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When it comes to printing and cutting your own stickers one of the most common questions is what sticker paper to use. There are so many different finishes, colors, and places to buy sticker paper that it really can get overwhelming. My hope is that this guide will help you to determine which type of paper is right for you, your planning style, and your budget so that you can get right to printing and creating your own stickers!
There are two types of finishes that sticker paper comes in: matte and glossy. If you aren't sure the difference between these you can generally think of matte paper as something about the texture of copier paper and glossy the texture of photo paper. Then there are generally two main "colors" for these, white and clear. In this post I will split out sections for Matte (white), Glossy (white), and Clear (both clear matte and clear glossy.)
The two biggest brands when it comes to sticker papers are Online Lables and Sheet Lables. I have found these are the most commonly used brands and both have a similar and very wide offering of paper options. For both of these shops, you can request FREE samples directly from their websites to try out before you commit to buying! I HIGHLY recommend this so that you can be 100% sure that the paper type is right for you and your planning style!
Here is the link for the online labels sample request (make sure to select PN OL177) : https://www.onlinelabels.com/general/samplesselectitems.aspx
Here is the link for the sheet labels sample request: https://www.sheetlabels.com/samples/blank
Ok, let’s get into it!
Unicorn Paper / Premium Matte
This is by far the most popular type of sticker paper, it is super smooth and soft and every type of pen I have tried glides very smoothly! The paper prints very vibrant colors as well as really crisp edges.
This is one of my favorite types of paper and it is my go to now for my weekly kits!
This paper is available from Online Labels or Sheet Labels. (I prefer Online Labels myself because you can order it through amazon with free prime shipping!) For both companies this paper is known as "Waterproof (or Weatherproof) Matte Inkjet."
You can find these papers here:
Standard Matte paper has the feel of your standard printer/copier paper but with adhesive. This is definitely the most widely available and usually the default option from sticker shops. Standard matte paper, in my opinion, doesn't print as vibrantly (it seems to just absorb the ink and can make the prints appear muddled) but it is a great option for any type of pen you want to use, it also has a very similar texture to your planner paper so it can give your spread a more consistent feel. This is also the most budget friendly option.
In terms of brands for standard matte paper I find that both Online Labels and Sheet Labels standard matte offerings are very comparable but both leave me desiring a greater "crispness" of printing in the finished product. For this reason I actually use an off brand shipping label from Amazon. I originally purchased this paper brand when I first started making stickers for myself because it was the best value. However, after doing extensive research (and spending hundreds of dollars on different types of sticker papers) I found that this paper was and still is my favorite! The actual label is a bit smaller than the backing which is not "normal" for most sticker papers but I haven't had any issues with this when using either a cricut or a silhouette to cut.
You can find this standard matte paper here.
You can find the Online Labels standard matte here.
And you can find the Sheet Labels standard matte here.
Spectacle Matte is a registered trademark of Sheet Labels and is only available through their shop (and their shop on amazon). This paper is most similar to standard matte paper but has a sort of coating on it. It prints very VERY vibrant colors (even more vibrant than the premium matte) but I find the edges to not be crisp at all. It is almost like the entire outline of the print is blurred. The other issue I found with this paper is that it doesn't work with many pens. The coating of the paper makes pens drag and can even mess up your pens in some cases (R.I.P. my pink diamond fine tip gel pen).
I personally think this paper would be best suited for full color deco boxes that you do not plan to write on but I generally use other paper types for most projects.
This paper prints very nicely, nearly photo quality and on par with the premium matte unicorn paper. The only downside with this paper is that not all pens will dry nicely on this paper and it is very prone to smudging. I personally really like the Online Labels glossy paper but have found the Sheet Labels paper to be very similar.
Weatherproof glossy is perfect for decal stickers to use on surfaces that might have more wear such as laptops, water bottles, or the cover of your planner. While stickers from this paper are not in fact completely waterproof (because inkjet ink is not waterproof there is some bleeding when the stickers get wet) it is definitely the most rugged paper on this list. This paper can stand a lot more wear and tear without the sticker looking worn.
If you wanted your stickers to be completely waterproof I find that adding a clear vinyl (with permanent adhesive) over top of this paper works very well!
You can find this paper from Online Labels here.
Clear papers can be used as overlays (especially for foil) or for translucent stickers (like the translucent dot stickers that have been all the rage recently). Either the glossy or the matte finish can be used to create translucent stickers by printing with an inkjet printer and both have really great results with this, the finish would just be preference.
Clear glossy is most widely used for foil overlays. It foils very well because of how smooth the paper is. It also gives an added shine because of the glossy finish.
You can find the clear glossy paper for LASER PRINTING (if you want to use for foiling) here and you can find the clear glossy paper for INKJET PRINTING (if you want to use for translucent stickers) here.
Clear matte has recently become a lot more popular especially with the translucent colored stickers. I find that the clear matte works best when it is a completely colored sticker (as with the translucent dots) or when being used on top of a white background. I find the clear matte can sometimes have a slightly white color when used on top of a colored background.
Make sure to get your free samples from Online Labels and Sheet Labels and then try out these papers for yourself! You can grab some FREE printable planner stickers here to use for paper testing! (and to make a pretty weekly planner spread too)
Comment below what your favorite type of paper is and how you use it!