I have fun making stuff for my Etsy shop (www.TheChicBagChick.com), but I really, really wanted to add labels:
1. Because I am proud of my work, even though I’ve not been sewing long, it takes me a long time to tweak my usually self-made pattern to what I consider a quality, functional, and cute product. So naturally, I want my brand on there. =D
2. I feel like it makes it look so much more professional, while still retaining the artisan feel of being handmade.
So! I set out to find labels on Etsy (I swear you can find anything on there…people are amazingly talented!). Except…they were so expensive. While the labels were high quality, I just am not set up for that kind of business expense right now. Perhaps down the road…but for now, I needed an inexpensive alternative.
Since I mostly wanted them for coffee cozies that wouldn’t be worn, or even washed as much as clothes (most likely, although I’m a klutz and constantly spilling on mine), a non-woven label should do…? I looked up info on pinterest, but had a hard time actually finding a tutorial, and since I’ve never done anything remotely close to this, I needed like, a STEP-BY-STEP. Lol
I tried several things, and finally found a method that works for me, and although tedious, it saves me a lot of money. I estimate these particular labels to cost around $0.15 a piece, more if I botch a whole sheet or batch lol.
*5/8″ ribbon (or whatever size you want), I’ve used several kinds successfully
*tea towel or muslin
*flat, hard surface like the bottom of a pan (I use a pizza pan haha!)
*iron (make sure all water is out, I drain it and let it set on the cotton setting for a bit, and then even occasionallly run it over my ironing board with the steam on to get it all out)
*printable, light t-shirt iron-on transfer paper-I’ve included a picture of the brand I used, I’ve not tried others. This is available at craft stores, as well as on amazon.
*parchment paper-ok, I’m going to go ahead and say this, because as embarrassing as this is to admit, I wish someone had put it out there for me lol. There is a huge difference between parchment and wax paper. Since I am not a baker, or a seamstress, and since we were dirt freaking poor growing up, we only ever had wax paper. I thought parchment paper was just a fancy name for wax paper. I can assure you, it is not. I know this, because I grabbed wax paper for this project, and couldn’t figure out why it was ruining my nice labels. Oy. Parchment paper is heat resistant, I discovered…please, don’t melt wax onto your freshly made project lol.
The first thing you must do is create a document with whatever you want on your label. There is no shortcut for this, it’s just trial and error. I don’t have a logo yet, so I opted for simple text. I printed out test runs on cheap paper to check size and placement for the ribbon I was using, then when it was perfect, I printed on the expensive transfer paper. PLEASE NOTE…you have to flip the image first lol. I have forgotten to do this when I’m printing in a hurry, and I’ve shed a few tears over the loss of a very expensive piece of now-useless transfer paper lol.
To do this in Word doc is very easy (I had to search forever to find this info…weird). Just do the normal print, then when the box pops up, go to “layout,”
Then check the “flip horizontally” box.
It’s very important to let these dry for at least 30 minutes, otherwise they will smudge ALL over, and it’s just a mess, and wastes a lot. I sometimes even print them before bed when I know I’ll be making them the next day, and let them dry overnight.
Then, using scissors or a paper cutter, cut into strips, and then I cut into sections of 2 or 3 long, to fit under my iron.
Prep your surface: cover your hard surface (don’t use just the ironing board, it won’t work. I tried lol) with the towel or muslin, and lay out the ribbon:
Position your transfer paper print side down on the label, making sure the transfer paper isn’t wider than the ribbon, or it will stick to the towel lol (I know this is basic stuff, but I learned it the hard way, so in case anyone else is as uneducated about this stuff as I was, I’d like to save them the trouble lol). Press with iron on cotton setting (no steam) for about 15-20 seconds. It’s important to press pretty heavily while doing this, I’ve noticed, for it to really adhere well.
Then clip off that section of ribbon and let cool. (For the first run, complete one whole cycle to see how they turn out, and then tweak as needed. Once you’ve ensured it will work right, then the most time efficient way is to do in batches-first cut all the strips, then iron on all the strips and cut and let cool, then do the next step to all, and so on)
Once it is cool, gently peel off the backing.
Lay completed labels face up, and place parchment paper over
Press firmly with iron (still on no steam) for about 10 seconds. The labels will “stick” to the back. Let them cool after.
Once cool, peel labels off the parchment paper.
Trim to desired size…then they’re ready to use! I found that if I leave enough room on the transfer paper to cover the whole length of the label I’ll be using, it acts kind of as a fray-check, otherwise I have to fray check all the ends and let them dry, and that is a PAIN. Lol
These are just ones I’ve done that I place on top of the product and stitch around the border, but the same concept can be applied to other styles of labels!
Here is a sew-in version I made, the only extra step is folding in half and inserting into a piece of parchment paper folded in half (so the label doesn’t stick to the iron), to set the crease/fold better.
I hope this helps! So far, I’ve washed products with these labels on, as much as 3 times without any problems, but on a few, you can start to see the transfer coming off a bit. I’m sure they won’t last many washings, but it’s still cheaper than purchasing custom labels for now. =)
Oh, so far all my products have similar wash instructions, which have been fine for the labels: machine or hand wash cold/gentle, lay flat/hang to dry.
Happy label-making! =D