Latest Projects: DIY Twill Tape Labels

Something I've been wanting for ages is create my own labels for all the soft handcrafted goods I make for my store Hello Magpie. Twill tape labels, to be exact. Simple, soft and natural, twill tape labels are the perfect kind of label, but I ran into a few issues when sourcing them from professional label companies: 1. minimums and 2. cost. Most of the companies I looked into require a minimum order of 1,000 labels, which is many more than I'm ready to use right now. The cost issue? Every dollar is precious and 200 of them is more than I'm willing to part with, just to have the perfect sew-in label right now.

After a fruitful Google search, I came across a couple tutorials on how to print my own twill labels that I wanted to give a try: SouleMama's direct-printed version and PatchworkPottery's iron-on style twill tape labels.

Because I liked the idea of not using an unnatural material (the iron-on paper), I first tried SouleMama's tutorial. Basically, the idea is to create your labels in a program (like Word, for example), print onto a sheet of paper, tape down the twill ribbon over the print out and run it through your printer again, printing directly onto the twill tape. For the life of me, I don't know how she managed to get hers to work, but I gave up my futile attempts. The ink didn't take like I had hoped and the image result was fuzzy.
Rather than waste any additional twill tape on perfecting a direct-print method, I opted for giving the PatchworkPottery iron-on method a go. I already had a few sheets of iron-on transfer paper leftover from Halloween, too, which was a plus.

I followed PatchworkPottery's tutorial completely, having created a full-page logo sheet, with mirrored type. *You want to either mirror the logo in your software or print mirrored, so when  you transfer it onto the twill tape, it doesn't read backward. My twill tape was 1/2" width, so I cut each single line in 1/2" strips. I let the iron preheat (cotton setting, no steam) for 5-10 minutes, used a scrap of muslin over the ironing board and lined up my first transfer strip, face-down, onto the tape. To keep things even, I started at an end and slowly worked my way up the transfer paper, ironing in circles for 20-30 seconds (but follow the transfer paper instructions to make sure you get it right.) Also, as PatchworkPottery suggested, I left the backing paper on until I was finished. I tried it both ways, but it didn't look any different and keeping the paper on made doing it all at once much easier, so I went with it. (That way, the already-transferred image didn't accidentally get melted, either.)
When I ran out of twill tape, I was done. Starting at the first end of the tape, I slowly pulled back the backing paper and voila! The transferred text was clear and looked great! My only complaint is the faint gloss to the surface from the transfer paper, but I can live with it for now. Actually, that little bit of binding creates a stronger twill tape, resulting in less edge fraying. I cut each piece with pinking shears and I don't think it will fray a bit. All in all, I'm really pleased with the results. This method doesn't take long, cost much and is great for small-run production. Another benefit is color-fastness. The iron-on transfers really stay put through countless machine washes, though a slight fading may occur, so I suggest you hand wash or wash on gentle and air dry or dry at a low temperature, if necessary.
So there you have it...easy peasy DIY twill tape labels. Wouldn't these be great for sewing onto children's coats, lunch bags and toys, too?


Elizabeth said...

Your blog is lovely!!! This is such a great idea, another variation I was thinking about doing was a custom made stamp and fabric ink. But it looks like yours turned out great!

evie s. said...

Thanks for posting this...labels are on my list of things to do and you just made it MUCH easier! :)

Anonymous said...

You are so clever!

anna and the ring said...

So cute! Now I will have to buy!

Rebecca said...

love it!

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