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A few months ago I did an article on the marvelous Cricut cutting machines, and I still get lots of questions about it from artists and crafters who want to start making their own stickers.
Most of these questions are about what are the best type of stickers to use and what are the best printers for stickers.
Really, it is super-easy! The best stickers, for durability, quality feel and attractiveness when printed, are vinyl stickers, and while you don’t necessarily need a special printer for stickers there are some good things to look for if you are going to buy a new printer anyway – luckily, as this often works, the best inkjet printer for printing stickers is usually the best printer overall for any artist or crafter.
Vinyl, as opposed to other materials is strong, flexible, resistant to fading, water and elements, has a premium look and feel and can really pop with the right design.
There are lots and lots of things you can do with stickers:
The first item on our list, printing stickers to sell them, is a brilliant idea that lots of artists have had a great success with and became accomplished small business owner.
You can really stretch your imagination and your design skills, make really beautiful custom art stickers with premium quality vinyl, and customers will love them – in fact, you’d be amazed at how popular stuff like this is, and how well it sells!
But the main answer to why you should print stickers is that they’re just so much fun!
This makes me laugh a little – a few days ago I sat down to write an in-depth tutorial about screen printing, and describing and detailing the overall process took a couple of hours, several pages and dozens of steps. Now I sit down to explain how to do vinyl sticker printing, and…
Ok, really there is more to it than that – you should have the proper vinyl for inkjet printers, you should insert the vinyl sticker sheets the right way so that you don’t print on the backing instead of the front, and if the stickers are for outdoor use you should consider laminating them.
This last, the laminating, is a much more technical process, and so perhaps here we should go into a bit of a proper in-depth tutorial about laminating stickers.
See? That one took three steps! Where would you be without me? 😉
Ok, I’ll be more serious now! There aren’t a lot of steps to making even the best quality stickers, and not a lot of supplies are required either. Here is a basic list:
Now let’s go over these in a little more detail.
You should make sure you get good quality vinyl sticker paper – cheap paper will look bad to customers, won’t last as long, may not take ink as well or look as good printed with your design, and may not even stick!
Poor quality paper may also be more likely to jam, or even damage, your printer.
But the best sheets for printing vinyl stickers don’t have to be expensive. I would recommend Neato vinyl, which takes ink well, has great adhesive and overall looks and feels like a premium product.
This is somewhat optional, but a great idea for longer sticker life, and pretty necessary if your stickers may be used outdoors.
When selecting the best laminating sheets for your vinyl stickers, you just want to make sure that you don’t get thermal laminating material – just basic sheets with adhesive on one side.
The brand I would recommend is Royal Elements, and while their basic pack is a little expensive, it is good quality and will last a long, long time.
|Editor's rating||Image||Printer for Stickers||Price|
GREAT VALUE PRINTER
PROFESSIONAL ART PRINTER
FINEST IMAGE QUALITY INKJET PRINTER
BEST CUTTING MACHINE
BEST CUTTING MACHINE
If we believe every single thing we read on the internet – and why shouldn’t we? – we would be pretty worried about getting the best printer to print vinyl stickers. It seems like loads of sites are saying that it’s “absolutely essential” to get the best printer for stickers, as if your business, or your very life, depended on it.
Here’s a little secret! It is not “absolutely essential” to get the right printer for stickers. In fact, with good vinyl sheets for inkjet printers, pretty much any inkjet printer will work. How well it works is dependent, of course, on that particular printer, including its print quality, age, and condition.
So, now that we’ve cleared that up, we can say that if you want to get the best printer for stickers (or if you are going to buy a new printer for general art and crafting use anyway, and want to make sure it will work great with vinyl stickers) it may not be “absolutely essential,” or “a matter of life and death,” but it’s at least “a really good idea” to look for a few things:
Yeah, I guess that’s about it. You can also think about a larger format printer, or about other features like connectivity, speed and such – basically:
So here are some recommendations for the best printers for stickers on vinyl, all of which will have beautiful print quality on vinyl or other media, will offer real material quality, reliability and long-term durability, and great overall value for the money. Again, we want to make sure these aren’t just the best printers for stickers on vinyl, but the best printer for everything you might want to do!
