STICKERS: A ‘how to’ Post

The planner community loves stickers. This is a fact. You can go on Etsy and type in ‘Stickers’, and you’ll get over a million results.  But let’s say you were browsing Pinterest and you came across a picture you really liked. So you save it. But what you really want to do is use the image as a sticker in your planner. How would you do that, and what would be the best way to do it?  You have several options.  You can either:

  1. Print it out, then cut it out, and paste or glue it wherever you want it go, or
  2. Print it out, cut it out, then run it through your Xyron Machine, or
  3. Print the image on sticker paper and cut it using your cutting machine (the best method, in my opinion).

I’ll walk you through all these methods.

Print it out, cut it out and paste it.

This is the easiest method, but not best for all applications. If you have a picture that is pretty easy to cut out, like a  square, you would cut it out with scissors or a paper cutter, and use a glue stick to glue it down.  I use this method when I do my planner layouts for the week.  My favorite glue stick right now is the Elmer’s Glue All-purpose Glue Stick. It doesn’t dry out as quickly as most glue sticks. Pretty simple, right? But if you have a picture that has a more intricate shape, like a unicorn or a horse, it’s going to be much harder to cut out.  If you have a cutting machine, you can get a cleaner, closer cut.

 

Print it out, cut it out, then run through your Xyron Machine.

Similar to the method above, but instead of using a glue stick, you use your Xyron machine. I use a Xyron Sticker maker and I love it. When I made stickers for a friend’s birthday, this is the method I used. The advantage of this is you get a stickier sticker that will always hold. But again, if you had a more intricate shape, you may not be able to obtain the clean, uniform lines around an irregularly shaped object.

Michelle Obama Stickers made using my Xyron Machine. I also made some elements of the card using the Xyron as well. Photo courtesy CC.

 

Print the image on sticker paper and cut it using your cutting machine.

Ninety percent of the time, this is how I make my planner stickers. Of course, you can cut the image with your cutter on regular paper, and use the glue stick, but you might as well use sticker paper.  Because sticker paper! Duh! Most crafters and DIY-ers I know have a cutting machine. It was between a Silhouette and Cricut for me, and Silhouette won.  Their software is what put them over the edge.  I’m a Silhouette Portrait user right now, but I’m wishing for the Silhouette Cameo.  With Silhouette Studio (which is the software you use to design your work), you can simply drag your image into their software, and use the print and cut feature and it will print your image. Then you can cut that same image with the machine ‘sensing’ the image and where to cut.

Screenshot 2017-03-14 15.46.48

Make sure you turn on your registration marks before you print!

Setting up the Trace:

After you print your image, you will need to TRACE it in the Silhouette Studio software. Now, I will admit, I hate when I have to trace something in Silhouette. So much so that I just like to design in Adobe Illustrator, create an outline of an image, then import it in to Silhouette (I am a law school grad turned aspiring graphic artist). And that is SOO many additional steps, but the trace feature in Silhouette is a pain for me. I’ve figured out a way around it though. And through out this tutorial, please remember: The Undo button is your BEST FRIEND.

Screenshot 2017-03-14 15.47.07

Open the trace option tool kit. You will then ‘Select Trace Area’, and drag a box around the image you want to trace.  Don’t be afraid to draw a much bigger box than you think is necessary. After you drag your box, your image will look something like this:

Screenshot 2017-03-14 15.47.41Screenshot 2017-03-14 15.47.32

The yellow parts tell us what is going to become the red cutlines in Silhouette. If you look at the image above, and you don’t do anything else to the trace area, its going to look like this:

Screenshot 2017-03-14 15.48.21

Which is an okay job of tracing, but we want to cut this out, so we want a single, continuous outline of the unicorn. Since we want an outline of this image, we want to make sure the entire unicorn is filled with yellow. To do this, you have to play with the levels in the Trace Toolkit. Those are the High Pass and Low Pass Filter, Value, Threshold, and Scale sliders. There is really not a rhyme nor reason that I can figure out (as yet, anyway) to this. You simply have to do trial and error. For this unicorn, I literally kept playing with the values until I got the unicorn to fill up with as much yellow as I could. I wish Silhouette could give us users some insight in to this, but I also never called to ask them so…moving along….

Screenshot 2017-03-14 15.50.28.png

You can see the values I used for this image.

Hit ‘Trace Outer Edge’ and you will get this:

And this is a MUCH better trace for sticker purposes! Now you can go ahead and enter your cut setting and cut it like this. BUT WAIT! I like to do an offset so that even if the print and cut is slightly off, I still have a nice border around my picture.

Click the Offset Toolkit. It is the button with Pentagon shape. Select your trace outline. Then click Offset. You will then get this:

Screenshot 2017-03-14 15.54.48

Silhouette Studio automatically defaults the offset to .0125 and Rounded Corners. Increase or decrease the offset to your liking. Use the Undo button if you hit or select something you don’t like.  I changed my offset to .075. I wanted a thinner border.  When you get your border to the distance you are happy with, hit Apply. And now you have TWO cutlines.

Obviously, we don’t want two cut lines. (Can you tell just how much trial and error I have conducted with this machine and software? And I haven’t even had it for a year yet.) So go ahead and select your trace cut line (the one closest to the object), and delete it.  If you deleted the image, don’t worry. I do that all the time. Just select undo.  And you can undo everything in Silhouette, all the way to the very beginning of your project.

NOW feel free to set your cut setting. ALWAYS. ALWAYS. ALWAYS run a test cut. I cannot stress the importance of this. It will save you a lot of headache and materials.  Since I printed on the Silhouette white sticker paper, I used the default settings.

Screenshot 2017-03-14 15.53.03.png

Blade at 2. Remember to TEST CUT FIRST!

Off to be cut….

And this is how the stickers turned out!

img_0256

Sticker cut with an Offset (wooo wooo wooo wooo)

img_0250

Sticker cut without an Offset

 

I hope you like this long, picture intensive, tutorial.  Please let me know if you have any questions, I love getting emails from you all!

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