The Story Behind Scratch and Sniff Stickers

The Story Behind Scratch and Sniff Stickers

The Story Behind Scratch and Sniff Stickers

We’ve all done it, scratched and sniffed everything from stickers to magazine ads and perfume samples. But have you ever wondered about how the scent gets into the stickers or paper and how it gets released? 

Whether you are dealing with a flowery new perfume sample, a strawberry-scented sticker proclaiming things are “Berry Good” or the smell of freshly baked cookies embedded in the pages of the scratch and sniff book How Do Dinosaurs Eat Cookies, the technology behind scratch and sniff products is basically the same. 

How Do They Get the Scent into the Stickers

Scratch and sniff technology emerged kind of as a byproduct of an advancement in making copies of documents. Before copy machines became common place, there was an ongoing need to develop a simple and reliable way to produce copies of documents – ranging from business letters to loan papers. 

In the 1960s, Gale Matson, who was a chemist at 3M at the time, developed a process called microencapsulation. As Matt Soniak of Mental Floss explains, “The Matson process uses two sheets of paper ‘one for the original document and one for the copy’ on top of one another. The top sheet of paper is coated with microcapsules of colorless ink. When someone writes or types on the paper, the capsules break and release their ink, which mixes with a developer chemical on the second sheet to create a copy.”

Well, it turns out you can fill those microcapsules with scented oils instead of ink. This particular use of the microencapsulation process may not have provided the world with anything as important as copies of a will or contract, but it did bring more joy into the world through the introduction of scratch and sniff stickers!

The popularity of scratch and sniff stickers has waned over the years. These days, the advancement that has lots of folks excited – and that you can order from Create Decal! – is the introduction of removable decals.

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