The best beginer level printer for artists and crafters, and one of my most frequent recommendations, the Brother MFC-J497DW is in fact really, really cheap – but only in price. It is, in fact, a surprisingly high quality printer in every way – print quality, materials, construction, versatility.
The MFC-J497DW is a multi-function unit, with a great high resolution printer, scanner and copier all together, and so becomes much more than the best budget printer for your home or studio – even a decent scanner, which is invaluable and an almost required tool for artists and crafters, can cost much more than this little Brother.
For printing stickers, the Brother MFC-J497DW has an advanced five color ink system, which offers absolutely unprecedented accuracy, brightness and saturation of colors at this price point, and while these are dye-based inks they are remarkably fade resistant and really last. The high resolution will also make your vinyl stickers really pop, and the quality of the rollers and mechanical parts will ensure that sticker paper is handled precisely, and that the printer won’t jam or wear out even with fairly heavy volume.
With its simple and intuitive LCD user interface panel, wireless, cloud and USB connectivity, all in one design and superb overall quality, this is an automatic recommendation for anybody who wants an inexpensive printer for any, or every, task, and is my choice for best printer for stickers (vinyl) on a budget.
Brother MFC-J497DW Specifications:
An inexpensive printer with absolutely beautiful printing – rich, deeply saturated and accurate colors and exceptionally high resolution – the Canon IP8720 is widely known as a near professional level printer at an opening level price.
To get a six ink system at this price is in itself pretty amazing, but when the inks are as high quality as these Canon inks it is almost unbelievable. Really long lasting and resistant to fading and elements, they are the perfect choice for making vinyl stickers, and make any art print or photograph a beautiful, premium quality piece. And the Canon IP8720 will make borderless prints up to 13 by 19 inches.
An exceptionally high quality printer, with beautiful and long lasting printing and excellent overall quality and reliability, the Canon IP8720 is way better than its price suggests, and is my pick for the best medium-priced printer for vinyl stickers, or for any art, photography or crafting – a great value, and enthusiastically recommended!
Canon IP8720 Specifications:
Now we’re getting into the rarified realm of true professional art printers, with next level print quality, construction and durability. The Canon Pixma Pro 100 may be a little more than twice the price of her little sister, the Canon IP8720 listed above, but if anything the Pro 100 may represent an even greater value.
For one thing, while the less expensive Canon has a brilliant six-color system, the Pixma Pro 100 has eight separate premium inks, for absolutely incredible colors and essentially archival quality printing. If you want your stickers to really stand out, with bright, sharp images that will last and last, the Pro-100 is the printer for the job.
The Canon Pixma Pro 100 is also a better product in terms of material quality, engineering, construction, reliability and durability. Don’t get me wrong – the less expensive IP8720 is a really well made printer, especially for the money, but for reliable long-term use, quality in printing and media handling – again, for instance, those sometimes slippery vinyl labels – the professional level Pixma Pro 100 has no rivals under a thousand dollars.
I guess that there are some people out there who can easily afford an 800 dollar printer, but for most of us this is a pretty big deal. If I were going to spend that kind of money on a new printer, though, I can’t think of a better choice – or a better investment for my art and my business – and to me it makes way more sense than a merely decent printer for a bit less.
My choice, then, for the high-end best printer for sticker printing on vinyl among the printers for stickers, the Canon Pixma Pro-100 is also my recommendation for best printer under a grand for the commercial or fine artist, designer, photographer or serious crafter, or for anybody who wants the next level of quality.
Canon Pixma Pro-100 Specifications:
You actually have to make quite a jump to find significantly better quality than the Canon Pixma above, but when you arrive at the Epson SureColor P600 you will find that the effort – and the money – are well worth it.
The SureColor P600 has quite possibly the finest image quality you can get from an inkjet printer, with Epson’s UltraChrome 8 color archival pigment-based ink system for indescribably beautiful colors, 3 level black and white printing, commercial quality mechanical movement and print registration and stunning resolution, detail, dynamic range and energy.
