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June 9, 2007

Make your own fabric labels

As promised, a wee tutorial on how to make your own fabric labels. It is very easy, but requires a little bit of patience. The beauty of this method is that you can customize the text to say whatever you want, with not much effort. The downside is that you only have one very simple font to use. But experimenting with text colour and background colour, I think you can get some pretty sweet results, even if you do have to keep it simple...

If you try this, do let me know, I'd love to see how it turns out! :-) And if you have any questions about this tutorial, do let me know!

Okay, here's what you need: sticky tape; fabric (cotton is best) in your colour of choice; pinking sheers, or other scissors; fabric ink pad in one or many colours, but make sure it is the kind you can heat set; some kind of fusible web; and the star of the show: a DIY (self-inking) stamp kit! These come in different sizes, from different makers, but you can usually get them on eBay.

First thing you need to do, is take out the ink pad in the stamp (if it's the kind of stamp where you have to put it in before use, you're in luck, you can just skip this). Now press down the stamp so the plate, where you set the text, is visible, there should be little taps on the sides that will hold it. Then use the tweezers to set the line(s) of text you want for your labels.

Now, tape down the sides of the plate, you need to do this because just using the taps to hold the plate doesn't leave it completely free of the edges of the stamp, and you can't use it properly. I've only tried this particular kind (Color Printer 30) of stamp, so other brands might be different, so you can possibly skip the sticky tape step.

Now get out your fabric and inks and get stamping! Experiment with colours and different fabrics. Remember to leave some room between so you can cut them comfortably.

Leave to dry, then iron to set following the instructions for your particular kind of ink. Then cut your labels.

Cut out some fusible web to match the size of your labels; if you used pinking sheers to cut your labels, you might want to make the web a bit smaller so it doesn't show.

You're almost done! All you have to do now is iron the label + web combo to your fabric or felt or whatever. If you're ironing it to felt (especially if it's the non-natural kind), make sure to use not-too-high heat; melted felt isn't pretty!

Example of handmade labels in use.

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