For this assignment, we were tasked with making two types of stickers: the first being a logo of whatever kind, and the second being a multi-layered sticker with at least three layers. The stickers were designed in Inkscape by tracing bitmap images to convert them into vector form, and then separated by color to create the layers. Afterwards, they were imported into Silhouette Studio and cut out using a Silhouette Portrait cutting machine.
For my logo, I decided to use the logo for the IEEE honors society, Eta Kappa Nu (HKN). I am a member of this society, and I was disappointed to find out that our chapter hasn’t been diligent with swag/stickers, so I decided to make my own. It seemed simple enough as well, since it’s only two colors.
The HKN logo
Separated the HKN logo into two layers
Cutting out the pieces for my HKN sticker
For my “multilayer” sticker, I decided to create a sticker with the logo of U of I’s Polish Club. I am on the executive board for the club, and over the summer we tossed around the idea of making stickers at the Fab Lab, but nothing came out of it. So, I decided to make one as a proof of concept!
I combined the Polish Club logo with a silhouette of Poland to make the sticker
Separated the Polish Club sticker into its three colors
Cutting out the pieces for my Polish Club sticker
Now, even though this sticker had three colors, I was a little paranoid that it may not count as three layers, since there’s only ever two colors layered on top of each other. So, I decided to make a quick little sticker of a honey jar that I found online. The reason I chose a honey jar was because I call my girlfriend “honey”, and I wanted the sticker to also be a gift for her. I made sure that there were three actual layers for this sticker to ease my paranoia.
The honey jar I found online
Separated the honey jar into three layers
Cutting out the pieces for my honey jar sticker
Over all, I really enjoyed this project! It was a lot less stressful than my name tag (probably because I kept my stickers within reason), and I had a lot of fun making stickers for things that I care about. There is one thing that I would do differently though, and that’s remove the “outline” from my layers. I put them there to ensure that I was lining everything up properly, but at the end of the day they were too sticky and made the process very difficult over all. But apart from that, I had a blast making these stickers!
For this project, we were able to design and make stickers. I thought it was really exciting because we could create anything that we wanted. For the first part of the project, we made griffin stickers. For my griffin sticker, I decided to use a lion and a Pegasus. I chose these two because my favorite animal is a lion and I love Greek mythology, so I decided to use a Pegasus. I really liked the end result and it ironically reminded of an actually Griffin since they both have the body of a lion.
Now for the second and third part of the assignments, we were asked to create a logo decal and multi-layered stickers. Personally, for this part, I was inspired by a couple of different factors. One of my factors included the fact that it is Black History Month, so I decided to create stickers of uplifting black figures. My first couple of stickers included the Black Panther from the Marvel Comic series. I chose to do Black Panther because he is literally one of the greatest superheroes and his suit is insane. He is also the richest super hero in both the Marvel and DC universe! Additionally, the movie is coming out very soon, so I thought this would be the perfect time to make a sticker for it! For the colors, I really liked how the holographic vinyl looked so I decided to switch it up and use that for my background head. I then used black for the detailed lines. I then ended up using the extra I had to create a more traditional looking Black Panther and added regular gray for the detailed lines. My second sticker was of a black women with a huge afro and a pair of sunglasses. I chose to create this sticker because I was really into her features, especially her hair. She has huge afro pulled into a ponytail, and I really appreciated the beauty of her big, stunning hair. I additionally liked her lips and liked the care free attitude of her sunglasses. For the colors, I chose red and the holographic vinyl for her glasses and lips because I think those colors stand out the most. I also really enjoyed the look of a gold background.
Black Panther outline
Having fun at the fab lab
Furthermore, when I was creating the stickers, I definitely had a couple of hiccups. My first issue what that the mat would slide around as the machine was cutting. I was able to fix that though by making sure it was secure as it would lock into place. I also had some issues with cutting out my letters. I suspect it was because of the type of font that I chose and because the letters were tiny. Because of this I wasn’t able to include them in my final product unfortunately. Overall, though, I am very happy with the stickers and can’t wait to use them.
For the second week, we learned how to make stickers using Inkscape and Silhouette Studio. First, we were told to make a griffin — basically, we had to choose two animals to combine into one. I chose a Pomeranian dog combined with an eagle’s wings to make it looks ~majestic~. Then, we made another sticker in the lab that has two layers. I chose Iron Man because the red and yellow colors look simple enough for my first multi-layer stickers! (Also, can’t wait for Avengers: Infinity War in May!)
