I wrote this article to help you find the very best sticker maker (or, in more technical terms, computer-controlled cutting machine), on the market today, and more specifically the machine that’s best for making art and custom vinyl stickers. So let’s have a look!
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I will include several different machines, but as my research and testing progressed, something became very clear: The best sticker maker, without a doubt, is the remarkable Cricut machine.
Can cut over 300 different materials, includes 13 tools (cutting, writing, scoring, foiling, debossing, engraving & more), maximum material size 13 inches by 12 feet
Table of Contents
- Best Stickers Maker – Remarkable Cricut
- What do I Need for Creating Stickers on a Cricut Sticker Machine?
- 🖨 What Sticker Printer is the Best for Printing Stickers?
- What Kind of Sticker Paper is Best for a Cricut Sticker Maker Machines?
- Which Cricut Sticker Maker Should I Buy – Cricut Maker 3 or Cricut Explore 3?
- Are there Any Good Alternatives to Cricut?
Best Stickers Maker – Remarkable Cricut
The Cricut machines are perfect for making stickers, but they do about a gazillion other things fabulously as well!
In fact, I also came to a couple of other conclusions right away: that a good computer-controlled cutting machine – especially a Cricut – is one of the best and most useful tools any artist or crafter can ever buy, and that few other tools I could possibly think of are not only as useful as the Cricut but also so creatively inspiring.
And so let’s look at making stickers, and the best machines to do that. As we go along I can see a few questions which should be addressed, so we will try to answer the following (and more, I hope!):
- What is the Best Sticker Maker Machine?
- What is the Best Cricut Sticker Maker Machine?
- Which Cricut Sticker Maker Machine Should I Buy?
- Which is Better: The Cricut Maker 3 or the Cricut Explore 3?
- What do Computer-Controlled Sticker Makers Do?
- What is the Best Vinyl Sticker Machine?
- How Can I Create Custom Vinyl Stickers at Home?
- What is the Best Sticker Sheets Paper for a Sticker Printer?
What is a Sticker Maker Machine?
It is, basically, just what it sounds like.
The Cricut machines, and machines from Brother, Silhouette and others, connect to your computer or phone, with a cable or via Bluetooth.
They come with software which allows you to create designs, and then the sticker maker machines cut that design out of paper, fabric, card stock, vinyl, pre-printed stickers or other materials.
What are Sticker Machines Used For?
Well, as I said, about a gazillion things.
Remember, I keep calling this a sticker making machine, but making vinyl stickers is just one of the uses – this is actually a sophisticated (though incredibly easy to use) computer cutting machine, which will take pretty much any computer image or text and cut it from pretty much any material.
I keep coming up with new ideas, and the Cricut cutting machine always seems to help me realize those ideas.
Lots of the things you can make with a Cricut can be real money-makers, like custom stickers, clothing, bags and hats, fabric flowers, patches, vinyl decals and lots of other advanced creative projects.
You can also very easily make models and mock-ups for larger projects, games and craft projects for kids, home decorations, stencils, greeting cards, and score, perforate and emboss onto a lot of materials – and so on, and so on!
And again, one very basic idea is to create stickers of your artwork, or of other designs, to sell online or to give as presents to clients, customers, friends and family. With the right sticker printer and sticker paper (see below), these can turn out absolutely beautifully, and everybody seems to love them.
But really, there are seemingly countless uses for good computer-controlled cutting sticker maker machines. Some basic uses include:
- Sewing patterns
- Modeling Patterns
- Vinyl and Paper Stickers
- Fabric Shapes
- Paper Patterns for Crafts
- Light Wood
- Poster Board
- Scoring and Perforating
- Home Decorations
- Paper Flowers
- Bumper Stickers
- Beautiful Lamp Shades
Are Sticker Machines Difficult to Use?
This is one thing I see a lot on other blogs and websites, that one of the main drawbacks of using a Cricut is that they are somehow difficult to use – more specifically, that their software – Design Space – is difficult to use.
From my experience, the whole process with a Cricut sticker machine is actually quite simple and easy to use. In fact, if you’ve used any kind of art, drawing, design or layout software (or pretty much any normal software), the Cricut Design Space software is a snap.