It is also a commercial quality machine in terms of reliability, durability, large volume capability, connectivity, media size and media handling options and more. The P600 can accept up to 13 inch wide media, and will take normal cut sheets, rolls, canvas, art board and card stock, vinyl labels and lots of other material, all with the same ultra-precise registration and incredible image quality.
If you are a commercial artist, making vinyl stickers or any other products on a large scale, or if your true aim is to make simply the very finest quality art pieces you possibly can – archival, museum-quality canvas prints, for example – and if you are willing to make a fairly substantial investment to do so, the Epson SureColor P600 will surely prove to be one of the best professional investments you will ever make.
The Epson SureColor P600 is the best commercial printer for sticker printing on the market today, or at least the best reasonably priced commercial printer for vinyl stickers, and is one of the finest printers I have ever used – a true asset for any serious commercial or fine art studio, which will perform at the very highest levels for many years to come.
Epson SureColor P600 Specifications:
And now we’ve come full circle. The interest so many people have shown in the Cricut cutting machines, and how these amazing little devices have inspired people to explore vinyl sticker printing, are the reasons I wrote this article in the first place.
If you really want to make the nicest, most professional vinyl stickers you can, and if you are really going to sell them in shops or online, you really should consider getting a Cricut – which is basically a computer controlled cutter which will cut vinyl stickers – or a zillion other materials, from sheer fabric to thick leather and even wood – in the shape of your design, and with beautiful precision and neatness. You can try to hand-cut your stickers, and you may be really good at it, but nobody can come close to the sharp, clean edges and always perfect accuracy of the Cricut.
If you just used your new Cricut for cutting vinyl stickers, it would be well worth the money. But the thing about the Cricut is that any artist, crafter or DIYer will find tons and tons of different uses for it, and will be inspired to new ideas, new projects, new materials and a lot more.
If you want to see my full review of the beloved Cricuts, which are unquestionably not just the best cutting machines for vinyl stickers but the best cutting machines for any art or craft project, please check the article Best Sticker Maker, but for today’s article I’ll point the two most popular models:
These are both wonderful machines, incredibly well made, useful and precise, and they are both super-popular (between them they have well over 30,000 customer reviews on Amazon with an astonishing 4.8+ rating!), but by far my first choice, as best cutting machine for vinyl stickers and more, is the Cricut Maker, which is newer, faster, stronger, has better control and handles a much wider range of lighter and heavier materials– again, including even leather and some wood.
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Whenever I’m thinking about an investment, I take a lot of factors into consideration, including the fun factor and the creative fulfillment factor – is this something I really want to get into? Will it be fun, and will it spark me and inspire me, and even make me a better or more complete artist?
I don’t always think of making money, though – well, let me explain that. If I was going to spend a few hundred dollars on a new printer and a Cricut, and a few dozen dollars more on paper and other supplies, it is entirely possible that I could make such great stickers, and that they would be so popular, that I would make back my investment in no time. And for sure, making attractive promotional items and freebies for good customers is always a financially sound idea.
But I don’t really let myself think that way, or at least too much that way. For one thing, it might not happen that I make a profit, no matter how good my product is – even though so many people do so well selling their vinyl sticker creations. But more than that it puts a lot of pressure on the fun process, and even can affect my creativity in a negative or limiting way. So, does this mean that I have to justify my investment solely on how much fun it will be, or how creative it will make me?
Either, or both, of those reasons might be enough, but this gets back to why I love machines like, for example, the Canon Pixma Pro-100 or the Cricut Maker. They are of such high quality, and are so useful not just for the venture at hand but for so many different things, that they are always worth the investment. If I’m buying a printer, I want one that will be used for everything, and make everything look so beautiful, and from long term reliability alone will pay for itself. And if I get a cutting machine, I would hope that I could use it not just for vinyl stickers, but for countless other projects as well, and it will make them all turn out better.
At that point, fun and creativity are just a bonus!
Thanks so much for reading my latest article – The Best Printers for Printing Vinyl Stickers: A Review of the Products and the Process – and I encourage you to visit my blog – Art Side of Life – for other buyer’s guides, online courses, articles and lots of other resources.