The Cottage Smallholder

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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

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 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 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.

  Leave a reply


  1. You need to use an Avery template to ensure everything is in the right place. As noted in an earlier post (above), you can download these free from You need to make sure you select the template that matches the specific labels you’re using (the code is printed at the top left of the sheet on the ones I use). Good luck!

  2. I have been trying to do labels – 14 on a sheet, which I know is possible from the avery site, which I have downloaded BUT although it looks perfect on the print preview, when I print its out of line and the printing is too far up the sheet. Any clues anyone?

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Martha

      If I don’t use Avery labels, I print a sheet of labels on plain paper to see if they will “fit” the labels. If necessary I move the printing on the labels up or down a bit – you select the label and use the down and up arrow keys on the keyboard. Keep on printing on plain paper until you have a match. This seems to work for me 🙂

  3. Just so happens I’ve designed a range of craft stamps for jam labels, so you can customise to your heart’s content! Hope you like them.

  4. I also had problems initially inserting clip-art into the Avery program (MaryAnn 2008) If you open them in Paint (installed automatically on most PCs), and then use the “save as” option to save them as a jpeg format, they import beautifully.

  5. Dave Walkden

    In answer to Mo’s dilemma re. labels, I used Excel to cut and paste images to and made them whatever size I needed depending on size of bottle and used a full A4 size sticky label so I could cut to size. I have also used spare pieces of A4 card and made the net of a cuboid as a bottle holder and covered the card with an A4 label to customise for friends with photos of them included. I used images from Google to cut and paste on to cells and adjusted size of image accordingly.

  6. To remove the sticky residue on any container after the removal of the previous label you should use ….WD40,

    It claimed is use on the tin and with enough on a paper towel it makes short work of that mess I assure you !!!

    Give it a go, but remember to replace the one you take from the tool box because after you see what it can be used for you won’t put it back !!


  7. mo kermode

    I too found a lack of labels, but wanted ones with pretty pictures, so this is what I did. I used my own photos of the tress/bushes involved, put them into a newsletter format where I can adjust their size (I have a Mac) , and reduced them to the size I thought I wanted – this was guesswork first time round. Then I printed the page out, cut out the pictures and glued them to sticky labels somewhat bigger. This gave room to write on them clearly. Maybe it’s possible to do the whole process on the computer but I can’t! For presents, I finished off with hand-printed cloth covers for the tops and fastened them with elastic bands and then ‘rustic’ string. They’re being very well received!

  8. Louise

    Thanks for this – trying to make my homemade chutney look more appealing this year!! Almost at the end of our apple chutney from last year so attempting spiced rhubarb – tastes good so far – hopefully will develop like the apple did!

  9. Thanks Fiona, I will try again.

  10. sarah holland

    i made my own but i did not like it after 3 hours

    u know when your get happy when your think it is
    that is what i thourght

    best wishes

    sarah holland

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