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4 Ways To Make Your Stickers Waterproof

Written by: Nicole Plyler

Published: 24 September, 2021


When you apply a sticker to a surface, you want to be confident they’ll stay put no matter the environment. In many cases, you’ll be adhering them to different materials that may come into contact with water. As a result, many will want to know how to make stickers waterproof. 

Waterproof stickers are a very common requirement, and sticker printers take several steps to ensure that moisture won’t impact the adhesion or cause any other damage. 

Applications for Stickers That Require Waterproofing

So, when would making stickers waterproof provide an advantage? Such applications could include:

  • Water bottles, mugs, and glasses: A waterproof sticker will mean that they are washable by hand or in the dishwasher without any peeling.
  • Helmet stickers: Helmets often include stickers, including logos or names, and they can encounter rain and other elements.
  • Construction labels: The construction industry often applies stickers to materials, tools, hard hats, and equipment. Many times, these are barcodes that identify and track products. They, of course, are often outside, so weatherproofing is a must. These stickers need to be able to stay in place in lots of different environments.  

  • Window decals: Often, businesses apply these decals on exterior glass. There may not be protection from an overhang, so they need to be waterproof. That way, they won’t lose adhesion or begin to peel at the edges. 
  • Packaging stickers: Stickers often attach to packaging material or boxes. They could also encounter exposure to moisture. Since these stickers include your branding and important information like ingredients, you want to ensure that water won’t impact them or make them illegible to read.
  • Sports and rec equipment: Whether it’s a cool sticker on a surfboard or a label that identifies that something is the property of an organization, sports and rec equipment often requires decals. They’ll also need to be waterproof for obvious reasons. 

How Durable Are Waterproof Stickers?

Not every sticker is durable and long-lasting. That includes those marketed as waterproof. The test of durability comes down to multiple factors—material, process, adhesion qualities, lamination protection, printing, and production. 

You’ll only have an assurance of their durability if they stand up to the elements. You can be confident in their quality by learning how to make stickers waterproof.

What’s the Difference Between Water-Resistant and Waterproof Stickers?

You may see these terms when searching for the best product. However, they are not interchangeable. Water-resistant refers to a sticker that can withstand a few drops of water and repel it. Thus, a water-resistant sticker isn’t the best fit for applications where water is a concern. When a sticker says it's waterproof, the claim is much stronger regarding its long-term durability. 

A good way to think of it is the difference between a quick splash of water or diving into a pool. Only the waterproof sticker will survive the latter. Keep this in mind when comparing sticker products. 

4 Ways to Make Stickers Waterproof

Explore how a professional printer produces waterproof stickers.

Waterproof Stickers Use High-Quality Adhesive Vinyl

If you want to waterproof your stickers, the first step is the right material. Typical stickers are made from cheap vinyl or sticker paper. Paper is certainly disqualified from this discussion since its highly absorbent. So, vinyl is the appropriate option. 

There is a huge range of vinyl for printing. Some are just for quick use—think kid’s stickers or any type sold directly to consumers in retail settings. That’s fine for fun, but if you’re purchasing stickers for your business or need them to withstand anything, you don’t want to skimp on the material. 

If you don’t have robust vinyl as the foundation, they will not last long-term. 3M Scotchal Graphic Film is the top tier for stickers that don’t fail with water exposure.

The specifications for this hardy vinyl make it a great fit for stickers. It will apply to interior and exterior surfaces, such as buildings, walls, vehicles, windows, glass, and more. The vinyl is 3 millimeters thick, and the manufacturer rates it for up to five years of durability.

Waterproof Adhesion

3M Scotchal Graphic Film has a waterproof adhesion. It can withstand any weather concerns. This grip also is durable enough not to fail when submerging cups in the sink or placing items in the dishwasher. You can expect this seal to last for up to five years.

The adhesion of this vinyl is pressure-sensitive. That means when you adhere to a surface, you won’t see bubbles or peeling. That bond it takes with the surface also ensures that water doesn’t find its way between the two. You’ll find that when applying these, they have a silicon-coated backing liner. When ready to use, just peel off the liner, and stick away. Other stickers that don’t have this feature will come unstuck or peel easily. The sticker could be unusable even before it encounters any water!

While the adhesion is strong, that doesn’t mean you can’t remove them. You can easily do this when necessary without debris left behind. 

