Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

Posts Tagged ‘Assignment 2: Layered Stickers’

Holly – Cat Cone Vinyl Sticker

I had an idea to utilize negative space for the multi-layered vinyl sticker, so I went hunting for potential designs. I ended up getting inspired by a cute design with melting cat shaped ice cream and started designing. I wanted to print them all in one go, even though I needed four colors, so I broke up the image into three blocks of color and arranged them so they can be printed at the same time. I made a couple copies on the same piece of vinyl in case I messed up on the first one, I had a back up and saved vinyl and time. It ended up very handy since I used two back-ups on my final. 


I scavenged through the scraps of vinyl, and found my background, but since it was smaller than I would like (7×4″), the elements would be quite small to fit everything. I didn’t realize how small the details were going to be, and taking them out with tweezers was very time consuming. Also, I was using various types of vinyl, through I didn’t realize the subtle differences (matte, glossy), but it made a big difference since I didn’t change the cut settings on the machine. The machine was set to cut matte, but glossy required a larger setting, so they didn’t cut through the shiny vinyl completely. I ended up having to fix the incomplete cuts with an exact-o knife to salvage it. 

If I could redo this project, I would have made the strokes of the design thicker or the overall size bigger. I would also make sure the strength of the cutter matches the material, so I know that it will completely cut and removing the leftovers would be hassle-free. Also, I would have treated the cone a little different, where I would cut out the intricate details of the lighter color and layer on the top one. Instead, I ended up picking out thin strokes of the cone texture with tweezers and ended up breaking one of the lines on the first try. Another nitpick is that the leftovers from the eye cut out ended up sticking to the back of the adhesive, and it is somewhat visible on the end result since it makes an indent on the flat surface. Next time I will try to remove any things on the back that might make an indent. Overall, I think I had a decent result for the limited time I had to work on it, and I’m happy with my design! 

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Robot Sticker

Since the prompt says to make something original, I was inspired to use the image of something I had a hand in building in the first place. My sticker is the image of the first robot I built with my team in high school, Talos:

Build Process:

I was able to find a picture of the robot easily, but converting it to a sticker design was another matter. The image was too complex to simply split with Inkscape because the colors weren’t defined enough and no outside edges. To fix this, I used the image to trace my own design of Talos. This allowed me to be creative about what pieces should be the same color and which pieces could be excluded entirely. In the end, I had this design:

When I went to get the stickers cut, I ran into some minor errors. I initially loaded the sheet incorrectly so that the machine wasn’t holding on to the right side properly. This resulted in a scribble instead of a shape. Luckily, a very nice fab lab employee helped me load it correctly, and it worked much better the second time:

[First try in the bottom right, second try on the top left]

I expected putting all the pieces together to be the most difficult part. While I wasn’t wrong, I still think it went pretty smoothly. The pieces were smaller than I expected them to be, but with a steady hand I was able to put them in place fairly well.

[In progress on the left and finished product on the right]


Overall, I’m quite happy with my sticker. Picking out colors for each component and finding scrap pieces that were large enough was an interesting challenge, and I like the overall design I ended up with. Despite my little problem, the printing process itself was quite simple. I actually found it kind of fun lining up the vinyl to match the grid on the screen.

The trickiest part was lining up all the pieces, so if I had to do it again I would improve that. I learned that most of the design thinking in this process happens before and after using Silhouette. Figuring out what should be broken into parts and then how to put it back together took some time, but it was a fun puzzle. The cutter is quite straightforward and enjoyable to use.


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Multi-layer Octopus Ice Cream Sticker

Octopus Ice Cream Sticker


I created a cute octopus ice cream cone sticker with Silhouette Studio and sticker cutter.  



First, I designed the octopus ice cream using Inkscape. I made each colored section/part of the ice cream separate layers so that I can cut them out separately. Below is my design and what each part looked like before they were cut out by the sticker cutter machine. I wanted to use the pink-yellow combination like my design, however I found some green and yellow sticker sheets, which I decided to use for my sticker. 


