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Questions about Sticker Paper? This FAQ will answer your questions

How to Choose the Best Sticker Paper For Your Projects (2023)

If you want to make your own stickers, one thing you’ll need is sticker paper. There are TONS of different sticker papers. And you probably have lots of the same questions that I did. Should you get glossy or matte? What’s the difference between printable vinyl or sticker paper? Which sticker papers make your stickers waterproof? What’s the best sticker paper for your printer? To make long-lasting quality stickers, it’s important to choose the right sticker paper. In this post, I’ll help you figure out which different kind of sticker paper will give you the best results for making custom stickers at home.

Table of Contents

These are all questions that I’ve been asked or that I’ve seen people ask in Facebook groups. Personally, I’ve been making stickers for over two years, and I know that there’s a lot to figure out. But trust me, it’s SO worth it to be able to print and cut your own custom stickers.

21 Most-Asked Questions About Sticker paper

What Makes a Paper- Sticker Paper?

Sticker paper is a sheet of paper that has an adhesive backing and easy peel-off paper behind it. These are created to be printed on a home printer. You can also use this same paper to make your own labels. 

Are There Specific Types of Paper for Different Printers?

Yes! You need to get the type of sticker paper that is right for your type of printer. So be sure that you buy sticker paper that says “for inkjet” if you have an inkjet printer. Or “for laser” if you have a laser printer.

Some sticker papers do say “For Inkjet Printers or Laser Printers” and can be used with either type of home printer. Just read the product info to find your best sticker paper for a printer.

What Do I Need to Make My Stickers Waterproof?

To make your stickers waterproof, you’ll want to start with a paper that’s considered water-resistant or waterproof and then seal them.

Why the extra step? Because the ink you use is probably NOT waterproof, you’ll still have to either laminate your stickers or seal them to make them waterproof. I have an entire post on how to protect and laminate your stickers.

Most sources suggest that printable vinyl sticker paper is more waterproof than actual sticker paper is.

Still, Online Labels makes a waterproof sticker paper that they claim is comparable to vinyl. So if you prefer to purchase paper vs. vinyl, there are options!Seal Your Stickers with Spray Acrylic Sealers or Laminates

What’s the Difference between Waterproof or Water-Resistant papers?
Water- resistant means that if it gets a little wet (think sprinkles) then the ink shouldn’t run and the sticker should be fine. Waterproof means you can use it in a dishwasher or submerge it in water and it will be fine. 
What’s the Difference Between Glossy and Matte?

Glossy sticker paper has a shiny surface that some love and others don’t like. I prefer the glossy finish because I feel like it’s more professional looking, AND it seems to make my colors more vibrant when I print on them. I LOVE vibrant colors.

Matte sticker paper has the normal appearance of a piece of typing paper. There is no gloss to the surface at all. Some people prefer a matte finish, especially if they’re creating planner stickers, and they don’t want the stickers to distract from everything else on the planner pages.

There is a price difference between glossy and matte sticker papers. Usually, glossy sticker paper is more expensive.

Do I Need a Special Printer to Use Sticker Paper at Home?

No. You can use your home printer with sticker papers. If you’d like a printer recommendation, though, I REALLY LOVE my Canon Crafter’s Printer. It’s seriously the best printer! It has a rear-feed printer tray so that heavier paper doesn’t get stuck and can do 12″ x 12″ paper.
Canon Pixma crafter's printer with rear feed for making stickers| Printing with a Canon Pixma TS9521C

Printable Vinyl vs. Sticker Paper- What’s the Difference?

Printable vinyl is made of plastic, and sticker paper is usually made of paper. The biggest practical difference I’ve found is that printable vinyl can be pulled up without tearing, whereas sticker paper will tear when you try to remove it. It also leaves a less adhesive residue (if any) when removed from a surface.

Printable vinyl is also more waterproof and often more UV protectant, making it the go-to for outdoor applications, like car decals.

Be sure to read the product descriptions, as not all printable vinyl says it’s waterproof and works for bumper stickers or decals. I’ve tried both JOYEZA’s Matte Printable VInyl and Zicoto’s Glossy Printable Vinyl as well as their Frosted Clear Printable Vinyl, and I like each!

