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I'm working on creating labels that will be cut out and placed as a sticker. I'm very curious on if there's a "standard" border between the image and cut lines.

I was looking at How to make striped/dashed border for a "cut out" coupon style? and a related video: http://www.iceflowstudios.com/2012/tutorials/photoshop-cs6-beta-shape-strokes/

The video shows the dashed line touching the image, other responses point to an offset path of 10 pts (line weight 4).

I know the offset will be pretty case-specific, but I'm wondering if there's any general standards beyond "ask your printer". In my case, I set the offset to 1 pt before sending it and asking if they want a bit more space. I did this because the sticker will be laid overtop the part exactly, then cut with a razor around the edge, so a very small border should make for precision placement. However, this would be extremely difficult to cut by hand if you didn't have the image already placed against a hard surface of the exact size.

The in coupon example in the link, a bigger distance would be good, as people are cutting carelessly with scissors or just tearing by hand.

Any recommendations on a "standard" border distance?

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Without bleed I don't know what size your is coupon but the minimum safe margin is 0.0625 inch (1/16"). And that is really the ultra minimum only for very small prints. Normally, it's 0.125" (1/8") and that's better too.

With bleed, You can put your border within the 0.0625" all around your document but that's really thin and "dangerous", so if it looks nice on your design with a thicker border, use thicker. Bleed should also be 0.125" but sometimes on sticker, depending which process the printer is using (rolls or sheets), 0.0625" can be acceptable.

Again, if your coupon is big or the layout permits it, use the safe numbers for bleed and inside margins: 0.125"

Peel-off sticker

The same specifications apply for the peel-off stickers than any other stickers or custom diecut project.

Thickness of a dieline

The dieline is the line on your document that represents the custom shape of the sticker.

It will not be printed on the sticker but used by the printer to build a matrice with razors.

For maximum precision, it should be 0.3 points thick. The matrice is the diecut.

You need to use a spot color and name it "dieline" to make sure it won't be printed or provide it on a separate file with this outline only, centered and in the exact position and alignment of your design. Use registrations marks (trim marks) to makes sure it's perfectly aligned.

Provide a JPG proof to the printer that will show the dieline in a bright color, and the design together. This way he can see what you expect as final result and if your dieline is alright.


You have 2 options if you want to print that dashed line in bleed or non-bleed. I made an example below. The non-bleed version would give better results if you don't know if the printer is a very good one because any misalignment during the diecut phase will not be too visible. And if the printer uses rolls, the misaligned printing won't be too visible either. Plus it's cheaper.

As you guess with bleed, that kind of border doesn't look good if the printer doesn't adjust his diecut well. Some sides of the border could look thicker than the others.

PS: Sorry for the inch units, you'll need to convert them to the ones you prefer!

How to make a dashed coupon line in bleed and non-bleed for print in roll or offset with a diecut


Stickers printed on rolls:

sticker roll printing stickers round shapes

Stickers printed on sheets and diecut for shapes:

(diecut = probably what you call "razor"). The metal part on top is the diecut.

sticker printing with diecut dieline offset sheets custom size

Sources: Rolls: Youtube.com user Peng Nicole, Sheets: go-media.com

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    Thanks for the info. The question is actually about where to put the diecut/trim line and its width and distance from the "exact" dimension of the sticker – itsnotmyfault Jun 15 '15 at 17:17
  • I edited my answer. Thickness of the line: 0.3pts. Distance: You're always safe when you use 0.125" for bleed, safe margin or the whote margin around a peel-off (it's like a bleed in a way). You can put the dieline on top of your design in a spot color but it's safer to simply put it alone in a separate file. Provide a flat JPG to your printer to show him how it should look like and make sure the dieline and the design are together, clearly identified. – go-junta Jun 15 '15 at 17:31

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