 Above are the sticker sheets with each parts cut out by the cutter machine. I had a bit of a trouble lining up the sheets on the sticker machine, and failed several times due to slightly mispositioning the sheets. I figured out how it worked after all, and successfully cut out all the layers needed. Finally, I assembled the layers together and created the final sticker as below. I put my sticker on the back of my laptop!


I realized that the sticker was a bit bigger than I thought, as each layers were smaller, but when they were assembled together, it got bigger. Next time when I make a sticker, I should be aware of the total size as well as the sizes of the individual parts. Although I thought the new color combination that I decided to go with were not as good as the original pastel pink-yellow combination, it turned out looking pretty good. 

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Multi-color Vinyl Sticker: Now in space!

This week’s project was to build a multi-color vinyl sticker. I was initially looking for a nice sticker to put on my laptop, but I was struggling to find any given icon/logo/etc. that I felt was representative of who I was. 

My phone (Pixel, first-generation) has a white panel on the top 1/2 of the back of the phone. I usually use a clear case with this phone, so I felt that this would be a great canvas to place a sticker on. 

Reference image for my phone

I wanted to go for a sticker that fit the space I was putting it on, while also having a bit of artistic work. I considered going for a logo that represented my background in PC Gaming, but finding a multi-color solution for that proved difficult. After searching across google images, I came across this artwork: 

Reference Image for Vinyl sticker

This image was a great place to start, as it had 4 colors (black, blue, green, and white) while also being easily manipulated into something that could fit my phone. I also felt that this image would give me some interesting challenges to overcome, such as removing the plane/spaceship, cleaning up the starscape to be compatible for cutting, and removing the subtle shading that persists on many elements of the artwork. 


I’ve worked with photoshop in the past, although Inkscape/Vector images proved to be a bit tricky to work with at times, especially when I wanted to create a smooth, rounded edge on the earth across multiple layers. I resolved this by just creating an earth-shaped circle and using the Path->difference tool to ensure all layers could fit together. 

There were a number of alterations made to the artwork:

  • The original starscape was almost completely removed. I took one of the larger stars and copied/scaled it to create a new set of stars that I felt more confident in working for the process of cutting/transferring small elements.
  • The outer edges of the starscape were stretched outward to fit the rectangular space on my phone.
  • The airplane/spacecraft were removed.
  • The color palette was flattened to just be the 4 central colors for the piece, removing shaded borders and the cloud shadows.

Originally I planned to use white vinyl for the clouds and stars, but I then realized that the backing on my phone was already white, so I instead used this as an opportunity to design my piece with this in mind, resulting in cut-out holes for the corresponding clouds and stars. 

In order to ensure this sticker would fit my phone, I went to work on measuring out a lot of the dimensions on my phone, and recreating it within Inkscape. This way I could test to see how well my sticker would fit and make any necessary adjustments, while also giving me the ability to just use the Path->Intersection tool when I was ready to cut out the artwork to fit on my phone.

Version 1 of the phone cutout. The top-left hole for the camera proved to be a little too high up, so I lowered it by 0.5mm for the final version.

In hindsight, I definitely would have considered using a more precise tool to find the proper dimensions on the phone instead of just a basic ruler. Luckily, my sticker turned out to match up with my phone quite well! After making some minor adjustments, I setup the artwork for cutting and went to work on creating the sticker.

The sticker, shortly before transferring to the phone.

Attempting to line up the earth elements against the black background proved difficult, but the clear transfer tape was very helpful in ensuring success. Also, one of the members of the Fab Lab recommended that I use small pieces of masking tape to pluck out the small holes for the stars, which saved me a lot of time and effort.

The final version on my phone, which is photographed against a mirror because I managed to make a sticker for the one place that I couldn’t just take a picture of normally!

Overall I’m quite happy with how this sticker turned out. I think the only major flaw in this design was that the white cloud on the left side of the image above results in a cutout that bleeds onto the area of the phone’s fingerprint sensor, which doesn’t look as good as I was hoping. If I were to adjust this piece, I’d work on either moving/deleting that cloud in particular so that the entire sensor area is surrounded by the vinyl sticker.


