I sourced a lot of label companies, and yes there are a lot of choices. There are woven and printed, satin and twill etc., but not only are commercial labels quite costly, but there is usually a minimum order quantity. I don't know about you, but I'm not willing to fork out a large amount of my well earned crafting cash to order 500 labels that I may not like or use later on down the road. The truth is, when I printed my own labels, it was mostly because I was too impatient to wait for a label order and needed a bunch for a market right quick, so I made my own and was very happy with the results. If you are making something in a very large quantity, it still could be easier and cheaper (per label) to order them. There are a lot of websites out there that handle woven labels, so do your homework and get a few prices. But if you want to print your own, I can show you how.
An Inkjet Printer
Adobe Photoshop or
a word processing program
Inkjet Printable Fabric
Fray Stop or Craft glue
About Inkjet Printable Fabric: I use Matilda's Own Inkjet Printable Fabric, it's 100% cotton, 200 count broadcloth and comes in a package of 5. The sizes vary, but I choose the A4 size, which is the standard letter paper size in Australia and is slightly longer than the letter size in US and Canada. You can use whatever size you like and there are many different brands available at most quilting and fabric stores around the world. I just make sure I get the kind that says there is NO SETTING AGENT REQUIRED, because it is easiest, but if you use the kind that requires a setting agent and are comfortable with that then that works too. I should mention that this particular fabric is quite hard to sew through if you are hand stitching, so may not be ideal for hand knitted items or baby items. It can be done with a nice sharp needle and a thimble, but is easier with a machine. It's also not as soft as a satin label would be.
Let's get started:
1) Decide what kind of label you want. Do you want to sew them in an seam, or do you want to sew them flat on your item with the raw edges folded under? I use both, depending on what kind of project I'm working on. Figure out what name/logo you want on your label and how long and wide you want the end result to be. For a single fold label, you need to make sure you have enough room under the name to be sewn in a seam allowance. For a cut label, you need to make sure you have enough room around your name on all four sides so you can fold under the raw edges. You can use a solid color background too, or even little colored pictures.
2) In Photoshop, open a new document with the exact measurements of the printable fabric you are using. I am using A4, which measures 210mm x 297mm, so I open a new document that size. If you are using printable fabric that is 8.5" x 11", you open new document that exact size.
3) I want to put as many labels on my page as possible, so I create a page with my labels as close together as possible. I also put in cutting lines so I don't have to measure when I am cutting my labels apart after. You will fiddle with your name and lines for a bit to get them all lined up just how you want, but spend the time and make it very accurate because this fabric isn't cheap so you don't want any mistakes! I use my guides and show my grid marks to help me get everything straight. These samples of how yours could look:
|My cut labels, with cutting lines.|
|My single fold labels, with cutting lines.|
4) Remember that the area around your page (about 1/2") is not a printable area, so do not include that area in your measurements when you are created your labels. You MUST print your labels on regular paper to make sure that you are not cutting off your labels or to make sure you are happy with the size. Trust me, you don't want to waste this fabric, you only have 5 sheets!
5) To print: When printing from Photoshop, ensure that "Scale To Fit Media" is NOT ticked. Make sure your print quality set to the best. Follow the step by step instructions on your printable fabric package. Basically, this entails: print your labels, let dry for 20 mins and don't touch, then peel off plastic backing.
6) Finishing: After they are dry, I press my labels on a cotton setting to set the ink. I don't know if this is required - but it makes me feel better! It says on the package that if better colorfastness is required, that you must rinse the printed fabric in a bowl of water for 10 mins to reduce ink. I tried this and I really didn't need it. I have a pretty good Epson printer and I use Epson ink and I tried to rub off the ink and I tried to see if it would bleed or rub off when immersed in water and it was completely colorfast. It may have helped that I first pressed my labels. I have heard of people using inferior ink having problems, so to them I would recommend rinsing. Actually, the one sheet I did rinse, I had to reshape after because after it was wet it completely went out of square so I haven't done the rinsing again because I never had bleeding anyway. I suggest you test for colorfastness though.
7) Edges: Dip the ends of your single fold labels in Fray Stop so they don't... fray! I couldn't find this anywhere where I live, so I used a simple craft clue that dries clear. I dipped the ends in the tiniest amount craft glue and smeared it a wee bit so that it wasn't blobbed and set it aside to dry. This isn't required on the cut labels, because they will be folded under. I press the edges of the cut label under 1/4".
And that is it! You are done. I really get so many compliments on my labels, and you will too!
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Thanks for looking.