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Handmade labels give your products a polished look and can make the simplest jar of jam or bag of cookies look like it came from a high-end boutique.

I start by choosing the paper for the labels. There are hundreds of paper choices at your local craft store and you have the option of buying single sheets. I chose Fiesta as it has an earthy feel.

Next, I make the labels on my computer and try a variety of fonts, even mixing them up sometimes, until I find the right look for the label. For these labels I used Zapfino for the fancy top line and Helvetica for the cabinorganic and date line. Sometimes you have a try a few different sizes to make sure that the text will fit nicely in your punch.

Then I punch out the text with these great high-quality punches. I buy a lot of my craft supplies from Stampin’ Up as one of my good friends is a distributor and I attend her monthly workshops to learn different techniques. You can also find oval punches at your local craft store. I use two sizes, 1-3/4 x 7/8 and 2 x 1-3/8 (found on page 212 in the current catalogue). The smaller one is perfect for small canning jars.

Once I punch out each label it is time to stamp a background stamp over it. I chose a large grass stamp, again from Stampin’ Up (page 113 in the catalogue) and used a forest green stamp pad that stamps nicely over the the black computer ink without obscuring the text. You can use any patterned stamp you like, or skip this step for a cleaner look.

Be sure and stamp on a cushioned surface, such as on a notebook. The padding will help you get a good image as opposed to stamping on a hard surface, such as on a table or counter.

And here is the finished product.  I find the ink I chose to be a little too light, but then again the subtlety is also nice. Glue to your label to your jar or product using a glue stick.

I have always loved making labels. I used to make wine regularly with a group of friends and I always loved the challenge of designing a new label for each wine. (I recently found a new winemaking partner right here in my neighborhood [hi K!] and look forward to more winemaking adventures with her. Below are some examples of some of my old wine labels. The first three images below were high resolution color photocopies from images that I found in magazines and then I added the text below.

These labels (below) were hand stamped, embossed, then glued to the wine bottle. Sometimes I stamped and embossed right on the bottle and glued on a small text label below it to identify the wine.

There is a store in Edmonton on the west side called Creative Packaging that sells high quality cellophane bags of all sizes and some are decorated. They sell all kinds of packaging to retailers, artists, artisans, chocolatiers, candy-makers, etc.  including wine bags and boxes, cardboard bags and boxes of all sizes and colors, gift wrapping and cellophane by the roll, ribbons, plactic boxes, even those cute little Chinese take-out boxes in a variety of colors (I love using those for giving away cookies at Christmas time). I also use their decorated long paper bags (for wine) for giving away French bread. Your local craft store will also have many creative choices.

Be sure and check out the Stampin’ Up! catalogue as they also have some great ideas, including cardboard purses and fancy bags and boxes, as well as a million ways to decorate them.

The label and packaging ideas are endless. I’ll keep sharing new ideas (as well as old ones) as we go along! In the meantime, I would love to hear some of your ideas!