Bonus Entry! 

My roommate was excited about the stickers I brought home from the previous lab session, so I made a laptop sticker for a silhouette of his choice:

My roomate’s laptop, now sporting a black griffin

I was suprised by the difference in the amount of effort it took to make these two stickers. My phone sticker took upwards of 3 hours, but it only took my 3-5 minutes afterward to make the single-layer sticker from start to finish. I’d imagine with an easier piece I could bring down the production time for a multi-color sticker, but for now, I’m going to stick to making stickers for friends that want a single color!

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Christian Amato- Vinyl Stickers

For this project, I began by creating a one layer vinyl sticker which combined two animals. The front of the animal was a Lion and the rear was a bear. I used the pinpoint feature in Inkscape to make sure all the lines were lined up nicely and the animal had a rear portion that matched the front. I think the overall design turned out very nicely. Design Process For my main design, I chose to do a golden retriever. The colors of the original image were on a gradient for the overall fur, which made it tough to choose exactly what color I wanted to use.

Golden Retriever Cartoon Drawing and Drawing Of Golden Retriever Golden Retriever Puppy – Pencil Sketch Art

I decided to go with beige color for the fur, with a black background to accentuate the lines and overall outline of the body. If there had not been a black background, the body of the dog would have all been meshed into one. I then chose the layers and what specific colors I wanted to print to add more character to the overall sticker. I used silver for the nose and eye, pink for the tongue and white for the teeth and pupils. Once I finished I decided to cover the entire image in a clear vinyl so that the small details would not rub off. Design Problems/What I Would Change I did not have many issues designing this besides the very intricate details on the sticker itself. I found that portions of the sticker did not really cut out perfectly, and it was tough to stick the vinyl on top of other vinyl without it falling off. Overall if I could redo this I would make sure to incorporate fewer small details to the sticker so it wouldn’t be as hard to place them in their correct positions. EDIT/ UPDATE My outside of class design is as follows. I started with a picture of Marshmello album cover art and broke it apart using Inkscape. It was a layered sticker and I ended up printing out each layer and layering them on top of each other. If I could change anything about this, it would definitely be the transfers from each layer to be more smooth. I used all scraps for this project, so some of the vinyl cut-outs were different shapes before I trimmed them all down to 3.5×3.5 to the best of my ability using a paper cutter. I think the execution was decent. I had to manually cut out some redundant portions with an x-acto knife, sort of shifting some of the vinyl. Overall I am happy with the end result for sure though. Continue Reading

Ashley Jun – Sticker

Design and build process

With many of the cute examples in class, I knew that I wanted to make something colorful. As a former bubble tea shop worker (and am still obsessed with bubble tea), I decided to create a cartoonish bubble tea sticker. I started off by looking for a general silhouette of a bubble tea cup like this:

I used only the outline and adjusted several aspects like straightening the straw, only keeping one wavy line, and removing the black circles. To add the “cute” aspect to the sticker I added eyes and a small smile. To make this assignment more challenging, I decided to add a word bubble that read “can’t we all just oolong?” My final sketch turned out like this:

I was able to break apart the original image so that the black would be the base and every other shape would overlay it. My final layers were this (I changed white to blue to make it visible):

I separated each layer before printing and adjusted the sizes evenly. Once I printed each one I began to stack each layer with transfer tape:

However, I ran into one major challenge which was the word bubble. I made the letters too small, so it was very difficult to peel back the sticker and layer the white on top of the black. Some of the letters wouldn’t come off so I decided to remove the word bubble entirely and just keep the bubble tea cup.

My final product including the failed attempt at a word bubble turned out like this:


Overall, I had a fun time designing and putting together this assignment. I had to think backwards from how I would have to stick each layer to each other and create shapes in Inkscape to account for that. If I were to do this project again, I would definitely use larger letters and also a attempt different colors instead of overlaying white on black to create a black text in white word bubble effect.

