I get a lot of questions on how to create your own round labels for tins and jars, so today I’m going to tackle that subject.
Before we start, please know that I’m no graphics art expert. I learned to make these just like I learn pretty much everything else: lots of experimenting, failure and readjustments. There are probably easier and prettier ways (and if you know how, please share in the comments!)
I usually use a scrapbooking program (Storybook Creator by Creative Memories) to make my labels, but for this tutorial, am using PicMonkey and OpenOffice Writer since both programs are freely available to all, at no cost. You’ll also need a color printer and some sticker paper. I like this brand by Avery because it’s repositional (I’m always putting labels on crooked and having to reapply them), but you can look around your local office supply store and see what they have as well.
1. Choose a Circle
Okay, for starters, you’re going to need a round circle with a transparent background. This type of file usually ends in a “.png” So, where would you get such a thing, you wonder? Well, if you scroll wayyyyy down to the bottom of this post, I have a selection ready and waiting for you. (Don’t worry if it’s not the exact color you want; we’ll learn how to change that.)
Find the circle that you want to start with, then click on it so that it opens in a brand new window. It will be big! Right click on the large image and a list of options will pop up and from those, click on “Save Image As.” Save it in an easy-to-find-again location. You’re going to need it in just a minute.
Now, go to PicMonkey.com and click on “Edit.” Find and select the circle that you just saved. For this tutorial, I picked the Pink Bicolor Circle and am going to change its color to green and use it to label a tin of Comfrey & Plantain Salve.
Tip: If you can’t see any of the following example pictures clearly enough, click on them to be taken to a larger image.
2. Change the Color, If You Wish
To change the color of the label: Look on the very left side of PicMonkey and you’ll see symbols that indicate Basic Edits then right below it, a little science beaker (update: now a magic wand) that symbolizes “Effects.” Click on that and scroll down until you see “Tint.” This (and all other options featured in this tutorial) is free, so you can use this without signing in or paying a penny. (However, any feature with a little crown symbol, you have to be a paying member to use.)
Click “Tint” and click your mouse over the color menu and roll it around until you get a color you like. If you’re feeling really experimental, click on all of the other options in Effects, like “Tranquil” and “Yester-Color” and “HDR”and see all of the cool ways you can change around a single label.
3. Add a Place For the Name of Your Salve
Now, I want to put a little contrasting area for the name of the salve to go on. To do that, look at your options on the very left side of PicMonkey‘s screen again and the fifth option down shows a heart, a starburst and a comic bubble (update: it’s now a butterfly shape) – this symbolizes the Overlays menu option.
Click on the Overlays option and you’ll see a list of things that you can add on top of your picture. Right now, I’m going to choose “Geometric” and I clicked the rectangle shape. But hmm… it’s way too small and it’s dark black. Not at all what I want.
Drag the sides and corners around until you get the shape you want. To change the color, drag your mouse around the color options on the little box that popped up when you created the triangle. If you click the eyedropper symbol, you can make it match a certain color on the screen. Sliding the “Fade” button, can make the your rectangle more transparent, if you wish.
Tip: You don’t have to add a rectangle. If you look further in the Overlay Menu Options – you’ll see all sorts of labels and banners and such that you can use instead.
4. Add Text to Your Label
Okay, I’m pretty happy with that rectangle, so now I’m ready to get some words on this label! While we’re on the topic, if you plan to sell your items, you should review labeling requirements as set forth by the FDA. I referenced this post at the Soap Queen Blog on the tutorial I did on creating lip balm labels, but the information is relevant to other products such as salves, balms and creams as well. (By the way, the Soap Queen Blog is put out by the really nice folks at Bramble Berry – a great place to look for supplies for making your salves, soaps and lip balms.) (I wasn’t paid or asked to say that. I just count myself as one of their satisfied customers.)
To add text to your label, click on the “P” (update: now “Tt”) that you see on the left hand side of PicMonkey. You’ll see a menu with all sorts of text options. Pick one that you think you’ll like then click “Add Text” at the very top of the menu. I’m going to pick the font Rokkit.
Click on the little box that pops up on your project that says “Type your text here.” My words “Comfrey & Plantain Salve” don’t quite fit, so I’m going to click off of the box so that I can stretch the sides out and move it to fit better in my rectangle.
I can also center the text, change the color of the text, make it bolder or larger – all with the options in the little text options box that popped up when you added text.
I’m going to add another text box and drag it under the name of my salve. I’m going to go ahead and center it and make the size smaller then start typing my ingredients list.
5. Add Embellishments to Your Label
For the final touches, I’m going to go back to the Overlays menu and add a few garnishes. There’s a cute little bee under “Buggles” and quite a few flowers and such. However, if you’d like more options, go to google.com and do an image search using the search terms: “png freebies” and prepare to be amazed at your options!
