Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fabric Label Tutorial

As everyone knows, nothing makes textile product (purses, wallets, clothing) like a personalized fabric label. There are a few ways to get them either by buying them or learning some mad embroidery skills. Another option is to hand stencil them yourself.

fabric labels
A fresh batch of labels.

It's all really simple actually. You only need a plastic stencil of some sort (you can make that cheaply yourself as well) and some fabric safe ink.

Supplies needed:
A plastic stencil (I cut mine out of a transparency sheet)
Screen-printing ink or any fabric safe ink
Ribbon or strip of fabric
A brush
Spray adhesive (optional, but it helps the stencil stay on the surface)

Step 1: Stencil Prep
Tutorial 2
Place the fabric strip on a clean surface and prepare the stencil by spraying the back with spray adhesive. Let the stencil dry a bit so the adhesive is only slightly tacky, this will help it stick very closely to the fabric and avoid any bleeding from the stencil shifting. Then place the label carefully over the strip and decide where you want the text to be.

Step 2: Secure that Stencil
Tutorial 3
Press the stencil securely to the fabric and carefully make sure everything is where you want it. I like to press gently along the length of the stencil instead of sliding, because some lettering elements might be shifted.

Step 3: Painting Time
Tutorial 5
Put some paint on a nearby surface (paper works) and spread it around so the brush is slightly dry. The wetter the paint, the more likely it will bleed. Gently dab the paint into the stencil.

Step 4: Reveal Your Handiwork
Tutorial 7
Make sure to remove any excess paint. Unless you're working with vinyl or another heavy material, the paint should soak into the surface of the fabric. Allow the paint to rest briefly and then carefully peel back the stencil.

Step 5: Finishing Up
Tutorial 8
Let them dry for a bit and there you have it--a very nice fabric label. Make sure to follow the instructions on the paint about drying time and setting before putting it to use.

Good luck!


  1. This is a great tutorial. I'd like to one day have some woven ones made w/my email addy b/c sometims my kiddos misplace what I sew them.

    What kind of fabric did you use?

    You know it would be cool to use the cut-off selvedges of fabrics for this sort of thing. I often cut mine off and save them, if they're a natural fiber (cotton, silk, wool, etc) and look good. It would be a neat stencil bit.

  2. Thanks! I used what I can best describe as cotton ribbon, because I found it at a discount store among the webbing (and other strap materials) unlabeled.



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