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Daniel Shin – Assignment 2: Vinyl Stickers


Since I am a fan of the recent movie “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” I decided to make a sticker of the main character from that movie. To further complicate my design, I added the arch reactor of iron man on his chest.


Design process

I took a screenshot of spider-man directly from the movie myself and found a template of the arch reactor on the internet. I had to trace out the colors by hand since the image did not have clear borders around the colors. Since I am more comfortable using photoshop compared to Inkscape, I used photoshop to do the trick.

I traced out the primary colors by hand, do some cleanups on the edges, and filled the shapes with solid colors.

I went through a similar process to paste the arc reactor on the chest. Added the missing color and cut off the edge a little to make it seem like it is behind the jacket.

Once the image was imported in Inkscape, it was ready to be printed. However, I noticed that the layers of the colors were all messed up in there order and shapes. To challenge my skills with Inkscape, I reshaped each color the way I wanted them to be as a sticker.

Left is what it looked like when I imported the image. Right is when I edited each color parts.

After a short session of printing and assembling the stickers, I was done with my project.



During the activity, the majority of the time was spent constructing the design in photoshop. The physical works were quick, unlike the name tag project. However, the most challenging part was assembling the stickers. As you can see on my final product, there are air bubbles, and the arch reactor is slightly misplaced. Even though I was using transfer tape and was extremely cautious, it was challenging to make it perfect. 

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Snowball from Overwatch (Vinyl Sticker)

In my free time, I spend it playing a video game called Overwatch. One of the characters (Mei) has a little helper robot called snowball. I wanted to have an Overwatch sticket, so I thought to make my own! All of the pictures I found all had a fair amount of shading (as is seen in the original picture) and some rough edges. I thought I would use this as an opportunity to use inkscape to manipulate it into what I need it to look like.

Original image

To start, I used a color trace method in inkscape , the result was…less than good. I was able to get 4 layers that gave me the primary shapes, but they were very incomplete and distorted. This was going to require a lot of path and node manipulation.

Color traced image

Exploded image of the layers I got

I needed a way to work on each of these layers without moving them so I could see them and then needing to layer by eye or snaps which did not work great due to the odd shape. So, I actually sent each layer to its own inkscape layer, where I could then hide each layer, or expose while I worked on the paths almost like working with transparency film.

Layering in inkscape used to keep everything aligned but still allowed me to work on each path individually.

From here, it was a lot of splicing paths, joining paths, connecting paths, and switching between node types to get a final image that I felt was a good representation of Snowball, but that had all the right path shapes I needed to be cut.

Final look of the illustration

From there it was time to pick out my colors, I got three out of my four colors from the scraps bin, but for the last I had to buy a foot of vinyl.

I then prepared my material by cleaning with some 99% isopropyl alcohol to make sure everything would stick to itself without issue.

My next hurdle was going to be how to apply these layers so they line up as best as possible, my hands are not steady enough and the material not forgiving enough to do this freehand. So I came up with a method to help me. I started by adding a rectangle around the image that I wanted the cutter to cut (ideally all the way through, but I could not find the right depth, and I did not want to risk damaging the machine). This rectangle was unique because it was referenced to the image, so it would be a constant, fixed, and predictable location for every layer. I would cut each layer, then first peel off the vinyls to the outer rectangle, then cut the square backing to match. 

rectangle around whole image

Then remove the unneeded sections to prepare for layering. For my base layer, I secured it to the table with tape, then I would line up the edges of the backing paper of next layer over top of the base layer. Then I would place my transfer tape on top of all of it, making sure to have enough tape at the top that also grabbed the table. 

Then I would peel back the tape using the top part on the table like a hinge, then remove the backing.

Finally, I would just squeegee the tape back over the base layer, therefore depositing my next layer perfectly placed on top of my base. 

This procedure was repeated for each layer, providing me with the finished product.

Overall, I liked how this came out. I am happy my idea for lining up the layers worked as well as it did. In the future, I would use a more sticky tape to affix the base layer to the table. I used the transfer tape itself which I had to be very careful with because it would want to lift up with each layer application, so I had to keep an eye on it and move slowly.

