3 Best Methods to Protect and Waterproof Your Stickers

When you spend ages creating and making your stickers, the last thing you want to happen is for them to get ruined due to some water.

Especially if the ink begins to run or the paper starts to peel away and the image over time begins to fade due to exposure.

3 Best Methods to Protect and Waterproof Your Stickers

As a result, you’ll want to know the best ways that will protect your stickers and make them waterproof so that they can survive all conditions.

There are 3 methods which you can choose from to help protect and make your stickers waterproof.

Between these methods, you need to find one that you really like and that suits the type of stickers that you want to protect. 

In this article, we have discussed each method in detail, so you can have a clearer idea of which one you should be using to keep your sticker protected and waterproof. 

Why Should You Be Sealing And Protecting Your Stickers

By sealing your stickers, you are protecting them and waterproofing them. The reason for why you should be doing this is so your homemade custom sticks can last much longer.

It allows your sticks to survive the elements and becomes fade and scratch resistant. 

Then, once you seal your stickers you can put them on your phone, water bottles or car.

Now you wouldn’t have to worry that water or rain is going to affect the stickers. 

What Is The Difference Between Water-Resistant And Waterproof Sticker Paper

You may have been looking around at all the different types of sticker paper that you can. Therefore, you may have come across water-resistant sticker paper.

This means that if this sticker paper is exposed to a small amount of water, then the paper will repel it.

However, it can only survive a small amount of water, any more and the sticker will become damaged. 

Waterproof is much stronger than water-resistant. Therefore, if your sticker paper is waterproof then the sticker will be able to survive being exposed to vast amounts of water, and doesn’t have a limit.

As a result, we would recommend starting with a waterproof sticker paper or material as the base of your sticker. This is because water resistance isn’t strong enough to repel water and make your stickers last longer. 

Weatherproof Stickers: Laminate and Printable Vinyl

Sticker paper is generally made with paper that is very absorbent. Therefore, when the paper gets wet, ink on the paper runs and ruins the design of your sticker.

However, it is known that if your sticker is made with printable vinyl, then the surface of your sticker won’t absorb any water, instead it will repel any water that it comes into contact with, unlike paper stickers that would disintegrate.

A lot of companies have claimed that printable vinyl is completely waterproof.

Yet some people have noted that after extended testing, sometimes the ink of your sticker may run slightly on printable vinyl.

Therefore, to have a truly waterproof sticker you need to start with printable vinyl, as it is really durable. 

Therefore, alongside the printable vinyl you want to add another protective layer to really make these stickers waterproof, which could be a layer of laminate.

This extra layer will give your custom sticker another layer for water to try and penetrate through, but in most cases it won’t as all of these layers combined make a really waterproof casing. 

On top of that, laminate will help make your stickers more scratch resistant. It will also help to prevent your stickers from fading after long exposure to UV lights, which means your stickers will stay vibrant for much longer.

Therefore, you may want to consider creating your customer stickers out of printable and vinyl and a layer of laminate, to create truly long-lasting and durable stickers that will be completely water and weatherproof. 

3 Methods To Waterproof And Protect Your Homemade Stickers

As we have mentioned above, there are three methods, from which you can choose from, to help waterproof and protect your stickers.

There are pros and cons to each method, so it is up to you which one you think will suit and work for you the best. 

Method 1: Self-Adhesive And Laminating 

The self-adhesive and laminating method uses a clear plastic film which has an adhesive on one of the sides of the film.

This will then stick to the surface of your stickers and seal it at the same time. We would recommend using a laminating sheet as they are quite large and will encase your entire sticker paper.

In addition, the larger sheet size gives you more room to play with in case you make any mistakes. 

This method is great as it does not require any special tools; all you really need is a rule or a cold card. Alongside that, this method will become second nature the more practice you get with it.

We really liked this method because it does not require any power or heat for the adhesive to seal itself onto the sticker, making it a really safe method for anyone to complete Also as you can purchase different types of lamination sheets in different thicknesses, which means you have a choice on how thick you want this top layer to be. 

With that being said, it isn’t all good news, as this method does require practice. Therefore, you will notice bubbles to be created when you first try, and bubbles can be really difficult to get rid of. 

Also, a common mistake people make is to purchase lamination sheets that are frosted, even though they say that they are clear.

These can’t be used as they ruin the look of your stickers. Finally, depending on the brand, lamination sheets can be expensive, but they are big sheets, so they should last you longer. 

Overall, this is an easy method, which does take a bit of practice to get it right. A good tip is to make sure that you are working on a clean work surface.

Otherwise, you may get a lint of dust stuck in your sticker. Take your time with this method, and smooth the adhesive out from the center towards the edges to try and prevent as many bubbles as possible. 

Method 2: Thermal Laminating Machine

Method 2: Thermal Laminating Machine

Not everyone wants to get a laminating machine, but it can save you a lot of time in the long run.

If you need to get lots of stickers done at once using this machine, then a good trick we found is the following.

Wait until the ready light on your thermal laminating machine is on before you start laminating.

To get lots of stickers done really quickly, add two sheets of your printer stickers back to back against one another in the thermal laminating pocket.

Then you can put this into your machine. Once the lamination is complete you can trim off the sides and there you have two sheets of stickers laminated in just a minute. 

However, with this method, to make sure that your stickers are truly waterproof, you want to make sure that you print your stickers on printable vinyl, not sticker paper.

