DIY Clothing Labels – Tutorial

Labels can be quite expensive, so I thought today I would share how I make mine. There are lots of fantastic tutorials out there by other crafty people, but mine is a little bit different – I am going to show you how to design a logo to use on your labels as well. This is not only great for people wanting to add a professional touch to their sewing projects, but also for parents who need to put name labels in their children’s school and sports clothes and uniforms.

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Computer and Printer
T-Shirt Transfer Paper
Ribbon (I use 1cm wide polyester grosgrain or cotton twill)
Iron and ironing board
Cigarette lighter (to melt ribbon edges so they don’t fray)

This tutorial was originally made using screenshots from the now defunct site picnik. You can do exactly the same things using the site PicMonkey, which is what I now use, and is almost identical.

First, upload an image to Picmonkey. Unfortunately you cannot start with a blank image. Go to ‘Overlays’ on the tool bar, then choose ‘Geometric’. Cover your entire image with a rectangle and change it to the colour you desire.

Next, go to ‘Text’ and type in the text you would like on your label. Play around with fonts and colours until you are happy.

Add a little logo if you would like to – the bird I use is available in ‘Stickers’ along with many other lovely little pictures.

Next, use ‘Basic Edits’ and crop your picture into a rectangular label shape.

You are done – click ‘Save and Share’ and save it somewhere easily accessible.

Next – open a word processing document (mine is MS Word) and create a table. Mine has three columns and is the length of an A4 page. Insert your label image into the first cell and resize it to your liking. Copy it, highlight the whole table, and paste it. You will now have this:

Now time for printing. Important – do a practice run with some plain paper before using your tshirt transfer paper, it is too expensive to waste! You will notice that my logos are not mirror images – most computers will do that automatically. Your practice run will allow you to check that your logo is not too wide for your chosen ribbon.

You need to click ‘Print’, then click ‘Properties’ and in the ‘Media Type’ box, there should be an option for ‘Tshirt transfers’. Choose that option and your logos will print as mirror images, so they are correct when you iron them on.

If your computer does not give you this option, highlight the image in the first cell, click on Picture Tools, and choose ‘Rotate’, then ‘Flip Horizontal’. As before, copy your image, then paste it into the rest of the table.

When you have printed, your paper will look like this (without being hacked into of course!)

The next part is really easy! Cut your logos out and iron them onto your ribbon, making sure you have read the instructions on the transfer paper package. Make sure your iron is set to a dry cotton setting – no steam!

When you think they are done, give them another iron just to be sure. Let them cool completely. Then carefully peel off the paper backing to reveal your lovely labels.

Cut them up, seal the ends gently with the cigarette lighter, and you are ready to sew them on to your projects.

If you need any extra help, feel free to email me, tweet me, or send me a message on Facebook. I would love to know if you make some! Please share a photo over at my Flickr group!

81 thoughts on “DIY Clothing Labels – Tutorial

  1. Wow Ros, this is fantastic! I have bought my labels for Little Ladybird in the past and I must say they were really expensive and probably don't look as good as yours do. I will definitely be giving this a go in the future (when I use up the many labels I have already purchased …. bought in bulk to get the cost down as much as I could!). Thanks for sharing! Tash

  2. Oh thank you so very much. I have been wondering for a while now what would be the best way for me to do up some labels. I will most certainly be giving this a go!

  3. THANKS a lot, that is a COOL tutorial.
    I am wondering: do i need special RIBBON (because of the inning????).
    I life in germany, won't be able to get your Ribbon, i quess.
    Does it say anything on the Ribbonpackage?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Tammie! The transfer paper package will have that information. I only have an inkjet, so I purchased one that said it was suitable for inkjets. The brand I bought is called Papercraft. If you are in Australia or NZ you can get it at Spotlight.

  4. Roslyn, I only have a inkjet too. I live in the U.S. and our packages are either Inkjet or Laser. Thanks so much for response, now off to shopping after work.

  5. This is an awesome tutorial! I want to run to the office store to get the transfer paper! Pinning so I can try it! Thanks for sharing and in such detail!

  6. I LOVE it!! I've seen personalized ribbon before but never knew how they did it. It looks easy enough! πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for linking up to Sassy Sites for our free for all party. Be sure to join us tomorrow morning for some shout outs! Have a wonderful weekend!


  7. Visiting from "Free for all Friday". These are so cute and your tutorial is really well-written. I pinned it and am now following some of your pin boards. If only I could sew… Anyway, thanks for sharing and have a super weekend!!

    1. Hi Cheryl, I have sent mine through the wash on various items of clothing and they are fine. Because the transfer is made to go on t-shirts I guess they have to make sure it is washable. I generally wash using a cold or warm cycle, so not sure how they would go on a hot cycle. It is summer here so my tumble dryer hasn't been used in months, so I haven't tried that either but I'm pretty sure it would be fine.

  8. Thanks for sharing!

    This looks so much easier than some of the ones I've seen, and this way maybe I can make labels to match the words in plain black and then iron on to a ribbon that matches the project?

  9. Hi Roslyn, what a great idea and fantastic tutorial. I've seen this done before but your instructions are very clear. I'm a Brissie girl and have a linky party myself called "Thriving on Thursdays" every week. I'd so love for you to link this idea up as I've been featuring back to school ideas for the whole of January. I know there'd be a lot of Mum's out there who would love this. Save their money buying those outrageously priced label kits.