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Vinyl Sticker

For the vinyl assignment, I’ve tried various techniques. Started with the one in class, simply merging two graphics into a hybrid one. I picked a tiny dragon and a skull for their simple and curvy outlines. Thought it would be cool to have that dragon grow out of the skull.

The end result looks nice and I have put that onto my water bottle.

For the logo sticker, I picked a logo of Star Wars theme. It has three different colours, so that I can exercise my taste of layering vinyl print.

This one took me quite some time in the lab. For a 4 -by-4 print, the letters were really tricky at the time. The hollow areas in letters like ‘P’ was painful. Also, i found that the glossy white vinyl is much harder and thicker the the rest, and the printer was not very well adapted to it. I tried printing it with default setting twice, no way to get it off. Then tried change the blade to 2, instead of 1. Finally made it off the back. Looks not too bad though.

For the final sticker, I picked this owl. Reminds me of DuoLingo. The process in InkSpace was not as smooth as it was for the previous one. Took lots of time manually fixing the outlines. Finalized to a seven layer design with each dedicated to a colour. With practices from the Darth Vader, the assembly took less time and the finish was quite cute.

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Stickers – Drew Zelac


For my Griffin part of the lab, I decided to start with a silhouette of a bear and a fish, to try to combine them. I was first thinking of just putting a fish back fin/tail on the bear, but I thought it would be nice to combine more of the fish with the bear, so I added the top fin as well. Then I had some extra time in the lab, so I thought it would be cool to add a third animal in my design, so I found a nice set of reindeer antlers on a silhouette of a reindeer and combined that with the rest. It ended up like this: (and is now on the door in the main area of the fab lab near the bigger sticker cutters)


For my logo, I wanted something that I would like to put on my laptop, and the UIUC logo works well for that purpose. I found a version of the logo that would be fairly simple to create, since this is mostly practice for the main design. I thought about how to create this for a little bit and decided that the best way to do it would be to have two layers. There would be a bottom layer of white and a top layer with the blue and the orange. I thought this would be better than blue on bottom, then white, then orange, since that would really have a layered feel when put together. I wanted to avoid that, so I thought of my two layered method.

Complex Multi-Layered:

From the start of this part of the sticker lab, I knew I wanted another sticker besides my logo to put on my laptop. So for this, I wanted something with a design that I thought would be cool to look at all the time and not too large.

One problem I encountered with the logo design was some bubbles that occurred due to the way I placed the layers on top of one another. I was able to squeegee out some of them, but not all. This became something to improve on for the final design. Duncan was helpful in telling me how to avoid this issue in the final design, by placing the layers down on top of each other more carefully and not all at once.

I have always liked designs with shapes, so one of the first things I thought of was a design with a main feature of some kind of circle with a star inside. When trying this out in Inkscape, I tried manipulating the star shape in different ways until I found a cool design from it. This came when I began changing the roundedness of the star, which after a little bit starts inverting the star in really cool ways. I did this, added a circles above and below it, and eventually got this:

I thought it looked sort of like a sun, so the next thing I thought of was to add solar flares around it, from this photo:

I knew I couldn’t directly use this, as I had to trace the bitmap first. I first tried this though brightness tracing, but it was a mess, so I decided to do it with color tracing. After some adjustments, I realized the best way to accomplish this and be able to easily add it to my design would be if I traced it with very few scans, 3 or 4, so it would only have a few color layers in it for me to deal with. It turned out like this:

From there I wanted to get rid of mostly everything inside of the outer layer, as I only really wanted that to frame my current sun image that I created. To do this, I made a circle that covered most of the inner mess and took the difference of this and the above.

There were still some parts of the black layer in the brown layer, so I wanted to get rid of those to make it a bit smoother. I accomplished this by creating some lines to cut off the parts that stuck out and took the difference of that. Then I deleted those parts that stuck out.

