DIY Stick Families

DIY Stick Families

Your car is a reflection of your personality. From the color of its paint to the hanging dice on your rearview mirror, your car is a great place to show off who you are — and how important your family is to you.

Custom stick family decals have been around for a while. If you've spent any time on the road in the last few years, you've likely seen plenty of these little decals on the backs of minivans and sports cars alike. They can also hang out inside your home, on a variety of surfaces. Vinyl stick family decals are simple, stylized representations of every member of your family, and they are very easy to DIY. Here's how you can make these DIY stick family decals, where they can go and why you should DIY them.

What Is a Stick Family?

A DIY stick family is a great way to show off the people who matter most to you. Whether you have a nuclear family of a mom, dad, son and daughter or something a little less traditional, the decals let you proudly put your family on display.

Custom stick figure decals transform your family members into the stick figure you might remember drawing when you were a kid. A stick figure mom might have hair made of a curlicue and a dress shaped like a triangle. Stick figure kids can be a variety of heights based on their age. Some stick families are more cartoon-like and detailed than others.

Stick families often have props to show off family member's various interests. If Dad is a golfer, he can wear a visor and carry a golf club in his hand. If one of your kids is an artist, they can hold a paintbrush in their hand. Everyone can wear their favorite colors on their shirts or hold equipment from their favorite sports.

Some stick families also include pets. After all, your pets are part of your family too. Whether you have two dogs and three cats or just a goldfish, you can bring them into the fold and include them in your DIY stick family. Give Fido the attention he deserves.

Where to Put a Stick Family

The traditional place for a stick family is on the back of your car, on one of the lower corners of your rear windshield. You can also put your stick family on the bumper of a car or on a side window.

You don't have to put your stick family on your car. If you don't have a car or you prefer to keep yours free of stickers, you can find a place for your stick family in your home.

A few places to hang up your vinyl stick family include:

  • The refrigerator door
  • A wall in a hallway
  • In a playroom or den
  • On a mirror
  • On a briefcase or laptop bag
  • On a backpack
  • On your laptop
  • On the wall of your office or cubicle

Why DIY a Stick Family Decal

Personalized Stick Family

You could buy a generic stick family decal, but it won't have the same personality as the one you make yourself. It's also a little less fun. There's a certain charm involved in creating your own vinyl family. Your custom stick family will reflect your family and show off who you really are. A few other reasons to DIY your stick figures include:

  • It's cheaper: It often costs less to DIY a stick family decal than to buy a premade one. The most expensive part is the vinyl cutting machine, but if you already have one, then you can make your vinyl stick family for less than $10. In some cases, you can access a machine without buying one. Many libraries and schools have die-cut machines available for public use. Your crafty friend might have one at home. Many retailers sell stick families by-the-person. They can charge around $5 per person in a stick family, meaning a family of five with one pet would cost you $30 before shipping.
  • You can customize features: When you make your own stick family decals, you can reach a level of personalization that a premade set doesn't offer. You can have a family of any size and any structure, whether that is you and a pet or a large family of eight, plus two dogs. You're really only limited by the area you plan on hanging the decals. Pets, hobbies and other defining features can make your stick family especially unique. You can add objects and outfits or even give your stick family a pop culture theme.
  • You have more vinyl options to choose from: Aside from the details of your design, you also get more control over the vinyl itself when you DIY. You can choose from options of glossy or matte, holographic, translucent, frosted and even wood-grain vinyl. Many premade stick figure sets only come in black and white. You can also select the size of your sticker. Whether you want a decal so big Martians can see it from space or one a little more understated, you can take your pick with the DIY option.

How to Make a Stick Family

If you can get your hands on an electronic vinyl cutter like a Cricut or Silhouette machine, DIY stick families are as simple as downloading a design, selecting your figures and letting it run. If you're unfamiliar, these machines look a lot like standard printers. The big difference is that a vinyl cutter uses a blade to cut out a preset design while a printer produces a design with ink.

You have a few options when it comes to the design of your stick family.

  • Design your own: If you have a good eye, you may be able to design your figures yourself using software that can create an SVG file. Vinyl cutting machines can read SVG files when creating decals. Programs like Adobe Illustrator or software provided by the die-cut machine manufacturers can produce the SVG file for you. If you decide to make your own design, your creativity is your only limit.
  • Purchase someone else's pre-made design: You can find a wide variety of stick figure bundles on sites like eBay and Etsy. The designs typically cost a few dollars and include a pack of stick people SVG files. You can pick and choose the ones that fit your family to print. You can usually see the whole pack before you download, so you know what you're purchasing and can make sure it's what you want before you buy it.
  • Purchase a custom design from a website: There are also websites where you can mix and match a variety of heads and outfits to create highly customized figures and export the designs. Custom stick figures often cost a bit more than pre-made options or DIY designs. If you have a particular idea in mind and don't trust your own design skills, this might be the way to go.

