Sticking to you

Students decorate water bottles as a sign of self-expression


photo by Melissa Donovan

Seniors Jack Chitty and Julia Plescha admire the stickers on their water bottles. Both of them have had their bottles for over a year and continue to collect stickers that showcase their personality.

Melissa Donovan, Assistant Editor

A golden retriever sticker, multiple Pura Vida and Jolyn stickers, a senior class sticker, an Action church sticker, a sticker from a trip to Arizona,  and a Track Shack sticker all cover senior Julia Plescha’s water bottle. No two stickers are the same and neither is the meaning behind them.

Water bottle stickers trace their origin to the 1940’s, when bumper stickers became the ultimate trend to transform an everyday object like a car into a vehicle of self-expression.

“My stickers make my bottle personal and meaningful because each sticker shows a bit of [my] interests and personality,” Plescha said. “[They all] remind me of something I like or [they] bring back good memories.”

Like Plescha, seniors Jack Chitty and Gabriella Neris and sophomore Mary Rasmussen also have stickers from travels on their bottles.

Chitty has labels from areas like Hawaii and Alabama where he went to squadron officer school for the Air Force.

He also has a wristband on his bottle from an Air Force special operations officer which is part of a virtual reality training program. The decorations on his bottle from the military represent his aspirations that he holds for himself, as he hopes to join the military after college.

“Everything I have on my bottle ensures that I will not lose it in the sea of Camelbaks at [school],” Chitty said.

Neris has labels from England, France and Maryland, which she usually purchases in tour shops or from tour registrations.

“They all serve as memory joggers to [recall] what I did when I was there,” Neris said.

The decorations on Rasmussen’s bottle are from Hawaii, California and New Smyrna Beach. She thinks her water bottle has a “beach vibe” which shows off her love for the beach and sets hers apart from others.

All the details that students add represent different parts of their lives from friends, to family, to sports.

Out of all her stickers, the one that has the most meaning to senior Valeria Portillo Rivera is the Sangre de Malta sticker. Sangre de Malta is her Mexican uncle’s beer company.

“Every time I look at it, it reminds me of my family in Mexico,” Portillo Rivera said. “It is a small detail that makes [me] happy in [my] own way.”

She also orders decals from websites like Redbubble, which is where Plescha and senior Alexa Edney also get them. Since this fad has taken off, it has become a common gift between friends.

“For Christmas gifts, I got my friends stickers off of Redbubble,” Plescha said. “It is so quick, easy and inexpensive. I thought it would be a trendy way to give them a little piece of our friendship.”

Having little characteristics showcased on an everyday item, like a water bottle, makes it an addiction for teens to continue decorating it to take part in self-expression.

“There have been nights where I have ordered stickers online instead of doing homework,” Portillo Rivera said.

With such accessibility to stickers from ordering them online, to purchasing them in stores for prices like $3-4 for a pack of 5-6 stickers, this trend has taken off and it is typical for teens to have their water bottles by their side all the time, showcasing their personality without having to say a word.

“[The stickers] make [my bottle] more meaningful; it makes me smile throughout the day,” Edney said. “They also help people know a little about me before they have to ask.”


Take this quiz to find out what sticker you should decorate your water bottle with.