Making your own DIY printable fabric labels is a simple project that can save you a lot of money and give your homemade projects some character and charm! Whether you sell your goods, give them away as gifts, or just create things for yourself, adding a cute label makes them look professional and authentic. I add labels to everything!
When I decided years ago to make tags for the items I sold in my Etsy shop, (buying them can be quite costly) I did a lot of research and through trial and error, found this technique to be the best. Using transfer paper and fabric or ribbon made the labels more durable and looked a lot nicer.
I have been getting a lot of inquiries as to how I make my labels, so I thought I would show you how. You can watch my YouTube here.
There are so many ways that you can add a label, and it’s really easy to make your own. In this tutorial, I will show you how to
- print your labels
- iron them onto a piece of fabric, ribbon or twill tape
- show you several ideas of how you can apply them to your homemade projects
Items & Materials Needed
- Printed PDF Labels
- Paper Cutter (optional) I love this paper cutter
- Rotary Cutter/Mat (optional)
- Iron-On Transfer Paper (specified for either INKJET OR LASER PRINTER)
- Heat & Bond Iron-On Interfacing (optional)
- Ribbon, twill tape, or woven fabric
- Iron/Ironing Board
- Fray Check (optional)
PRINTABLE FABRIC LABELS PRINTING INSTRUCTIONS
You can design your labels on any computer program, which is quite easy to do. Or I have a set of EDITABLE LABELS that you can download and print. FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THEM HERE.
Make sure you have the correct type of transfer paper for your printer. The most common transfer paper is for inkjet printers, but they do have it for laser printers as well. Follow the transfer paper printing instructions.
When you go to print your labels, you must change the settings to print backward. Note that every printer queue is different and you may have to look for this setting. You may have to go to the advanced settings and choose “flip image” or “mirror image”.
If you don’t change this setting, when you apply the iron-on label, the text will be backward.
I recommend printing them out on regular paper first to make sure it is how you want it. (You don’t want to waste transfer paper)!
WHAT TYPE OF MATERIAL DO I USE FOR MY PRINTABLE FABRIC LABELS?
There are several types of materials you can use to make your labels. Depending on what look you want will determine what type of material you use. Here are some suggestions:
- Ribbon of all types (I use a white 5/8 inch ribbon for my “J” labels). The ribbon is nice to use because two of the four sides are finished and won’t fray.
- Cotton twill tape works well for a wide horizontal label.
- Woven fabric (If using fabric, you may want to stabilize it so it doesn’t fray by applying iron-on interfacing to the back before ironing on the transfer paper).
CUT OUT LABELS
Once you have printed out the labels, and have decided what to iron them to, it’s time to cut them out.
If you are going to use fabric and want to make a whole sheet of labels, just iron on the whole sheet and cut afterward.
If you are using ribbon, cut the transfer paper into strips the same size as the ribbon. (Anything wider than the ribbon will stick to your ironing board).
TRANSFER PAPER APPLICATION
- Follow the transfer paper instruction. Most likely it will tell you to turn OFF STEAM and use the highest heat setting.
- Place the transfer paper with the lettering facing down onto the ribbon. Press in place, making sure to cover the whole label.
- Let the label cool before peeling off the back paper. You will notice that there is a plasticky like coating now on the label. This makes it more durable and washable.
HOW DO I APPLY LABEL TO MY PROJECT?
There are several ways to apply the label to your project.
- Sew the label into the seam of the project. Fold the label strip in half and with the raw edges of the ribbon facing out past the seam allowance as shown in the picture above. Topstitch around the edge of the label using a small zigzag stitch on your sewing machine.
If using a fabric label, you can fold the edges under and either topstitch with a sewing machine or sew by hand using a slip stitch.
*Note: If using ribbon, to keep the cut edges from fraying add a dab of “fray check” to the cut edges. This works well.
Pretty simple, right? Such a fun way to add a little character and charm to your beloved hand made items.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Have fun sewing!