If you download such a freebie and want to use it on your label, just go to Overlays and at the top click “Your Own.” From there you can choose any image on your computer and overlay it on your label.
Tip: While in PicMonkey, if you right click on any addition to your label, you can choose to send that part back a layer or move it closer to the front. You can also duplicate or straighten the image.
6. Save Your Label
When you’re completely satisfied with your label, save it (with a new name, so you can preserve your original label as a template.) Make sure that it still has the .png extension.
That takes care of making your label, but we still have to size it correctly and then print it out. For that, I use OpenOffice’s Writer. It’s a free program a lot like Microsoft Word, only I find it more useful and less buggy. You can get it here, at Apache OpenOffice. Another word processing type program might work as well, but I haven’t really tested any to know for sure.
7. Import Your Label Into OpenOffice
Now, we’re going to get our freshly designed label over to a blank document so we can resize it to suit our needs. To do this, open up a new blank document and you’ll see menu bars across the top: “File Edit View Insert ….” Click on “Insert” then “Picture” then “From File” (see the photo right above this to see better.) Find the lovely label you just created with PicMonkey and select it then hit “Open.”
But WHOA, look what happens when it pops up on your screen:
It’s taking up too much of your page and is way too big. So now we need to reduce the size.
8. Resize Your Label
To make your label smaller, right click on the image and click “Picture.” A box will show up that looks like this:
Under Size, you’ll see a width and a height. Before you start changing numbers, go a bit below and check the box “Keep Ratio” so that your circle stays nice and round.
I’m going to give you the numbers I use, but keep in mind that they may print a little differently depending on which program and printer you use. That’s why running a test label on plain paper first is highly recommended.
To resize your label to fit a 1 ounce tin such as these sold at Specialty Bottle, then you want to change the width to 1.8″. It will automatically reduce the height, if you remembered to check the keep ratio option. Sometimes, my circles aren’t entirely perfect so I might put in 1.8″ and the height might change to something like 1.78″. That’s totally okay, that small bit won’t hurt.
These little 2 ounce glass jars have quickly become my new favorite for creams & salves. To make my labels fit this type of jar, I usually use the same one I use for the 1 ounce tins, simply because it’s easier. There’s a little extra room around the edges (see the photo below), so you might want to make your label a hair bigger. That’s a personal preference I’ll let you decide.
To resize your label to fit a 2 ounce tin such as these sold at Specialty Bottle, then you want to change the width to 2.25″. The height will change to roughly the same number. This size also fits the top of a regular canning jar.
There are tons more container options out there, but these are the ones I use most often. You’ll have to tinker with the numbers and experiment to find the right sizes for other sized jars & tins.
So, a recap:
- For 1 ounce tins (like THESE) and 2 oz glass jars (like THESE) : change width & height to 1.8″
- For 2 oz tins (like THESE) & regular canning lids: change width & height to 2.25″
- These numbers may vary slightly when used on your computer/printer setup, so print a test label and adjust size as needed.
9. Duplicate, Then Fill Your Page With Labels
We have our label sized just right, now we need to fill the page up with more of them. To do this, right click on the image and hit “Copy.” Click on a blank spot on the page, right click the empty spot and hit “Paste.” You can then drag the duplicate image wherever you want on the page. Repeat this until your page is full.
You can mix and match the types and sizes of labels on your page.
10. Print Your Labels!
Okay, we’re ready to print! Go back to little menu across the top of your document and click “File” then “Print” (or just hit CTRL P) and a print box will pop up. Click on “Properties” and change the settings on your printer. Sticker paper usually isn’t an option, so I pick matte photo paper. I make sure print quality is on the highest setting as well.
Tip: Before you use a piece of your pricey sticker paper, do a test run of one label on plain paper to make sure it’s the proper size that you need.
11. Cut Labels and Apply!
Alright, now that your labels are all nice and printed, we’re going to trim around them, peel off the backing and stick them on our tins/jars.
I’ve found it easiest to keep a nice circle shape by cutting tiny little bits at a time as I go around the label instead of snipping long sections at a time. Sort of like… dainty little caterpillar bites versus giant ravenous wolf chomps. The edges will look much smoother. However, don’t obsess too much about it being a perfect circle. It’ll look great once it’s on your product.
Here’s an example of each type of size that I mentioned:
And we’re done! I think I covered pretty much everything you need to know to get started making your own round labels, but feel free to ask questions if I wasn’t clear about something!
Choose a Circle to Start:
Here are the circles you can choose from to form the base of your label. Remember, you can always change the color in PicMonkey. (See Step 2, above.) Click on the one you like to open it up in a new window, then follow the directions above to make your label.
Note: These are some random ones I put up. I’m likely to add more to the collection as time goes on. Some of the more detailed ones are pretty large files; the plainer ones (like the light gray) are smaller.
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