On the surface, they’re the ultimate in cheese. But for designers, creating a realistic, peeling sticker effect should be stock in trade.

This is one of those effects that is just fun to create and play with, much in the fashion real stickers were when we were all a bit younger. And, despite the rise of low-end tools that claim to deliver canned sticker effects, the ability to roll your own to your own specifications is just one of those skills that every designer should have.

This method for creating a peeling effect provides you a lot of flexibility in your styles, allowing you to create the effect with your own personal style – and you can use your sticker not just in print, but mix it with Web 2.0 palettes to enhance stamps on Web sites.

You’ll need Photoshop CS2 or higher to create this effect, as it relies heavily on the Warp Transform tool.

Step 1
You can start with almost any image you like. Whether you’re starting with an object or a photo, you’ll want to start by putting what you want “stickered” onto its own Layer. You can do this easily by making a selection with a Selection tool, or just highlighting the layer in the Layers palette and pressing Ctrl + J.

Step 2
Double-click on the right-hand side of the Layer in the Layers Palette to bring up the Layer Styles dialog, or more traditionally go to Layer > Layer Style > Stroke. Set the stroke size to something large, giving your image a nice thick outline. In my case, I set it to 15px.