Then, for the more advanced one, we had to create a sticker that uses at least 3-4 colors. I had a hard time choosing a picture/logo that I like that won’t be crazy hard to make. I initially chose a cartoon logo that has parts that are too small — I gave that a try but it was the details were just too much. So I ended up choosing Fanta for my logo because it reminds me of when I used to drink that every weekend when I was little!
The process was simple enough — I had to grab the white (for the base), orange (for the circle), navy blue (for the text), and green (for the leaf) vinyl materials. I like how it turns out even though it’s slightly not aligned; I think it was fun! If I could have done it again, I would choose a trickier logo with many more colors to see what else I can come up with.
For my multi-layer sticker, I chose a design that I’ve had in mind for a very long time. It’s based on the book Chameleon Moon by RoAnna Sylver, which features an undead character named Zilch whose organs are kept in jars. The author and I both thought it would be cute to have an I <3 Zilch design, but with their heart in a jar as the heart. I decided to use gold vinyl in their heart because they’re so kind, you could say they have a heart of gold.
I used Paint Tool SAI and my own drawing tablet to design the heart, but when I tried to trace the finished heart in Inkscape, it didn’t trace the colors how I was expecting, so I had to change how they were arranged so that I could actually print the pieces in the order I was planning. In addition, when I tried to use the transfer paper to transfer the sticker onto the vinyl background, a few of the letters would not come off onto the transfer paper and I had to place them by hand.
Overall I’m immensely proud of how it turned out, and the sticker now lives happily on my laptop.
For project 2, I was super excited because I’ve been wanting new laptop stickers to begin with and the possibility of making whatever I wanted was awesome. I decided to make an avocado because I love avocados and I thought it would a cool sticker to make because of the multiple layers.
Also, the best part was that when I went to the box it had 4 shades of green which was perfect for my sticker. I used a lime green color as a the base for the Avocado which was the first sticker I placed as well. After that I placed the brown outer portion. Then I placed the outlining of the pit of the avocado which was a very thin darker green color. This step was challenging because of how think this sticker was. It wouldn’t properly stick to my transfer tape so it took me a few tries to get that to go through. Finally, I placed the brown “pit” part of the avocado. This part I placed with my hands and I did not use transfer tape because I couldn’t get it to place inside the green line properly with it. I had to do it with my hands.
The final product, I placed on my laptop. If I could change one thing, I would probably wish that i had made it smaller because it took up a lot of space. I messed up by printing a whole other color, which was an even darker green, but I had no piece for that to fit and the lighter green fight the middle color better. I was happy with my final product.
I made a sticker of a cracked skull with blood spilling through the cracks and an eyeball protruding from the socket. I created this because I liked skulls and thought that it was an interesting visual to recreate.
While working on this project, I enjoyed the process of finding photos that would match one another, such as the socket and the style of the skull. Eventually, after I put the entire piece together, I was told that the skull had too many lines and it would be difficult to print. I later got help from Duncan and worked around the problem, by printing the skull as a slightly larger sticker and having it as multilayer. It was slightly difficult removing the excess white parts of the skull and then transferring it over to the black background, but it worked out perfectly once I got the hang of it.
Overall, I loved how the skull sticker came out. Duncan helped a tremendous amount in helping me troubleshoot any problems with printing the layers. Sticking each layer on top of each other was the most fun. It was especially rewarding to see that the sticker came out exactly how I wanted it to.
I’m a huge Starbucks fan so I wanted to create the Starbucks logo. At first, I thought this was going to be easy to do. I already knew I wanted the green base, white on top, and then add the black and green at the top. Unfortunately, it was a lot more challenging than expected. I learned more about how to use Inkspace since trace bitmap didn’t help me split everything up the right way.
When pulling off the vinyl sections that I wanted, I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to stack everything together. My hands were really shaky and I had to reprint the Green vinyl where the Starbucks Coffee is because the first time, when things didn’t line up, I kept trying to pull it off and retry to the point where the 5th time, I accidentally ripped it. If you look at the A, R, B, and O, I had to pull off the little parts from the Green vinyl that didn’t transfer when using the transfer tape. It was difficult to do so and align them properly because the parts were so small.
Overall, I’m pretty proud with how this project turned out. It was really rewarding to finally see the finishing product.
