Monday, July 19, 2010

Making Your Own Labels

When I first starting making stuff for my Etsy shop I quickly realized that I needed some kind of label.  I looked around at different etsy shops and label shops for a company to make them for me but I then I realized I could probably make them myself fairly easily!  So I did!  I've been making my own labels since then and I find a really cheap and easy option.

I thought I'd share with you how I make them so you can make your own too!

The first thing you need though is a stamp.  I got mine made online at Staples and I'm pretty happy with what I got.  I think it cost me about $20 including shipping.  That's the biggest expense when making your own labels.

here's the stamp I ordered after about a years worth of use :)

What you'll all need:
-customized stamp
-fabric paint in the color of your choice.  I've always found black looks and works best.
-plain, matte ribbon OR a long strip of hemmed fabric (I've only ever used ribbon, but I figure hemmed fabric should work just as well)
-a piece of flat plastic like a yogurt container lid

Step One:

-Get out your yogurt lid and squirt a decent amount of fabric paint onto it.
-Take your felt and cut a square big enough for your stamp.  Place the felt on top of the fabric paint and pat it down until it just starts to soak up. 

-Using your stamp, "stamp" the felt until the paint is fully soaked in.  This will be your stamp pad!

Step 2:
-Unroll your whole piece of ribbon and lay it on a flat surface.
-Dab your stamp onto the felt just like a stamp pad and then test it on a piece of paper first. 
 It's hard to get the amount of paint to felt ratio just right so make sure you check the stamp before you stamp the ribbon each time.  Once you're comfortable with how it stamps start stamping your ribbon!

-Make sure you leave a decent amount of space between each stamp so that you have space to turn the raw cut edges under when you sew your labels on.
-Keep going until you have all your ribbon stamped!

Step 3:
-Read the label on your container of fabric paint and follow the finishing directions on it.  Some need to be heat treated and some just need about 72 hours to dry.
-I usually don't cut the labels apart until I'm ready to use them.  Then I just cut one off when I need it.  It really saves you on losing ribbon space due to fraying.

Step 4:
-When you are ready to sew your labels on, simply iron each raw edge under and sew all the way around!

here's a finished bag with a label.  I've used both a straight stitch and a zigzag to attach them and they both look pretty good.

So that's about it.  I hope this inspires you to go ahead and make your own!  They don't always turn out perfectly but that's the beauty of handmade.

*** UPDATE***  I've now found out that you can buy the same type of ribbon (cotton twill tape) by the yard at stores like Fabricland!  So much cheaper and now I can buy and make so many more labels at once!

I've also found a place where you can order fabric ink pads, right here. Although you don't get as deep of an imprint, it does work pretty good and it's a lot faster than the paint/felt method.


  1. Great tutorial!
    I never would have thought to use a piece of felt and fabric paint. Brilliant! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Oh my gosh... thank you times a million for this :) I've been looking everywhere for this and have only found the printable label tutorials. Not my style at all!
    Thank you!!

  3. I really really like this. Thank you so much for sharing your secrets! :)

  4. That is great, thanks! I am trying to start up an etsy site of my own and wondered if there was a way to make my own labels inexpensively.

  5. I am SO excited about this. I've wanted to order label for years now and haven't done it. I have a rubber stamp that is perfect for this. Would you mind sharing what brand of ribbon you have found works best? Also, how is the upkeep after laundering the items? Thanks

  6. thanks-- you read my mind. i don't have a big biz (and it's not cost effective) for me to buy labels at this point. so i really appreciate your tutorial!

  7. Thanks everyone for the great comments! The brand of ribbon I use is called Bobbin Ribbon. It's technically a scrapbooking and card making ribbon and I buy it at Michaels. Here's a link to the brand... I just look through till I find some without pattern or words on it.
    I've washed items with my labels on them several times and never had any kind of wear or anything on them.
    Hope that helps!

  8. Thank you so much for sharing such an easy way to make labels! I am off to order my stamp and buy my fabric paint first thing in the morning.

  9. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I've been looking for this for weeks, wanting labels before I put together my next style of purse on my blog store. I'm ordering my stamp TODAY! :)

  10. If only I could be half as handy and creative as you .... I aspire to be great things ... and I see your work and think ... I can, I can, I can ... right??

  11. What a terrific idea! Thank you so much. I've been ordering my tags, but this is a fabulous option.

  12. too cool! I've always wanted to make my own tag, but never knew how! Thanks!

  13. yesss. thank you SO much. i like the other commenters have mentioned- have been pondering how to do this on my own. i love it! i've come so close in the past to ordering labels from someone but always held back because i, like you, assumed i could make them on my own. yipeeee.

  14. thank you so much for this fabulous idea and instructions! i've included this post in my weekly roundup of inspiring projects and links, blogged here:
    can't wait to make labels myself!
    camille =)

  15. I tried this tonight. I already had a rubber stamp, but it was the type with the ink pad in it so we took it apart. The only matte ribbon I could find at Joann's was grosgrain. I'm not sure if the font was too small, or the grain of the ribbon but I could not get it to stamp clearly. I just read your comments and will try to find that ribbon you suggested. If not I guess I'll have to order another stamp. Can you tell me approx how big yours is?

  16. Love this idea... I don't have a need for fabric labels, but it seems like it could be used to make stickers, and other types of labels.

  17. Thank you again SO MUCH! I tried again last night with the new ribbon and used an extra piece of felt (I think I had too much paint the first time) because the lettering on my stamp was so small. It worked! I blogged about it here: and linked back to your post! I have an order going out this weekend that now has labels!

  18. I love the rough look of the stamped labels. I've made stamp pads for my daughter with liquid watercolors, but I never thought about doing it with fabric paint before, thanks for the idea, we could use that with a lot of our stamps!

  19. Fantastic tutorial! Thank you!

  20. GENIUS!!!!
    I can't believe what a good idea the felt is!!!!!!!!!!

  21. This is a great idea. I was trying to decide on the most cost effective way of making my own labels for craft items that I make sometimes. Your suggestion was excellent.

    Thanks for sharing.

  22. Thanks so much Hilda!
    It was really nice to meet you last night. I am so excited to give this a try.

  23. Such a great and cost-effective idea! I have some stamp pads that can be stamped permanently on fabric, so I think I'll give those a go - should work nicely and all I'll need is to get the rubber stamp. Thank you!

  24. Great idea!
    I got my woven labels at but your way is less expensive. :)
    You can use fabric ink pads insted og fabric paint, less messy and less work:


  25. Thanks a million for this tutorial, it's so great and I'll make it for my own label.

  26. I was just thinking the other day that I need to order some more labels, which cost $32! Thank you so much for saving us all some moola!!!

  27. You are my new best friend! Thank you for this :D

  28. love this! I found this tutorial and made these for my shop as well, works perfectly!

  29. Great tutorial!
    I found these at ABC NameTapes, works perfect an made in 100&% cotton

  30. I want to try this. If you use the stamp pad mentioned in the update, do you still use the fabric ink as mentioned in the regular process?

  31. Hi Sandy,
    No you don't need to use fabric paint if you use the fabric ink pad.