A Beginner Friendly Product
If you have artwork to share, producing prints and stickers can be a cost friendly beginner's entry into creating products! With both, you have the option to either manufacture them or make them at home. There are pros and cons to both, but both are still relatively cost effective. In this guide, we'll explore both options and how these can be a great way to dip your toe into selling your artwork.
- Why sell prints and stickers?
- Common types of prints
- Common types of stickers
- Should I make prints and stickers at home?
- Recommended manufacturers
Why Sell Prints and Stickers?
An art print or sticker is essentially a copy of an original piece, produced on a mass scale. This offers budget friendly accessibility to the artwork vs buying the original outright. Some artists like to sell their original works along with their copies, however, originals can go for much more since it's the one-of-a-kind original. Prints and stickers focus on purely the enjoyment of the art itself and help artists make income off of their work!
You may have your own, individual reasonings behind wanting to make art prints and stickers, but here are some recurring facts that you may want to consider if you’re sitting on the fence.
- It doesn't require having to part with the original work
- Increase accessibility for your audience
- A fairly easy way to share your work and make a profit from it
- Great start up for a small business
Production of art prints and stickers also allows for one work of art to be owned and put on display on multiple venues (home decor, stickers on water bottles, etc) while original art is one of a kind and can only be owned and displayed in one place. In summary, Art prints and stickers are a great way for an artist to get their art in front of more people.
Common Types of Prints
There are a multitude of different types of prints you can create, but ultimately they are separated into two categories. Fine prints and traditional prints.
Fine prints can consist of Lithography, Flexography, Screen printing, 3D printing, LED UV, and so much more. This is more ideal if you're looking to create something that's studio quality or printed onto high quality canvas or fine art papers. Because of the high costs and intricate printing processes, these are less common in artist alley's but still a great option to consider if you'd like to dive into high quality work.
The most common types of prints sold by small businesses and artist alley creators is traditional digital printing.
When creating a print, you'll also have to consider what paper quality you'd like, what type of finish you'd like, or if you'd like a fancy extra like holographic or foil. For art prints, you want a fairly sturdy paper, no less than 150 GSM. Even that weight could possibly be too light, as most archival type papers tend to fall between 200-300 gsm. It all depends on your printer and budget capabilities. Some common paper types are;
- Light cardstock
- Heavy cardstock
Some common paper finishes are
It's up to you to decide what paper type and finish may work best for your print. If ordering from a print shop, you can often ask for samples of their paper quality and finishes to decide what may be a best fit for you and your work!
Common Types of Stickers
If you’re a sticker lover, then you know that there are different types of stickers out there. Some are more durable than others, some are better for certain surfaces, and some just look cooler. Most often, artists decide what type of stickers they'd like to create based off of purpose. A vinyl sticker is better for outdoor use vs a static cling sticker which may be more suitable for windows. Below are the common types of stickers;
- Static cling
- Sticker sheets
One of the most common types of stickers are die-cut. Die-cut stickers are cut into whatever shape you want them to be. This means that you can get really creative with your designs! Die-cut stickers are usually made from vinyl or paper and can be used indoors and outdoors. Keep in mind that die-cut stickers can be difficult to remove once they’ve been applied.
Some common finishes can include;
- Glow in the dark
It's up to you to decide what sticker type and finish may work best for your sticker. If ordering from a print shop, you can often ask for samples of their sticker quality and finishes to decide what may be a best fit for you and your work!
Should I Make Prints and Stickers at Home?
Creating prints and stickers at home is relatively simple! It does cost a bit more to get started vs ordering from a local print shop/manufacturer, but it can pay itself off in the long run. Let's jump into the process below;
- Digitize Your Work: Firstly, you'll want to digitize your work. What does this mean? Well, if you're a traditional artist this means you'll have to invest in a great scanner and most likely a photo editing software to edit your scan so that it reflects the vibrancy of your work.
- Already Create Digital Work: If you're already working in digital software to create your work, then you can skip the scanning step! You'll want to make sure your work is at the standard medium of 300dpi. This high resolution helps ensure that your work will be as clear and crisp as possible.
- Printing: For high quality prints and stickers, you'll want to invest in a high quality printer. This can run you upwards of several hundred dollars, but the quality will be good enough for you to make your products entirely on your own. I use an Epson Expression Photo HD printer.
- Paper: You can find different quality papers online via Amazon or paper outlet stores. This is entirely personal preference. For stickers, you'll want to specifically get sticker paper with whatever quality and finish you'd prefer.
- Sticker Cutting: Can you imagine having to hand-cut out every single sticker you create? It may be uneven, it might not be as crisp as you'd like. This is where a professional cutting machine comes in. The two biggest brands are Cricut and Silhouette. You work with the machine to create consistent cuts for your work. I personally use a Silhouette Cameo 4 for all of my precision cutting needs.
And that's it! While it's a simple process, it can be inaccessible due to the upfront costs of getting started. Another downside is, depending on the art printer you purchase, your print size may be limited. This is where the consideration for getting your work manufactured comes in.
The following are all companies I've worked with that I highly recommend. Your experience may differ from mine, and there may be other companies out there that are a better fit! That being said, I always recommend checking out local print shops too- because there's nothing better than supporting a small local business :)
I've had good experiences with each of the above companies. I recommend asking for samples of quality and researching prices to see which may be a best fit for you! Remember, buying prints/stickers to be produced is lower costs upfront but may end up costing more in the long run. However, it's a great method to create products if you don't have the time or space to create from home.
Prints and stickers are an excellent way to make money off of an original art piece, and a great way to test to see how your consumer base may react to particular pieces of work. Maybe there's a print or sticker you can't keep in stock- that's awesome! The next step would be to maybe consider making that work into something bigger to help grow your small business!