Before coming to the lab on Vinyl Stickers I knew I had looked ahead at some of the tutorials and knew I wanted to make an Austin, Texas themed sticker, something that I associate with home and that I could put on my laptop or car. I began searching Pinterest and Google for ideas and eventually came across “Austin” written in a font I liked, and Itraced this by hand in Adobe Illustrator. This took some time, but I wanted to use a creative hand drawn font to make it more unique. From this I had originally thought of adding different elements for all the things I liked about Austin, and sketched out a first draft before class.
When I actually went through the exercises to learn how the silhouette machines worked I quickly realized that this first draft I made would be too messy, just adding Bluebonnets on such a small design would make it look to chaotic. So, I simplified things and found some Austin Skyline silhouettes to work with. I found one that had many colored layers (13+) and I separated these out to only 2 layers that I wanted to add to the design to make it more two dimensional (as I felt only one silhouette would be too flat).
I realized the silhouettes went outside my circle sticker base, and were too short for the circle (there would be a hole at the bottom. So, I added a rectangle to the bottom of the skylines to lengthen them and clipped the features by the circle outline. I had to do this step a couple times because I realized my silhouettes were not lined up at the same spot in the circle.
In the lab I printed 2 versions of this sticker, first one with a light background and dark lettering than one with a dark background and light lettering I wanted to play with the contrasting colors to see how it affected the overall look of the design. I liked both versions, even with the same design the colors added a different tone to the overall design.
I think if I could print another I would add a few more layers to the city skyline, and maybe utilize a gradient of colors, rather than unique colors to enhance the dimension of that graphic. I think the multiple colors are a bit distracting for such a small design. I am rather proud of these stickers, mostly I enjoyed spending a lot of time thinking about the design before learning how to utilize the machines I think this helped me to be more creative and not limited by any previous sticker cutting experiences.
Layers of the Stickers
Adobe Draft Before Class
Hand Traced Text
City Skyline Inspiration
As a huge fan of Simply Nailogical, I knew I needed to make some holo vinyl stickers when I saw them in the bin of vinyl 4 x 4 in squares. I was actually quite inspired by the holo vinyl when making my griffin and my logo stickers. For my griffin sticker, I wanted to make an animal that was mystical and magical.
And for my logo sticker, I wanted to use the holo as a base for Captain America 🇺🇸‘s shield. For my multi-layered sticker, I was inspired by one of Facebook Messenger’s sticker packs, Gudetama. Gudetama is an adorable cartoon lazy egg yolk.
The sticker I chose to recreate is the one where Gudetama is saying “five more minutes” while laying in a bed of egg white and covered with a blanket of bacon. It describes me perfectly because I’m usually not much of a morning person.
One of the things I was worried about with my stickers was sticker placement. In class, Dot showed us that we can use transfer tape to preserve the placements of our stickers, which was a super helpful tip.
I have never created a sticker before this class and I now want to make many more! One of the biggest things I learned after finishing this project was how to edit nodes efficiently and how to work with layers. If I were to do it again, I would have made the Captain America shield sticker smaller since the design is not that detailed and would have been fine if it were smaller. The most fun of this project was designing my griffin sticker and manipulating all the nodes along with their Bezier curves.
Before: Once we were told we were moving onto vinyl stickers it didn’t impact me much. Our course had just finished with laser engraving and I figured that they would be very similar. Once again, I had no experience with design or cutter machines. In computer science, there is a large chunk of the major population that has vinyl stickers pasted all over their laptops. It’s what first came to mind. I was hoping to make something unique that might make me finally want to put something onto my own laptop.
During: There were a couple of challenges in the design of the more complicated layered stickers. I found it difficult to find designs from the internet and actually implement in the way that you want. For example, for the fox sticker project I wanted the chest fur of the right fox to also be filled in with holographic vinyl. I wasn’t sure how to join the pieces to isolate the chest fur. I had difficulty with Inkscape’s tools like “ungroup” and “break apart” in separating certain parts of the design for separate sticker cuts as well. In addition, knowing exactly where the cutter margins were was difficult. Unfortunately, it cut off my chicken cat’s ear. I drew inspiration for my fox project from my girlfriend. Her last name is “Lisitza” meaning little fox. The chicken cat “griffin” and holographic panda were spur of the moment ideas.