And what makes it even easier for some people is that you can do your designing in many other software programs and then import that design into Design Space – in fact, this can not only make it easier, but allow you to do even more with designs.
Finally, the physical machines are extremely well designed and quite easy to use and get the hang of – and they come with a cool sample project with excellent detailed instructions, to help you learn what you’re doing and get familiar with the software and hardware.
Are Cricut Sticker Maker Machines Expensive?
Here’s another often made claim on other sites which I don’t quite understand, that the Cricut is quite an expensive sticker machine.
We’re really focusing on two Cricut machines here:
The Cricut Explore 3 and the Cricut Maker 3 are around 300 and 400 dollars respectively, depending on where you buy them.
Considering the high quality of these sticker machines, the countless things you can do with one, how it can inspire you and how it can even make you money, I think they are an absolute steal!
What do I Need for Creating Stickers on a Cricut Sticker Machine?
It is really easy to use and create stickers from your artwork, designs, text or anything else, and these beautiful stickers can be sold or given away.
Even as a lagniappe with an order, or as a bonus for good clients, they can help you make more money, but they can also sell really well.
You can also make stickers from other artwork, like older classic pieces from the great masters, but you have to be very careful that the images you are using are public domain – that is, they are free to use without permission or royalties.
The idea is simple – you print your art onto good sticker sheets, then design or choose the shapes which you want your stickers to be in and run the sticker paper through the Cricut.
Once you have it set up, you can make hundreds quite quickly. You can also add words or use any other elements, or you can leave them as simple, beautiful art pieces.
Of course, you can also design other types of stickers, with graphics or line drawings, cartoons, funny or inspirational sayings, jokes, whatever you want.
Again, though, especially if you’re selling these, just make sure all the material you use is either original or public domain.
Basically, you’ll need the following things to make this work:
- A Cricut Machine
- A Printer
- Label Paper
- A Computer (Windows or Macintosh) or Smartphone (Apple or Android)
- Cricut Design Space Software (free!)
You may also want to (but don’t need to) use a different art or design software program, which you probably already have and are familiar with.
The main thing to keep in mind is that you should have the right sticker paper, and a printer that is good for printing on sticker stock and that can also do a good job with your art.
Again, for making stickers with your new Cricut sticker machine, all you need to do is print the artwork or designs onto good sticker paper (vinyl), and then run the stickers through the Cricut to cut out the sticker shapes you’ve chosen, so you do need a printer for stickers that is up to the task.
What Sticker Printer is the Best for Printing Stickers?
Please check out my related articles:
To do sticker printing well, your printer will need to have a few basic things:
- High Resolution
- Excellent Color Reproduction
- A Straight-Through Manual Paper Feed Tray
- The Ability to Run Thicker Stock (Vinyl stickers)
If you are happy with the way your current printer prints onto various kinds of paper and stock, especially when it’s printing high resolution copies of artwork, and if it has a rear feed tray, you are probably good to go.
But if your printer doesn’t really make your artwork pop, it doesn’t have a rear-loading straight-through manual feed tray, or it’s time for a new printer anyway, it makes good sense to get one that will print artwork beautifully, will do pretty much everything else well, and works well with vinyl.
More expensive printers will, of course, offer better colors and resolution and very noticeable improvement in the overall look of your art prints, and while I’m sensitive to budget concerns (believe me!) I think every artist should have the very best printer they can afford – it’s better for you and your art, as well as for your clients and prospective clients, your business and your income.
That said, even less expensive printers can do a great job for the money, so don’t worry too much if your budget cannot handle more!
Here are my top recommendations:
Surprisingly good printing quality for an entry-level printer, and a great all-around budget printer for stickers, and everything else, but not quite to the fine art print level.
