How to Make Homemade Vinyl Bumper Stickers on an HP Printer
By Nick Davis
From printing letters to photos, your Hewlett-Packard (HP) printer is a small print shop packaged in one compact device. Along with vinyl decal paper and a design package like Microsoft Publisher, you can make your own homemade vinyl bumper stickers that can be placed on your car, motorcycle or other vehicle. Vinyl decal paper is available for purchase from retail and office supply supplies as well as online. The paper accepts ink like regular bond paper, but you must let the printed design dry before applying it to a surface.
Designing the Bumper Sticker
Open Microsoft Publisher or similar program.
Click “File,” “New” and “Blank Page Sizes.” Click on ““Letter (Landscape) 8.5 x 11.”
Click on the “A” icon that contains lines (text tool) under the arrow on the toolbar on the left side of the screen.
Click inside of the blank document to place the text box. Double-click the text box to enter it.
Enter the text you want to print on the bumper sticker. To change the text's color, font or other attribute, highlight the text with your mouse then click on the font, color or style icon on the toolbar at the top of the program. Click anywhere outside of the text box to close the text box.
Click “Insert,” “Picture” and “From File...” Navigate to the directory containing a picture or graphic you would like to place on your bumper sticker. Double-click on the file's name to place it.
If you would like to select a clip art item, click “Insert,” “Picture” and “Clip Art...” The Clip Art selection pane will open. Double-click the graphic to place it on your bumper sticker.
Click “File” and “Save As” to save your bumper sticker once you done placing pictures or graphics. Enter a name for the bumper sticker in the “File name:” box. Click “Save.”
Printing the Bumper Sticker
Fan the vinyl decal paper for one minute to separate any sheets that may be stuck together. Pull out any bent or damaged sheets.
Load the vinyl decal paper into your HP printer with the coated side facing the direction your printer prints—facedown if using an HP inkjet printer that is front loading or faceup if the printer is top loading.
If using an HP laser printer, load the paper facedown (default setting) if placing the paper in a tray. If using the “Bypass” tray, place the paper faceup.
Click “File” and “Print Preview” to view your bumper sticker before printing. If changes are needed to the design, click “Close” to return to the document and make the changes.
Click on the printer icon to print the sticker if everything is OK.
Do not select “Photo” or “Gloss” paper within your printer's “Properties” box--this will cause the printer to apply too much ink to the bumper sticker, which can cause the ink to run and fade faster when the sticker gets wet.
Let the bumper sticker dry for at least 20 minutes before handling the paper or applying the sticker. Use a paper cutter to cut the sticker out.
- To condition the printed bumper sticker for outdoor use, flush the entire sticker with water. This will prevent any bleeding of the colors when the label gets wet for the first time.
- When peeling off the back paper, slowly peel the paper from one edge as you align the stick on the surface or vehicle.
- You can also use Adobe Photoshop to design your bumper sticker, click “File,” “New.” Select “8 x 10” from the pull down arrow next to “Preset:.” Click “OK.” Click “Image,” “Rotate Canvas,” “90 CW” to rotate the canvas. Click on the “T” icon on the toolbar to select the text tool. Enter your text. Click “File,” “Open” to open the picture(s) or graphic(s ) you want to copy/paste within your bumper sticker. Complete steps 1 and 2 in the “Printing the Bumper Sticker” section then click “File,” “Print,” “OK” to print the sticker. Complete step 5 to finish the process.
Nick Davis is a freelance writer specializing in technical, travel and entertainment articles. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and an associate degree in computer information systems from the State Technical Institute at Memphis. His work has appeared in "Elite Memphis" and "The Daily Helmsman" in Memphis, Tenn. He is currently living in Albuquerque, N.M.