Making Truly Waterproof Labels

Recently I was asked to design a label for a beer growler for a local farm market that they could print in-office and apply to the growlers as needed. This presented quite a challenge because the growler, at room temperature, would easily accept a label, but, once filled with cold beer, would sweat. After several attempts, using a variety of mediums, I stumbled upon this combination of materials readily available at many chain office supply stores.

Materials and Supplies Required

Inexpensive cold press hand crank laminator

CLEAR Avery or similar office supply labels available in a variety of sizes

Scissors or trimming wheel with self-healing mat

Making the Labels

1. Download your favorite labels from this site and save them on your hard drive.

2. If you have a photo shop program, you can open the saved labels in "Photo Shop" and add your own text to the labels. This adds a more professional finished touch to the labels.

3. Open up your "office" program, using the return label option and insert the saved labels. Be sure to move the margin tabs to the edge of the label to maximize the size of the label. At this stage you can either insert the same image into all of the labels by choosing "return labels" in the option box, OR insert individual labels onto each label using the "individual labels" option to produce a page of multiple labels. If you are happy with the label sheet, don't forget to save it for use later.

4. Load your printer with CLEAR office labels of the appropriate size and print. If your printer has custom options, you can try different settings to maximize the colour of the label. While testing out the color intensity and positioning of the labels, it is best to use ordinary white printer paper which you can compare with the clear label sheet to assure proper alignment of the labels.

5. Once you have printed your label sheets, it is time to pass them through the cold press laminator. Place the peel-off back sides together so that the labels are facing outward on both sides and pass through the laminator. If you only have one page of labels, cut the label sheet in half up the middle, vertically or horizontally, and pass through the laminator.

6. Trim the access laminator plastic from the sheet edge to separate the label sheets. Once the sheets are separated, it is easy to trim the labels. Because these labels are "clear-ish" and not completely transparent when applied to the clear jar, I have discovered that the intensity of the colours is changed somewhat when the labels are laminated. The intensely saturated colour areas on the labels become almost completely translucent when the labels are applied to the clear jar.

This kind of label is best used on vinegar and flavored oil home canning projects which are clear to allow the true colours of the labels to be seen.