- Canon Pixma Pro-100 Wireless Color Professional Inkjet Printer
- Canon Pixma PRO-200 13″ Inkjet Color Printer
My Pick for Art Prints, Canvas, Cardstock, Stickers, Vinyl and Transfer paper
8-color dye-based ink system :: 4800×2400 DPI :: Borderless prints up to 13″×19″ (A3+) :: Max paper thickness: rear feed 11.8mil (0.3mm); manual feed 23.6mil (0.6mm) :: Late 2020 model :: Wireless & AirPrint
Superb prints from two rugged, reliable and affordable professional-level printers for stickers, artwork, photos and more.
Great for Art Prints, Canvas, Cardstock, Stickers, Vinyl, and Transfer paper
10-color pigment-based ink system :: 4800×2400 DPI :: Borderless prints up to 13″×19″ (A3+) :: Max paper thickness: rear feed 11.8mil (0.3mm); manual feed 23.6mil (0.6mm) :: Late 2020 model :: Wireless & AirPrint
Incredible colors and vivid prints from the most affordable printer in the legendary ProGraf professional printer line – truly the next level!
What Kind of Sticker Paper is Best for a Cricut Sticker Maker Machines?
Waterproof, Tearproof, Full Page Inkjet Sticker Paper
Matte White Finish
Waterproof, Tearproof, Full Page Inkjet Sticker Paper
Glossy White Finish
The next thing you will need is the proper sticker paper, and what we really need to ask is:
What Kind of Sticker Paper is Best for Printing on Dot Matrix Printers?
You don’t want to get labels, or pre-cut sticker sheets, since they are already cut to a specific size. Instead you want full-page permanent adhesive paper, and the best quality you can afford.
Better sticker sheets paper will make your art or designs look better, and it won’t ever jam the printer or your beautiful new Cricut!
And since the Cricut computer-controlled cutting machines can handle up to 12 inch width you are best off using standard letter size (8.5 x 11 inches) vinyl paper with adhesive backing.
Here are a couple of great sticker sheets for this or any art or craft job:
- Aiva Glossy White Full Sheet 8.5″ x 11″ Waterproof Adhesive Sticker Paper – 50 Sheets
- Aiva Matte White Full Sheet 8.5″ x 11″ Waterproof Adhesive Sticker Paper – 50 Sheets
Which Cricut Sticker Maker Should I Buy – Cricut Maker 3 or Cricut Explore Air 3?
Oh, yeah, if you want to print and cut beautiful art stickers on your new Cricut computer-controlled cutting machine you are going to need one more thing: a new Cricut computer-controlled cutting machine!
And the two most popular and best reviewed Cricut sticker machines (and maybe the two best cutting machines on the market today) are the top of the line Cricut Maker 3 and the less expensive, but still brilliant, Cricut Explore 3.
So we should ask (and hopefully answer) another question:
Which is Better: The Cricut Maker 3 or the Cricut Explore 3?
Well, if we put the question like that, the answer is obvious – the amazing Cricut Maker 3. Some of the capabilities of the Maker 3, which are not possible with the Explore 3, include:
- The ability to cut thicker and heavier material, including even leather and light wood (works with over 300 kinds of material!)
- It has 10 times the cutting force of any other Cricut machine
- The ability to accurately cut much lighter material, including crepe paper
- The amazing adaptive tool technology allows for much lighter work, and perfect precision with any material
- Support for more tools, including the Rotary Cutter (included), the stronger Knife Blade and the Quick Swap tools for scoring, engraving, embossing and perforating
(Both Cricut cutting machines do support a huge number of tools, though, including the Deep Point Blade, the Bonded Fabric Blade and the Cricut Pens)
- Finer, more accurate cutting and detailing
- Faster cutting
Don’t get me wrong – in the matter of the Cricut Maker 3 versus the Cricut Explore 3 they are both great machines, and open up a whole new world of possibilities. They are also both extremely well made, reliable, and beautifully and thoughtfully designed.
But overall, for still not a lot of money, I would rather have the stronger, more advanced and more versatile Cricut Maker 3, with more options, more choices of materials and more precision cutting.
Either way you go, though, the Cricut Explore 3 or the Cricut Maker 3, you will have a great and incredibly useful art and craft tool, an extremely high quality product and potentially a real money maker.
Great, But Are There Any Good Alternatives to Cricut?