    Anne @ Domesblissity xx

    1. Hi Valerie! I forgot to add that step to the tutorial! Highlight your table and in 'Table Tools' you will see a little box called 'borders'. Use this box to choose the picture that shows no borders and they will become invisible.

  10. I almost bought some labels when I was out today but yours are so much cuter! Thank you for sharing such a great idea! I am following your blog now!

  11. Neat tut! I've done something similar for a long time, but I like your tut and tips- could have saved me alot of $ if I would have seen a Tut like YOURS first!

    Visiting from Craft-O-Maniac linky party- thanks for sharing!
    ~Smiles, Suzanne in NW Illinois at WhyCuzICan

  12. thank you so much for sharing! I have been looking for an affordable way to make labels and these look great!
    Gina from

  13. What a fantastic, cost saving idea! My daughter is about to start 4 yo kinder and I need to label EVERYTHING! Will definitely be heading to Spotlight this week!

  14. Great tute, but how did you get the original geometric white background have tried everything, or am I just a doh doh. Example, if I choose a background before I start putting my text on, the colours to select are all quite vibrant or doesn,t that matter?

    1. Hi Kathy, I took that screen shot after I'd changed the colour of the rectangle – it started out as black, then on the colour chart if you use your mouse to push the little circle right up to the top the colour should go white.

      An alternative is, if you use a PC, to go to accessories, then Microsoft Paint, open it and save the blank page as a jpeg. You can then upload that into Picnik to start with a 'blank canvas'.

      Hope that helps! Email me again if you have any trouble πŸ™‚

  15. you can start with a blank page. just make a collage and choose white as the background colour. click done and you have a blank canvas.
    I am so sad picnik is going
    google + will not have the same features and i am struggling to use photoshop πŸ™

  16. LOVE the labels! I love that you used Picnik, but I'm so disappointed that they're closing down. I'm yet to really work out what's going on with Google+. Must go over and look around there some time, but I'm such a creature of habit, it takes me a while to try new things!!

  17. I am trying to use PicMonkey to set up my labels but I do not see the same images (e.g tool bars) as your tutorial shows. I realize the tute shows you using Picnik which is no longer available. I am lost as to how to proceed using PicMonkey. Any suggestions? Thanks for any assistance.

    1. Hi Pam, PicMonkey is very similar, but the tabs are down the left hand side of the screen once you upload you photo. Rather than tabs it has symbols. If you click your mouse on each symbol it will show the menu of those photo effects. You will notice by browsing these that they are very similar to Picnik.

      Cheri from I am Momma Hear Me Roar has looked at Picmonkey and Ipiccy and put some details on her blog here:

      Otherwise, feel free to email me – roslynruss{at}gmail{dot}com – and I will try to help you out in more detail!

  18. I'm in love with how simple your tutorial is, I'll be experimenting with it this week and I want to put a link to your tutorial on my page. I just started blogging and feel like a dork but I don't know how to set up a link in my posts. Any help would be great, thx!

  19. i would like to know if there is a way to iron them onto the garment instead of sewing? I am not having much luck with that part and thats really what i need… something i can occasionally iron on .. If you know a trick i am missing please let me know!!! I really love this


    1. Hi Susy,

      You could use some applique paper like Heat N Bond of Vlisoflix (I think I spelled that wrong).

      I'm not sure how long the transfer side could withstand additional ironing once the transfer is on the ribbon, so you might better to press it on from the fabric side of the garment, if that makes sense?

  20. Hi Ros,

    This is really cool, and mine worked wonderfully well. Thank you for such a well done tutorial. The thing that i am experimenting with now, is how to preserve the inks on my labels since they are done on an inkjet printer. After the first washing, mine was a bit smeary, but not too bad. One has to obviously watch when ironing over the label, or the clear part of the transfer will bubble a bit.

    I read where ribbon treated with hairspray before and after printing will preserve it, but it seems to me that this would wash away. So…I am now looking at the Kryon clear coat sprays. We'll see how goes. πŸ˜‰

    Lynn –

  21. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you so much! I was starting to price professional labels and I came to the conclusion that I can't afford them! This I can do! just need to buy the t-shirt transfer paper and then I am set! From now on everyone who buys (or is given) something that I have made will know who made it!!!

    Carolyn from Amelian Crafts (www.facebook/AmelianCrafts)

  22. I made these tags today! I would love to share a photo of them with you, but I am having a problem with yahoo & flickr, so I will try emailing them to you and you can add them, if you like! It was a blessing to have found your page! Now I am excited to get back into my sewing!

  23. I've been looking for an inexpensive way to do this. Thank you so much! Where did you get T-Shirt transfer paper from. I'm also in Melbourne like yourself.

    1. Hi Monica, in my experience the images are fine after washing. Just ensure you use a good quality transfer paper. Good luck!

  24. Great tip/idea I’m curious, would this technique work if done directly on a t-shirt blank as the interior label?

    1. Yes I’m sure it would work fine – just make sure your t-shirt is made from a natural fibre that won’t burn or melt under the iron’s heat.

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