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How to create acrylic standees using Adobe illustrator

Posted on June 05 2018

How to create acrylic standees using Adobe illustrator

This tutorial contains all of the information needed to create an acrylic standee using Adobe Illustrator.

1. Download our templates

To start submitting your custom printed, clear acrylic Standee designs, you will need to download our design templates.

Templates are available in a range of sizes, from 50mm (approximately 2 inches right up to 150mm (approximately 6 inches).

Click >> here << to download our Illustrator templates.

Each template comes with a working area where you will import or create your designs.

2. Understanding our layers

Once open, you will notice that there are a number of layers in your Layers palette. If you can't see the Layers palette, hit F7 to make it appear. 

Acrylic Standee Illustrator Layers

Please don't rename existing layers or create additional layers as this will confuse our systems when processing your designs.

If you have used any effects / layer styles on any of your layers you MUST flatten them before saving. 

If you use any text elements please make sure that these have been converted to outlines before submitting your designs.

'Office Use Only’ Layer
This layer contains information about the template you are using. This layer is locked and should not be used. 

'White Layers
Adding a base layer of white to your standee’s will make your colours crisper and more vivid. Printed areas with no white ink behind will appear transparent.

‘Artwork A’ Layers
Create multiple upright sections for your standees. The number of uprights allowable depends on the size of the standee. For example, you can have up to 2 uprights with our 50mm x 50mm standee and up to 5 uprights with our 100mm x 150mm standees. We've colour coded each upright's layer group to make them more identifiable.

Single Sided Printing - If you are creating a single sided standee you should place your artwork on the 'Artwork A' layers. We print your designs onto the 'back' of the clear acrylic and then add a layer of white ink. 

ALL ARTWORK ON THE 'ARTWORK A' LAYERS SHOULD BE FLIPPED HORIZONTALLY SO THAT THEY ARE MIRROR IMAGES. PLEASE SEE STEP 3 FOR MORE INFORMATION. 

When you turn the standee over your design will be the correct way around and visible via the 'front' of the acrylic.

‘Artwork B’ Layers
Double Sided Printing - If you are creating a double sided standee this is where you'll place the artwork for the back of your standee. We'll print 'Artwork B' layers directly onto the top of your corresponding 'Artwork A’ layers.

DO NOT FLIP/MIRROR THE ARTWORK ON THESE LAYERS. THE ARTWORK ON THESE LAYERS SHOULD SIT ON TOP AND LINE UP PERFECTLY WITH THE ARTWORK ON YOUR 'ARTWORK A' LAYERS SO THAT IT FULLY MASKS ARTWORK A. PLEASE SEE STEP 3 FOR MORE INFORMATION. 

‘Cut’ Layers
Use these layers to show us where you would like your Standees to be cut. We'll use this information to create a path which will then be used to create cut lines for our laser cutters.

‘Stand Tab’ Layer (on Stand Template only)
Use this layer to show us where you would like your Standee tab to be placed. The standee tab will slot into the standee base to keep your standee upright. We'll use this information to create a path which will then be used to create a cut line.

‘Base Hole’ Layer (on Base Template only)
Use this layer to show us where you would like your hole tab to be placed. The upright part of the standee will slot into the hole and create a standing design. We'll use this information to create a path which will then be used to create a cut line.

3. Importing your Design

'Artwork 1A'
Select the 'Artwork 1A' layer in your layers palette and either draw your design directly into this layer or, simply copy (CTRL+C) and paste (CTRL+V) previously saved artwork. This artwork will form the front of your standee design.

Clear Acrylic Standee Artwork

Once you are happy with it FLIP IT so that it is a mirror image of itself.

Clear Acrylic Standee Art flipped

We print your designs onto the 'back' of the clear acrylic before adding a layer of white. Your design will then be visible, the correct way around, via the 'front' of the acrylic.

If your standee has multiple uprights, simply repeat this process for each upright using the additional 'Artwork #A' layers.



'Artwork 1B'
This is where you will create or paste the artwork that you would like to appear on the 'back' of your double sided standee. DO NOT FLIP THE ARTWORK ON THIS LAYER!



We print your B-Side ('back') design directly on top of the A-Side ('front') design to create an awesome looking double sided standee.

If your standee has multiple uprights, simply repeat this process for each upright using the additional 'Artwork #B' layers.

4. Check your Alignment

If you're producing a double sided standee it's important that your A-Side and B-Side artwork lines up correctly. 

A simple way of checking this is to select your 'Artwork B' layer and lower the opacity to 50% 

Now view your artwork and check that both A & B are the same size and perfectly aligned. Here is an example of how it should look...

5a. Adding a layer of white

To guarantee bright and crisp colours for your artwork, you will need to add a white base layer to your designs. This white layer of ink sits behind your artwork. Any areas with no white behind will appear transparent.

To create your white base layer simply copy your artwork from the 'Artwork #A' layer and paste it into the 'White #' layer using the 'Paste in Front' command CTRL + F

Use the 'Image Trace' command (if your design is a bitmap) or the 'Unite' function from the 'Pathfinder' palette (if your design is a vector) to create a silhouette version of your 'Artwork' layer.

Give this silhouette a 100% Cyan fill with no stroke, like this...

If your standee has multiple uprights, simply repeat this process for each upright using the additional 'White #' layers.

