Wednesday, July 16, 2008
All About Labels for Handmade Items: labeling and the law, a DIY clothing label tutorial, and helpful resource links for label makers and sellers
If you sell handmade clothing or accessory items, labels are a necessity. Not only because it is good branding practice to attach your company information to anything that you sell, but also because it is the law that you include information about the origin, content, and care of your products on an attached label. Even for the little guy or girl with a small indie business, the US Federal Trade Commission requires that you declare certain information in the form of a label on your clothing, fashion accessories, and some other handmade items. Most beginning artists and crafters don't realize this at first, but it is important to know the laws and regulations pertaining to what you are selling - labeling is just one. I am not going to go into details of what is and is not required to be on a label because it can vary. Instead, I'm providing several links for you in my resource information below. Please read for yourself what is required specifically on your own product labels.
After realizing that I needed to label my handmade felted wool items, I researched what was necessary to include on those labels for my personal items. Then I proceeded to research how to make labels and where to buy already made labels. There are many options for labeling your handmade items. You can make labels yourself. You can purchase labels from another handmade artisan such as those found on Etsy. Or, you can buy professional quality woven labels from a manufacturer online or locally. The choice is up to you. I initially had chosen to make my own labels, but eventually I plan to invest in some professional quality woven labels for my felted fashion accessories.
Since many beginning artist and crafters are on a tight budget, the do-it-yourself method for label-making is usually the best route for a crafty person. Below are some basic instructions on how I have made my own sew-in labels. There are many other ways to make your own labels so check my resource information for some helpful links. And, if you have the cash and aren't feeling crafty about label-making, then purchase some from a handmade artisan or from an online company. You'll find suggested sources in my resource information below.
Making Your Own Labels (the funky felter way):
computer, inkjet printer, scissors, a ruler, a table top work space, an iron, a pillow case to lay on the ironing surface, about a yard of thick cotton fabric or cotton canvas material, and machine washable dark t-shirt transfer paper.
*You will also need a graphic image and/or text information to put on your label; you can do this yourself via a computer or buy a design off Etsy (see resources).
1. First you will need to have a layout page of your labels in the form of a computer file for printing. If you are a bit computer design savvy, you can make an image or images to use as your label and a label template to make a page of labels. If not, you can use a simple word processing program to make text only labels with a template. Or, you can buy a label design graphic from a talented Etsy seller to use. (If you are wanting to make the label graphics or text yourself, you can find some helpful templates at Avery.com - their label templates work well for this project.)
2. Once you have your file page of labels ready to print, you will need to have an inkjet printer handy along with your dark t-shirt transfer paper (as seen in the photo). Simply print your page of labels onto the dark t-shirt transfer paper by following the instructions given on the transfer paper's packaging. Since the transfer paper is pricey, you might want to only print one sheet at first and follow-through all the instructions to see how the labels turn out.
3. After you've printed a page of labels on the transfer paper. Follow the instructions on the transfer paper's packaging to iron it on to the thick cotton material or cotton canvas (as seen in the photo). I suggest that you cut your fabric to the size of the transfer page prior to ironing it on to make it easier to handle during the process.
4. Once you've ironed the transfer page onto the fabric according to the transfer paper's packaging instructions, let it sit for a few minutes to cool. Then you can remove the parchment paper backing before cutting out your labels. Once your labels are cut out, you can sew them onto your items.
Another Way to Make Easy Labels:
If you'd prefer an even easier way to make labels...... you can use a customized stamp, fabric ink, and ribbon. Simply ink up your customized stamp and put it on cut sections of ribbon. You can then sew the ribbon in as a label.
US Label Law Information:
USA Textile Labeling Requirements When Selling Your Handmades on About.com
Tutorials for Label Making:
Craftster.org's Tutorial for Personalized Labels
Make your own labels by Allyson Hill
Etsy Sellers Who Make Labels:
Custom Courture Label Co
Mommie Made It
Etsy Sellers Who Design Label Graphics:
Color Fiesta Graphics
Pixel by Pixel
Commercial Label Makers:
Distinctive Designs 21, Inc.
Northwest Tag and Label
Clothing Labels 4U
**Please note that I, the funky felter, am not affiliated with any of the suggested label sellers, nor do I endorse or recommend their services. I am simply providing their links as resources for you to evaluate.