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Sticker Bombing 101: Exploring Its Origins and Evolution

Sticker bombing has exploded (no pun intended) in popularity and has become more than just a practical use of stickers. 

It has evolved into a form of creative expression and activism. 

In this article, we will explore the world of sticker bombing, its history, different types, and how it works.

What is sticker bombing?

Sticker bombing, also known as sticker art, sticker graffiti, and sticker slapping, is the act of covering surfaces with stickers to promote images, messages, and identities.

It is a way for artists and creatives to make their work visible to the public.

Stickers are placed in public spaces, such as lampposts or walls, to catch the eye of passers-by and convey a message or make a statement.

Sticker bombing can also be used to personalize belongings.

People cover their laptops, skateboards, or other items with stickers to make them unique and reflect their personality.

How does sticker bombing work?

The concept of sticker bombing is simple – cover surfaces with as many stickers as possible.

Sticker bombing works differently depending on the purpose.

Graffiti artists and activists take to the streets to sticker bomb public spaces, promoting their tags, symbols, drawings, and messages to a large audience.

However, it’s important to note that putting stickers on property you don’t own is considered vandalism in many countries and can have legal consequences.

For personal belongings, sticker bombing works by concentrating loads of stickers on a single surface to achieve an artistic effect.

This trend has become popular in recent years as a way to add individual flair and give identity to otherwise mundane everyday items.

Many brands have embraced sticker bombing by giving out stickers with online orders and welcome packs, making it easier than ever to find stickers for brands you like and sticker bomb anything you wish.

A brief history of sticker bombing

The exact moment when sticker bombing started is difficult to pinpoint, but its story began in the late 1960s to early 1970s as graffiti and street art culture started taking urban cities along the East Coast of the US by storm.

As graffiti tagging became popular throughout the 1970s, artists looked for new and innovative ways to leave their names across the city.

Stickers became a quick and easy way to put their names up with less mess and risk.

One of the pioneers of sticker art campaigns was artist and skateboarder Shepard Fairey.

In 1989, Fairey ran the iconic Andre the Giant has a posse sticker campaign, distributing hundreds of thousands of stickers across the US.

This campaign inspired a new wave of sticker bombers worldwide and solidified sticker bombing as a cultural phenomenon.

Different types of sticker bombing

Sticker bombing can be done by anyone, and there are different approaches based on the nature of the stickers, motivations, and the surface they’re placed on. Here are the most common types of sticker bombing:

  • Graffiti stickers: Graffiti sticker bombing involves slapping stickers in public places to promote an artist’s name. Graffiti writers use blank stickers and marker pens to showcase their style through tags, throw-ups, and pieces in public. They can also use free stickers or print personalized stickers with their name already on them.
  • Street art stickers: Street art sticker bombing uses symbols, images, and messages to showcase an artist’s unique style. The aim is to add color to mundane environments and provoke thoughts or emotions in viewers.
  • Activist stickers: Activist sticker bombing is a form of individual or collective action where activists place stickers in public spaces to spread social and political issues. Groups like Extinction Rebellion use stickers to raise awareness and encourage action.
  • Car stickers: Sticker bombing cars has become popular as a way to customize and add personality to vehicles. However, it’s important to check local laws as sticker bombing the exterior of a car may be considered an illegal modification.

Gadgets, lifestyle, and household items: Sticker bombing can be done on various personal items like laptops, phones, skateboards, helmets, wardrobes, doors, dressers, and musical instruments. It allows individuals to give their belongings a distinct and eye-catching look.

What stickers are used for sticker bombing?

Vinyl stickers are the most common type of sticker used for sticker bombing.

They are more durable, water-resistant, and less likely to peel than cheaper paper stickers.

Vinyl stickers have a vibrant and long-lasting finish, making them suitable for outdoor use.

However, paper stickers can still be used as long as they are placed on surfaces that won’t be exposed to the elements.

Is sticker bombing illegal?

Sticker bombing on property you do not own is considered illegal and can be considered vandalism in many countries.

However, sticker bombing on personal property or with the property owner’s permission is completely legal.

It’s important to respect the law and property rights when engaging in sticker bombing.

Sticker bombing top tips

Before sticker bombing, here are some top tips to achieve the best results :

  • Choose the right type of sticker: Vinyl stickers are the best option for sticker bombing as they are more durable and less likely to peel compared to paper stickers. However, paper stickers can still be used as long as they are placed on surfaces that won’t be exposed to the elements.
  • Avoid putting stickers directly on expensive items: If you want to sticker bomb laptops, phones, or other valuable items, it’s best to stick the stickers on a case instead of directly on the device. This way, you can easily remove the stickers without damaging the item or affecting its value.
  • Have more stickers than you think you need: To achieve a fully sticker bombed look, make sure you have plenty of stickers. This will ensure that you can cover large areas without leaving gaps or stickers that don’t overlap with each other.
  • Be safe and respectful: If you’re sticker bombing as a graffiti writer, street artist, or activist, remember to respect the law and property rights. Sticker bombing on someone else’s property without permission is considered vandalism in many countries.

Sticker bombing has become a popular form of creative expression and activism.

Whether it’s graffiti stickers, street art stickers, or personalizing your belongings, sticker bombing allows individuals to showcase their style and make a statement.

Just remember to choose the right stickers, be respectful of property rights, and have fun expressing yourself through this unique art form.

If you’d like to create and print your own stickers- visit the Royal Elements store page or go to https://amazon.com/royalelements to shop printable vinyl sticker paper and more.

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