Most stickers are backed with a type of adhesive that sticks permanently to paper but not necessarily to plastic. Making stickers adhere permanently to a plastic surface requires a few steps and supplies, but it is quite straightforward. For the most successful results, you need to make sure the stickers stay permanently in place on the plastic surface while also resisting wear and tear. Fortunately, both of these objectives are achievable with a single inexpensive product – decoupage glue.
Use the Right Glue
Decoupage glue is ideal for making stickers stick to plastic permanently. This type of glue is similar to white glue in that it goes on opaque, and it dries clear. However, it is stronger and works as both a sealant and an adhesive. Be sure to choose a decoupage glue that is intended for use on plastic in a strength that suits your project.
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Prepare the Plastic Surface
To make stickers stick permanently to plastic, start by thoroughly cleaning the plastic surface with soap and water and then letting it dry. Next, stick your stickers in place and assess the strength of the seal. Depending on the type of sticker and type of plastic, you might be using stickers that stick to plastic very firmly or not even stick at all.
Are You Using Stickers That Stick to Plastic?
If you have stickers that stick to plastic, just press them firmly in place on the plastic surface and then proceed with sealing them with decoupage glue. If the stickers do not stick in place, you need to start by gluing down the stickers.
Glue Down the Stickers
For stickers that do not stick well to plastic, glue down the stickers with decoupage glue. Use a paintbrush to apply a thin layer of glue to the area where the sticker will go and then press the sticker firmly in place while the glue is still wet. Let the glue dry completely before proceeding with the sealing steps. This will generally take about an hour or two.
Sealing the Stickers
When the stickers are firmly in place, whether it is by gluing them or starting with stickers that stick to plastic, you need to seal them with two or three coats of decoupage glue. This step permanently adheres the stickers to the plastic surface, and it also protects the stickers from wear and tear.
To seal the stickers, use a paintbrush to apply a thin layer of decoupage glue over the stickers and the plastic surfaces immediately around their edges. The glue will be white and opaque while it is wet, but it will become clear when it is dry. Let the first coat of glue dry completely before applying a second coat and optionally a third coat. The more coats of glue you apply, the stronger the seal will be.
Do You Want to Make Them Waterproof?
Some stronger types of decoupage glue promise a water-resistant seal, but for a waterproof finish, you need to use a second product – a clear acrylic sealant or spray enamel. These are available in brush-on and spray-on formulas. Apply one or more coats of waterproof sealant following the manufacturer's instructions after the final coat of decoupage glue is dry.