Use Craft Vinyl

Once you've got your designs, the next step is to select your vinyl. Typically, craft vinyl is what you want to use when creating stick figure family decals.

Craft vinyl typically has a pressure-sensitive adhesive layer on the back, so it works a lot like a sticker. It adheres to many surfaces, from smooth to semi-rough. Craft vinyl is usually calendered vinyl, so it applies well to flat or moderately curved surfaces. It's relatively thick and resists abrasion well, too. Crafty vinyl comes in a rainbow of more than 60 colors for some varieties, with either gloss or matte finishes.

One thing to consider when picking out vinyl is sun exposure. If you're putting the decals on your car, pick an outdoor-grade vinyl that won't fade quickly in the sun. Some craft vinyl options include:

Craft vinyl varieties at work well on exterior surfaces include:

More Ideas

The sky's the limit when it comes to customization options for vinyl decals. Lots of options can make it challenging to decide what you want. Here are a few of our suggestions for ways you can customize your stick figure decals.

1. Features

Bring the stick versions of your family members to life by including some notable features in your design. If someone has a trademark hairstyle or a Jay-Leno-style chin, their stick figure could benefit from one, too. You can include features like:

  • Facial hair
  • Big eyes or eyelashes
  • Hairstyles
  • Large ears or a prominent nose

2. Accessories

Does someone in your family refuse to be seen without a particular accessory? Give their stick figure that accessory, too. You can include Dad's signature shades on his stick-figure version, and put a smartphone in the hand of the stick-version of your teenage daughter. A few other accessories you could add include:

  • Glasses
  • Jewelry
  • Backpack
  • Notebook
  • Shoes like heels or sneakers

3. Hobbies/Interests

Hobbie Vinyl

Adding in your family's hobbies and interests is a great way to translate their personalities to vinyl. You can include representations of whatever they're interested in, including:

  • Reading (a book)
  • Art (a paintbrush)
  • Making or fixing things (a wrench)
  • Cooking or baking (a chef's hat)
  • Music (an instrument)
  • Dance (a pair of ballet shoes)

4. Sports

Some people define themselves by the sports they play. Dad might golf every the weekend or your oldest kid might be a basketball star. You can put the ball next to them or even dress them up in their gear. Here are some common sports you may want to incorporate:

  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Cheerleading
  • Football
  • Tennis
  • Rugby
  • Baseball
  • Golf

5. Additional Family Members

Your family might include more than immediate family members. Pets and any other important relatives may have earned a place in your stick family, too. It might be best to stick with live-in or especially close relatives, or you risk your stick family getting out of control:

  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Fish, birds, hamsters
  • Grandparents
  • Aunts and uncles
  • The significant others of your grown-up kids

6. Pop Culture References

Many people choose to add a twist to classic stick figure styles by working in some kind of pop culture reference. Here are a few of the most popular ones:

  • Star Wars: Turn your family members into Star Wars characters. Give Mom some Leia buns and a white robe and Dad a blaster and vest. The little ones can be small Ewoks or wearing adorably oversized Darth Vader helmets. It's a cute spin on a well-loved family classic.

Zombie Stick Families

  • Zombies: Take a snarky approach to stick figures by making your family zombies. You can add grotesque versions of yourselves hunched over with your arms out.
  • Aliens: Adding alien heads and hands can give your stick figure family an otherworldly quality.
  • Superheroes: Turn every member of your family into a classic superhero. We all know Mom is Wonder Woman already. Let the kids can pick their favorites. Add capes and masks to the whole family to make sure your car is well-protected from the big bads.

Turn Your Family Into Stick Figures With Rvinyl

Between heavy customization and a reduced cost, DIY-ing a stick figure family is a great way to decorate your car, home or office with the people that matter most to you. You can keep them with you at all times and work their personalities into your design.

However you choose to customize your DIY stick figure family, Rvinyl has the materials to make it possible. Our vinyl selection includes tons of colors, finishes and weather resistance. We offer economy products for less intensive applications and high-end vinyl that can stand up to even the toughest of environments. Take a look at all of our craft vinyl offerings to see what will work best for your DIY stick figure family.