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Home » Sticker Blog » What’s the difference between die-cut and kiss-cut stickers?

What’s the difference between die-cut and kiss-cut stickers?


The difference between die-cut and kiss-cut stickers is how the stickers are cut in relation to the silicone release backing paper. For die-cut stickers the sticker and the backing paper are cut to the same size and shape. For kiss-cut stickers the sticker is cut to a different size or shape to the backing paper.

connect amazon kiss-cut sticker

All stickers begin their life as a roll (or very large sheet) of self-adhesive vinyl, made up of two parts: the top layer of substrate which is printed on, and the bottom layer of silicone release paper, used as a base for the sticker to be held on, and which facilitates easy removal, in a peel and release motion. In the production of stickers a choice needs to be made in how to cut the vinyl into the shape and size of the sticker. Either a die tool is made, or kiss-cutters (sometimes called contour cutters) are employed.


What are die-cut stickers?

In the sticker industry ‘die cut to shape’, ‘punch cut to shape’, ‘forme cut to shape’, and ‘shape cut to shape’ all have the same meaning. A cutting die or ‘forme’ in the shape of the required sticker is made before the sticker job commences production.

The die that is made is essentially a sharp blade that is bent to the shape and size of sticker, and is used to punch out the sticker from the sheet of vinyl. In this sense it is not dissimilar to a kitchen pastry cutter! The stickers are cut out by the die under pressure, leaving as waste the vinyl around them.

Several cutting dies can be made for large jobs as multiple cutters. Multiple stickers are then cut at the same time which shortens the production. This offers faster delivery times to the customer.

During the die-cutting process the sticker and it’s backing paper are cut through together in a single cut.


What are kiss-cut stickers?

Kiss cut stickers are self-adhesive vinyl stickers that have been cut to a different size or shape than the backing paper to which they are attached.

Precision cutting machines are often deployed to make kiss-cut stickers which are able to cut through the printed substrate (less than a millimetre in thickness) while not cutting through the remaining backing paper. This allows sheets of stickers to be prepared which is not possible with the die-cut alternative.

Kiss cut stickers - what are they? What is the difference between die cut and kiss cut stickers

Kiss-cut stickers, therefore, have three main characteristics:

  • Firstly, the sticker and the backing paper are not the same size or shape. This does allow the stickers to be more easily removed – since the edge of the sticker offers a useful lifting point to the sticker for it to be peeled off at ease.
  • Secondly, since no die is required, these stickers have a lower setup cost.
  • Thirdly, kiss-cutting does allow multiple stickers to be presented together on a single sheet, something not possible with die-cutting.

Kiss-cutting is the preferred method for cutting digitally printed stickers, with some printers using integrated cutting. This involves moving rolls of printed self-adhesive vinyl from the digital printer to the cutting machine (sometimes called ‘plotters’). The process is often managed from the same software package.

Some of the big names in kiss-cut plotters are Summa and Roland.  These companies manufacture the SummaCut series and the Print-Cut series respectively.

Now you know the difference between die-cut and kiss-cut stickers! Order your own custom vinyl stickers online today.