So you have that new custom all painted up and looking nice, but it's still sort of dull. Stickers are the best thing to dress up any project. As you already know from the new G.I.Joe vehicle you may have recently bought and applied stickers to, it's the finishing touch. Customizing these little details however is a pain. You can try and paint all the little tiny details by hand, but that takes a lot of time, patience, and skill. I've found a good way of getting the job done for the cheapest cost possible and still looking great! Here's a run down of what you will need:

InkJet Sticker Labels (I suggest Avery Labels)
Super Glue
Tissue Napkins
Fingernail Clippers
Small Scissors
Exacto Knife
Of course a computer with some graphics to work with

1) First you will need to set up your stickers to have ready for printing. I generally go to and browse the blueprints and sticker images they have. From those you can open them in a graphics program to resize, recolor, or whatever you may need to do. This is all up to you for what you want and what you measure to fit for your project.

2) Now that you have the sticker page setup you need to put them on a background. This is where a lot of people go wrong. If you have a Cobra vehicle and the thing is blue, you can't have a white background and make the stickers look good. You need to pick the color that's as close as you can to the object you are applying it to. Sure you're going to cut off a lot of the excess, but you'll still have some background in areas. After this, just put your paper in your inkjet printer and print.

3) Here's a nice tip to clean those stickers up and bring the colors out. Take the page to a well ventilated area after you have printed the page and spray it with clear coat. I usually use a semi flat clear coat so the images do not get glossed up. The paint gets into the page and really brightens up the colors.

4) Now you're ready to cut them out. You can use an exacto if you feel you can cut clean with it, but it's easier to have some small scissor such as those used for sewing. Most of the time you will be cutting straight lines and cutting as close to the image as you can. If you come across areas that are curved or even something that is round, this is where I use fingernail clipers. It's alot easier to clip the sticker piece by piece to shape out a curve than it is to cut with scissors. You can get a really nice clean circle if you go slow and easy.

5) To apply a sticker, I find it easest to use an exacto knife. I can hold the sticker in one hand and use the knife blade to peal the back of the sticker. Then I can use the exacto to help me possition the sticker. Light pressure will make the image stick pretty well.

6) You're not done yet. Many leave it at this and come out with an ok job, but the stickers look sort of dull still. Even after you have brought out the colors in step 3, you still need to really get the sticker to look like it belongs. This is where the super glue comes in. Practice before you jump into this because you can really mess up if you don't. I have found a glue by Loctite that has a brush applicator. This is the best kind to use since you do not want to have a large amount going on the sticker. All it takes is a very thin covering of the sticker. You might have some excess but some is ok, just try not to get too much so that it is running all over the place. You want it to stay on top of the sticker. Using a piece of a tissue rolled up needle like, gently dab and soak up some of glue. dab the glue around until you have complete coverage. This will bond the sticker to the vehicle and give it a good look if you did it right. You could even squeeze some glue from a tube on a surface that you won't mind messing up (maybe a pice of butcher paper) and use pieces of tissue to soak a little up and dab over the sticker. This would work, but is a little harder to do. You also want to work with one sticker at a time only as you probably would be aware that the glue dries so fast.

6) My final step is deciding if I want the custom to be gloss or flat. Once I pick the look, I spray the custom in a well ventilated area. With the stickers already in place, they get the coating as the rest of the custom does. The super glue coating helps your spray bond and give an eaven look over all.

I've tried this a few times before and wanted to wait until I have done enough things with these tips before I typed up a "how to". The first time I did it, it came out looking pretty good. Each time I've tried doing this, it gets better. It's one of those things where you learn with each application. This isn't the easiest thing in the world to do, but when you want your project to look it's best, you shouldn't cut corners anyway.

There are other ways to acomplish stickers. I'm a screen printer so I can actually print out sticker just like those that come with toys bought in store. That is a lot of time though and I'm satisfied enough with the results of the jetprinter stickers. There's also some other ways to print up some nice images too, but also the other ways can be a little more costly and result in a lot of time.

Using this tip you should be on your way to a really nice looking custom without spending too much money and wasting more time thatn necessary. Good luck!


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