Sunday, April 20, 2014

DIY fabric labels

Along with the purchased vs. D.I.Y. biz card debate that rages in my head every now and then (see previous post)... is the custom printed vs. D.I.Y. fabric label dilemma!

On the one hand: it would be so nice to just conjure up one of those websites that sells custom printed fabric labels, fill in the blanks with the info I want to have on my labels, press enter, and shazamm! - my custom printed labels will be on their way with nothing more for me to do except wait for their arrival, open the package, and USE THEM!!!

But on the other hand... I'm going to pay a big price for the convenience of those ready-made labels- not just in terms of actual moola (which is quite substantial from my calculations), but also in terms of design flexibility. You see (call me crazy if you must!), but I like to change-up the font I use for my business name. Often. Well... maybe 'often' is too strong of a word. How about somewhere between 'never' and 'a lot'....

I also use several different styles and sizes of labels: folded, sew-in the seam; single, sew around the edge; great big funky labels for a particular line of bags; two lines of text, single line of text... you get the picture! So to purchase 250 (usually the quantity you need to order to get a half decent price) labels in each of the sizes and styles I use... Well, that really would be crazy! And totally beyond my budget.

So, that's why I now own stock in the company that makes ink-jet printer compatible, iron-on transfer paper (haha, mostly kidding!). But I do buy a couple of packs of this stuff every month or so, along with a yard or 2 of unbleached, 100% cotton muslin. And so armed, I then set about creating my very own, D.I.Y., custom printed fabric labels! And so can you!

It's pretty straight forward so I'm not going to go into too much detail: Design your label using whatever program you like (I like MS Word), print the labels on the transfer paper, iron onto the fabric of your choice, peel off the paper backing, cut your sheet into individual labels!

Tips: Use a finely woven, light colored, 100% cotton fabric and machine wash and dry it before you begin. Don't forget to print the labels in 'mirror image'. Use a really hot iron, and don't use your ironing board for this - use a really hard, flat surface that can take a little heat (I use a piece of sanded plywood with a press cloth under + on top of my project). And iron, iron, iron... Just when you think they MUST be adhered by now, iron some more!

And while I've tried several different brands of transfer paper, the best and only one I ever use is the Up&Up brand by Target. A pack of 6 sheets costs $8.99.

Oh, and did I mention these labels are really inexpensive to make? Depending on how many labels you print per sheet and the cost of your fabric - I average 36 labels and use $4.99 per yard fabric - it comes out to about 6 cents per label!

D.I.Y. rules!!


  1. These are wonderful!! You have inspired me today and the simplicity of the 'handmade in Maine' part makes my heart sing.

    1. Thank you Lili! That is my #1 goal with this blog - to inspire!