Famously, Freedom of the Press belongs to him what owns
one. Similarly, Freedom of Expression could be said to be restricted
when you can't find a bumper sticker that says what you want.
Some three years back, I figured out how to make my
own bumper stickers and have been "expressing myself" (some would
say making a fool of myself) by plastering my poor car with leftie bumper
My wife is a minimalist and gets by with the one bumper sticker she
asked me to make for her CRV.
If you want a closer look, here's a higher resolution version
Now that Kerry was 'defeated', I removed some so it looks a little patchy,
but never fear, there's more to come. Some new favorites:
Moral Values Explained: Sex by O'Reilly, Lies by Bush, Gambling by
Bennett, Torture by Gonzales.
Any Idiot can start a War
Hey George, Send Your
Kids to Iraq!
The bumper stickers I make are black and white (no color),
made on a normal laser printer (an old IBM/Lexmark 4029) on a special heat-resistant
vinyl label material that can make it through a laser printer's fuser (where
the toner powder gets melted onto the page) without turning into taffy and
lunching your laster printer. They are extremely durable (after
3-4+ years, they're as good as new if a little greyed from accumulated dirt).
I generate the design using Corel Draw (though any middle level
or better computer art software can be used).
So, you'll need:
- A computer art software package. You will only frustrate
yourself trying to do this with Word or WordPerfect. Take the plunge
and get the real thing if you don't have one already. The latest level
of the top contenders, Like CorelDraw or Adobe Illustrator, are very
pricey and have lots of bells and whistles, more than most of us will ever
need (and confusing as well). My answer is to get a back level version.
You'll be getting the real thing, not a tricycle, and you'll develop
some real skills. Back level CorelDraw, say version 7 or 8 (11 is current
now), can be had for as little as $5. Try 5dollar software or
just search in Google or a price engine. The doc will be on the CD for
that price and you can get tutorials off the web.
- A B&W laser printer (Color laser printers supposedly get too
hot for the label material). This printer should be capable of accepting
manually fed individual legal-sized sheets and should be capable of
straight-through printing and print discharge. Tray fed paper feed
input and tray discharged output require 180 degree U-turn bends that are
problematic. You should be able to feed it straight in and have it
come straight out after printing. I use a clanky old Lexmark/IBM 4029
- The label material
- A print or paper trimmer
The label material
Comes from a great operation on the West Coast, RippedSheets.com
(a ripped sheet
is a printing trade
term...in the trade, the stock (paper, whatever) is made in enormous sheets
or rolls. An intermediary jobber would cut or section those big sheets
to turn out ripped
sells specialized label material.in small qunatities and sizes.
I use their #102600 Outdoor Waterproof White Vinyl Super Permanent Self Adhesive
I buy "legal" size sheets, 8.5"x14". One sheet cut into thirds
down the length of the long side yields three 2.75"x14" bumper stickers.
Alas, it isn't cheap; the legal-sized sheets cost $3 to $6, depending on
the quantity you buy. I would suggest you buy no more than you can use
in 2-3 months, as the backing paper that covers the adhesive side can get
difficult to pull off if it sits on the shelf longer than that.
Designing and Printing the Bumper Sticker
I'm not going to tell you how to do the artwork, but I do have some pointers
- Don't try to print individual bumper stickers: they'd be too small
and finicky to print well on your laser printer. Instead:
- Develop, as a single artwork file/image, three different bumper
stickers (or make 3 copies of the same design) in your artwork software,
based on Legal sized paper, in landscape format, like this: