How to peel the backing off my stickers. "Help! I'm can't get the back off my stickers!"

How to peel the backing off my stickers. "Help! I'm can't get the back off my stickers!"

Hey there, fellow journaling papercrafting enthusiasts! 🎨

Stickers are a fabulous way to bring creativity to life in your paper crafting projects, but we all know the struggle of removing that pesky backing. Fear not! I've got 14 tips to make your sticker-peeling adventures much smoother.


Some of these are from customers who use these techniques all the time and love them, others are from other online creators that I have found.

Some of these tips work best with PET stickers that have a plastic backing, some you'll find suit washi stickers or paper stickers better. Some of these techniques are too harsh for paper stickers and you'll find they may remove some of your beautiful sticker illustration :( so trail a few with some stickers you don't mind so much if they get damaged, before committing to using one on your most favourite or special sticker you have been admiring and saved for a special occasion.

Let's dive in!


Start with a Corner

Always begin peeling from one corner. Pick a corner that's easiest to lift, and gently work your way across. You'll need some strong finger nails for this technique and it's what we usually default to automatically for every sticker... then find it is not working and get super frustrated!

Use Tweezers - customer favourite tip from Mazzy

Precision matters! Tweezers can provide a steady grip on the corner, giving you more control while pulling back the liner. Or you can use tweezers instead of your finger nails to try and break the seal between the layers of the sticker! 

Heat It Up

Gently warm the sticker with a hairdryer or heat embossing tool for a few seconds. The heat softens the adhesive slightly, making the backing easier to remove. This tip comes with some serious warnings... you might want to hold the sticker with a pair of tweezers, but also be careful doing this that you can't gauge easily how much the sticker is heating up... and melt your sticker :( that would be tragic for sure!


"One of the reasons I started The Turtle Journal is my love of stickers! I used to collect them when I was a little girl, they are super nostalgic for me and they make me so happy to include in pretty much ALL of my paper crafting or journaling projects :) Check out my range of vintage inspired stickers here"

Bend the Corner

Flex the sticker gently back and forth in the corner, create a fold in an area you are not likely to notice much. This can create a slight separation between the sticker and the backing for you to grab. This technique works particularly well when paired with the Sticky Tape technique (below).

Cutting Tool - customer favourite tip from Allison

Use a craft knife or small pair of scissors to cut through the back layer of the sticker! This takes a bit of practice, and works best when a PET sticker and not washi or paper, but literally cut the back of the sticker layer with a craft knife, then fold the sticker back on itself to remove the layer... be careful not to damage the sticker itself.

Try Baby Powder

Lightly dust the sticker's edges with baby powder to neutralise any excess stickiness. It will dry out the area and give a bit of grip as you use your fingernails to break the layer of the seal. This is a super novel idea - so worth trying out! Be careful with how much baby powder you use - a little goes a very long way, and you don't want to accidentally get powder all over the back of your sticker and completely neutralise all the sticky to actually adhere your sticker to your project!

Sticker Peel Assist Tool - customer favourite tip from Wendy

A sticker peeling tool or mat can simplify your peeling process by lifting the backing more efficiently. These are specially designed mats where you stick down your sticker on the mat, then leaver up the front of the sticker, leaving behind the complete backing on the mat. You just need a pair of tweezers to work in conjunction with a mat like this. The mat comes with a protective layer that you first remove, creating a tacky mat, that's what you stick your sticker to! Then replace the protective covering over the tacky mat afterwards and ready for next time.

"Stickers are an easy add to your next project! Other embellishments like stamping, embossing or diecuts can be really expensive! If you collect stamps or diecut plates you know what I mean :) But stickers - with their fun vibes, are so convenient to layer on your next project. I often find stickers are the perfect flourish to finish a project off, like putting the icing on a cake! Check out my range of stickers - shipped from Adelaide to your doorstep - here"


Sticky Tape

Grab a piece of sticky or cello tape, then press it to the backing of the sticker, off the edge so you can hold onto the sticker just by holding the edge of the exposed sticky tape. Now manipulate the sticky tape to leverage off the actual sticker itself from the backing. This is a great way to hold the sticker with one hand and leverage off the backing, whilst using your other hand to then grab the edge of the sticker with some tweezers and peel it from the backing (which is attached to that piece of cello or sticky tape). 

Sticky Tape x 2

Similar to the tip above, this just requires two pieces of sticky tape or cello, one for the backing of the sticker and one for the front. Only use two pieces if your sticker is PET or durable plastic, otherwise you will for sure damage the front of your sticker when you try and delicately remove the sticky tape once you have placed your sticker on your project. This technique is exactly as it sounds - use two pieces placed in slightly different areas of the sticker, then pull the two pieces apart to break the seal of the layers.

Use a Needleworking or Dressmakers Pin

If a corner is too tricky to lift, when trying with your fingernails or even a pair of tweezers, grab an even finer tip with a dressmakers pin or needleworking pin. Gently wedge it between the backing and the sticker to get things started. Be super careful with this technique, it's basically like carefully pushing a sharp needle into an object very close to the skin of your fingers... or like using a sharp knife to remove the seed of an avocado :) it can be second-nature to just do in a hurry, but prone to slipping and cutting yourself.

Fold & Roll - this is my (Rachel's) most favourite tip

Fold an edge, a part of the sticker not likely to be seen or the edging, then after folding if over, gently roll the sticker in your fingers to separate the layers, making it easier to peel away the backing. This works best when you have a clear or transparent edge to the sticker that won't interfere with its design if you do this, because generally doing this technique makes lots of tiny folds in the actual sticker itself when you roll it between your fingers.

Glossy Accents - used many times!

Isn't Glossy Accents glue? Yes it is :) This technique is perfect if you are super frustrated with trying tt remove the backing and if your sticker is heavily illustrated - so just glue the darn thing down with some glue that will dry clear - backing and all! Just adhere it directly without needing to remove the backing altogether.

Freezer Method

Pop the sticker in the freezer for a few minutes! The cold makes the layers stiffer, making it easier to fold and separate them. Makes perfect sense why this would work and super clever - just requires some pre-planning :)


Scratch it up!

This technique doesn't need any tools - except sharp finger nails, but you could also use a pair of tweezers or a needleworking pin, or even a guitar pick! It is similar to many other techniques, but less fraught with danger because you're not holding the sticker in your hand as you trying and force something sharp between the layers. In this technique you are removing the sticker from the backing, rather than the other way around (removing the backing from the actual sticker). Simply place the sticker down on a craft or self-healing mat, and apply steady pressure with a finger to the very edge of the sticker to keep it in place. Now use either your finger nail, a sharp pin, a guitar pick... anything sharp, to scratch up the edge, forcing the sharp object or your finger nail between the layers while you are holding the sticker down firmly on the surface with your other hand.


Some of these ideas and tips I tested out on a Facebook LIVE, watch the replay here to check them out!

That is a pretty comprehensive list, and Iike I said, many are similar or work in conjunction with each other.

Hopefully this gives you a solution to EVERY sticker drama and gets rid of the frustration :)

With these tips at your disposal, removing sticker backing will be a breeze, so we can instead enjoy our creative pursuits and the relaxation that comes with them.

Have you tried any of these?

Are there other tips I have missed?

🎉 Share this article with a friend via the 'share' button at the top of the article, or leave a comment below with your experience.

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1 comment

I have seen a few crafters on YouTube recently using the tip of an awl to just snag the corner of the backing sheet. They make it look easy! I haven’t tried it myself yet, as I have fairly strong nails, which seem to do the job okay for me. My fingernail technique is to kind of scratch-up a corner of the backing, which usually gets the wee beasty started. If not, I move to another corner.


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