Tuesday, October 11, 2011

{Tutorial} Make Your Own Fabric Labels

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I was recently asked where I get the labels I use on the items I make, and the answer is I make them myself! So, I thought I would put together a quick tutorial and share how I make my labels. They are quick and easy to make. Whether you are making something as a gift or a new item for your shop, I think they are the perfect finishing touch for a handcrafted item. Enjoy and please let me know if you have any questions!
What you need:
  • Sew-on Printable Cotton Fabric Sheets
  • Printer
  • Heat-n-Bond Iron On Adhesive (see notes below for which kind to get)
  • Ruler, Cutting Mat, Rotary Cutter (Or Fabric Scissors)
  • Iron

Step 1: Design
Start off by designing your labels with your favorite word processor/photo editing software. If you haven't checked out Picnik yet, you should! It is a fantastic photo editing site with lots of cool features, and the best part is that the free part of the site can often times be all that you need.

Once you have your design, decide how big you want your labels to be and then lay out the labels using your word processor onto an 8.5"x11" standard page.  For example, my labels are about 2" wide by 0.5" tall. I set my page up in the Landscape orientation and have 4 columns with 14 labels in each column, so I get a total of 56 labels per page.

Step 2: Print
Grab your Printable Cotton Fabric Sheets. You can buy these at your local fabric store (look in the "Quilting Notions" area). Typically, they cost about $10 for 5 sheets. There are lots of different brands available. You can usually find them in either white or beige, sew-on or iron-on. Pick whichever color you think would work best with your design.  For this tutorial I use the "Sew-On" kind, but you could use the iron-on sheets and skip steps 3 & 4. I will say that from my own experience, the iron-on sheets do not have as strong of a bond as the Heat-n-Bond will give you. That is why I iron on my own adhesive instead.

Follow the directions on the package for printing out your labels and heat setting the ink. If you are going to be putting your labels on something that can be washed (such as a quilt or clothes), I recommend following the instructions for colorfasting the fabric sheets as well.

Step Three: Iron-on Adhesive
I find it difficult to keep my labels exactly where I want them on my items when I try to stitch them on at this point. So, I like to put some iron-on adhesive on the backs of my labels first. Then, I iron the label in place and topstitch. I find that this helps me get a nicer, cleaner look in the end.

Once your fabric sheet is ready to use, grab your Iron-on Adhesive. You have two options with Heat-n-Bond: Sewable (Purple package) or Ultra-Hold (Red package). If you only want to Iron On your labels with no stitching, then go with the Ultra-Hold.
(Iron-On Labels with No topstitching)
If you want to topstitch your labels in place, go with the Sewable. Do not sew through the Ultra-hold - trust me - I learned this the hard way. You will get adhesive inside your sewing machine, and it will screw up your bobbin tension or worse. (And the money you are saving by making your own labels will go to getting your machine repaired!)

Cut an 8.5"x11" piece of the Heat-n-Bond and following the instructions on the packaging iron it onto the back of your labels.

{Tip: Put an old t-shirt down on the top of your ironing board before you iron on the adhesive. That way if your label sheet and the adhesive sheet do not exactly line up, the excess adhesive will get on the old-shirt instead of our ironing board cover. And, your husband won't get upset when he goes to iron his work shirts and ends up with an ugly, sticky glue mark on his shirt....}

Step Four: Cutting Your Labels
The final step is cutting out your labels. I find it easiest to do this with a rotary cutter and ruler, but it is also possible to do it with regular fabric scissors as well. I am just a bit challenged at cutting nice, neat straight lines with a scissor, so I use the rotary cutter. 

Once you have your labels cut out, all you need to do is iron them on to your item and stitch them in place.

Please let me know if anything is unclear, and I will try to clarify.
Have fun making labels!!


QuiltDragon said...

Thank you for the tutorial! I spent a lot of time figuring out how to make my labels - this makes very good sense! I'll have to give it a try!

Snuggly Monkey mama said...

You are most welcome! I hope it comes in handy. I'd love to see what you come up with - email me a picture if you have a chance :)

Debbie @ OtRD said...

I love these and want to try to make some! Thanks for the great tutorial!

Marlo said...

I was just wondering if anyone has washed an item that has the label on it in a washing maching? Curious if the ink stays one. Thnks! I would rather make my own then pay someone else.

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