The Beginners Glossary for Sticker Making Terms

The Beginners Glossary for Sticker Making Terms
Authored By Michael Soltis 0 Comment(s)

So, you’ve decided to make stickers. Congratulations! You’ve stumbled upon a wonderful hobby that is fun, affordable, and has the ability to scale up into more complicated projects as you progress. When you are just getting started, however, you’ll come across a variety of terms. Since some sticker making terms are used interchangeably, it’s helpful to have a good grasp on the lingo so you can ensure you are getting the right products or using the right processes. Today we’ll explain the most common sticker making terms for beginners. Are you ready? Read on.

Sticker making terms


This is an instance where you will hear vinyl used in several ways. There are two types: printable vinyl and adhesive vinyl.

  • Printable vinyl: has a peel-and-stick back and is used in home printers.
  • Adhesive vinyl: non-printable. It is cut into shapes and designs then transferred to a surface using transfer tape



A finish for vinyl. It is shiny and has a “wet” look. Great for clip art and pop art.



A finish for vinyl. It has a flat look. Great for antique, soft, romantic looks.



A finish for vinyl. It is transparent. Use clear vinyl when you want the surface of the background to show through.



A type of printable vinyl with a slow setting adhesive. The glue is activated in water and then you can slide the sticker around on the surface until you have achieved the ideal placement. This is good for curved surfaces and times where you need to eyeball the placement until you are happy with it. Waterslide removes the need to rip off and then reapply the sticker.


Cutting machine

Since adhesive vinyl is cut into shapes, a cutting machine helps you achieve intricate patterns. Two common ones are the Cricut® and the Silhouette.  When it comes to cutting vinyl, you have options. 


Laser printer/Ink jet printer

A laser printer sprays ink as microscopic dots onto the printable sticker vinyl. This method can create very vibrant colors and photo realistic imagery. Vinyl formulated for laser printers has a higher heat resistance since the paint is “baked” onto the vinyl then pressed with rollers.


On the other hand, inkjet printers put down layer after layer of color, building it up using toner, which is a fine powder. Heat is then used to fuse it all together.


Since both printers use different methods to deploy ink or toner, ensure your printable sticker vinyl is formulated for laser or ink jet. It should say which one on the box. 


Desktop design

In the world of sticker making terms, desktop design has its own vast glossary. Desktop design refers to the many ways you use your computer, laptop, or digital program to create a variety of projects. 


Magnetic adhesive sheets

These are peel and stick sheets applied to your printed sheet of stickers. It’s a fast and fun way to turn your stickers into fridge magnets.


Transfer tape

When working with adhesive vinyl, transfer tape is used to move the cut sticker to the surface of your choice. Once applied, you use your fingers or a squeegee to remove air bubbles and press down the design. Then carefully peel off the tape, leaving your sticker behind.


Laminating sheets

Printable sticker vinyl has some natural waterproofing and durability, but you can ramp that up significantly by using a laminating sheet. When you get peel and stick laminating sheets, you can easily transform your designs without having to worry about going to the copy shop to use their laminating pouches and machine.


When you start making stickers, you will hear many different sticker making terms. Knowing what they mean, and which ones are used interchangeably, helps you create better designs. The main thing to know is that vinyl comes in printable and adhesive. You cannot print on adhesive vinyl. Once you decide if you are going to use printable or adhesive vinyl, you have a range of options from the finish to the type of printer you use, from creating magnets to laminating – and more.



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