LEGO has produced a lot of stickers over the years. In a LEGO discord someone asked

I wonder if LEGO has always used the same adhesive for their stickers, it seems like the colors, sizes, and texture of stickers determine how well they age.

So, has LEGO changed their materials for the stickers over time? Has the paper gotten thinner or thicker? Has the glue changed? Does any of that change how well these things survive over decades?

  • invite doesn't seem to work, I get an empty page after accepting the invitation Dec 18, 2020 at 19:06
  • Sorry about that. I've put in a different URL now. Does it work for you?
    – chicks
    Dec 18, 2020 at 19:10
  • I am afraid not, I think the invite (the first one) logged me in to discord with a new account rather than my existing one (which I haven't used for ages). Then a bot automatically blocked me for two weeks because my account was created "too soon". Managed to access discord through my old account, but can't visit the lego server, I suppose because i'm IP adress-blocked... I can try again in 2 weeks. Dec 18, 2020 at 22:10

1 Answer 1


Note. Speaking from my experience from year 1990 onward. During this time I can distinguish at least 3 periods of different experience with stickers.

From 1990 till sometime before 2000 (or early 2000's) there was period of superb stickers. Plastic was thick and glue was superb. I don't know what else LEGO used by then but most of them have survived my childhood abuse. Yes, they look rough, but they are there where I've placed them about 30 years ago. Both, clear and opaque.

Now second period begin somewhere early 2000's. Cannot tell exact period, speaking from experience of used sets I bought from that period. This is the worst time. Stickers applied onto sets during that moment not only cracking, but also peeling off badly. Plastic used for stickers seems to be thinner and glue is not as strong as it was before. Another odd thing is that different colors of the same stickers peel off differently. Some colors (like black) stick a little better (than white).

Last period is what I would call "modern" days. Must have started somewhere before 2013 when I have returned from dark age. Plastic for these stickers feels to be same thickness as previous period, but they seem to behave a little better. Perhaps not that much time has passed for them to deteriorate yet.

Looking at pre-1990 sets and minifigures some of them seem to have had paper based stickers (like minifigure torso prints). I have none of these, so cannot tell about their properties.

  • 2
    I shared this with the person I quoted in the discord. We're thankful. I'm glad you added the history tag too.
    – chicks
    Dec 17, 2020 at 22:13
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    Just curious, but would you say there was a difference in how fixable misplaced stickers were straight after misplacing? Dec 18, 2020 at 8:45
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    @DavidMulder modern stickers are fairly easy to fix while you are placing them. Simply remove and place again. Might be a little tricky once it is fully on, but I find the use of xacto knife quite helpful while picking up the corner and generally pulling the sticker back (it is good for placing stickers too). I've read some people use industrial-like approach with soapy water for accurate placement. Old stickers have a good grip, so mine are not moving anywhere. Those it the middle period are simply trash - it is a bit of a task just to remove the sticker.
    – Alex
    Dec 18, 2020 at 9:45
  • This matches exactly with my own experience. I have models from as far as the 70's who's stickers are still just fine. 1990 to about 2005 that peel off, crack or wrinkle up while stuck on the model. Since about 2005 stickers are a lot better and seem to stay on well as long as you don't expose them to direct sunlight for longer periods of time.
    – Tonny
    Dec 19, 2020 at 16:11

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