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Old 01-16-2012, 02:49 PM   #1
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Default How I print beer lables for cheap. small runs and long runs, waterproof-ish.

Hey guys!

Ive been using the forums here for a while now and i cant really give too much advice on beer yet, but i decided ill try to help out and show how i print my labels. I apologize if this has been done before.

I was pretty excited when my girlfriend asked if she could help with the brewing of my next beer. We settled on pumpkin ale (I used a variation of the Thuderstruck pumpkin ale - http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f76/thunderstruck-pumpkin-ale-ag-extract-versions-26699/) I wanted her to want to brew with me again and needed to make it something a bit more crafty that she could do, keep and remember. I decided to pull out all the bells and whistles and bought some bottling wax and designed some labels.

.. It may seem silly but I put a lot of fake elements on my labels to make them look like they could be purchased at a store. eg. the TM trademark on the ale, the fake barcode i grabbed off google, the warning, ingredients, the city seal, etc etc. All things that are not real but give the appearance of a professional beer.


I then put 6 of them on one 8x10 paper.


Officemax will print color 8x10 for $0.74 a sheet. I also set myself up with some crop marks so the cutting will be easier. The quality i got was great.


I usually use a gloss spray but i went with a matte this time. It runs about $7 at michaels craft store. I always print the 40% off coupon and it costs $4.20. I spray the entire sheet before i cut them so they dont wrinkle or fold up. Takes about 3-5 minutes to dry when spraying from 8-10 inches away.


time to cut them up!


The adhesive spray has a similar cost to the gloss spray. I see it at walmart and homedepot for as little as $3.97.


Get a piece of scrap cardboard, put your cut labels face down and spray em. You need to let them dry for about a minute before you stick them on your bottles. The spray congeals and turns into a 'rubber cement' type consistency.


Line the label up and stick it to your bottle.



The high res print from officemax/kinkos and the gloss spray REALLY make it look professional. The gloss spray makes them waterproof-ish. I mean if you soak it in water, it will come off like any label but you will never see any bleeding or slippage. Ive left them in ice for hours and had no issues.

It also may sound corny but ive seemed to notice that people appreciate my homebrews when they look a little nicer. Im sure a few of my friends think i make the beer in a dirty bathtub in the basement and they sure drink it like it was. A nice labels lets people step back and take a look before just slamming the brown bottle thats in the fridge.

I know a lot of you guys keg your beers because of the hassle with bottling. Im currently switching over to a kegging system too but i still like to bring a 6 pack over to a friends house every now and then. After the initial $8 investment in sprays, it costs me about $2 to label a waterproof 12pack.

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Old 01-16-2012, 04:27 PM   #2
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Nice labels! They look really good.

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Old 01-16-2012, 04:31 PM   #3
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So you are just using a standard sheet of paper, and printing high-res in color then? The biggest issue I've had is figuring out the right paper and the right dimensions for my labels, but it's definitely something I'm working on improving.

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Old 01-16-2012, 04:33 PM   #4
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How easy is it to get the labels back off again?

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Old 01-16-2012, 05:26 PM   #5
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Those are some really nice labels! now my biggest problem is creating a nice looking design to go on them... I can mostly draw stick figures

and the barcode you used is this Audio CD

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Old 01-16-2012, 08:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianmot View Post
Get a piece of scrap cardboard, put your cut labels face down and spray em. You need to let them dry for about a minute before you stick them on your bottles. The spray congeals and turns into a 'rubber cement' type consistency.
You should really be using a larger piece of cardboard or do in the garage or some place you don't care about getting messy. Doing it like that one or twice is fine, but if you get in the habit of doing at the same place, it'll get dirty and it'll be hard to get out. Ask me how I know.
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Old 01-16-2012, 08:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
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So you are just using a standard sheet of paper, and printing high-res in color then? The biggest issue I've had is figuring out the right paper and the right dimensions for my labels, but it's definitely something I'm working on improving.
Yup. Officemax has a 3 ring binder of papers you can choose to print off of. I picked one that was semi-glossy and wasnt too thick. I didnt want it to be so heavy it would fall off the bottle.

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How easy is it to get the labels back off again?
If soaked in warm water, they peal off quite nicely. I have tried dried milk as an adhesive and if water touches it, they fall off. I have tried the printable 'stickers' but they are WAY too sticky and impossible to get the glue off. Id almost rather have nothing on than a half scraped off label disgusting glue combo. These types of adhesives dont add another step to my process. I soak and wash my bottles before i sanitize them. They peal off without leaving gunk on my bottle.


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Originally Posted by xdalisx View Post
Those are some really nice labels! now my biggest problem is creating a nice looking design to go on them... I can mostly draw stick figures

and the barcode you used is this Audio CD
hahaha! Wahoops! hope jeff doesnt mind My fellow brewer friend struggles with drawing and label designs too. (it helps that my profession is a graphic designer) Thats ok tho! He still makes some really awesome labels. He takes some water color and does a few different light washes/splatters (red splashes for irish reds, browns for stouts, greens for IPAs) Scans it and drops it in a template i made for him. They are really abstract and really cool. I wrote him an 'action/script' that takes this template and builds it into 6 labels that fit on a 8x10.5 paper. So he scans an image, drops it on a layer, changes the name of the beer and has a file he can bring to kinkos/officemax. I'll try and upload some of his

If any of you are interested, i can find the template i made him and script that puts cropmarks and 6 labels per 8.5x11 page. you will need photoshop tho!
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Old 01-16-2012, 08:25 PM   #8
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You should really be using a larger piece of cardboard or do in the garage or some place you don't care about getting messy. Doing it like that one or twice is fine, but if you get in the habit of doing at the same place, it'll get dirty and it'll be hard to get out. Ask me how I know.
Good advice! I should have mentioned that.

I didnt actually document this live, i re-created these images for example yesterday. During my 50 bottle run, I sprayed mine in my basement on a large piece of cardboard. I found out the hard way too ha.
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Old 01-16-2012, 08:39 PM   #9
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Those labels look awesome! I would like to do something like this on one of my brews. Looks professional!

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Old 01-16-2012, 08:41 PM   #10
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These are some of the best looking homebrewing labels I've ever seen. Good job. Be sure to enter them into the annual BYO magazine label contest whenever that happens.

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