Hello everyone! My name is Twirly and I like to make prints and stickers at home. I get some questions about how I make them and I usually end up giving a *short* answer, “I print on sticker paper and cut it with a silhouette machine and there you go”. Mostly because I can’t really get in depth at a moment’s notice when asked suddenly. This usually occurs during my streams on Twitch. I don't mean to sound or be dismissive, but it's just a lot of information for me to personally recall and relay back in a way that's understandable, clear and helpful. It's technically not a wrong answer, but I can see that it's kind of underwhelming for those who want a bit more information.
Well, in today’s post, I’ll be going way more in depth on my process for those who are curious and who have asked in the past. It can also serve as a reference, mostly for me if I get asked again lol, and for those who are interested in trying it out. Disclaimer; My aim isn't really to make a 'guide' or 'tutorial', I just wanted to share my process. This is just how I personally make them, I'm sure there are a lot of different methods and techniques out there that can be just as helpful. But I hope this information that I can provide helps out and gives a little more insight on how I make these things at home!
I’ll be organizing this information into 3 main sections:
Alrighty, let’s go. :^)
✧ Materials ✧
TL;DR for materials : https://www.amazon.com/shop/twirlyful
The main items I use for creating stickers and prints at home are . . .
Blurb On Each Item
I have CSP EX version, but everything I use in the program is available in the PRO version. I have EX because I wanted to experiment with animation because there’s no limit to how many frames I can have in this version. PRO version caps at 24 frames. If this program is out of your budget, it does go on sale quite often, but feel free to use other programs too, like Procreate, Medibang Paint, etc. The Canon Pro 100 is used to print all my homemade prints and stickers. Keep in mind that it uses dye ink rather than pigment ink, and it uses 8 different ink cartridges to print with. If you are looking to make fine art prints that would be archival and long lasting, I’d recommend using a pigment ink printer. But for something like my stickers and prints, I think this ink and printer is fine for me! If this is a concern for you, be sure to research their differences to see what would be right for you.I like this paper for my prints, you can click the link to check it out on Amazon along with the details of the paper weight, quantity, etc. I think this paper has a good weight to it and the ink is printed out nicely. I've tried glossy/luster paper, but I personally enjoy matte paper the most for my artwork. I personally like glossy/luster paper for photography related prints, but if you're not sure, I recommend trying out a sample pack of different types of paper to see and compare the finishes and to see which one would better suit your artwork!I like to use the matte sticker paper for my packaging usually. Like the “Don’t Bend” stickers and other labels. Sometimes I like to use them for stickers because I like the matte look in journals, it helps keep the look and feel of the material similar. The glossy sticker paper is usually what I use for most of my stickers and I think the glossy sheen is more pretty and decorative. They are both paper sticker-sheets, so they are not waterproof and are great to decorate journals, planners, and more.This paper trimmer is my favorite out of all the ones I’ve had and used so far. I got this in 2017 and it’s really sturdy and well built, the cuts come out clean (I usually cut one sheet at a time even though the description says it can cut up to 15 sheets at a time) and the clamp helps hold the sheet in place. I’ve had the paper trimmer (the one with a sliding blade) and the cuts weren’t really crisp and I’d have to replace the blades many times which got kind of expensive. I’ve also had regular guillotine type paper trimmer (without a clamp) and sometimes when cutting, the blade would pull the sheet and I wouldn’t get a straight cut and the paper would be bent sometimes.I don’t believe this model is on Amazon or the Cricut website anymore, so I linked to a newer model! I believe I got mine in 2016, it's getting kind of old but it still cuts pretty well! This video helped me choose which cutter to get at the time of research and reviewing in 2016: https://youtu.be/aox_OHb-d8o Initially, I got it to help me out with my art projects during my time in university which involved A LOT of paper cutting (usually with the x-acto knife which can be a literal pain), but now I mainly use it to cut out my stickers!If I’m using glossy sticker paper, I put matte scotch tape on certain spots on the sensor lines where the machine tries and read them. This helps remove the glare from the glossy sheen and helps the light sensor on the machine to read/detect where the lines are. If the sensor lines are misread, then your cut might be misaligned! Before I started using this tape method, I would align a regular printed sheet of paper and put it on top of sticker sheet for it to read the lines and it didn't turn out so well sometimes: click for example! It was also really difficult to align the sheet on top, you had to be very precise so the cut isn't misaligned!! I barely learned about this recently, but hopefully it'll help out for those who are also having trouble with glossy sheets not being read correctly.
✧ Process ✧
✧ Extra Thoughts ✧
After writing all this down, I realized there's so much more than just drawing, printing and cutting. I know I give that as my short answer most of the time whenever I get asked, but keep in mind that I can't really recall all this information short-noticed and to relay all this to someone can be a bit much. There's just so much that goes into it and to take note of, but my process is definitely not an end all be all. But if I were to give a full and proper answer, this is pretty much it.
I really enjoy making prints and stickers at home. Having control on how things are printed and made is really helpful, usually for testing. I get to see how the colors are printed and test out sizes with the stickers. It’s also great for making the quantity that you need, so you won’t overstock, and printing on demand for when you need it.
Since I make these at home, I use regular sticker paper which isn’t too durable against water. They're nice to decorate your journal/planner with, but probably won't withstand being on something like a car or the back of your phone. (Unless the sticker is inside the case, that's a different matter.)
There is also printable vinyl available, but I’ve tried it and it feels kind of flimsy/thin to me so I don't personally gravitate towards it. But if you do like vinyl, a tip to help combat that would be laminating it. This helps add some extra weight and sturdiness and makes it a little bit more resistant to water from the top. But if doing this, remember to adjust your cutting machine so it can cut through the laminated layer!
A con to this "making it at home" process is that there is an initial investment into getting some of these materials and equipment. I was able to save up for some of the items and also spaced out my purchases, in the span of years, which made it a little easier to finance them. It also helped me take things one step at a time and to experiment with what I already have. Also be on the look for sales, discounts and promos to help out!
Well, that’s all the info I have for now! I'm sure I probably left out some things that are worth mentioning, and this just looks like a giant wall of text. I might come back to this post to re-touch it, edit and possibly add some photos.
I know this process isn’t for everyone and sometimes things are out of budget and maybe outsourcing might be more beneficial in some situations. Either way, remember to do your research, check reviews, look up some YouTube videos on how other artists create prints (there's quite a lot out there now that are really helpful!!) and compare your pros and cons to see what is right for you.
With whatever process you think you want to do or try out, I hope this information is helpful, answered some questions you might've had or satisfied your curiosity on how I make my prints and stickers at home.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and good luck!! TT u TT <3
- twirly (: