Friday, April 22, 2011

Making Stickers is as Easy as 1,2,3,4,5....An Explanation for Children

Hey all,

I've developed my own method for making vinyl stickers for Rubik's Cubes.  Originally, I used electric tape since it is a sturdy material, relatively cheap, and it comes in a variety of colors.  However, the lifespan was only a couple months.  Over time, electric tape tends to soften and the adhesive on the vinyl bonds better to plastic.  Thus, the stickers started sliding all over the place.  So now...I write up my method for creating your own vinyl stickers.

Supplies - 
  1. Word processor/Paint/Gimp (any word processing or image creation program that features an on-screen ruler.)
  2. Ruler
  3. Regular copy paper and printer
  4. Vinyl sheets and/or double sided tape (I got the vinyl in a pack of six at a local arts and crafts store.)
  5. Scissors/Exacto Knife

Procedure - 
I.  Preparation (Template)
  1. Grab your cube and measure the width of each cubie.  Each sticker should be 1/8 inch shorter.
    Ex:  If a cubie is 3/4 in wide, the sticker should be 5/8 in wide.
  2. Take this measurement and go to your computer program; I will be using Microsoft Word.  Using the "rectangle" shape tool, draw a square.  Right click to format the shape and set the width and height to the length of the sticker.  I will be using 0.63"
  3. After the shape is set, copy the shape and paste it 8 times.  Then set the nine shapes up into an array.  NOTE:  To get to this step, you may also "Insert" a 3x3 table.
  4. This is the template for one side.  At this point, either select all nine squares or the table, copy it, and paste it 5 times to result in 6 3x3 arrays.
  5. Organize the arrays neatly and print out your templates.
Download this picture for a pre-made template.  (It will be the right size)

II.  Cutting Out Stickers
  1. Take your template sheet and cut out all the arrays (to get 6 individual templates)
  2. Using double-sided tape, glue the template onto the back of your vinyl sheet (my sheets had paper backings).  NOTE:  Make sure the grid lines on the template face outside so that you can see them...
  3. Take your scissors and cut out the template.  Then, cut out the individual squares.
  4. Using nail clippers, cut the corner of each square to "round" it off.  (This is obviously optional).
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 five times
III.  Application
  1. Remove the backing of the vinyl squares.  The vinyl sheets I purchased were "cling-ons" without adhesive on the back.  Rather, they used static to attach to plastic.  If your vinyl sheets are not adhesive, use double-sided tape to apply adhesive.
    NOTE:  This gives the sticker a mosaic feel since the tape cannot be applied perfectly (I like this.)
  2. Place the stickers onto your cube.  I used tweezers, but use whatever you need.
End Result

Final Notes - 
  1. This was a rather long tutorial, but the actual process should take no longer than an hour for all six sides.
  2. This is ideal for people who want to make custom stickers for various puzzles and for people who do not have the means to purchase from Cubesmith or another online store.
  3. If you have questions, feel free to ask me :)
Good luck!

Thanks for reading,

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