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The Rich History of Vintage Scratch and Sniff Stickers


The world of stickers has always been a fascinating realm of self-expression, nostalgia, and cultural significance. Among the myriad of sticker varieties that have captured the hearts of collectors and enthusiasts, vintage scratch and sniff stickers stand out as a unique and much loved category. So many people remember their first scratch and sniff sticker collection.. In this article, we delve into the captivating history of these olfactory stickers, exploring their origins, evolution, and the iconic brands, such as Stinky Stickers, that contributed to their widespread popularity. We also look at how Sniffyz have added a modern twist to scratch and sniff to bring it to a new generation through their range of Scent-sational Collectibles.

I. Origins of Scratch and Sniff Technology:

The concept of capturing and reproducing scents for commercial use dates back to the mid-20th century. However, it wasn't until the 1960s that the technology behind scratch and sniff stickers began to take shape. The initial breakthroughs were made in the perfume and fragrance industry, where scientists developed microencapsulation techniques to encapsulate scent molecules in a polymer coating. This innovation paved the way for the creation of aromatic stickers that could release their fragrance when manipulated.

II. The Pioneering Years: Early Scratch and Sniff Stickers: Vintage

The first commercial application of scratch and sniff technology emerged in the form of stickers in the early 1970s. The trend gained momentum in the United States, where marketing and product innovations were at the forefront. One of the earliest examples is the 'Smelly Stickers' series introduced by the Trend Company in 1975. These stickers featured simple, bold graphics and scents that ranged from fruit to popular food items.

Around the same time, Creative Teaching Press, a company specializing in educational materials, also entered the scratch and sniff scene. They produced stickers with fragrances designed to enhance the learning experience for children. These early stickers were primarily used in schools, setting the stage for the widespread adoption of scratch and sniff technology in various industries.

III. The Golden Era: 1980s and 1990s Pop Culture Phenomenon

The 1980s marked the golden era for scratch and sniff stickers as they became a pop culture phenomenon. This period saw the emergence of iconic brands that defined the aesthetic and olfactory landscape of the time. One such brand was Lisa Frank, known for its vibrant and whimsical designs. Lisa Frank's scratch and sniff stickers often featured cute animals, fruits, and sweets, creating a sense of nostalgia for many who grew up in that era.

Other notable brands like Hallmark, Mrs. Grossman's, and Trend continued to innovate, introducing themed sticker packs that catered to a wide range of interests. Fruit-scented stickers, in particular, gained immense popularity, with apple, grape, and strawberry fragrances becoming synonymous with the scratch and sniff experience.

If you ask the kids and students of the 80s for their favorite sticker, they may well shout out words like 'Root Beer', 'Poppin Good', 'Dill-ightful', 'Scooper Dooper' or 'Berry Good'. A whole language was born in the Eighties all due to the scratch n sniff craze. The various brands of stickers, like Stinky Stickers, from the leading companies were original, snappy and a lot of fun to collect.

IV. Collectors' Delight: Rarity and Value of Vintage Scratch and Sniff Stickers

As scratch and sniff stickers gained cultural prominence, they became cherished collectibles. The scarcity of certain designs and scents contributed to the mystique surrounding these stickers. Collectors often sought out rare and discontinued editions, driving up their market value. Today, vintage scratch and sniff stickers hold a special place in the hearts of enthusiasts, with dedicated communities and online marketplaces facilitating the exchange of these nostalgic treasures.

V. Iconic Brands and Examples

1. Lisa Frank:

- Lisa Frank's contribution to the scratch and sniff sticker craze is undeniable. Known for her rainbow-colored and whimsical designs, Lisa Frank introduced a range of stickers featuring scents like bubblegum, cotton candy, and fruit punch. The Lisa Frank brand became synonymous with childhood nostalgia, and her stickers remain highly sought after by collectors.

2. Trend Scratch and Sniff Stickers:

- Trend, a pioneer in the scratch and sniff sticker industry, produced a wide array of designs and scents. From classic fruit fragrances to more unconventional options like pizza and popcorn, Trend stickers captured the essence of popular culture during the 1980s and 1990s.

3. Mrs. Grossman's:

- Mrs. Grossman's, a well-known name in the sticker industry, added its unique touch to scratch and sniff stickers. Their offerings included floral scents, chocolate, and even holiday-themed fragrances. The company's commitment to quality and creativity made their stickers a staple in the collections of sticker enthusiasts.

4. Hallmark Stinky Stickers:

- Hallmark, a brand synonymous with greeting cards, entered the scratch and sniff scene with their "Stinky Stickers." These stickers featured playful designs accompanied by scents like watermelon, chocolate, and bubblegum. Hallmark's foray into scratch and sniff added a touch of sophistication to the market.

VI. Evolution and Decline: Changing Tastes and Technological Advances

As the 1990s gave way to the new millennium, the popularity of scratch and sniff stickers began to wane. Changing tastes, evolving design trends, and the emergence of new technologies contributed to this decline. Traditional sticker collecting gradually shifted to digital platforms, and the once-ubiquitous scratch and sniff sticker became a nostalgic relic of the past.

Despite the decline, scratch and sniff technology itself continued to evolve. The encapsulation techniques that originated in the fragrance industry found applications in fields such as scratch and sniff books, packaging, and even promotional materials. The essence of scratch and sniff lived on, albeit in different forms.

VII. Contemporary Resurgence: Revival of Scratch and Sniff in Modern Times

In recent years, there has been a noticeable resurgence of interest in scratch and sniff products. The nostalgia factor has played a crucial role in this revival, with brands revisiting the concept to evoke a sense of connection with the past. Some contemporary applications include scratch and sniff labels on food packaging, scented promotional materials, and even scratch and sniff artwork.

Independent artists and small businesses have also embraced scratch and sniff technology to create unique and personalized experiences. Custom scratch and sniff stickers, often featuring hand-drawn illustrations and bespoke fragrances, have gained popularity among a new generation of enthusiasts.

VIII. Sniffyz Scratch and Sniff: The New Generation of Scent-sational Collectibles

The great news is that scratch and sniff is back and better than before. Sniffyz Scratch and Sniff trading cards merge the pungent fun of stinky stickers with the enjoyment of the collectible trading card world. Kids of the 2020s can now 'Scratch. Sniff. Collect', and build a collection just like the many generations of sticker collectors before them. Pure scent-ertainment!

Sniffyz trading cards are the first in their new range of scent-sational collectibles. With over unique 70 original characters to collect in season one, each Sniffyz character is accompanied by their own unique smell and personality, with their own story and puns to match. Each pack of Sniffyz contains six cards. Four of these are scratch and sniff Sniffyz characters cards, one is a special edition character card and one is a Sniffyz Punzle wordplay game card.


The history of vintage scratch and sniff stickers is a captivating journey through the realms of nostalgia, innovation, and cultural influence. From their humble beginnings in the 1970s to their heyday in the 1980s and 1990s, these aromatic stickers left an indelible mark on the collective memory of a generation. The iconic brands and examples mentioned in this article serve as a testament to the enduring appeal of scratch and sniff stickers, reminding us that sometimes, the simplest sensory pleasures can leave the most lasting impressions. Here at Sniffyz we look forward on introducing scratch and sniff to a new generation and hope they create the same warmth, love and memories as the vintage scratch and sniff stickers of the past. As we reflect on this olfactory journey, we find that scratch and sniff stickers are more than just adhesive pieces of paper—they are portals to cherished memories and a fragrant tapestry of the past.

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