hand-made labels

lino printed labels

Despite my best intentions not to overcrowd the tomatoes and to keep them well tended, the greenhouse descended into a chaotic jungle. I was fairly diligent at cutting out the side shoots and keeping the plants tied in until the tomatoes started to ripen, when for some reason, I then abandoned all watering and sideshooting. It was getting a bit of a struggle to get through the door and push our way through the foliage to reach the tomatoes, not helped by a few of the support canes breaking near the base, which meant some plants were nearly horizontal.

Last week, I cut and tied, stood up canes and made rickety support structures that are just about holding up the plants. The upside is that we can see the ripe tomatoes and easily pick them. The downside is that we can see the ripe tomatoes. And the tomatoes that will be ripe tomorrow. And the next day. And the next …

How am I dealing with this glut of tomatoes? Obviously, I should be flicking to this post, which is full of ideas. Instead though I’m faffing about printing labels. Just so that they’re ready when I need them.

The tomato label (at the top) is a lino print. I haven’t cut lino for years and find it rather a challenge, particularly when the lino is old and hard. When the price sticker is from a shop that closed well over ten years ago, you know that the lino is unlikely to be soft and supple.

hand printed labels

The labels above are made with a bit of foam from the children’s area of the craft store, stuck onto some cardboard and inked. Very simple. There are some step by step instructions here for hand printed labels should you want to have a go.

You can print onto all sorts of paper; for these labels I used ordinary white copier paper, brown paper and baking parchment. When the ink is completely dry, stick the labels onto the jar by lightly brushing a very thin layer of milk over the back of the label and pressing onto the jar. Yes, milk. I admit that this is something I discovered on the internet and I have no idea if it works long term. My labels are still firmly stuck after a week but maybe next week all the labels will have unstuck and floated to the floor.

Have you used milk to stick labels to jars? Does it work?


Sweet Tomato Chutney Recipe


31 thoughts on “hand-made labels

  1. Julie says:

    Sometimes you just need a distraction from harvesting. I did laugh at your greenhouse description though. I haven’t tried milk as an adhesive for labels but sounds a good plan.


  2. Christina says:

    I rather like your printed labels! Shame I am so lazy these days. I remember my mum making lino cuts. The knife always looked a bit scary. Milk as glue sounds good, I’ll try that.


  3. Gerlinde says:

    I love your labels but I am real lazy when it comes to decorating my canning jars. I love to have some of your tomatoes. I have a roasted tomato sauce recipe on my blog that I did last year and it is easy to make. Have you tried slow roasting the tomatoes , that’s an easy way to preserve them also. It’s a wonderful snack, great on sandwiches and in pasta dishes.


  4. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial says:

    They look amazing! Ummm…you know how you were laughing at me for knitting dishcloths… 😉

    I do love the idea of a tomato glut. We have fruit fly problems here, so we never get that. I’d love to see a photo of the inside of your greenhouse if you get a chance…thanks x


  5. Jane says:

    Anne, I just love your labels! Good for you. I’ve never tried milk but I will be interested to hear how they last. By the way, don’t forget the humble spud as another simple way of printing. You can’t get as detailed of course, but it is fun.


  6. homeslip says:

    Love your labels and your tomato recipes. I’ve got a glut of outdoor tomatoes, the first since 2006 and only my third blight-free year in 15 years of allotmenteering!


  7. Stephanie says:

    What a fab idea to Lino print labels – I have some that’s a little newer than yours and if it were earlier I’d be upstairs digging it out! Our tomatoes have also gone bonkers this year, and of course it’s the year I let them grow wild… So I truly sympathise with the horizontal plants!


  8. arlingwoman says:

    I dream of a tomato glut. Haven’t had one for a few years. Your labels are fun and I imagine you will get some pleasure this winter reaching into your pantry and grabbing the jars they decorate!


    • Anne Wheaton says:

      I hope it works. So often I read these “amazing” tips on blogs that turn out not to be amazing at all so I’m approaching with caution. I don’t want to edit this post in a couple of months with a warning that milk adehesive doesn’t last.


  9. Thomasina Tittlemouse says:

    Your labels are just gorgeous! I love them and particularly like the different effects you get from using different papers. Not quite so sure about using milk as glue though – doesn’t it smell? Perhaps not, once it’s completely dry, but I have lingering memories of milk spills drying and leaving bad and difficult to shift aromas which I don’t much fancy revisiting in my larder! E x


    • Anne Wheaton says:

      I was a bit worried about the smell, particularly as I got into my daughter’s car last week shortly after she’d spilt milk in it (euch), but there’s such a minisucle amount on each label that I can’t smell it. At the moment.


  10. Amy at love made my home says:

    No idea about the milk sticking I am afraid, but I hope it works as it sounds like a great idea! I love the labels, they are beautiful!!! Hope that you don’t feel too overrun with tomatoes! Remember, you can freeze little ones whole and then just drop them into things to cook, spag bol, chilli, pasta bakes. All very yummy!! xx


  11. dianeskitchentable says:

    Very interested in that milk as glue idea and would be interested in hearing how long it sticks. I wonder if that only works on paper to glass or works as an adhesive to other things. Good to know when I go to my pot of glue & find that it’s dried as hard as a rock.


  12. fergie51 says:

    Thanks for this post! I loved the look of these labels when I saw them on another post. I think I might second my friend who is considerably more creative than I to be my production TA! Cheers 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. thegardendeli says:

    Love the labels. Where do you find the time to be so creative, on top of all the day to day chores that need doing? I need to sort out some labels for a new product and was thinking I should get a stamp made up… seeing how good your labels look, I’m going to follow your instructions and try making my own. Although, given my lack of artistic ability, I may well end up paying for a stamp, but at least you have inspired me to try!


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