Although side gigs are becoming a natural part of most American’s lives, many overlook the obvious answer for large profits.. learning how to start a sticker business.
Die-cut stickers have a huge market, valued at $179 million in 2021, projected to grow to $253 million by 2026.
This giant industry expansion has plenty of room for you if you get in now and use the right strategy.
Here’s how to make money selling stickers online as soon as today!
What Equipment is Needed To Make Stickers?
Many people make stickers by using a print on demand platform, like Redbubble.
These platforms give artists between 20% – 30% of the selling price to be able to sell unlimited versions of a sticker without needing to create or ship a single one.
Unfortunately, by giving up such a large cut artists would generally make $0.40 – $0.80 per sticker with this approach. While not a huge payout, this method is a volume game and these smaller payouts add up rapidly.
To keep a larger percentage of the profits, we recommend making the stickers yourself.
If you want to craft the stickers yourself, you’ll need these key items:
- A printer with great color capabilities
- A Xyron machine if you want to hand-roll adhesive
- Printable sticker paper if you don’t want to hand-roll
- A lamination machine
- Sharp scissors
- Any foils or decals you want to add to the stickers
- A scanner if you draw your designs traditionally
- A Cricut or silhouette cutter
Whether using print on demand services or making them by hand, creating stickers can also be an excellent way to make money as a teen.
What Are the Different Types of Stickers?
Sticker design will be the most important part of your business. This will be easier for those who can draw since they can create fun and flashy images.
Don’t make the mistake of putting someone else’s designs on your stickers, since there could be legal ramifications in those situations. Disney, Nickelodeon, and other animation companies sometimes sue when their intellectual property is being sold.
This can often mean that you can’t even sell fan art of their characters (although at fan conventions, this is often looked over).
Art Based Stickers
If you can draw, come up with designs that would interest you and your target audience. This could mean cute dog drawings, spunky animals, or even horror-inspired stickers.
If you have a social media presence, consider what your audience would be most excited about.
Word Based Stickers
Clever word-based stickers are also incredibly popular. This can mean cliche phrases like ‘too hot to handle,’ or fun word combinations like ‘plant mom’ or ‘coffee first.’
Although it’s easy to go into cliches on this, there’s a simple way to avoid it. If you think of a phrase and google it along with the word ‘sticker,’ you should see how popular it is.
If dozens of sites pop up selling different variations of the same phrase, and you can’t offer a fresh angle, it’s not worth creating.
Photo Based Stickers
Photo stickers also do great! Many use stock-free image sites and make cute collages or funny combinations with animal pictures or images of famous landmarks.
Although these are less likely to sell, it’s a corner of the market that hasn’t been tapped into, and it might be a low hanging fruit.
No matter what you do, don’t just replicate popular stickers designs. Although you may think it’s fun to see the sticker in your style, if the market is swamped with versions of the same sticker, it’ll be very difficult to make a name for yourself.
Instead, be creative, and lean into what inspires you when designing.
How Do You Make Stickers?
Physically making stickers is one of the most exciting parts of the process, because your designs come to life. While this novelty might die off after a while, it’s endless fun in the beginning.
1. Determine Adhesive Material
Once you complete your sticker designs, it’s time to decide how you’ll want to add the adhesive. If you’re thinking of using a hand-rolled adhesive machine like a Xyron, keep in mind this can be extremely time-intensive and will eventually cramp your hands.
Hand rolling will create the homemade feeling, but if you want your stickers to look professional, the only real option is to print directly on vinyl printer paper.
2. How to Cut Stickers Professionally
The name of the game when cutting stickers is speed and quality. The sharpest scissors or even X-acto blades would allow you to cut 10 – 20 stickers per minute if you’re fast, but this gets old fast.
Instead, with a silhouette or Cricut cutter machines they take care of this process for you, and cut them directly out of the sticker paper.
Although it seems easier to print and cut many one-off stickers, consider making sticker sheets instead. Both the silhouette and the Cricut offer the ability to make shallow cuts, which won’t cut through the back of the sticker paper, only through the adhesive.
As a result, there will be several pre-cut stickers on a sheet sellable as a set. These sell for higher prices and help simplify the shipping process by not needing to package single stickers.