- Brother ScanNCut SDX125E Cutting Machine with Scanner
Electronic DIY Cutting Machine with Scanner, Make Custom Stickers, Vinyl Wall Art, Greeting Cards and More with 682 Included Patterns
Well, yeah, actually there are at least two or three.
As much as this article has been a big Cricut love-fest,and as amazing as I (and pretty much every single person who’s ever laid their hands on one) think they are, there are other manufacturers and other machines that are well worth considering.
Electronic DIY Cutting Machine with Scanner, Make Custom Stickers, Vinyl Wall Art, Greeting Cards and More with 682 Included Patterns
The Brother cutting machine is a fine product, and has a single big advantage for some people – the inclusion of a pretty nice scanner.
You can scan freehand designs, or anything on paper, really, and the software will allow you to automatically cut that design, or modify it as you like.
For me, the Brother is a good value, and a useful machine, but for precision cutting, long term reliability, user interface and availability of accessories the Cricut is a bit better.
For others, though, especially artists and crafters who may not have a scanner already, this may be just the thing, and people who own and regularly use the Brother ScanNCut do seem to love it!
The Silhouette Cameo 4 is another pretty popular cutting machine which works great with vinyl, as well as a whole range of other materials – not as many as the Cricut Maker 3, but similar to the Explore 3.
Compared head to head, though, the Cameo sounds and feels less substantial than a Cricut, and in actual use the Cricut’s cuts are cleaner and more consistent.
One advantage of the Silhouette Cameo is the software, Silhouette Studio, which is actually a bit more advanced and capable than the Cricut Design Space program. I myself design and tweak on other programs, like Procreate, and then import into Cricut Design Space, so for me the Cameo’s better software isn’t important, but for some it may very well be.
And of course another huge advantage of the Silhouette machine is that it’s PINK! Seriously, though, it is a well reviewed machine, and at least worth considering.
Finally you might want to think about the wonderful little Joy, which has maybe my favorite name of any hobby tool.
The Joy is a lot less expensive – around half the price of the Explore 3 – and is also a lot smaller and lighter.
It has less capability too – it can only print on material up to 5.5 inches in width, as opposed to the larger machines’ 12 inches, it is slower and works with less materials.
Still, it is a strong, precise and reliable machine, with the same material and build quality of any Cricut product, and it will work wonderfully with vinyl sticker material.
Final Thoughts: Do I Really Need a Cricut Sticker Maker Machine?
Well, I guess I would have to say no, nobody needs a computer controlled cutting machine. After all, we are artists, aren’t we? All we really need is a pencil and paper and we will make art. I don’t even really need (gulp) my MacBook or iPad!
But the best artists’ tools are, when seen another way, absolutely essential. The best tools serve our art and help us produce it. They allow us to create stickers (or whatever else) in ways we wouldn’t otherwise be able to. They push us forward, allow us to do the best we possibly can, and never keep us from realizing our vision.
This is why I always recommend that any artist – whether a fine artist, a commercial artist or an aspiring beginner – get the best tools they can afford (within reason, of course) and that they are always on the lookout for new creative tools that can not only support our work, but really spark our creativity, suggest new ideas and allow for new ways of expression and realization.
The Cricut Maker 3 and the Cricut Explore 3 do all of those things and more, and I can highly recommend either of them, or any Cricut cutting machine, to any artist or crafter.
Thanks so much for reading my latest article – The Best Sticker Maker Machines – An In-Depth Review – and please check my blog – Art Side of Life – for more buyer’s guides, articles, online courses and many other resources – the perfect site for any artist!
Other articles in the Printers & Scanners series:
- Best Printer for Cricut Print and Cut
- Best Printer for Art Prints
- Best Canvas Printer
- Best Cardstock Printer
- Best Printer for Stickers
- Best Screen Printing Printer
- Best Inkjet Printer for Heat Transfer
- Best Sublimation Printer for Heat Transfer
- Best Super Tank Printers
- Best Ink Tank Printer
- Best Printer for iPad, iPhone, and Mac
- Best Art Scanner for Artworks
- Best Camera for Artwork Photography
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