to google- find some fun images to you. Upload them and cut them out and sell.
This is illegal. Google is not a free website. Images on google belong to someone (that’s how they end up on google!) So if you take an image on google- you run the risk of having the originator/creator come after you and sue you! (it actually happens more than you think!) Even big companies like Disney and Nike have shut down Etsy shops for using their images or logos without permission! These are copyrighted images! This goes for things in the silhouette design store, cricut design store, etsy, amazon, redbubble. If the image is out there- it belongs to SOMEONE.
But let’s be honest! You don’t want to sell something that is already out there being sold. If you are making stickers- you want to be original!
If you are making stickers because you want to dazzle up your own water bottle -and you are NOT SELLING THEM- you are still not supposed to take images from google or etsy! People think it’s fine because they are not making a profit on it- PLUS who is really going to know? The answer is no one. No one is going to know. No one is going to bust you. It’s very easy to do-But it’s still wrong!
So here are your options- draw something up yourself (that’s why I love procreate) If you aren’t the best artist but have great ideas- you can pay for stock images and clipart. There are lots of fun options out there! Just make sure to read the fine print! You need to look for COMMERICAL USE.
Commercial license means you have the right to use the item to recreate something to sell.
Let’s take this sunflower bundle (it’s only $2!)
This comes with a commercial license. You can take one of these cute sunflowers. Upload it to procreate and change the coloring, add a cute phrase and then turn it into a sticker. Could you google a sunflower image and find one to use? Yes. But WRONG! It’s a protection thing and you never have to worry about opening an email from a lawyer! Plus- that $2 goes to some awesome designer that spent the time making these!
Let’s switch gears and talk about fonts really quick. Same basic idea. Lots of great fonts out there! But make sure you are grabbing commercial use fonts! Dafont.com is really popular -because everything is free! BUT most are free for personal use only. Do you see right above the download button!?
If you are just a sticker fiend and make them for yourself- then you are good to go! Personal use! Means you are making them for yourself. If you want to sell them -Purchase that commercial license!
Every font I have on my computer is a commercial license. That way I can design all the things and never have to worry about what one was personal use!
Fontbundles is my favorite place to buy fonts- they do bundles that makes the fonts like $1 or less- and lots of cute options! You don’t have to break the bank buying fonts and clipart! I feel like there are lots of awesome cheap options! I do have some posts with my favorite fonts if you are needing some advice!
Okay. I hope everyone has a basic understanding of right and wrong. Basically-if you someone designed it- don’t steal it! How would you feel if you worked so hard creating this super cool sticker and then found an etsy shop selling something with your design on it!? It’s frustrating!
How to Design stickers
Let’s get in to where/how to design your stickers! I’m starting from lowest cost to highest cost!
Canva is a free site and they have lots of fonts and clipart that you can use- So it’s a fantastic option if you are trying to keep costs low! You can’t draw with this app- you are essentially choosing from their images and altering it. (Which might be EXACTLY what you are looking for!) I don’t have too much experience with it- but lots of people rave about it! Lots of great fonts. You can change colors and export as a png with the background transparent (which is handy when making stickers!)
Hand Drawn stickers
Another free option is to draw/letter/paint like you would normal do. If you are an artist and think- wow, this little cartoon would make a cute sticker- then a perfect option for you! Just make sure to take a good photo of it (natural light, no harsh shadows) on a white background and take that photo and convert it into a sticker.
(Think how cute to turn your kid’s drawings into stickers!)
If you need to lighten it up or deepen the colors you can upload it into canva (free) and adjust it in there! (OR there are lots of phone editing apps to0!) You can even add in words or clipart on top like I did with this watercolor image!
When you upload it to Silhouette you can trace it- you will want to adjust the threshold and/or high pass depending on the image. (just play around with it- this varies depending on the colors used) Once it’s all highlighted with yellow, click trace and detach.
You can see the whole image is free of the background. I pretend like I’m going to send it to my silhouette and see what the cut settings are. You can see I have lots of little red dots. You can right click, release compound path and delete any cut lines you don’t need.
Option B is you can click offset and create an outline around the image (like a cute sticker border!) Then make sure to click no cut on the main image so the silhouette cameo is only cutting around the outer edge!
In the cricut software, It’s a bit different. Upload it as complex.
The first prompt is click what you want deleted. Just click that background
This basic how to is what you can use for different images that you are trying to turn into stickers- not just hand drawn images.
I also have a tutorial on how I do this with cut files, but those are basic black and white images! It still might be helpful though~ You can check out my turn your drawings into vinyl projects post here!
You can actually design things right in the cutting software! They both feature texts and basic shapes that you can add color too. It’s definitely limited- but if you are looking for a fun word sticker- It doesn’t get easier than right where you cut it out!
Procreate is an app that is only available for the ipad pro (the procreate pocket is for the phone- but not as good) It does have a fee ($9.99 last I checked) It is a one time fee- but SO WORTH IT! You also need an ipencil to get the nice thin lines so it’s expensive to start out if you don’t have these things!
Procreate is what I use when I am designing stickers and I ADORE IT! I’m trying to not let this be a biased review- but if you are serious about sticker making- this is the best thing out there! I literally learn so many new things every time I play around with it! SO MANY BELLS AND WHISTLES! You can buy brushes and clipart that help you create things- as well as upload fonts to use. I have a video on the basics of how to use procreate! But if you want to take a sneak peak of just what it’s capable of- search procreate art on instagram and look at all the amazingness!
I will be honest- I have never gotten into Adobe. I know people swear by it and it has lots of features that help you design- But with a $20 a monthly fee- I was too cheap to ever make the leap when I was branching out into cut files- so I tried out procreate and never looked back! There is lots of youtube videos that can help you learn adobe illustrator if you are wanting to go that route! I think it’s probably the most popular thing being used next to procreate.
Those are the most used options! Hopefully you find something you like to work in! Let’s move on features your stickers need when designing.
There are really no rhyme or reason to designing stickers. Black and white, colorful. Modern, Retro, Pretty scenes, Cartoons, Quotes, Symbols. So I won’t tell you HOW exactly to design them -Let your creativity shine through. Unlike designs you are cutting out with vinyl, you can add texture, shading, and patterns to your designs!
There are some things to think about when designing your stickers!
When designing a sticker- It needs to connect. If you are creating a phrase you do not want to have anything floating. If you sent this to your cutter- it will cut around each letter.
Stickers need to have a background!
I’m going to walk you through how I create my stickers. I am not 100% sure how to accomplish this on the other apps- I think it’s easy in adobe illustrator and in canva you can make it transparent but I don’t know if it’s possible to get a border around it (BUT we can accomplish that in cricut or silhouette app later- stay tuned for that post!)
How to Design outside of Stickers:
- Have your sticker designed. Open layers, and unclick the background color to make it transparent.
- Then open a new layer underneath the sticker layer.
- Using a monoline brush, draw an outline around it. You can do this in any color you want. Most stickers have a white border but if a fun color looks good- then go for it!
- Once you have it perfectish- Click to save as PNG (make sure the background is still transparent!)
When you save it as a PNG with a transparent background, when you upload it your cricut or silhouette software- Your software will automatically read it and put the cut line around the edge.
If you don’t have the transparent background- You will have to go through the steps I listed above in the hand drawn section. Tracing it and detaching it.
And if you don’t draw the outer edge like I did in procreate- and you want to add one- OFFSET! BUT- that is all in THIS POST!
If you want free sticker sets- make sure so sign up for email down below!