There is a cost difference between printable vinyl and sticker paper, with printable vinyl being more expensive per sheet.

Here’s a great article on the difference between Printable Vinyl vs. Sticker Paper. And I do have an entire post on waterproofing your stickersThe printable vinyl I used for my Print then Cut laptop skins made with Cricut

What is Clear Sticker Paper?

Clear sticker paper is not really paper but is a transparent vinyl or plastic. However, it still tears fairly easily if you try to reposition or remove it. Clear sticker paper gives you a transparent background for your stickers.

Most people use transparent sticker paper for items like candles, planner stickers, or other objects where you’d like to see the surface beneath the sticker.

Clear sticker paper vs. clear printable vinyl-

Clear sticker paper can come perfectly clear, whereas most transparent printable vinyl has a bit of a frosted appearance.

I’ve tried this brand of clear sticker paper, and although it did tear when I tried to reposition it, I really like how super clear it is.

Clear sticker paper can also be used to laminate your stickers. The difference between clear sticker paper vs. self-adhesive laminate is that the sticker paper is usually printable.

For more tips on laminating stickers, see my post, How to Protect and Waterproof Your Stickers

Are All White Sticker Papers the Same?

No. Some white sticker paper is better quality than other paper. More importantly, colors of white differ- some of the “white” sticker papers actually show up as a warm white that’s really more of a cream.

Unfortunately, the product description won’t tell you it’s a warm white or a cold white. You can see the difference in the pic below.

True white vs. creamy white sticker papers

Can I Buy it at a Craft Store near me?

Yes! But you won’t find much selection at Michaels stores, JoAnn Stores, or Hobby Lobby and you won’t be able to purchase more than a small pack of 10-25 sheets if you haven’t made stickers before. It’s a good way to see if you’d like it.

However, the quality of your stickers will be better if you purchase from a well-reviewed online source like Online Labels or Zicoto.

Can I Buy Different Colors of Sticker Paper to make Colorful DIY Stickers?

Yes! You can find sticker paper that has a cool kraft paper look from a few different sources; however, you’ll want to check Online Labels for solid colors like pink, green, or yellow. They actually have TWELVE different colors of sticker paper. So not exactly endless color possibilities- but there are more flavors than just vanilla!

One thing to note is that Cricut is rolling out sticker paper options for the Cricut Joy and has solid color sticker papers available soon. As of right now, though,  you can only draw stickers with the Cricut Joy, not print and cut. 

Does it Come in Different Weights?

Yes! Most sticker papers are standard weight; however, Cricut Sticker Paper is actually a card stock weight and is what I use in my post, How to Make 3D Layered Stickers on Procreate with Cricut.

If your plan is to make kiss-cut sticker sheets, you will probably want regular weight sticker paper. If you plan to make die-cut stickers, you can choose either weight. But again, most people use regular sticker paper for these as well. 

Adding embellishments to the layered stickers in Procreate with a cricut |how to take your stickers to the next level| print then cut stickers

What is Cricut Printable Sticker Paper, And If I Have a Cricut Do I Have to Use It?

This is important to know- you don’t have to use the Cricut brand with a Cricut machine*. In fact, depending on your project, you may not want to use it because of its heavier weight (see above).

Note: The BEST kind of sticker paper for your electronic cutting machine project may not be Cricut sticker paper.

However, if you like the feel of thick stickers, then Cricut Printable Sticker Paper is definitely an option you’ll like!

*This applies to the Cricut Explore Air, Cricut Explore 3, Cricut Maker 3 and Cricut Maker.

The Cricut Joy has its own sticker paper products. You can also use these sticker papers with other electronic cutting machines like the Silhouette Cameo.

Cricut sticker paper is a cardstock weight of paper

Do All Sticker Papers Have a White Backing Paper?

No! I purchased a sticker paper that had yellow backing paper, and it’s not nearly as professional looking. So be sure you check the product description if you want to avoid purchasing sticker paper with colored backing paper.

One more thing, some sticker papers do have their branding printed on the backing of the sticker paper, so if you plan to sell your stickers, you’ll want to make sure they are branding-free.

Does Sticker Paper Come in Different Paper Sizes?

Yes! For example, you’ll find it both in letter size and A4, so be sure to know which it is that you want and read the description.