6. Add a border / cut line - IMPORTANT!

You can now decide on the thickness of your border, which will be used as a cut line. It is ESSENTIAL that you make this border AT LEAST 1mm wider than your artwork. Failure to do so can cause your printed design to lift along the cut edge as a result of the heat generated by the laser. A 1mm border will prevent this from happening.

Use the 'Cut 1' layer to show us EXACTLY how wide you would like this border as we WILL use this information to create your cut line and cut out your Standee.

To do this, first select all of the elements on your 'Artwork' layer, copy them (CTRL+C) and then use the 'Paste in Front' command (CTRL+F) to paste them onto your 'Cut Area' layer.

Make sure that all of the elements on the 'Cut 1' layer are selected and hit the 'Unite' button in the 'Pathfinder' window. This will merge all elements together to create one shape, which will be used to create your cut line.

Give the merged shape a 0.01mm outline with the following colour values R:255 G:0 :B0 and NO fill

Use the OBJECT > PATH > OFFSET PATH command to offset (increase) this shape by at least 1mm.



Delete the original path so that there are no duplicates.

TIP - Hide the 'Artwork’ layer and view the document as outlines (CTRL+Y) to view your cut line as an outline. This will allow you to identify any unwanted elements. Hit CTRL+Y to go back to your normal view.

7. Create your standee base

Follow the last 6 steps of this tutorial to create the base of your standee. Once you are happy with your design, FLIP IT so that it is a mirror image of itself.

We print your designs onto the 'back' of the clear acrylic before adding a layer of white. Your design will then be visible, the correct way around, via the 'front' of the acrylic.

Please note that all standee bases are single sided only!

8. Add Stand Tabs& Base Holes

Every upright that you create must have a tab and a corresponding hole on your base. Let us know where you would like these by dragging and dropping the tab  templates onto the upright parts of your designs...

Acrylic Standees Tabs

...and the base hole templates onto the base of your standee.

Acrylic Standee Base Holes

For standees with multiple uprights, hold down the 'ALT' key and drag the tab and hole templates into position to duplicate them.

Please don't merge the templates with your artwork layers as we’ll need to remove them before printing so that they're not visible on your finished Standees.

Please bear in mind the position of your stand tabs and make sure that they line up with the holes on your base.



We highly recommend ordering samples using our single standee quantity option before placing a full order, this will allow you to test your designs.

9. Submission Checklist

Congratulations, you've finished creating your custom Standee! All you have to do now is check the following before submission...

  • The artwork on your 'Artwork #A’ layer has been flipped / mirrored
  • The artwork on your 'Artwork #B' layer has NOT been flipped & lines up perfectly with your corresponding 'ARTWORK #A' layers.
  • You have created a 100% Cyan silhouette on the 'White #' layers.
  • The tab/hole layers have NOT been grouped or merged with the rest of your design.
  • Your acrylic cutting border is AT LEAST 1mm thick.
  • Any layer styles or text has been converted to outlines.
  • Your template contains 1 Standee design only. Additional designs will be sent separately.

10. Saving and submitting your designs

There are 3 different ways to save and submit your designs...

1. Submit your artwork immediately

If you have already created your designs, you can send them to us using the 'Upload Artwork' button, located on our product pages or by emailing them to ‘info@zapcreatives.com’.

Please save all Illustrator files in .Ai format. Here’s how…

Name each of your designs appropriately so that we know which designs you are referring to. Your file names should include 1. your name, 2. design number, 3. chosen product and 4. the date that you placed your order through our website. Here’s an example…

Select all of the designs that you would like to submit, right click and choose SEND TO > COMPRESSED (ZIPPED) FOLDER.



This will create a compressed folder containing all of your designs. Rename this folder so that it contains your name and the date that you placed your order on our website. Like this…

Please add all of your designs into one folder. So, if you purchased charms, stickers and pins, for example, just pop them all in the same, compressed folder and pass it our way.

2. Submit your artwork later

If you have placed your order via our website but your designs aren’t quite ready yet, that’s ok. You have up to 2 weeks to submit your artwork to us, which allows you to take advantage of any special offers that we’re running. 

To submit your designs later, save them with 1. your name, 2. design number, 3. chosen product and 4. your order number. Then email them to ‘info@zapcreatives.com’. 

Please save all Illustrator files in .Ai format. Here’s how…

3. Placing a re-order

If you have placed an order in the past and would like to re-order those designs that’s great! We store your artwork for a maximum of 6 months, which saves you the hassle of having to resubmit your designs via email.

To place a re-order, simply place your order online, email us with your previous order number(s) and let us know that you are placing a re-order. 

You may only want to order 1 or 2 designs from your previous order(s). To do this simply quote your old file name(s) and let us know how you would like them to be produced and in what quantities. 

Here’s how to do it… 


Hi Zap!,

I’ve just placed an order #12345 on your website and would like to re-order the following designs from a previous order #12121. Please can I have…

10x [YOURNAME]-DESIGN1-CLEARCHARM-12121
20x [YOURNAME]-DESIGN2-WALNUTKEYRING-12121
10x [YOURNAME]-DESIGN3-ACRYLICPIN-12121

Thanks!

[YOUR NAME] 


If you have any questions about this tutorial or any other aspects of our website and manufacturing processes, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

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