Few things draw out people's creative and colorful sides quite like water bottles. With their modest practicality and quiet sturdiness, water bottles make the perfect blank canvas with which to channel your colorful personality and inner artist.
Enter: stickers. These nifty little pieces of adhesives are a quick, easy, and effective way to spruce up your bottles. However, not all stickers are made the same, and even the ones touted as "waterproof" don't necessarily survive their stint in the dishwasher.
So how do you make sure your stickers are waterproof and dishwasher-proof?
The first step to waterproofing your stickers is to print them on water-resistant materials. While they may not be able to hold up against your dishwasher, the material should be able to withstand water damage and add a layer of protection.
You can design and print custom stickers using our free online sticker maker. Or if you are following the DIY route and haven't printed out your stickers yet, consider stocking up on waterproof printing materials like vinyl.
Printing your stickers on water-resistant materials like vinyl adds an extra layer of sturdiness that makes these work well on busy surfaces like water bottles, laptops, and others.
However, just because the sticker material is water-resistant does not mean the ink is as well. The ink may bleed out when exposed often to water, as in the case of washing or precipitation.
This is why this option is best used in conjunction with the other waterproofing methods here.
Look specifically for sticker papers labeled "waterproof" or "water-resistant." Carefully read through the specifications on the packaging, as there may be limitations to the kind of printers or ink they can take.
It's worth noting that even stickers labeled as "waterproof" are likely only water-resistant, meaning they can withstand small amounts of moisture but will not be able to handle being soaked in liquids for extended amounts of time.
Using a design platform like Canva, you can easily design your stickers and layout them to the correct paper size, so all you need to do is print them out as usual. Select between circle stickers and square stickers or other sticker sizes and shapes. You can also avail of professional printing services like Canva Print to ensure that ink and sticker material are of the highest quality.
Consider applying a sealant coat (see: Method 3) or laminating your sticker (see: Methods 2 and 4) for further protection. This way, you're futureproofing your stickers against water and dishwashing damage.
Using self-adhesive laminating films is the best all-around in terms of overall costs and DIY-ability: i.e., how well you can use this method to waterproof a variety of sticker types, how often you can do this on your own, how many special materials you'll be needing, and—most importantly—how well they hold up long-term.
The biggest advantage of this method is the minimal amount of specialty materials needed and the wide range of applications you can use this for.
Self-adhesive laminating films are available online or in many arts-and-crafts and office supplies stores. They come in various thicknesses and sizes to suit different projects and preferences. They're very cost-effective because you don't need any special tool or device to apply these to your stickers.
This type of laminating film is more expensive than regular laminating pouches. Some brands can cost around double their non-adhesive counterparts; moreover, the application process can come with a learning curve, which can give you air bubbles or even get crinkled and damage stickers as a result.
However, this is nothing a bit of practice (and maybe a lot of patience) can't fix. And considering you won't need to buy a laminating machine with this method, the price of the one pack of self-adhesive laminating films offset the other costs.
The laminating film comes in two parts: the clear plastic with the adhesive and the protective backing. Do not remove this backing until you're ready to seal your sticker.
Give yourself enough space between the stickers, so you don't accidentally cut too close and damage them. Once you have a layout you like, cut off this part of the sheet.
Place your laminating film and stickers on a clean, flat surface, then peel off a small section about one inch from the edge. This gives you something to hold onto or tape down to stop the sheet from moving.
Taking off only a small amount of the backing, place your sticker onto the adhesive film with the backside facing you and the design facing the plastic. Slowly and carefully peel off the rest of the backing, using your card or bone folder to smooth out any air bubbles.
On a cutting mat, flip over the laminating film so it adheres to the mat. Cut as close to the edge of the sticker as you can using a precision cutter.
Clear coat seals like Mod Podge or aerosol sprays are another great way to waterproof your stickers, but they only work on certain sticker materials.
Even though this step needs specialty materials, they're easy to get.
This method is the most buildable way to protect your stickers. Once each layer has sufficiently dried, you can keep adding layers of the seal as you go. Whether you're painting, rolling on, or spraying the seal, applying them is considerably easier than Method 1.
On the other hand, this can pose health risks to you if you are not careful or if you have health conditions like asthma. This is why you need a dedicated workplace to do this, ideally outdoors or anywhere with proper ventilation. Read carefully and follow the instructions on the sealant to prevent any troubles.
If you printed your stickers yourself, give them at least 24 hours to dry fully.
Put on the necessary protective gear like masks, gloves, and goggles. Ensure your setup is very well-ventilated.
Paint, roll on, or spray one thin layer of the sealant at a time. Drying time depends on the material, ranging from a few minutes to a few hours, so be sure to read the instructions. Wait until the surface is completely smooth, without any tackiness, to apply the next layer to prevent air bubbles or uneven residues.
These days, there are plenty of options for at-home thermal laminating machines that don't cost a pretty penny. So if you can picture yourself waterproofing stickers for an extended time—whether simply for fun or as a business decision—consider investing in a thermal laminating machine.
Thermal laminators for home use versus those for commercial use naturally come in different price points, given the difference in the quality they produce. The at-home option is sufficient if you are using it for yourself or if you're only starting a small business. As you expand your sticker business, consider first checking out existing professional laminating services and learning from them.
This method requires the most upfront investment, but if you plan to produce waterproof stickers long-term, this option is highly cost- and time-efficient.
Carefully review and follow the instructions for setting up to avoid complications. Watch out for any warning or ready indications before loading up your stickers.
Print your stickers onto the desired paper size.
Because the pouch will seal on both sides, putting two sticker sheets back to back, with the printed sides facing either plastic film, will instantly give you two laminated sheets in one go.
Cut off the excess laminating films. Because there are no adhesives on the laminating pouch, there should be no problems trimming the excess.
Check out these cute, cool, and funny sticker templates that would work best as inspiration for your water bottle stickers.
Waterproofing and dishwasher-proofing your stickers can be easy with the right tools and methods. Print on water-resistant materials. Use self-adhesive laminating films. Apply sealant coat. Or invest in a laminating machine to be more time- and cost-efficient long-term.
And be sure to pick out the designs you like best for your water bottle. Check out Canva's selection of customizable water bottle sticker designs and create your own personalized sticker today.