These labels look hand-made, but that’s part of the attraction. If I want a perfect label then I can buy a pre-printed set or download one of the hundreds of templates on Pinterest.
Tracing Paper & Pencil
Thin Foam Sheet – such as these available from children’s craft section
Cardboard/polystyrene/wood – to make block
Paper – copy paper, baking parchment, brown paper, any sort of paper or use sticky labels
Ink Pad (approx. 6cm x 8cm) or Block Printing Ink/Acrylic Paint with Roller and Palette (an old plastic chopping board or I use the glass shelf rescued from a discarded fridge)
Trace your design onto the tracing paper and then place the paper (pencil side downwards) onto the foam. Lightly shade over the pencilled outline to transfer the design to the foam, making a mirror image. This foam dents really easily, so don’t lean too hard with your pencil.
Cut out the areas that you want to remain unprinted with a craft knife, turning the foam as you cut. Cut the small shapes first, particularly the centre of letters.
Depending on your design, you may be able to use both the outline and the cut out (see the apple design below).
You can use the foam as it is, but it’s easier to use if you stick it onto some sort of block. Polystyrene and wood make good bases or just cut three pieces of cardboard and stick together to make a block (make the corrugations in the middle layer run at right angles to the other layers to add strength). When you stick your foam to the block, remember to reverse the foam block so that it prints the right way.
Prepare your paper. I find it easiest to cut strips of paper and then cut the strips into labels when I’ve finished.
For quick and easy labels, press your block onto an ink pad and stamp away.
If you want a more solid looking print, then use block printing ink or acrylic paint. Squeeze a little ink onto your palette and roll your roller backwards and forwards to evenly coat it with a thin layer of ink. Then use the roller to apply the ink to the block making sure there is a thin, even layer over the whole design.
Put your paper onto something with a bit of give such as a folded newspaper or a jelly plate and press your block onto the paper, carefully lift off and you have your print.
Keep printing until you have enough labels and once they’re dry, cut into appropriate sizes and stick onto your jars.