After: Overall, I had fun with this project. It was exciting to learn new techniques for making the imagination into an actual craft. It makes me excited for further assignments in the makerspace course. If I had more time to work on vinyl sticker projects I would probably explore further sticker color combinations other than holographic and gold (I did like those though). I would like to further my knowledge of Inkscape so I can match what’s in my head to the output. I had a goal in mind when beginning, make a sticker unique enough to me to put on my laptop. I successfully met that and am proud to put chicken cat on my laptop. I quite like it and the sharp edges involved in its design.
Fox objects and their outlines in the Silhouette program.
The design in Inkscape.
Final foxy product.
The chicken cat.
The holographic panda.
I started this project off without knowing exactly what I wanted to do for the two first projects, Griffin and the Logo. The multi layer sticker idea however was decided a couple of days before lecture. The idea was to take a screenshot of google maps and make divide the different map into different layers. So the ground, water, roads and houses was on different layers.
After some research on different logos I wanted to make a twist on a very popular brand that I’ve seen a lot around campus, they are most famous for their super expensive second market value on different clothing’s. The logo consists of two layers, one white background and then a red layer where the letters are cut out. The tricky part was to merge the two layers as this had to be done by hand. This was a overall problem for this project. I think you could make some sort of frame where you could put the different layers and then squeeze them together so the wobbly manual hand labor is minimized, as you can see in the picture below, I failed a few times. eventually the sticker turned out fine and landed on my laptop.
I was however surprised by how efficient the silhuett cutter was, it was almost like a regular printer. For the last sticker, the most tricky one. The biggest problem with this one was the manual transfer of the different layers, which sucked and the work in Inkscape. I spend quite a lot of time fiddling around with paths and Inkscape crashed several times during the project because there were around 20k dots for all the paths.
Inkscape curve problems, see all the dots.
After X hours I managed to separate the image into 4 different layers but the orange one in the picture above turned out to be way to small and would have been impossible to transfer them to another layer.
Yet again, transferering the layers was super hard. I used tape to help with the transfer but it was still hard. Because of all details this project turned out quite bad and I’m not that happy with the end result.
To conclude this project, some kind of frame or assistance would be needed to merge the layers.
Here is the Griffin:
For the griffin sticker, I wanted to make a giraftle (giraffe and turtle.) It was going to be the head and tail of a giraffe and the body and legs of a turtle. Separating the entire giraffe into the two parts of it I wanted proved to be a bit more difficult than I expected. Messing around with, adding, and deleting nodes took a bit of getting used to, but eventually I had just the tail and head of the giraffe and the body of the turtle. Once I was ready to put them together, Inkscape force closed on me and I lost all my progress. I will definitely begin saving throughout my projects from now on to prevent this from happening again. Now I needed to save some time since I was missing the next instructions from Sara, so I just used the giraffe’s head and body of the turtle. I like the way it turned out.
For the logo decal, it took me awhile to figure out what logo I wanted to do. Sara told us that our logo needed to be only two or three colors and simple. Finally, I settled on the Tiger Woods logo. Separating the colors using the “Break Apart” tool was kind of weird because it didn’t do anything the first few times I tried using it, but it eventually worked. With the colors separated, it was easy cutting out the two shapes using Silhouette. I decided to use red and black in honor of Tiger’s Sunday outfits.
Using the clear transfer paper worked very well and made it easy to align the two components of the logo.
For my multi-layered final sticker, I was set on doing the Minnesota Vikings viking logo. There are a lot of intricate lines and small cutouts for it, but I decided it was going to be worth it in the end. Here’s a picture of the whole logo and its constituent colors broken up.
I imported this image into Silhouette and traced each individual image once at a time and cut them out. I didn’t get to use the colors I wanted to for the vinyl, so Viktor ended up being a Scottish viking instead of a Scandinavian viking. Also, I couldn’t find any white vinyl, so his horns are gray instead of white. The first component I cut out was the black one, and I had a lot of trouble getting only the parts of it I wanted. I made a big mistake by taking the vinyl off from the paper and then trying to take all the little unwanted pieces out after with the sticker in my hand. For the other four components, I left the vinyl on the paper and used tweezers to take out the unwanted pieces. Also, once I was done with the black part, I put it back on the paper. This proved to be a mistake because transfer paper was no longer able to pick up the vinyl from the paper. I ended up having to redo the black component because of this.
I really underestimated how difficult it would be to pick off the unwanted vinyl pieces. It took me at least ten minutes for the black and purple components each. I figured aligning all five components right on top of each other precisely would be difficult, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. There is some misalignment, but all in all I think it looks pretty okay.