I am brewing my first batch and almost ready for the bottle process. I want to label my beer but, customer labels are expensive and very crappy. Any suggestions on how to "Do it yourself" on the cheap?
I label my own. I create the labels in Powerpoint (Just cause its relatively easy to work with graphics, text, and images). print them out on normal all-purpose printer paper, cut them out and stick them to the bottles with whole milk. I used label paper for the first round, but I decided taht would be expensive, and I also got yellow and not white paper. White standard paper gives me a better back to work with on a printer. Just finished my third batch this way. They say the labels won;t hold up in a cooler with ice, but then again no other way will either.... so, this seems the cheapest way. The biggest cost is printer ink cartridges if you use a color intensive design.
I second the milk technique....works like a charm. I was amazed the first time I tried it. I just use plain printer paper and create the designs in Photoshop. I have a template so that for each brew I just change out the name and specific info for that beer....everything else stays the same.
Just print it out, spread the milk on the back with a brush and stick it on!
For the milk, I put a small amount in a short bowl with a sponge. Let the sponge get good and wet and soaked, then I put the label down on the sponge, wet the back, then lift it off and stick to the bottle!!
The only trouble is that the ink sometimes runs, so I blot them dry with a damp paper towel and try to handle then as little as possible.
NOTE: I had the same trouble of the ink running or smudging with the label paper as well, so that isn't a plus over milk. I have read that some try spraying clear coat on the label side, but I haven't tried that yet.
I use Avery shipping lables. You can download free software from avery.com and make some pretty good lables. They're not as cheap as using plain paper and milk glue, but it is much faster and easier. Just print and peel.
Yes. I have been meaning to try the milk idea for a long time, but a trip into kegging has put that on hold for a while. I am now getting ready to bottle an IPA and will likely give it a try soon.
I've done the Avery thing and it works pretty good. Either way, if you put them in a cool, or when the condensation starts, the labels may run and some may peel off.
As mentioned, I've heard of some people spraying a light coat of clear paint over the sheet of labels before placing on with milk. This helps keep the ink from running when you get it milky and touch it.