Sunday, February 14, 2010

How to make custom fabric labels - Tutorial

How rewarding is it at the end of a sewing project to be able to put your own tag inside?! Instead of spending a fortune on woven labels that one has to order 500 at a time, this is a quick and easy way to make labels, using recycled materials!

You will need:
  • photoshop or a word processing program
  • photo transfer paper
  • an inkjet printer
  • scissors
  • Dritz Fray Check
  • an iron and ironing board
  • linen or fabric for tags
I use Avery Light Fabric Transfer paper. Avery offers an assortment of photo transfer paper, it all depends on what color you want your tags, and if you are using stretchy fabric. They are sold at most paper supply stores, like Walmart, Staples, Office Max, etc. A pack of twelve sheets will cost about $15.

First, open photoshop or any photo editing program, even Microsoft Word will do. Make the tag you want using text, a small picture, whatever you want. Tile this on an 8 1/2" x 11" file, like you are printing address labels. I prefer a straight-to-the-point tag that has my name and website. It's clear, easy to read, and simple.

Be sure to flip the image horizontally before you print it on the photo transfer paper!

Next, cut out each individual label, making sure you are as close to the edge of the font as possible.

After cutting out all of the labels, it is time to iron them onto your fabric. I prefer to use old banquet napkins, which are linen. The weave of the fabric is nice and thick, it doesn't stretch, and the white matches anything. Most fabrics will do, but to be sure, try a test one first. If you are using fabric with a stretch, be sure to get photo transfer paper for stretchable fabric.

Follow the directions on the transfer paper. Make sure you have the stream turned off on the iron! After the fabric cool and you have ironed on all the labels, you can peel off the paper and it will looks like this.

Next, cut out all the labels, leaving enough room for your seam when you will sew it onto your clothing, handbag, etc. Depending on the fabric you use, if you sew on the transfer itself it may eventually peel off over time (I ran into this problem when I initially used ribbon). With the linen I use, however, I can sew right over the edge of the transfer and it is very durable with everyday wear and tear.

The final step is to use fray check along each edge of every tag. This little bottle can be purchased at any craft store for about $3. Allow to dry and your tag is ready to be sewn into whatever you so desire!
The end result: a fabulous, professional looking tag for your handmade goods!

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  1. Cool! I wonder if you could make them with a ribbon this way....hmmmmmmmmm. I'm going to have to investigate! Thanks for the tutorial.

  2. I used to use ribbon but the transfer peels off after a while. I think it has something to do with the transfer not gripping the fabric well enough. Good luck!

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  4. Your labels are very professional looking, the way I would like mine to look. Is it hard to mess these labels up, and what are the common things that mess the labels up? Also, it looks like the process and finishing them to go on your products takes quite a while. Are we talking hours here?