3. Printer Selection
First and foremost, the printer should be high quality, and have excellent color capabilities. Brother and Canon brands are popular picks for sticker printing.
Most printers should do the trick, as long as they are capable of printing on vinyl. Ensure that it can print quickly and that it can handle the thickness of your sticker paper.
4. Print & Cut Your Stickers
After printing the stickers, put them through the cutting machine and voila you made your first batch of stickers.
Laminators can be used to add holographic sparkles on top or seal it against water, but make sure to select high quality adhesives and toppers. If you’ve never tried one before, sample it on a single sticker instead of wasting an entire sheet of stickers on it.
Quality test your stickers, and if they’re up to your standards, it’s time to sell!
How Much to Charge For Stickers?
Stickers sell for a wide range of prices, and oftentimes the best price depends on the sticker’s size and design.
The average 1in x 2in sticker frequently sells for $2 – $4 and entire sticker sheets often go for $7 – $12.
Consider offering discounts for those who buy more than five, sites like Redbubble have done this for years and prove it’s a great way to convince someone to buy something.
If you’re still unsure how to make money selling stickers online, try offering bulk custom sticker orders.
With this business model, companies pay you to create stickers they want for events, marketing, campaigns, recreation, branding purposes.
Bulk orders allow sticker creators to lower prices which motivates the client to purchase while still leaving a great profit for the designer.
When developing custom sticker designs for clients, make sure to charge for the time going into the design process as well.
What’s the Best Way to Ship Stickers?
For single sticker orders, the most common approach is tucking the sticker either into a card or between two pieces of note card paper inside a thick letter envelope. If you’re starting out, this is both an effective yet budget shipping solution.
Eventually, most sticker creators move up to packaging in bubble mailers. These mailers ensure the sticker is padded and safe, and eliminate any worry about anything crushing or wrinkling the stickers.
Sticker designers who use PayPal invoices, have the option to create a shipping label after a sale, which can be easily applied on a shipping envelope.
Alternatively, most sites that allow stickers to be sold also include shipping labels for a small fee.
What’s the Best Way to Market Stickers?
Finding customers is an age-old problem with businesses. Even when we have a fantastic product people would want to buy, getting it in front of people can test our creativity and drive.
One of the best ways to find customers is to tap into social media platforms online, especially groups, pages and communities that match your sticker theme.
Platforms like Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram, allow creators to go to market almost instantly with their sticker designs.
When it comes to growing a follower base, the formula is simple but not always easy to execute – at the end of the day, to gain followers creators need to post interesting content on a consistent basis.
Interact with other people in the sticker and art communities, and be open to sharing information.
If you try to do this without being social, it’s difficult to gain a foothold in the community and almost impossible to gain followers.
Where Can You Sell Stickers Online?
Many artists list stickers on sites like Etsy, but it can be hard to gain interest there since the market is already quite flooded with sticker designs.
The best platforms to start selling stickers are:
Custom stickers are also an excellent way to earn money on eBay. In fact, close to one million stickers sold on eBay alone in the last 90 days!
If you have a strong social media following, consider making your own website or shop site. That way customers can go directly to you using an easy URL, and you’ll also have full control over your brand look and feel.
However, there are some upfront costs to starting a website, so many artists take this on after they’ve started to have some success.
Conventions and trade shows are also excellent places to sell stickers! Selling in person is fun because you get to see people’s reactions to your art, and you can discuss the story behind your designs.
How To Sell More Stickers
With hot competition in the market, standing out is the most important thing you can do.
Use unique color schemes that are both eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing. Stickers are relatively small, so unlike large posters, you can’t pack tons of detail in them or they will start looking muddy.
So instead, try to use crisp lines, bright colors, and interesting design choices.
Creating a unique style can be difficult, but working at it will allow you to space yourself within the industry.
The Industry That’s Sticking Around
People love that they can attach stickers to anything from their laptops to the windows of their cars, and show off their interests and personality.
Even though many artists are already making great stickers, if you can show off what makes you unique, you’ll be able to seal the deal on a large income.
Erin is a business teacher and mother of three. When she’s not in the classroom or fulfilling her obligations as an A+ hockey and lacrosse mom, she’s working on her latest article.