Make Your Own Stickers

The day that my kids got into my brand-new book of postage stamps and used them to decorate their artwork I vowed to keep a supply of stickers on hand for them to use as they wish. Now that I regularly purchase packages of stickers at card stores or the grocery store, I realize that the 34-cent stamps that they used were probably on the inexpensive end of the sticker spectrum. If your kids love stickers, here is a great project they can do to make their own inexpensive lick-and-stick stickers out of pictures of their choosing.

Ages: 3 to 12

Time: one hour

Skills Required: cutting, painting

Materials: unflavored gelatin, bowl, measuring cup, old magazines or other sources of pictures, water, paintbrush, aluminum foil, paper

Finding Images

The first step in this project is to choose the images that the children would like to make into stickers. But don’t worry, there are oodles of sources of interesting and fun pictures:


  • Old magazines – Set the kids up with a big pile of old magazines that they can use to find pictures of things that interest them. Encourage kids to look for letters in magazines or newspapers and then find a picture of an object that starts with each letter.


  • Old catalogs – A great source for fun pictures of familiar characters that are appealing to kids is old catalogs, such as the Disney Store catalog.


  • The Web – Pictures of favorite animated friends can also be found on the Internet. A parent or older sibling can print out pictures of characters or objects and then let younger kids add the coloring.


  • Create their own – Kids can also draw their own pictures on plain paper and color them with crayons or markers.


  • Old photos – If you have extra copies of photos that are no longer needed, kids can cut out the important people or places from the photos and make stickers from these.


  • Storybooks – If your child has a favorite storybook, make color photocopies of some of the illustrations and let the child cut out the parts he likes best.


  • Greeting cards – Old greeting cards from birthdays or holidays often have cute images that appeal to little ones.

    Making Things Stick

    After the children have gathered all of the pictures that they want to make into stickers and carefully trimmed around the image, it’s time to make the solution that will be used to transform the pictures into stickers. Since the solution “sets” fairly quickly, make sure that all of the images are gathered before beginning the process of mixing the solution:

    1. First, empty one packet of unflavored gelatin into a small bowl.

    2. Carefully measure one-half cup of warm water and add to the bowl of gelatin powder.

    3. Stir the mixture until the gelatin is completely dissolved.

    4. Use a paintbrush to brush the gelatin solution onto the back of each of the pictures.

    5. Let the pictures dry, sticky side up, on a piece of aluminum foil. Once dry, the stickers don’t become “sticky” until they are moistened and can be stored for later use.

    When the kids are ready to use the stickers that they’ve created, all they have to do is lick the back of the picture and adhere it to whatever they want. The dry gelatin is completely tasteless and safe for kids to ingest. Make sure to provide guidelines about what surfaces are OK for stickers (paper, notebooks, maybe even a lunch box) and what surfaces are off-limits (walls, furniture and dad’s tummy).

    For a complete list of all of Jill Jolton's Hands-On Crafts, click here.

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