Tuesday, October 14

Tutorial Tuesdays: Stickering Tutorial Part 1

Welcome to this week's Tutorial Tuesday! This is the first part of a tutorial series where I will demonstrate how to use stickers to jazz up your MOCs. 
This week we are going to look two things: (1) the tools used for stickering, and (2) the different types of stickers. Next week I will walk you through the actual process of stickering a model; in this case, a blank version of one of Simon's Zero GARCs. (Thanks Simon!) This tutorial is going to be pretty in-depth, so strap in, set your spaceship to autopilot, and let's get started!

Oh yeah before we get started I better show my credentials. 
Thanks Simon(again). :D

The tools of the trade
These are my four primary tools I use when stickering. Lets look at each of them in turn.

Small scissors:
I use scissors for cutting stickers before they leave the sticker sheet(and sometimes after.) Sometimes you want only a part of a sticker, or want to cut it to a different shape. Any sharp scissors will do, but I've found that a smaller set of scissors makes small cuts and curves much easier.

Precision knives:
Precision knives are probably the most useful stickering tool. They can be used to cut stickers on a sheet (make sure you use a cutting board!) However I find them most useful for sticker application and removal. I use a surgical scalpel, which is pretty much the same thing as the standard precision knife, the Sword of Exact Zero

Application tools:
Why do you need an application tool? Because you never want to use your fingers to apply stickers. Two reasons: fingers are fat (and thus imprecise), and fingers are oily (which will ruin the sticker's glue backing.) There are several application tools you can use, such as the sticker-backing tool that comes with the Cooper Works sticker sheets. You can even use your precision knife. My favorite tool for applying stickers is the minifig crow-bar

Sticker Types

Official LEGO stickers:
These are (obviously) the sticker sheets you get from LEGO sets. You can get them directly from sets or from Bricklink, sometimes quite cheaply. (You will notice that most of my sticker sheets are quite mutilated. If your sticker sheets don't look like that, after this tutorial they should!)

Non-LEGO/custom stickers:
Hardcore purists, avert your gaze. There are many other great sources for stickers besides our overlord best friend TLG. With a little creativity just about any type of sticker can put to good use on a MOC. As a small sampling of the kind of things that you can use, in the image below I have, starting at the top left and moving clockwise:

-Expiration date stickers from a water filter
-Waterslide decals from a model airplane kit
-Model car decals I found at a hobby shop (awesome for GARC)
-Cooper Works sticker sheets (very high quality stuff designed for AFOLs, highly recommended)
-Stickers from a Estes model rocket kit
-Custom-printed "Forest Fighters" stickers left over from the Starfighter Telephone Game

*A note about custom stickers: I've never printed custom stickers myself, but I have seen other builders do it with great results. For example. As I understand it, most print shops can print stickers of just about any custom graphics you bring them, and it's not very expensive either. If I ever get around to making custom stickers myself I'll be sure to post a tutorial.

That's all for today guys, hope you learned something! Be sure to tune in next Tuesday when we will look at the more practical side of sticker application.  [Part 2 & Part 3]


  1. Nice to see an article on this, I remember when I started posting MOCs, I would sometimes get flack for using stickers.

    1. I can see some people getting upset if you use a lot of non-LEGO stickers, but for actual LEGO stickers? That is just silly. Stickers add so much to a build.

  2. This is a super tutorial! More more more! Thanks for the plug on my Sticker Sheets!

    1. No problem man! Your stickers are great, and I'm really looking forward to the new space sheets!

  3. Great article... I love how GARC has change the way I build, everything now gets a second look to see if stickers are possible :P

    I even started buying stickers for next year's builds :D

    All because of you two, Rob and Jacob ;)

    1. Dude same here. I used to sticker most of my builds, but ever since GARC it's like it has almost become mandatory.

  4. I wish Bricklink indicated which sticker sheets are (mostly) transparent. The preview isn't always clear, and TLG matches edge colors well enough that seeing the stickers applied doesn't always clear it up either. White-on-transparent designs (common with Galaxy Squad) are nearly invisible in BL -- I've had some good surprises from that.

    1. Yes! Totally. I've had the same problem as well.

  5. Any use of stickers is a vioaltion of the LEGO purity code. The whole point of LEGO is reusability, and stickers are inherently non reusable...

  6. The only "LEGO purity code" I'm aware of is the practices of LEGO itself (which uses stickers in sets all the time).

    And stickers actually can be re-used! In Part 3 of the tutorial I explain how stickers can be removed and re-used (as long as you have a precision knife and a steady hand).