I combined that with my previous layers and got this (then cut it ):

I realized that this would be way too complicated to cut out and combine, so I started peeling back the layers a bit.

I wanted to middle part to be less complicated to start, so I changed it to this:

It was still a bit complicated here, so I decided to peel off one more layer from this:

To this:

I felt like the above would be much more manageable to actually create and put together into the final sticker, so I stuck with it. It would be four layers. A yellow layer on bottom with the black on top of it. The the other two would be a blue circle with the red circle and cut-outs above that. Then I would combine those top two layers with the bottom two for the final sticker.

After trying this I found out I should have done it a bit differently. The yellow and blue layer were very simple, as they were just a square and circle. The black layer was also pretty simple because of the square outline and just a part cut out of the middle. The problems I encountered were all with the red layer. It was a huge pain to take off with the transfer tape, as when I tried getting the blue outer cut-outs all off, the whole outer part of the red circle came with it and I had to try really hard to get it back on the original sticker paper in a circle again, which it really didn’t want to do. Then the tiny cut-outs of the inner part of the circle were too small to easily come out, which just made it take a while to very carefully get them out.

All in all, it turned out fairly well even through all the complications with the red layer and I was able to put it on my laptop.

If I were to try it again, I would definitely make the red and blue layers a different design. It would still be sun-like, but I would make it something combined for the red layer, so it would peel off into separate parts. I would also avoid tiny parts like the inner cut-outs in the red layer. I might change the blue slightly to add ridges or something to add to the design, since I’d be taking away a bit from the red part of the design. Also the red part is already having slight problems with peeling off when taking my laptop in and out of my backpack, so I would try to avoid the pointed triangles or other shapes in an outer layer. Those would have to be hidden below a top layer if they were to be incorporated and meant to last.

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Layered Stickers Assignment

Finished Products

For this assignment, we were tasked with creating three vinyl stickers: a “griffin” sticker combining two creatures (real or fake), a logo sticker, and an original sticker.

For my griffin sticker, I decided to combine my two favorite Pokémon: Pikachu and Shinx. In lab section, just as we were about to print the sticker, the file crashed, with me not having saved yet. In order to catch up to the rest of the section, I quickly redid the sticker, but simply replacing Shinx’s tail with a Pikachu’s.

Griffin Sticker

For my logo sticker, I decided to go with the Superman logo. It was surprisingly difficult to line up the layers perfectly. I went with a yellow square for the base, followed by the blue and red layers.

Logo Sticker

As for my original sticker, I decided to combine my two favorite games: Pokémon and Overwatch. I wasn’t entirely sure how I would combine them. I initially wanted to combine a pokéball and the Overwatch logo, and after receiving some advice, I decided to make an Overwatch themed pokéball instead. I started by taking an image of a pokéball and changed the red to the orange of the Overwatch logo. I then replaced the button with the Overwatch logo itself. In order to make the pokéball a little more complicated than a simple color swap, I made it so the white would encroach to the top of the pokéball up to a boundary level to the boundary found on the logo. In order to make it look more visually appealing, I added black lines to the boundary.

There was a problem though. I had put the design together without really thinking, so I had to fix all of the models in order to cut the correct shapes into the vinyl. After several attempts of using grouping and ungrouping, unioning and differencing various shapes, I was able to create the shapes that I actually needed to print out. Placing the layers was difficult due to small shapes, but the end result was definitely worth the effort.

Original Sticker
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Vinyl Sticker – Brandon Steinman

Originally, I wanted to replace an old sticker that I’d had on my bike years ago, but with some creative license taken (obviously). In short, the end product was not what I was looking for, and I’ll be making edits and trying again sometime in the near future. I messed up the sticker by mistaking the layout, with some layers being only virtually overlapping, which caused problems when I went to cut them out. Essentially, there should have been a white portion on top of everything, and, rushing myself through this, I overlooked that.

This was more what I was looking for. Essentially, I inverted the colors of an image, did a *lot* of node editing, make some other minor adjustments. I might try this design again, or I might do something different, since the shapes are very difficult to line up well enough.

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