Do I Need a Different Paper for Die-Cut vs. Kiss Cut Sticker Sheets?

No. The difference between the two is whether the backing paper is cut all the way through or if the backing paper remains intact (and only the stickers are cut out.)

Are There Specialty Versions of Paper Available?

Yes! There are several. For example, Silhouette has come out with several printable specialty papers that are holographic, iridescent, brushed metal, glow in the dark, and even glitter. I have more on using Silhouette Sticker Papers and their options in my post, 7 Tips to Use Silhouette Sticker Papers with a Cricut.

There is also removable sticker paper which I’d consider a specialty sticker product as well.

How do I make Holographic stickers?

There are actually three different methods to make holographic stickers. One method is to use a holographic laminate over your sticker paper. Another method is to use holographic vinyl, but this creates more of a decal-type sticker. The simplest method is to use holographic sticker paper, like the Silhouette Sticker paper I mention above.

What Brand of Glossy and Matte Sticker Papers Do You Recommend?

For either glossy or matte sticker paper, I recommend you use Online Labels brand. It’s high quality and shows off my designs the best. It’s also white-white vs. creamy white, and it has white backing paper.

It is the second-highest reviewed on Amazon (the first has a yellow backing paper which is icky).

Be sure to purchase the full sheet label sticker paper. If you’d like to try a different brand, Royal Elements is a great source as well.
online labels sticker paper is my favorite choice

What is the Best Cheap Paper I Can Get?

Looking at Amazon, it seems like iLabels has 100 sheets of full sheets for $12.99; that’s crazy cheap.  I’ve never used this brand, though.

Is There Removable Sticker Paper?

Yes! Online Labels has a sticker paper listed as removable sticker paper. I believe Avery has a removable sticker paper option as well. 

What I Like Best for My Sticker Projects

For waterproof stickers, I recommend the Zicoto printable vinyl. This gives your stickers a strong base that won’t absorb water or tear. But make sure to laminate your stickers as well, either with a heat laminator or self-adhesive sheets. 

For kiss-cut sticker sheets, I recommend Online Labels glossy or matte. I love how white these are, and how vibrant and beautiful my stickers look once printed. 

For die-cut stickers, you can either use regular sticker paper or printable vinyl. 

Still, Have a Question About Sticker Paper? Ask Me!

Super importantly, I hope you found this post on the different kinds of sticker papers helpful. So If you have questions that I didn’t answer in this post, please leave them in the comments! And thank you for helping me make this a great resource for other sticker makers.

Want MORE On Sticker Making?

If you landed here because you were thinking about making custom stickers with Cricut, I would LOVE you to check out my other sticker posts!

AND if you just really loved stickers in elementary school but don’t really feel up to drawing your own, then check out my post on How to Trace Photos to Make Stickers on Procreate.

My most popular sticker post is How to Print then Cut Stickers with a Cricut and my second most popular is How to Draw Stickers on Procreate.

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6 thoughts on “How to Choose the Best Sticker Paper For Your Projects (2023)”

  1. Jennifer Pearson

    I’m trying to figure out how to make laptop stickers. I wasn’t sure if they fell under one of the categories you mentioned in this post. I know they need to be able to come off the laptop so I guess they need to be removable. I’d love to make iridescent or sparkly ones, but I’m afraid they won’t remove. What do you suggest?

  2. Hi Jennifer. So I want to put a sticker of my dog on a coffee cup that I use every morning, what is the best sticker paper to use?

    1. Hi Shannon,
      Definitely the printable vinyl. Look for one that says waterproof. I really do like the Zicoto brand, and you may want to do a clear self-laminate over the top before you cut it too.

  3. Hi Shannon. I have an idea for stickers to play with my Great-Grandaughter. I was thinking of telling stories and let her place stickers and perhaps teach her to read and spell some words. She is a mature 2 1/2 year old. My question: Is there an inexpensive sticker paper that I can use because they will probably be thrown away after use? Thank you!

    1. Hmm…. I think Avery sticker paper is fairly inexpensive, but I would check Amazon for the best deal. One thing to think about is that if she’s little it might be nice to have removable sticker paper. I love that that’s a thing!

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