InDesign FX: Creating a peeling sticker effect

Published by | Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Little things mean a lot. It’s true in many aspects of life and it’s also true when it comes to creating great graphic effects. This week’s InDesign FX tutorial, Making Peeling Stickers, is another great example of how several small details can add up to a big impact.

Peeling sticker effect created in InDesign.

The effect starts out with a simple circle, which is transformed into the peeling sticker by the addition of several key details.

The first of these details is literally small: a tiny drop shadow, placed directly behind the circle to simulate a paper-thin material.

Tiny InDesign drop-shadow placed under a shape to make the shape appear dimensional.

The second key detail is creating an object that makes it look like part of the circle has been peeled up and curled over. In the video, I show how to use the somewhat obscure Scissors tool to create this object. Many users may not be aware that InDesign even has a Scissors tool, but this often overlooked tool can be very handy for creating the kinds of shapes needed for cool effects.

Using the InDesign Scissors tool and Swatches panel to create a peeling sticker effect.

A subtle gradient fill applied at the correct angle makes the backside piece seem curled.

Adding a subtle gradient fill in InDesign to create the illusion of a peeled sticker corner.

Then for the ultimate finishing touch, I make the appearance of some sticky glue residue left behind where the sticker peeled off. For this, all you need is a white-filled copy of the original circle, reduced in opacity.

Using InDesign to create the illusion of a glue residue with a white-filled copy of the original circle, reduced in opacity.

The point here isn’t so much the technique. It’s the idea that taking the time to think things through, and come up with that one extra key detail from real life, is what makes for a great effect. Viewers may not notice it consciously, but that’s the point. Details like the glue residue aren’t there to draw attention to themselves—they’re there to contribute to the overall effect and make it something remarkable.

For members, I also have another new member-exclusive video this week in the library called Tips for Text Stroke Effects. In InDesign you can stroke live text, but the only type of stroke you can apply is a single solid stroke—you can’t apply anything fancier like dashed, dotted, hashed, wavy, or striped strokes to live text. In the Tips for Text Stroke Effects video, I show how to get around this limitation and open up all kinds of possibilities for fun text stroke effects.

Multi-colored InDesign dotted-line text stroke effect on black background.

InDesign scribble-style text stroke effect on chalkboard background.

InDesign thread-style text stroke that looks like sewing on fabric.

See you here again in two weeks with another InDesign effect!

Interested in more?
• The complete InDesign FX course
• All InDesign courses on
• All courses by Mike Rankin on

Suggested courses to watch next:
• InDesign Secrets
• InDesign CS6 Essential Training 
• InDesign CS6 New Features 
 Deke’s Techniques

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One Response to “InDesign FX: Creating a peeling sticker effect”

  1. Anusheh says:

    This was a life saver. THANK YOU SO MUCH
    Keep up the good work!

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