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How I print beer lables for cheap. small runs and long runs, waterproof-ish.

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brianmot

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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 - https://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.
 

Clanchief

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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.
 

xdalisx

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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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A4J

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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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brianmot

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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.

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.


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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brianmot

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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.
 

funkstrman

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Those labels look awesome! I would like to do something like this on one of my brews. Looks professional!
 

Revvy

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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. :mug:
 

samc

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They are great looking !

I'm pretty happy printing one label and sticking on my Keezer however.

An old trick which we used to do back when I owned a print shop was to stick a color print under some parchment paper and put some heat to it (iron). It would remelt the toner and give some nice extra gloss effects. Not sure if current toners will behave the same way - but it might eliminate the need for spray.
 

Toastman

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labelsbythesheet.com sells some great blank beer labels too. They are 'removable' as well. They print great and yes, they do come off easily when you want them too and without soaking. Also, about half the price as what you spend at the office supply stores.
 

C-Rider

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I think sometimes I use the preview button and then forget the post. Must be old age!

anyway for the second time. Nice job. I'm not so talented so I just use Avery 8163 Mailing labels. Ten to a page, 2" x 4". Glue releases w/o trouble in Oxyclean. But I do have the "bleeding" problem if they get wet. Here is a sample:

JoeLouisAle.jpg
 

Zamial

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I use the same technique but with self adhesive address labels. They are not the same size as a standard label but I get 8 per page and can edit up some pretty great labels with Paint.net and the internet.

The labels stay pretty easy to read in a cooler and come off with little effort.
 

lucas-3

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What computer software do you use to create the label? They look great and I would like to try my hand at some creative labels.
 
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brianmot

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What computer software do you use to create the label? They look great and I would like to try my hand at some creative labels.
I use Photoshop and Illustrator. I usually do start with a background in photoshop and then lay everything out in illustrator and then mix them together.
 

Hulud

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What are the dimensions of the labels if they fit on an 8x10?

I made mine 3.5x3.5 so I am trying to get an idea of what mine are gonna look like in comparison to yours

I'll post a pic of my label when I get home.
 
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brianmot

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What are the dimensions of the labels if they fit on an 8x10?
These ones in the pictures are 3.6" width x 3.25" Height.

If you look at the image of the labels on the physical bottles, you will see that If i had my labels were any larger than 3.25" on the height, they would overlap the curvy neck of the bottle and it would look funny. All bottles are different so measure your label space.

I can email you my template file. I set up each label layer with a clipping mask so you can just drop your artwork in each folder and it wont overlap any of the other labels.



or if anyone knows of any free hosting sites i can upload it to, i can use that so everyone can use it.
 

Hulud

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Just an FYI I just printed 3 sheets at staples on their semi gloss for 2.19 for all 3
 

MikeInMKE

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Google "print to PDF". If your OS doesn't already have that built in, you can install a PDF printer driver, and print to a PDF file.
 

keatz85

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How do they keep up in ice? And you can buy what I believe is called flyer paper at Staples and print yourself. It looks just as good as what Kinkos prints.
 
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brianmot

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Keatz85, They hold up well in ice. Like any label, soaking in water is another thing.. but if you make sure to get the corners well and don't pick at them, they stay on.

The main reasons i use kinkos / office max is because printer ink is so expensive and they print with laser jet printers. Your typical house printer is an ink jet and the ink is VERY sensitive to water.. I imagine you would want to coat both sides of the paper with the fixative / gloss coating.
 

biohaz7331

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Wow very impressive looking well done indeed! Just one question though why the wax dipped bottles? I have seen this before but it seems as if it is really just about the presentation of the whole thing?
 
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brianmot

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biohaz7331,
There is no other reason to do it but just pure aesthetics, for the looks. It also gives a bit of a more 'hand made' feel to it. I wouldn't do it again tough... It was nearly impossible to clean the wax off the bottles...
 

biohaz7331

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Yeah I had the thought go through my head that it would really suck to clean all of that off. It does really aid in the appearance but I am guessing you only would do this on very good beers.
 

vogtenstein222

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These ones in the pictures are 3.6" width x 3.25" Height.

If you look at the image of the labels on the physical bottles, you will see that If i had my labels were any larger than 3.25" on the height, they would overlap the curvy neck of the bottle and it would look funny. All bottles are different so measure your label space.

I can email you my template file. I set up each label layer with a clipping mask so you can just drop your artwork in each folder and it wont overlap any of the other labels.



or if anyone knows of any free hosting sites i can upload it to, i can use that so everyone can use it.
can you email this template to me?
 

241

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Sweet. I have access to a nice laser printer and good paper, just need the gloss and adhesive cans. Great idea.

Any way you could upload that psd file somewhere we can nab it? https://droplr.com/hello would work for hosting I think

Cheers
 

241

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Now we're talking - you just made making labels so easy. That template is really well done man, cheers.
 

justabrewin

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Used this method. Thanks for the heads up - worked out great!

DSC04673.jpg


DSC04674.jpg


DSC04677.jpg


DSC04678.jpg
 

Dust

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Awesome labels! I have a question for you guys. How are you guys cutting your labels? Is there a fast/precise way to do it? I printed out around 40-50 labels and I want to get to labeling when I get home today but I realized that using scissors is going to take forever and is also not as precise as I would like (I don't have the steadiest of hands :drunk:).
 
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