Film Stickers Tutorial

I was doing a little spring cleaning the other day and I came across my sticker maker. I bought it years ago, but I rarely use it. At the same time, I just happened to be sorting and filing some of my negatives and a thought occurred… Film stickers!

If you’re interested in making some of your own, then follow along with me!

What you’ll need:

– A computer screen (or some handy drawing skills, or anything else you want to photograph)
– A sticker maker (I used a Xyron 150, it retails for about $10 – $20 at most craft stores – Michael’s has them, if you’re in Canada)
– A film camera and film (but I think you knew that already)
– A friendly, neighbourhood photolab (I still work at one once a week just so I can do my own developing and whatnot – it’s a lifestyle I highly recommend)
– Scissors

Step One – Create the Design

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You can do this in any computer program, but the key thing it needs to be able to do is an “Invert” command – if you’re going to be using negative film. If you’re going to use slide film (which I want to try on the next batch), don’t worry about it.

Type the text you want to appear on the film. Alternatively, you can photograph pretty much anything you want to make a sticker out of. I was just feeling in a bit of a practical mood when I made these, so I made some geared to my photo business.

Then, flatten the image.

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Finally, invert the image.

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This step is so when you photograph it, the text appears black and the background looks white (well, clear, since film is transparent). You don’t have to invert it if you want it to look the other way around. It’s really up to you.

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Step Two – Photograph the Screen

Just load up your camera and click away to fill up a whole roll of film with exposures of the screen. Remember to zoom in so the image you created in Step One fills the frame.

Step Three – Develop Your Film

Once you’ve completed your roll, take it to your local photolab and ask them to develop it. Make sure they know you don’t want prints, you just want the negatives processed. This will cost you between $3 and $6 depending on your lab.

Note: If you’re having slide film developed, make sure you ask that they don’t cut the negatives. This will save you some money and will save you from having to pry the film out of the slide mounts.

Step Four – Make stickers!!

Cut the film strips into individual exposures. You don’t really have to do this, but I found that the longer the strips were, the more crooked they got as they went through the sticker maker, making it so the backs of some stickers weren’t completely covered in glue.

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Send the exposures on a trip through the sticker maker. While they’re there, magical glue fairies will apply glue to their backs! … Not really. But they will come out sticky. Follow the instructions on your individual sticker maker.

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Then you get…

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A finished product! Ready to be stuck to whatever you deem worthy.

Look! I stuck one on my window, ’cause you know, they’re transparent and all!

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The next set I make, I think I’ll do them on slide film and take pretty pictures of flowers or my dog. You know, the usual!

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