One of the most important things about starting your own business is branding. Not big chain store type branding -splashing your name everywhere, but just a small little label that reminds people where they purchased your product from and how to google you at the very least. Sometimes, well most times, I forgot to add labels to my items, and I make the effort to unpick a few stitches (another reason my stitch picker is my best friend) and tack on a tag. All you need is that one person to show a friend their newly purchased handmade craft item, and check the tag to tell them where it is from to secure another sale. If you don't have a label then that is a lost sale to you directly or indirectly. That one friend might decide to go on etsy and search for an ID wallet lets say, but instead purchases one of the 100s of other options available in the search category. Moral of the story - labels are important! Even more importantly they are cheap to make.
- First you will need to design your own fabric label image. You can just have text alone or text and an image.
- Opening Word (or whichever word processor you use) set up the page margins so that they are 0.5cm from the page edge.
- Rotate the page so it is in landscape view.
- Now make a table with 4 columns x 10 rows.
- I cut my actual image with 1mm extra width and height on each side.
- The size of my pasted image is 16mm x 66mm.
- Copy the image through the table.
- Setting the font to size 4
- Press enter above the image. And press enter again below the image. So there is a extra line above and below the image - to allow for more cutting space. I'm not so good with scissors.
-Now to prepare your image for printing. The labels actually needs to be printed in their mirror image so that when you iron it to your fabric, it will be the right way round.
- If you have a newer model inkjet printer there may be a setting for t-shirt transfers.
- If you don't have this option available on your printer don't fear - there is a really simple way to flip the image.
- Select the image, and under the format tab select rotate image. There will be an option to flip horizontally. This will give us the mirror image.
- Now copy this mirror image throughout the table.
- Now place your t-shirt transfer paper into your ink jet printer. With the white side up.
- Most t-shirt transfer papers have a plain white side and a design on the other so you know which way to feed the paper.
- The first time I used the transfer paper I fed it in the wrong way though. And when I attempted to iron it to my fabric, I ended up with glue all over my iron and a distinct chemical smell.
- Once you have printed your transfer, leave it to dry for a couple of minutes.
- It should look something like this:
Cut out each of the individual transfer labels.
- Heat up your iron to an appropriate setting for satin ribbon.
- Pin the end of a roll of ribbon to your ironing board and pin around a meter to the other side.
On a side note, most of the printer label instructions state you will need a hard surface to iron on, specifically not an ironing board. You will notice how gross looking my ironing board is and that is because it is the base cover. I have an extra cover for ironing my clothes but this base cover barely has any protective padding in it left, so it's a pretty good hard surface for ironing.
Place a few of the cut out transfer labels, printed side down on top of the ribbon.
Using the tip of the iron gently press the transfer label onto the ribbon so it stays in place
Once you have a few of the labels stuck down to the ribbon. Place your iron parallel to the ribbon and press down hard on top of the ribbon for a good 5 - 10 seconds.
- If you want to check if the label has been ironed on well enough you can slowly peel off the transfer paper from one corner.
- It should come off easily without resistance. If not pop the paper back on and iron again.
When you cut the ribbon it is very likely that it will fray. Even if you cut the ribbon where the transfer overlaps.
- Do you remember the trick your mother likely taught you to stop hair ribbons from fraying? Well mother does pretty much know best (in this case anyways).
-Light a small candle and grab one of the cut ribbon labels.
- Placing the ribbon around 0.5cm from the flame. Watch as the edge of the ribbon melts slightly and seals the edge. Don't put the fabric directly in the flame, you basically just want the heat of the flame to seal the edges.
- This is the reason I prefer to use synthetic ribbon as the long sides are woven close and the two short sides are easily sealed with a candle.
- This is what the melty edge should look like
Now keep on ironing till you have finished the 40 labels you have just cut out.
- The best part of these labels is that you don't need to iron over any excess fabric and burn your fingers in the process and they don't fray once heat sealed. Not only am I bad with scissors, I'm also pretty bad at using my iron for fiddly projects.
- On a side note you can probably also use fray check to stop the ribbon from fraying. I did try clear nail polish but it looks shiny on the sides. Twill tape would work well with fray check but as a natural fibre it will burn when put near a flame.