Tips & Advice

Scratch and Sniff Stickers 101: All you need to know

Scratch and Sniff Stickers 101

When people are familiar with eye-catching custom stickers, they start to think about something more interesting. And there come scratch and sniff stickers which emit cool scents every time they are touched. These special stickers aren’t just for decoration; they’re the olfactory experience that turns regular items into something fun and smell good.

If you are interested in scratch and sniff stickers, this blog post is for you. In this article, we’re breaking down the magic behind these scented stickers, learning how the scents come from, how they release, the cool range of smells you can find, and most importantly, if there is a way that you can create stickers with your own custom smells. 

Getting excited to dig into the world of scratch and sniff stickers? Let’s get started.

What are Scratch and Sniff Stickers? 

Scratch and sniff stickers are not the regular stickers that only have an appealing appearance. They are the cool kind that contains a surprise feature – they smell. When being scratched, these stickers can release a scent or odor, normally related to the image displayed on their front. 

You may want to know how such special stickers come into life. When and who invented scratch and sniff stickers. If you’re curious, let’s dive into the backstory. 

These stickers were invented in the early ’60s. Who made scratch and sniff stickers? The chemist Gale Matson, was the masters behind these scented pieces. Back in that time, he was working for a company called 3M, and he accidentally came up with this idea while attempting to use microencapsulation to make carbonless copy paper.

This breakthrough idea then was officially kicked off when 3M decided to launch the first-ever scratch and sniff stickers. They started with simple scents like mint, chocolate, and flowers. Those first stickers were a hit, and opened up a scratch and sniff sticker trend. Schools, greeting card companies, and even magazines use these scented stickers to add an fun to their notes, cards, and even homework.

Stickers with new scents were continuously invented in the ’70s and ’80s. Especially, 80s scratch and sniff stickers available in various fragrance, from fruit to pizza and even popcorn.

How do scratch and sniff stickers work 

So, are you wondering what makes scratch and sniff stickers smell? Put it in simple terms, these stickers can emit various kinds of scents when being scratched thanks to a fragrant coating applied to them. Specifically, there are 2 important properties that create this exceptional feature:

  • Micro-encapsulation: Many micro-encapsulated bubbles which contain the desired smell are put into these stickers. They can be broken easily just by gentle rubbing. 
  • Scratch Action: The cool part happens when you scratch on your sticker’s surface. This action breaks the tiny bubbles so they release the scent.

Using scratch and sniff stickers is like scratching off a game card, but instead of winning a prize of money or gifts, you’re getting a nice smell. 

Where to get Scratch and Sniff Stickers 

Looking for some Scratch and Sniff Stickers to add a touch of joy and fragrance to your everyday life? You can either buy or DIY some on your own. Let’s discover both ways.

1. Ready-Made Scratch and Sniff Stickers

If you prefer professional-made stickers which are available in a variety of scents and a sweat-free ordering, you’d better look for original scratch and sniff stickers on reliable online marketplaces and websites.

  • Large marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, etc. There are many sellers who offer scratch and sniff stickers in a vast selection, from classic scents to quirky and niche options, from handmade to vintage designs. Besides, customer reviews can guide you towards the top-rated ones.
  • Try other websites which offer pre-made scratch and sniff stickers, such as,,, etc.
Ready-Made Scratch and Sniff Stickers
Ready-Made Scratch and Sniff Stickers on Etsy

2. DIY Scratch and Sniff Stickers

Crafting your own scented stickers is possible. This option is great for those who love a hands-on approach, those who want to try new rewarding journeys and those who like to infuse quirky smells in these stickers. 

To make custom scratch and sniff stickers, you will need:

  • Paper or sticker sheets to draw or print the sticker designs on 
  • Paintbrushes, markers, etc… if you want to draw the stickers 
  • Printer and computer if you want to print the stickers
  • Scissor to cut out the stickers
  • Embossing powder and jelly powder in your desired smells
  • A small bowl or cup for mixing 2 kinds of powders
  • A spoon for applying the powder mixture to the stickers
  • Heat tool: heat gun or hair dryer 
Mixing jelly powder and embossing powder in cup or bowl
Mixing jelly powder and embossing powder in cup or bowl

Step-by-Step guide on how make scratch and sniff stickers:

Step 1: Create the sticker layer

To create your own sticker design, you can either draw on sticker paper or print an artwork on sticker sheets. Let your creativity run wild.

Note that, you can order pre-printed stickers from us to ensure the high-quality appearance as well as simplify this DIY process.

Step 2: Apply fragrance to stickers

Put embossing powder and jelly powder into the bowl in ratio 2:1 and mix them up. 

Apply a layer of adhesive onto the part of the sticker that you want it to carry the smell. Use a spoon to apply the mixture to the stickers, start with a small amount and add more if needed.

Step 3: Heat the powder

Apply heat to warm up the powder layer and allow it to set.

Step 4: Store or use

Place the stickers in ziplock bags after they’ve absorbed the scent to store. When you need to use them, just peel and stick them wherever you want. You can use these DIY scratch and sniff stickers custom on your notebook, laptop, or on special letters or postcards to send to your beloved ones.

Tips and Notes:

  • Use sugar-free jelly powder
  • Adjust the amount of powder based on your preference.
  • Test a few stickers before making more to ensure you’re happy with the strength and durability of the scent.

Even though these handmade smelly stickers can not be durable like premade ones, making them yourself is a joyful experience and they can be your personal touch to gifts or keepsakes.

Last words

Scratch and sniff stickers are more than just sticky labels—they’re like scented stories waiting to be discovered. With an interesting story behind their origin and our guide on making them on your own, we hope that now you know how to add a bit of fun to your decorating and crafting project. Make them, scratch them and enjoy the scent for entertainment.

If you are interested in crafting stickers and labels, explore more articles on our websites – where we publish new posts about custom stickers ideas, guides, tips and tricks every week.


1. What are scratch and sniff stickers made of? 

Scratch and Sniff Stickers are made with a thin layer containing microcapsules filled with fragrance oils.

2. How do they make stickers smelly? 

The scent comes from micro-encapsulated fragrance oils within the stickers. When you scratch the surface, these capsules break, releasing the aroma.

3. Are scratch and sniff stickers safe? 

Yes, scratch and sniff stickers are generally safe. The scents are often derived from natural oils and are non-toxic. The microcapsules keep the fragrance enclosed until released, ensuring a safe interaction.

4. How long does a scratch and sniff sticker last?

The fragrance in scratch and sniff stickers can last for 3-6 months, providing a delightful aroma for an extended period.

5. Can I make scratch and sniff stickers?

Yes, you can make your own handmade scratch and sniff stickers with the help of our comprehensive guide in this blog post.


About Karen Lee

Meet our Creative Master – Karen Lee! Karen is the DIY wizard and the creative mind behind all of our inspiration posts: from fantastic gift ideas to exceptional decoration tips that make your events pop. Stick around for more exciting content, as we belive she is your partner in all things fun and fabulous.