Die Cut Stickers vs. Kiss Cut Stickers: What’s the Difference?

Die Cut Stickers vs. Kiss Cut Stickers: What’s the Difference?

The world of stickers is a many-splendored thing. Ovals, squares, rectangles, or free-form; clear or opaque; text, fonts, and graphic elements are just a few of the options you’re able to choose from when designing a custom sticker for your business or organization.  

A key choice of any sticker design, however, will be between a die cut sticker and a kiss cut sticker. And while these two choices will get you the very same finished product in terms of the sticker itself, there are a few key differences to consider before you decide which one is right for you. Let’s take a look. 


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What Is a Die Cut Sticker?

Die cut stickers are cut around the exact shape of your sticker design, through both the vinyl material of the actual sticker and the paper backing, or liner, that’s peeled off before applying the sticker to a surface. When a decal is a "die cut", that means that is cut into a custom shape and can be as straightforward or as creative as you'd like. Die cut stickers are extremely popular, as they can be made to fit any design and therefore catch the eye with unusual shapes and custom imagery.

die cut stickers meaning


Why Choose Die Cut Stickers?

There are a number of reasons to choose die cut for your next custom sticker design. These reasons can be practical, purely your preference, or both.

  • They create a clean, sharp look. Die cut stickers can be made into any shape, no matter how whimsical or unusual your design. And whether you’re using your custom stickers for marketing or want to sell them on their own, the clean outline stands out. Stickers are a great impulse grab – who doesn’t love a cool sticker? – and easy-to-see shapes add to the urge to buy.
  • They may be more cost-effective in bulk. Because both the vinyl of the sticker and the paper liner behind it are cut at the same time, die cut stickers involve less processing, less cutting, and less time from design to finished product (depending on the quantity ordered). Fewer processes reduce your cost.
  • They last for a very long time. Made from durable vinyl, with long-lasting inks, die cut stickers will stay where you stick them for many years. And those fade-resistant colors mean you can put them on windows or on surfaces that see a ton of sun - without being affected. 


What Is a Kiss Cut Sticker? 

Kiss cut stickers are only cut through the vinyl of the sticker itself, leaving the paper backing, or liner, intact. When a decal is a "kiss cut", that means that you can only cut out the border of the decal, leaving the remaining vinyl material attached. The end result is a square or rectangular sheet with a custom-shaped sticker on it. Think of the sticker sheets you received as a kid! Those are kiss cut stickers. Think of it as the machine gently kissing just the vinyl face sheet, and not affecting the paper behind it at all. Then the printer trims around the kiss cut sticker to form a carrier around it, usually a rectangle or square shape. The vinyl excess is not removed. Again, kiss cuts will have the same final sticker shape as die cuts, regardless of the size, material, or design of the sticker itself. The difference lies in the way the sticker is cut, through cut (through the liner) or kiss cut (through only the face vinyl).

bulk die cut stickers


Why Choose Kiss Cut Stickers?

These days, kiss cut stickers may have a more nostalgic feel, reminding us of the sticker sheets we’d get as kids. But they have their own set of strengths and benefits, making them just as popular as die cuts.

  • They’re ideal for delicate designs. If your sticker design is a bit fragile or easily bent – with long or skinny parts that stick out – kiss cuts, with their wider carrier, are a safer choice. The carrier around the design keeps any delicate elements from bending or creasing, and the convenient rectangle shape means your sticker is easy to slip into a customer’s pocket to take home.
  • They travel well. If you’re taking your stickers on the road for any reason, to a trade show perhaps, a stack of rectangle kiss cut stickers may be easier to transport than the same amount of die cut stickers. 
  • Extra paper = extra advertising space. While die cuts and their through-cut paper backing look cool, kiss cuts aren’t exactly a plain and boring alternative. That extra paper around your kiss cut sticker can be printed on (with ink and not additional stickers). With the right design you can incorporate your business name, slogan, and website – turning your kiss cut into both a sticker and a business card. 

What is the Difference Between a Die Cut vs. Kiss Cut Sticker?

The main difference between a die cut and a kiss cut sticker is the depth of the cut. A die cut sticker is cut all the way through the vinyl material of the sticker and the backing paper, resulting in a sticker that is shaped exactly like the design with no extra material around the edges. On the other hand, a kiss cut sticker is cut through the vinyl material, but not through the backing paper, resulting in a sticker that is still attached to the backing paper, but can be easily peeled off.

Which One is Right for You? 

Ultimately your choice of die cut stickers vs. kiss cut stickers will come down to purpose and personal choice.

If you want to design stickers for individual sales, die cut stickers have the punch of immediate visual appeal you may be looking for. With both vinyl and paper backing cut into the exact shape of the design, your customers will be able to easily imagine the perfect place to stick their sticker. These are the most cost-effective production methods, so the price will be a little lower.

But if you love the look of a kiss cut sticker, remember to take advantage of the extra space on the carrier around the sticker that’s available for printing further information about your business or brand.

There is no right or wrong answer, and there isn’t any reason not to try your sticker designs first one way and then the other. Your needs and your customers’ responses will guide you as you explore the wide wonderful world of custom design stickers.


Get Your Stickers Stuck with Stomp 

Stickers are great for marketing your brand and promoting your business. A great design catches a customer’s attention and brings your brand to life. Printed on our incredibly durable vinyl, Stomp’s stickers are guaranteed to keep your message stuck in your customers’ minds for a long time to come. And with more than 30 years of printing experience, you can be sure you get the best when you order from Stomp.

Get started on your own custom die cut stickers today with our super easy design tool, always-ready customer service team, an endless array of sticker and label design choices. Prefer to use kiss cut stickers? We can do those on a custom basis. contact our printing experts and get started today. 


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