DIY Canning Labels || Hitchhiking to Heaven

Easy DIY Canning Labels

A few people asked for more information about the labels I made for last weekend’s Rhubarb, Pear, and Vanilla Jam, so here’s a quick post to show what I did. Because I’m not savvy when it comes to computer design, I needed to make something simple. It took me only two years to figure out I could use stickers and rubber stamps to personalize my labels.

To do this, all you need is a computer running Microsoft Word, a printer, and these supplies:
  • 2 1/2 inch round labels. This size fits perfectly on wide-mouth jar lids. They also work on regular size lids, but the edges disappear under the bands. There are endless online sources for labels. I got my cheap ones here. Of course, Avery also makes them. And you can get fancy ones in many colors from Paper Source
  • Microsoft Word label template. I downloaded the one I like here. (Scroll down the long, long list to S-5046 and click “download,” over to the right.)
  • Rubber stamps and ink pads. I found mine at Scrapbook Territory in Berkeley, but I noticed that almost all of the stamps I chose were made by A Muse Artstamps in Seattle. Anyone else have a favorite rubber stamp company? I’m just getting started with this and would love to find more.

Here’s what to do:

1. Rubber stamp the label sheets. For the teacup sheets below, I used the ink pad and a slightly damp sponge to add a quick wash of color to the white page, then I stamped on top of that. I didn’t want the stamps to be too dark, because I was worried the text wouldn’t be clear. So I stamped first on a blank sheet of paper to get rid of excess ink, then stamped on the label with the weaker, second press.

2. Open the blank label template in Microsoft Word and type up your text. I experimented with fonts and font sizes until I hit on a combination I liked. For me, it’s important to fit at least the name of the preserve and the canning date on the label, so that I and any gift-recipients will know when something’s too old to keep. But I like to list ingredients, too, if there’s room.

3. Print your labels! First, get your paper orientation right by doing a test run on a blank piece of paper (mark an “X”  or write “label” at the place where one of your labels would be). Then proofread your test to be sure that your text looks exactly the way you want. (I’m an editor by trade. Can’t help it.) Finally, load your stamped label sheets into the printer and print your labels. (I know you will do a better job of centering your stamps than I did on the flowers below.)

You’re done. Yay!

But wait . . . there’s more! My friend Wendy, of the amazing Wendolonia, is a computer design professional. And just today she generously posted an array of delicious marmalade labels, yours to download for free. We had no idea we were going to write about canning labels on the same day, much less that we’d post within an hour of each other. It’s label day.

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  • Reply Julia March 23, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    Hey- I love this. Thanks for posting this. It's something I've been thinking of doing for a while, but just never, uh, did. Yay indeed!

  • Reply Wendy March 24, 2010 at 4:31 am

    Shae, I love your technique! It appeals to my crazy scrapbook lady side. And I also love Amuse Art stamps.

  • Reply Ernest Miller March 24, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Many thanks! Great labels!

  • Reply Jill October 6, 2010 at 3:50 am

    Awesome thanks! I couldn't figure out how you got the colours in there without using a graphics program. Stamping is ingenious! I could only find the 1 1/2 inch labels locally but that's ok since I'm using standard jars. Thanks again!

  • Reply Stevie from November 7, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    These labels are beautiful – I love the stamp idea. They looks polished and homemade at the same time.

    I'd love to add them in my canning label inspiration contest. You can add them yourself, or I can add for you.

  • Reply The Turnbulls November 19, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Thanks! I love making labels for my preserves. I've been making handmade hang tags for a while but stickers are a much better solution…and these are really beautiful.

  • Reply elizabeth November 30, 2010 at 2:38 am

    Just in time for gift-giving . . . thanks for the label ideas!

  • Reply Μαρία ilia December 1, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Maria Greece

    Thank you so much 2 years and I'm trying to figure out how to make label!

  • Reply Mia July 26, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Thank you for this idea!! I just called Staples to see if they had this particular label and they did. Turns out they also had the new Avery 22808 in kraft brown which means my labels will have some color. I am going to print my labels out on the color printer after I figure out a template I like and how many I need. So much nicer for the jars that are going to be gifts! Thank you again!

    • Reply Shae July 30, 2011 at 9:13 pm

      I’m glad this helped you, Mia. Now I use the kraft brown labels, too, with the color printer. It’s a combination that will give you lots of flexibility.

  • Reply Julie July 22, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Please disregard my last question on the labels, lol. I just found your page on the labels.

    • Reply Shae July 23, 2012 at 6:27 am

      Thanks, Julie! Glad you found this. :-)

  • Reply A Round-Up of Free Printable Canning Labels July 6, 2013 at 11:28 am

    […] Easy DIY Canning Labels […]

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