How To Make Bottle Labels

Bottles of wine

If you make wine, beer or mead, liquid soap or shampoo, or anything else that goes in a bottle, creating handmade labels is part of the fun. You can use these instructions for labeling any bottle.

The old-fashioned low-tech way, easier on the environment, is to design and draw labels on plain paper, coat them with a fixative so the ink doesn't run (do this even if you use indelible ink), cut them out and carefully glue them to the bottles using rubber cement -- or you can get a special bottle label glue at a craft store. Rather than using ordinary scissors, try craft scissors that will make a fancy or rustic-looking edge. If you need a lot of labels, take your design to a local printer.

This might be all you need, if you enjoy doing original art and calligraphy. It also might be a good way to earn money. You can start a side business producing labels for others' bottles, once you have a few designs in your portfolio.

If you want to make labels with a computer and printer, scan your original art and lettering or use a nice font and some public-domain clip art. Several places online offer printable labels and templates; there are even programs specifically for designing wine labels. You can also use Open Office, Photoshop, Photo Deluxe or PrintShop Photo Pro to lay out your images Waterproof printable labels are available at office supply stores online and in brick and mortar stores. Some people waterproof their homemade labels with hairspray, or use a fixative you can get at any art or craft store.

If you make something you are planning to sell -- whether it's an alcoholic beverage or not -- you must first find out what is required legally in terms of licenses and registrations. Among other things, there are laws about what should be included on labels -- particularly for foodstuffs.  If you are not planning to sell but intend your creations for private consumption or you are simply re-labeling bottles, you have a somewhat freer hand.

Begin by designing a logo, any kind of eye-catching image or lettering that can appear on all your bottles. If nothing else, just put your family name on the labels in a nice font. If this is for wine or beer, include the name or type, alcohol content, and the place and year it was made. Aside from legally required information, you can add anything else you can think of. If you use a computer, scan your own original art or photography, or try public domain clip art.

To remove a label, soak the bottle for an hour or two in warm water with ammonia added. 

A good idea is to braille the label. Braille label printers can be expensive, but there are braille labeling services. Look into this if you are making products to sell.


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