Tutorial: Creating Quilt Labels

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I’ve gotten a lot of questions about my quilt labels. I created the design in Photoshop and then had them printed by Spoonflower. I know that most people don’t have access to Photoshop  but you can still create something custom and stylish using software you probably do have – Microsoft PowerPoint. It’s a surprisingly versatile tool for graphics. This tutorial will show you how to create a simple black and white graphic that you can upload to Spoonflower for printing. (I chose black and white for my quilt labels because it goes with everything and it makes a modern graphic statement.

)My quilt labels for 2013

1. Open up PowerPoint and draw a box the size of the label you want (remember that you’ll need 1/4″ for piecing or needle turn applique).

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To specify the exact size of the box, right click on the one you drew, and select “Size and Position.” Enter the dimensions of your label and then hit the “Close” button.

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2. This box is your trim guide for the label so set the line and fill style to something light. Once again, right click on the box and this time select “Format Shape.”

For the first option, “Fill,” select None. For the second option, “Line Color,” choose one of the lighter gray tones from the drop-down menu.

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For the third option, “Line Style,” set your options to your preference. Mine are shown below:

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3. Now click on the box you’ve just created and formatted, and hit the CTRL+D buttons. This will create a duplicate of your box. Re-size this second box so it’s 1/4″ smaller on each side than your original box. This is your text guide that shows you where the seam allowance is.  I’ve made mine red so it stands out.

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Group these two boxes together by selecting them both with your mouse and hitting the CTRL+G buttons.

4. Now it’s time to add text to the label. Insert a text box using the icon from the Drawing toolbar.

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Use a separate text box for each line of text on your label (unless you are writing a paragraph) because it’s easier to toggle the lines into place in a later step. You can see my three separate lines of text below:

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5. If you are happy with a text-only label, skip down to step 6. I’m going to add some simple graphics to mine. The easiest way to do this is using wingdings style fonts on my computer.  I type out the alphabet and then change the font to various ones I have installed on my computer, The fonts shown below in order are Charms BV, Cut Outs for 3D FX 2, PizzaDude Bullets, and Talk. They are all free fonts available on the web. (The alphabet font is Oswald.)

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Play around with your design a bit. Use the up and down arrows on your keyboard to toggle the elements into place. Once you’ve made a design you like, select all of the parts and duplicate it (CTRL+D). Then change up some of the elements. I made three different ones in just a few minutes:

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6. Now it’s time to save your file. Un-group the image and delete the second box you created to show the seam allowance (the red box in my images).  Select all of the elements of your label with your cursor and right click. Select Save as Picture.

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Spoonflower accepts several different image types, including .jpeg, .gif., and .png. Choose one and then name and save your document. You should also save the PowerPoint file on your computer so you can make adjustments if you want to down the road.

You could also have all of your options printed on the same yardage from Spoonflower. Just make sure you line your outer boxes up so you get maximum usage out of the fabric.

Now you’re ready to upload to Spoonflower!

9 thoughts on “Tutorial: Creating Quilt Labels

  1. Nonnie

    Can these labels be washed? Whenever I have made this type of label in the past it disappeared after a couple of washings. I used the printable fabrics I never thought of using SPOON FLOWER to make the labels thanks for the idea. ….. Nonnie

    Reply
  2. kerri ward

    Thank you for the tutorial! I am new to quilting and have mostly made baby quilts so far. I have given away 4 and, duh, it didn’t occur to me to put a label on them! I imagine that I could also add the date with a sharpie. Do you order the tags as yardage and just cut as you need? Thank you again, kerri

    Reply
  3. Mary Grady

    You don’t need the expense of Spoonflower to get personal labels. There are pre-treated fabric sheets that you can buy (I recommend C Jenkins or Precious Memories) that will allow you to create your own labels. Also (and this is my #1 choice) you can use Bubble Jet 2000 Set to treat your own fabric. It’s a very simple project and since there’s no shelf life on Bubble Jet, you can keep a bottle for as long as you need. Bubble Jet-treated fabric will allow you to print anything you like on fabric, including photos, so there are dozens of uses. Additionally, if you are making a label (say 5″x5″), you only need to treat about a 6″x8″ piece of fabric and run it through the printer. Less waste of good fabric.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Post author

      Mary – I think you’d be surprised how economical Spoonflower actually is. Between the cost of the fabric sheets and the printer ink, those homemade labels are not cheap. Plus I have never found one that is soft like commercially printed quilting fabric. That alone makes Spoonflower worth is to me. I was able to get 30 labels on a fat quarter so the my last set of labels were only 33 cents a piece. Not expensive at all!

      Reply
  4. Rhonda Strong

    Lisa, I saw that you said you got 30 labels on a fat quarter…did you tell them you wanted it that way or did you just order a quantity of 30 and that’s how it came? Did you send them the fabric or tell them you wanted white quilting fabric? Sorry…I went to the website but was overwhelmed by all of the options and instructions!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Post author

      I uploaded my design and set the repeat and scale to fit as many as possible. There is a preview that shows you how it will fit on a fat quarter. They have several base cloths to choose from. I picked their basic quilting cotton.

      Reply

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