Making Waterproof Stickers Requires a Laminate Overlay

In using 3M vinyl, you also get the benefit of lamination. Waterproof vinyl stickers have a 3.2-millimeter UV layer. It can be gloss or matte. It protects the sticker from water damage. It’s also UV resistant. 

This tough layer doesn’t impact the printing on the sticker. There are no concerns with print quality or legibility. It’s almost invisible. You’d only realize it’s there after your sticker encounters moisture, and it still looks great. 

This laminate does more than protect the sticker from water. It also acts as a shield against scratches. Most stickers will encounter some external elements, from tree limbs to pavement to cleaning products. Stickers look as good as the day you first applied them. 

A Waterproof Sticker Needs the Right Ink

The vinyl and its protective overlay are critical for a sticker to be waterproof. Another piece of the puzzle is the ink used in printing the logos, words, graphics, and art. Without adequate ink, you can’t really consider your sticker fully waterproof. 

It’s an important question to ask and category to research when considering how to make your stickers waterproof. Not every sticker company will provide this information. There are so many inks out there for printing stickers. However, most don’t have the properties to ensure that they remain vibrant after moisture exposure. So, what’s the best ink to use?

An ink that works well 3M vinyl and is waterproof is Epson 3M UltraChrome GS3. It’s a co-branded product of Epson and 3M, so its purpose is printing on 3M’s vinyl. The ink works with Epson’s printers. The premium ink provides those that use it an exceptional product that lasts. 

The ink delivers enhanced image quality, color gamut, pigment density, and gloss level, according to the manufacturer. It also has a shorter drying time than other ink products. 

The Benefits of Waterproof Stickers

Having true waterproof stickers provides lots of benefits, no matter the application, including:

  • You can apply them to almost any surface, so you don’t have to purchase different ones for each use case.
  • The adhesion won’t fail, so you don’t have to keep replacing them, no matter how long they’re in the rain.
  • It’s cost-effective to purchase quality stickers the first time. Cheaper products won’t stand up to the elements.
  • They won’t turn into eyesores. Whether you put them on your business’ front door or your products, they won’t peel or fade. 
  • You don’t have to “seal” them with sprays or other methods after applying them. They are ready to stick and stay put. 

What Are the Options for Waterproof Stickers?

Now that you know what to look for with waterproof stickers, you may be wondering what the options are for sizes, shapes, and more. 

Shapes

When deciding on what kind of waterproof stickers you want, the shape is a consideration. There are few limitations here. You can get these stickers in multiple forms, such as circlesovals, rectangles, squares, and rounded corners. If you want to do something more custom like your logo, die cut waterproof stickers will conform to any shape. 

Sizes

The size you select will relate to where you put the stickers. You can customize the size you need, from small sizes that fit nicely on packages to larger ones you can install on windows and doors. When choosing a size, be sure to measure the surfaces where they’ll go to ensure they are appropriate.

Colors

With high-quality ink, you can design stickers in full color. However, for those stickers that are for transactional or functional purposes, you can go with all black.  

Design and Order Waterproof Labels from Stickerbeat

Many companies choose Stickerbeat to produce waterproof stickers. We are proud to offer high-quality stickers that last. We don’t skimp on the materials, ink, or production processes. 

Here’s what makes us an excellent choice for all your waterproof sticker needs. 

  • We make all our stickers waterproof by using 3M vinyl, the highest quality product available. 
  • All stickers have a lamination layer, available in either gloss or matte. It protects it from water damage, fading, and scratches.
  • Our stickers come with a backing liner coated with silicon. This ensures smooth removal from the liner.
  • We print with Epson 3M UltraChrome GS3. It’s the best ink for 3M vinyl stickers and stays vibrant even when exposed to the elements. 
  • Our stickers have an expected lifetime of up to five years.
  • Ordering from us is so easy. It only takes a few steps to get going. First, you just choose the shape and size. Then upload your art. Our graphic designers will check the art and send you a digital proof for approval. After approval, we start printing your stickers. 
  • We have an industry-leading turnaround time, typically around three days. 
  • We never charge for shipping; it’s free!
  • Our customers can benefit from regular discounts and promotions. 

We look forward to delivering durable waterproof sticker for any application. Start shopping today for the best-in-class stickers that can handle moisture and more.