Whew, since things got a little intense for me while writing Dangerous Potential, I wanted to post something fun.
I grew up around art. My Mom studied Fashion Design in her teens and it was not only a blast to run around in her awesome 70’s outfits (my fav had to be an orange bellbottom fuckin’ corduroy jumpsuit), but to also leaf through her sketchbooks of designs. She’d draw me cartoon characters right off the screen as I watched and if that wasn’t magic, I didn’t know what was. That was how I learned to draw as well, though I had to record the shows on VHS and pause the video to draw the figures out. (Yes, I’m VCR-years old.) I also have an uncle that paints and my brother plays a mean guitar, so the arts were a thing in our house growing up.
I mostly stopped doing visual art after high school, partly because I wanted to pursue writing and partly because my hands were in no fit state to pick up a brush during the first few years of my lupus treatment. But still, it wasn’t something I could drop; me and friend started a comic club on campus and put out a few zines featuring comics from artists on campus, including our own. Took a metal class, though that was mostly to be able to say I held a blowtorch. Because holding a blowtorch is awesome and I highly recommend it.
I didn’t start getting into art-making again until a couple of years ago. To sum up, I was having a huge existential crisis and I spontaneously decided to enter an art show – with no art whatsoever except what I could pull out of my ass in 5 weeks. It really changed things for me and I’ve been making stuff ever since.
I’m a big proponent of being creative. I think it’s good for the brain and the soul (if you believe you have one). And I’m an even bigger stubborn ass about the idea that everyone is creative and anyone can Make Things.
So here’s something that I’ve made and that anyone can do. Yes, I mean you. Seriously.
Okay, so this came about because some of the awesome people I follow on Patreon also design and produce awesome stickers. Plus I have this nifty plastic briefcase that I’ve been using for my drawing supplies and it’s just begging for some decoration. But once I had my stickers, I didn’t want to put them anywhere because what if my briefcase broke, or I lost it? The stickers would be gone forever and I’d never be able to get another one. Tragic, I know. So I did some googling to learn how to make my own damn stickers that I could create over and over again.
- Printable sheets of mailing labels (I get the big shipping labels, but get whatever size and shape works for you)
- Self-laminating sheets/ clear contact paper
- (Optional) Printer
- (Optional) Computer
- (Optional) Copyright-free Images
- (Optional) Drawing materials (pens, markers, whatever you like)
Stickers are fun and you don’t need to know how to draw to make these. Basically you put your design on the mailing label – either draw it yourself or you can simply print off some copyright-free clip art. I have a laser printer which only prints black ink, so I hand-color my stickers, but if you have an ink-jet printer you can print in full color and skip a step.
Coloring your stickers is fun though, especially if you have tools such as a glitter pen or colored inks or pencils. But don’t stop there! You can make abstract designs with watercolors or markers or stamps. Experiment!
When everything’s colored (or not) and you’re ready to finish your stickers, peel off and apply the laminating sheet as directed on the package. Laying the sheet on smoothly with no air bubbles is the hardest part of this, so go slowly. Do a few test runs on blank paper first to get the hang of it. You can use a ruler or something else with a flat edge to smooth the sheet down as you go, but you won’t be able to fix it once it’s down.
Finally, cut your stickers out. You can cut them out in squares (regardless of the shape of the image), ovals, stars, big squiggly blobs, whatever shape you want. On the other hand I’ve gotten the best results cutting around the shape of the design, leaving a bit of a “halo” of space around the outline. This is another place where you can experiment and have some fun. You can always print out a test sheet on regular paper and work stuff out there before moving onto the fancy stuff.
You’re done! Peel off the back of the mailing label and stick where you want. Give your stickers away to friends, mail ’em to strangers on the internet (with their permission of course, don’t be an asshole) or use them to decorate your walls and ruin any chance of ever getting your security deposit back – as they say, the possibilities are endless.
Are you a fan of stickers? Have you ever made your own stickers? Any tips or tricks to share? That’s what the comments are for, so drop me a line!