Thursday, September 22

tutorial - how to make home made cloth labels for clothes and products

:: lots of people have been asking me... 'do you make your own cloth labels?'

the answer is... yes i do! 

... & here is the tutorial i have been promising for many many months!!!....  making your own labels can save you money (who's got a spare $600 to get them manufactured when you are just starting up a small home-based business?!)

using the method below, you will end up with about 55 labels (depending on your logo size per A4 printed page) that measure approximately 6 cm wide and 1.8cm high. here is the method to my madness:


Materials you will need:
  • a computer with basic software like microsoft word or publisher
  • a basic inkjet printer 
  • tshirt transfers for inkjet printer (i use the avery brand which can be purchased at BIG W for around $20 for 5 pack) 
  • natural cotton or linen fabric - about the size of an A4 piece of paper
  • an iron
  • some scissors or cutting blade & mat
  • a few basic graphic design skills to make your own logo (or a file with your logo from your fav graphic designer)

1. Setting the layout for the t-shirt transfer sheet
  • on your computer, using word or publisher (i use microsoft office publisher 2003) open a new 'blank document'.
  • go to the 'page setup' (which is in the FILE MENU BAR at the top)... then click the layout tab...  then click the 'custom' option in the 'publication type' drop down menu.
  • .... within this same 'page setup box', make your 'width' - 6cm & the 'height' - 1.8cm

  • make sure that your page 'orientation' is set to - landscape
  • click on the 'change copies per sheet' tab and select 'print multiple copies per sheet'
  • also while here your need to make all the 4 categories of 'spacing'* - 0cm (zero) * the spacing should now say you have 5 across and 11 down
  • click OK twice & this completes your 'page setup' process

2. Designing your logo
  • design your logo by selecting things like the font, size colour until your happy with the layout
  • or use the 'insert' menu > 'picture' to add a jpeg or giff of your logo
  • make sure you have at least 1/2 cm of space at either side of your text - as this empty space is where you will sew your label to your clothes  / products

  • click SAVE when your happy with your logo design
*** NB: if these 3 processes above were way too confusing, you can go to the Avery website here and use one of their simple address label templates (you will have to register first, which is quick and easy).

3. Run a test print 
  • make sure your printer settings are A4 size paper

4. IMPORTANT - NOW YOU MUST MIRROR your logo / text now! otherwise when you iron on the transfer it will read backwards, and no one likes that! you can flip text a few ways...

  • use your design software and look for a commands that say 'flip', 'mirror' or 'reverse'
  • within your printers properties setup look for 'flip horizontal', 'mirror image' or paper that says 'tshirt transfer'.
  • DO ANOTHER TEST PRINT NOW ONTO PLAIN PAPER (to check that its now flipped!)
  • your printout should look something like this now...

5. Printing onto the transfer paper
  • make sure your printer is set to 'transfer paper'... you will usually find this option when looking at your printers 'properties' or 'page setup'.
  • if you can't find this option i recommend setting the printer to the 'best print quality' output. yes it will take a few minutes to print the page, but what this does is lay down a good amount of ink that gives the text on your labels a solid base to go through many many washes and not fade.
  • when inserting the transfer paper into the printer paper tray, have the back of the transfer paper facing up, this means your print will come out on the correct side (i am assuming all printers will be like mine, so please correct me if i am wrong)

  • ok so now your printed transfer paper is ready for ironing....

6. Ironing the transfer onto cotton fabric or cotton tape
  • read the simple instructions (included inside the pack) before you begin this stage ... or go here for a PDF of instructions
  • cut a piece of white or pale coloured cotton or linen fabric to A4 size and iron it so its nice an flat. let cool down.

  • lay your transfer paper over the cotton, making sure that the Avery logo is facing you and the printed side is face down onto the fabric.
  • Iron across the fabric, applying good pressure using two hands, for approximately 3 minutes. do not leave the iron in one spot for 3 minutes, otherwise it will scorch! just move it slowly for the 3 minutes back and forth. 

  • once done, let the transfer cool for 2 minutes or so
  • then gently peel the top paper off the fabric surface in one smooth motion

  • if your transfer is lifting off the fabric simply place the paper back down and give it some more time with the iron

7. cutting your labels ready for sewing
  • you now have a sheet of labels
  • using a Stanley knife and mat (or scissors, like me) cut your labels out in strips to store, or singles to sew onto your handmade products

  • i go fairly free hand here, as i like my labels to look non-perfect and a little raw edged. sometimes i will pull a few stray strands of thread and fray them a little. other times i will leave them more clean cut looking.

  • if you are using cotton tape to make your labels, simply cut your A4 label sheet across in strips and iron on each individual strip. this takes longer, but the labels are perhaps the best looking this way (if you want that really professional finish). 
  • nb: if you are making labels on a dark coloured fabric, you will have the purchase transfer sheets for this purpose and follow the directions, which are slightly different.
  • could try experimenting with other base cloths (as more chunky hemp / linen fabric labels can look really nice too).

  • and if you have a rubber stamp made up with your logo (i hand-carved mine from lino), you can experiment with printing straight onto fabric - just make sure you use fabric ink/paint and heat-set them afterwards.


& there you have it... a way to make your own labels at home. its a bit of a process... and yes, you need a good few hours to do this for the first time... but after doing the whole process once, it is much quicker the next time round!!

:: if you can't get your head around certain parts of this tutorial, or you have more improved and easier ways to do things, then pop up a comment (or email me) to chat and share :)

ps: if you would like to be notified when i post up new tutorials like this ( & my 1st giveaway is happening very soon too).... then subscribe here!

oh & dont' forget that there is more fun and games found over at our creative spaces today!


  1. That's a great tutorial - thanks!!

  2. A great little tutorial and really helpful for me too... thank you :)

  3. WOWWWWWWWW...that's what I call a great tutorial, it couldn't be more detailed. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Fantastic, thank so much for sharing this!
    I've been screen printing my own but really like the look of this process.

  5. hey i just came across your madeit store, and now your blog! funny huh? thanks for this tutorial, am giving it a try this weekend!

  6. I never liked the finish of the iron-ons but for labels this negative is a positive. Thanks for the info.

  7. Very handy information, thanks!

  8. This is great Nikki! I've been making my own using the same t shirt transfer method but onto cotton tape...but I really struggle with the computer formatting! So thank you for that :) Your formatting tips will help with my swing tags and business cards to I think.

  9. thanks so much this is awesome! I never really thought about using the transfer sheets... and I don't want to have to spend that much money on tags!

  10. thanks for the replies everyone. i am glad that my tutorial continues to help people :)

  11. Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon
    every day. It will always be useful to read through articles from other authors and practice something from their sites.
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