There are two main things that determine how good your final product will be. They are: the paper used for the sticker and the print quality. I've previously written an article that covered the major things you need to consider when choosing a printer to make stickers. This article will focus on the various kinds of papers for stickers and where to get them.
Let's begin with some basic information on this topic.
In USA, most printers are designed to mainly print on papers with 8.5" by 11"dimension. They are called "letter sized papers". Etsy sellers based in the United States normally buy sticker paper made in this dimension and cut around the sticker using their cutting machine, before slicing down the pages to their final proper sizes.
This shows that it is essential to purchase sticker papers that have no pre-cut designs or shapes. Additionally, sticker papers packaged and sold as lone sheets often have slices made in the material backing so as to make it easier to peel off the stickers from the sheet. Check to be certain that there are none of these slices in the backing of your final sheets, as your final product can be prone to bending and flimsy if there is any.
The suppliers of sticker paper normally offer various kinds of cuts and products, so before you place your order, always check twice to be sure you are buying the right SKU.
For people that have bought stickers from any Etsy seller in the past, you probably know that sticker papers are of two major types: glossy and matte.
Matte paper is very similar to a standard printer paper. The main difference is the adhesive backing it has. With almost any pencil or pen, you can easily write on this kind of sticker paper. You should however keep in mind that these stickers will not really be as bright and smooth as those printed on glossy paper. It is more glaring when you print in lighter colors.
Compare it to printing a picture on glossy photo paper Vs on regular paper; while photo comes out fine on the regular printing paper, it looks duller and tend to be a little grainy then when the same photo is printed on an actual photo paper.
On the other hand, glossy paper is like a photo paper that has an adhesive backing. This type of sticker paper is shiny and also has a nice glossy coating that is designed to create brilliant prints.
You should however note that writing on glossy paper is usually very difficult. The process is even a bit more challenging when using a laser printer. Due to the fundamental differences between glossy and matte papers, a lot of sticker shops offer the two. Some customers prefer to only purchase glossy stickers, but many shop owners have discovered that matte stickers are usually the more popular choice customers opt for.
Glossy and matte are the 2 most popular kinds of sticker papers, but there are actually several more options available for customers. Examples of some of the lesser-known materials are latex, vinyl, and polyester. There are many shops that use these kinds of specialty papers under the term "Satin" or "Premium Matte". Sometimes, these terms are used to refer to materials that fall between the glossy and matte spectrum.
Additionally, sticker papers are usually offered in various kinds of colors. These include white, colored, clear and metallic foiled. There are also many adhesive options to choose from, such as aggressive, removable (repositionable), and permanent. Generally, many people prefer removable adhesives as they allow you to lift off stickers from a place and reposition or install them in another place of desired. You should also keep in mind that not all kinds of papers comes with removable adhesive, some shops use stickers with permanent adhesives.
As there are several options available, it is highly recommended that you benefit from the option to sample for free that is offered by several online bulk suppliers. Before you decide to buy in bulk quantity, always try to cut, print and completely test any material you want to use.
Over the years, I've also discovered that glossy paper differs a bit from company to company. It is advisable you compare the products from various retailers and choose the brands you'd prefer to use.
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If you only want to play around and all you really need is just a small amount of sticker paper, you can easily get some paper options from office supply stores in your locality. Some brands offer high quality sticker papers at prices higher than those of online bulk retailers. Additionally, office supply stores sometimes offer their own sticker paper with low quality for a budget rate. However, if you really plan on going into the sticker business, I would advise you not to opt for these retail options, although they may be a good option for testing new designs.
In reality, there is no wrong or right paper when making stickers. Each printing material has it's benefits and disadvantages. It is totally up to you by considering the qualities you want your final products to have. Try to play around, experiment and decide on the best thing for your shop.
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