Decorative, distinctive jar labels for home canning that are free to download are hard to find, so I decided to design my own, using a variety of media, including original photographs, vintage clip art, and various other techniques to create one-of-a-kind labels.
Through years of home canning experience and experimentation with various labeling medium, the process outlined here, for me, has been the most reliable. The materials required are relatively inexpensive and require only basic word processing skills, or Photo enhancing hardware.
Basic Laminating Procedure
Cold Press Laminator
Label Sheets of required size printed with desired labels
Scissors or ruler, cutting mat and cutting wheel
Using a cold press laminator to coat the labels with a water resistant film will help the labels keep their colour and make them more water resistant. The film required for cold laminating is a little thinner than hot press laminators, making the labels easier to apply and stick to the jars.
This model is an inexpensive hand crank model that requires no electricity, making it more portable than electric models. I purchased this laminator at a local office supply store that keeps the laminator rolls in stock for easy replacement when necessary.
Once the labels have been printed, the next step is to label any labels that are to be done by hand BEFORE laminating the sheets. Once the sheets are laminated, it is almost impossible to find a marker that will permanently mark the plastic...even a Sharpie takes considerable effort to make the ink stick!
It is best to laminate two sheets at once, placing the pull-off backing back to back so that the labels are facing outward, so that the plastic from the laminator coats them properly. If you only have one sheet of labels, cut the sheet in half, so that the peel-off backing is facing inward, as above, and run the sheets through the laminator.
Once the labels have been run through the laminator, it is time to trim off the excess laminating plastic to separate the sheets so that they can be trimmed for use.
After the labels have been trimmed, they are ready to apply to the clean outer surface of the jar. I find that using white vinegar to wipe the jars off helps the adhesive stick better, but the jar must be completely dry before the labels are applied.