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Design and print your own labels for jam and jelly

Photo of one of my own labels prited on our inkjet printer

Printing your own labels for preserves is easy and fun

I’ve wanted to print our own jar labels for ages. Ever since I saw a cupboard full of beautifully labelled preserves in a client’s house. It’s the old problem of finding the time to buy, design and print the labels.

A month or so ago I whizzed down to Newmarket to buy some labels for our chutney. I’ve been buying them from one of those shops that sells absolutely everything and consequently good fun to visit. They run out of these labels pretty fast so I was delighted when I spotted them on a rack.

But I was horrified to see that they were £2.49 for 25 labels. A few years ago when we made a handful of jellies and jams these labels would have been fine. Nowadays we make a lot of preserves it seemed crazy to spend 10 pence on each label. So I put them back. Danny would have been proud of me.

I decided it was time to print our own labels and had a nose around the stationary shops in town. Avery makes sheets of address labels that are printer friendly and W H Smith have their own version, slightly cheaper. At around £6.99 for 840 they’re a bargain. The labels look quite small but actually offer about the same amount of space as the pretty labels in the kitchen shop.

When I got home I trawled the Internet for label designing software. I discovered that Avery offer free software to design the layout of your labels. You create a Master and can print an entire sheet or just one or two labels. This is handy if you only have a few jars. The software also works well with the WH Smith labels. To download Avery Design Pro5 lite, click here http://www.avery.co.uk/uk1/downloads/designpro5_basic.jsp.

This version doesn’t have the clip art and features of the full version that costs £25 but it’s a good basic package. The label above is a screen shot from the Avery screen. The actual labels are sharper than this.

I wanted an old fashioned look for our labels so searched the internet for royalty free fonts. One of the best sites is here http://desktoppub.about.com/od/oldfonts/ It’s packed with unusual fonts, not really suitable for us unless we start putting something more ghoulish than jam in our jars. If you have children over six you might like to check the site out for great fonts for spooky Halloween messages.

Just before Christmas I noticed that the a great foodie blog has gorgeous Christmas pressie labels to download http://www.deliciousdays.com/archives/2006/12/13/tag-your-gifts/. The author of this blog also makes pretty tie on labels for her preserves.

Tricks and tips:

  • If you download fonts from the internet they are usually in a zip file format. Download the font to your desktop so it will be easy to find. Double click on the icon and this will automatically open up the zip programme. Move the file to your font folder which should be C:\ WINDOWS\fonts.
  • If you are going to put the sheets of labels through the printer several times, Avery labels are the beefier option.

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55 Comments

  1. tractorfactorsteve

    downloaded and ready for the next batch of jars! another place to look is ‘word office’. just open new doc, click ‘tools’, envelopes/labels, full page of ‘same’, (options for labels size, on box). it should be possible to insert clip art, but i haven’t managed to do it as of yet. try it, good luck!

  2. tractorfactorsteve

    Been working at the labels and made a good batch with the avery lite program. Even worked out how to drag photos from file to file and now have some with preserve name AND a photo of where the ingredients were grown. Ah! technology and oldtimers, born to be together….? Thanks for the link. Now all that remains is to remove loads of old handwritten labels to be replaced by slightly more designer ones!

    • If you don’t want to use chemical based remover to remove those old labels, try using lemon juice, as the acid in the lemon should cut through the glue used on the labels.

  3. Just a hint – to remove old labels from jars.
    Nail varnish remover on a cotton wool pad works wonders, then give a good wash with soapy water, or if the jar is empty put through the dishwasher.
    Amber

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Great tip, Amber, thanks very much for sharing!

  5. Thanks Amber, the facility I really like on this software is the ability to regulate the number of labels that you want to print at once, For those not “savvy”, when you have completed your label, you will have Master label and label 1 tags. Right Click “Label 1″ and click “copy label” and Label 2 will appear alongside – repeat for label 3 etc. When you print preview. you will see that the number of lablels will be printed on one print run (unlike using word which necessitates single print function every time.

  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Howard,

    The software makes label printing easy and it’s free!

  7. what a great ides. we will try this too. yes it is very easy to do.

  8. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Eileen

    Home printed labels are fun to make and add the finishing touch to a jar of preserves.

  9. TheBlueGoldfish

    Hi there,

    A while back I got a great deal on some plain labels from a british labels company. I haven’t needed to buy any for a few years so was just wondering where you get your labels from? I will probably go back and use the same company again as they did me such a great offer on their plain labels as the company was so efficient last time.

  10. Fiona Nevile

    Hi TheBlueGoldfish

    We use a wole range of labels. Mainly Avery. D says that Mercian are very good.

    Thanks for dropping by.

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