Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Do It Yourself: Handmade Labels

When I started selling my products on etsy, I ran into a problem. How to label all of my items without spending a ton of money or having to wait for reorders. Originally, I would print out labels on iron transfer ink jet paper and fuse it to felt. These labels worked fairly well. As my business grew, I found that I rarely had time to make more. The print would also tear a little towards the edge of the felt, not to mention my complete lack of ability when it comes to ironing-on. So I began to look into new methods.

Here is an example of one of my early iron-on labels sewn to the bottom of a titty pincushion.

I tried shrinky dinks, mainly because I wanted to MAKE shrinky dinks. This was even MORE labor intensive and convoluted than the iron-on decals, but made for a very unique and charismatic label. I have kept this idea around for some of my more expensive jewelry items.

Here is a shrinky dink label sewn to a fun mushroom pincushion.

Finally, I had the idea to have a stamp made of my logo. I found a company online, Rubber Stamping Across America, that would create an 8" x 10" stamp sheet for a small price. Since there was extra space on the sheet, I designed several fun stamps to use with my work, and had my logo made in two sizes. I had to cut the sheet and attach each stamp to a wooden block, but it was well worth the effort. I recommend paying the couple of extra dollars to get the adhesive backing pre-glued.

When I make labels, I use black "StazOn" brand ink. It claims to not be for use on fabric, but I have washed my labels on clothing repeatedly with only minimal fading. I use different colored scraps from larger projects to print the labels. To cut the labels, I prefer to use my pinking shears. The labels are sewn on by hand or by machine with a tight zigzag stitch.

For my skirts and pants, I have found it to be more efficient to stamp directly on the garment. I purchased a set of number stamps to stamp the size. This saves me the extra step of sewing on the labels after the garment is complete.

The tools for the job.

Stamped labels in action on rainbow sweater balls.

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