Overall, this is a really simple method to complete, and it’s ideal for beginners who don’t have much experience with lamination.

In addition, if you have a lot of stickers to make waterproof, then this method will allow you to do a bulk amount of stickers in a fraction of the time. 

It is easy to get the pouches and pockets that you use to laminate your stickers in. They are also available in various sizes as well.

However, you will need to make an initial investment in a thermal laminating machine to be able to use this method.

It is also really important that you give your machine plenty of time to warm up, which can take around 10 minutes depending on the model of the machine.

If you don’t give your machine plenty of time to warm up, then the seal and bond between the sticker and the laminate won’t be very strong and could even fall off.

On top of that, you want to make sure that the surface of the stickers are completely clean and free of dust or lint, otherwise they will be stuck on your sticker forever. 

Method 3: Aerosol Spray Sealant 

If you spray a sealing coating on your stickers, this will cause a polyacrylic surface to your stickers.

What this means, is that if applied correctly, a protective and almost invisible layer will be sprayed over your stickers.

These sealants are almost invisible, as it depends on the type that you use. They are available to be purchased in a matte or glossy finish.

Plus, there are several tried and tested brands like Mod Podge, Minwax and Krylon to try for yourself. 

After you have printed your stickers, allow them to dry up for around 24 hours. This will allow the ink to fully dry out, and then after this time you can apply your spray sealant to your stickers.

Remember to follow the instructions from the manufacturer and also follow their safety precautions. 

This is a very cheap method, as the sealants are available in the majority of craft stores. They also provide your stickers with an almost invisible protective layer, which can protect them from UV rays as well.

However, you may need to apply several layers of these sprays and wait up to 30 minute between each coat to make sure that the stickers have a good enough proactive layer.

It is important to be aware that in some states you need to be 18 or above to be able to purchase these products. You must also follow all the safety precautions that come with the spray.

Especially take note, that you need really good ventilation, as these sprays can produce some toxic or unpleasant fumes. If used incorrectly, then these aerosols can be really dangerous, so it’s important you are safe. 

Best Choice For A Barely There Result

The best option to choose if you want a result that you can barely see and barely impact the thickness of your stickers, is the spray sealant.

This is because these sprays create a really fine layer that is almost unnoticeable. 

However, if you don’t feel comfortable using the sprays, then the self-adhesive sheets may be a better option for you to use.

Also, it may be a more suitable option, if you suffer with any breathing issues, because you don’t want any of the fumes from the sprays to irritate your lungs. 

Best Choice For A Fast Application

Not everyone wants to be spending hours laminating their stickers, especially if there are a lot of stickers to protect.

Therefore, the best method for a quick application is the self-adhesive sheets. You don’t need to spend any time prepping anything, all you need to do is align everything up and pull off the backing. 

You do need to smooth out the sheet, but this isn’t a long or complicated process. Also, it is a really easy process, which becomes quite quick once you get the hang of it. 

Best Choice For Multiple Sheets

If you have multiple sheets of stickers to laminate, then you want to think about using the thermal laminating machine.

It is really easy with this machine to laminate two sheets of stickers at the same time.

Which then means you can get through your large work pile of stickers to laminate in half the time, then doing each sheet individually. 

However, you must remember to give your laminate machine time to warm up properly. Otherwise, the seals and bonds that are created won’t be very strong or secure.  

Best Choice When On A Budget

For those of you who are on a budget, the spray sealers are the most affordable option out of the three methods that we suggested.

Just one can of this sealing spray is really cheap and can also go a long way. In addition, a lot of craft stores will sell this product, so you won’t struggle to find it and there are various brands you can choose from.

Best Choice For Stickers To Be Used Outside

Maybe you want to create some stickers that can be used outside. Therefore, it is going to have to be able to withstand the elements.

Hence, you want your stickers not only to be waterproof, you also want them to be weatherproof, so they can be protected by the sun as well as the rain. 

In this case, we would recommend you print your stickers on printable vinyl and then use a UV protective laminate film on the top of your stickers.

This will ensure that your stickers will be able to survive anything that the elements decide to throw at them. While also making sure that the image doesn’t fade over time either after long exposure. 

Best Choice For Inside

When creating stickers indoors, there are a couple of things to think about.

Basically, you want to avoid causing any fumes in your home, therefore if you don’t have a backyard you shouldn’t be using the spray sealant method, as you don’t want those gums in your home.

Therefore, the best methods to be completed inside are the two other lamination options, as they are both safe and produce any harmful gasses. 

Best Choice For Creating Waterproof Car Decals

Similar to the best option for creating stickers that will survive outside. You want to start with a printable vinyl base and use a UV protective lamination sheet as your top layer.

Or you could just use a thermal laminator, but you want to make sure that all of your stickers are covered with the laminator and protected. 

The UV protection will mean that your sticker shouldn’t fade over time after being exposed to the sun for long periods of time. 

Final Thoughts

It can be really annoying when you spend ages creating a beautiful looking sticker, and it gets ruined because it got wet or has faded due to exposure from the sun.

As a result, we have given you three methods that will help you to project your stickers and keep them waterproof. Thereby making them more durable and prolonging their life. 

Each method is really easy to do, but in certain situations as you can see some methods are more suitable than others. It is up to you which method you choose.

All the methods use a lamination process, which will help to create a protective layer and seal over your stickers. 

We hope you have enjoyed this article, and now know how to keep your custom stickers protected and waterproof.

Michael Moore

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