Make Your Own Custom Printed Fabric Tags!

Anyone who sews knows that it is a labor of love! Just like signing a painting, you can tag your sewing projects and mark your hard work as your own. So I’m going to show you how to make your own custom printed fabric tags with items you probably already have in your house!

Make your own custom printed fabric tags with fabric, a printer, and some vinegar!

I just LOVE having custom printed fabric tags! They are a great way of saying “I did this and I’m proud of it!” when I make gifts for people, and they give my projects a finished, professional look, which is great for the items I sell in my shop. Plus, they’re so simple to make!

There are a bunch of different ways to print on fabric and make the ink “permanent” but I tested a couple of them and found that the method in this tutorial from Dolls And Daydreams worked the best!

DIY Printed Fabric Tags

You only need a few things to make your own fabric tags!

The first thing you need to do is print on your fabric! If you remember last Christmas I shared a tutorial for making printed fabric gift tags, which I made by taping a piece of fabric to a piece of card stock and feeding it in through my printer. That method works really great for heavier fabric, but for the thin cotton muslin I used for these tags, I decided to use the freezer paper method instead. Luckily, it’s just as simple!

Start by cutting out a piece of freezer paper about the size of a standard sheet of paper. You’ll notice that freezer paper has a shiny side and a matte side; place the shiny side down onto the back of your fabric (muslin doesn’t really have a front and a back, so don’t worry too much about that!) Then iron the paper down onto your fabric for a few seconds. You don’t need to iron it for very long for it to stick, and if you get any air bubbles, just iron that spot again!

DIY Custom Printed Fabric Tags - Iron freezer paper onto fabric

Make sure your iron doesn’t touch the shiny side of the paper or it will melt all over!

Once the paper is stuck to the fabric everywhere, trim it down to exactly 8.5″ x 11″, and make sure to trim any loose threads or they could smudge your tags when printing. Now you have a sheet of fabric on one side and paper on the other.

DIY Custom Printed Fabric Tags - Iron freezer paper onto fabric

Now it’s time to design your label! I decided to just use my logo, but you can make your tags say anything you want! Put your logo on them, say “Made with love by…”, put washing instructions on them…whatever you want!

Make sure you space your designs out a bit from each other so that you have enough extra fabric to fold it into tags later. You want to leave about 1x the width of your design in blank space on the left and right, and about 3x the height of your design above and below. (You can always print out a test sheet on some scrap paper, and cut the logos apart to make sure you’ll have enough extra blank fabric to fold it into a label once it’s printed.)

Once your spacing is set up correctly, feed the freezer paper/fabric into your printer so that it will print onto the fabric side, not the paper side. Then print out your tags!

DIY Custom Printed Fabric Tags

Once your tags are printed, let the ink dry for a few minutes, then gently peel the freezer paper off the back of the fabric.

Printer ink isn’t permanent on fabric, so to help set the ink into the fabric you’re going to give it a little vinegar bath. Place your sheet of fabric in a flat baking dish and pour in some white vinegar, just enough to barely cover the fabric.

DIY Custom Printed Fabric Tags - Soak in a vinegar bath to make the ink stay

Leave the fabric in the vinegar bath for about five minutes, then pull it out and rinse it under cold water to get rid of the vinegar smell.

Now lay the fabric flat and let it dry. Or if you’re impatient like me, grab a hair dryer and go nuts! Once your fabric is totally dry, cut your tags apart and fold each one into a tag.

I found the easiest way to do this was to use a scrap piece of card stock paper, cut to exactly the width of my finished tag. I laid one single tag, centered, over the cardboard.

DIY Custom Printed Fabric Tags

I folded both sides under, around to the back of the card stock, and ironed the folds.

DIY Custom Printed Fabric Tags

Then I pulled the card stock out and folded my tag in half, with the crease just above the top of the printed design. I put my card stock back into the fold to make sure my fold was perfectly straight.

DIY Custom Printed Fabric Tags

Then I ironed that final fold, pulled out the card stock, and my label was finished!

DIY Custom Printed Fabric Tags

Now just stick that tag into a seam in your project and sew it right in! Don’t worry about frays or uneven cuts on the bottom; that’s the part that will be inside your seam in your finished piece!

I folded my fabric tags three times like this because I found that cotton muslin is pretty see-through and I wanted my tags to be a bit more solid. Also, this way I have a double-sided tag! The pictures above are of tags with just my logo on them, but I made two other batches of tags that have my logo on one side and washing instructions on the other side!!! I find a lot of people worry about washing handmade items, so I like to think a tag with washing instructions will help alleviate those fears!

DIY Custom Printed Fabric Tags

I used these tags with washing instructions on the gifts I made for my cousin’s baby shower. Specific washing instructions can help people figure out the best way to care for your gifts. The tag in the middle is for most cotton projects, and the tag on the right is for projects with delicate fabrics in them like minky or velvet. And the one-sided tag is for anything that really shouldn’t be washed at all, like my hot pad purse organizer.

Make your own custom printed fabric tags with fabric, a printer, and some vinegar!

And if you’re worried about the ink washing out when you wash your finished work, don’t be! I have washed my projects tons of times and the tags still look like new! I even did a little test to see what it would take to get the ink to come off. Turns out it takes a heck of a lot of soap and about ten minutes of vigorous scrubbing with a toothbrush! And even then, the ink is only about halfway gone; you can definitely still read the tag!

DIY Custom Printed Fabric Tags - The ink stays on even after scrubbing!

You can also use this method to make no-sew tags! Just follow all the same instructions, but when you get to the end, iron each individual tag onto fusible fabric interfacing like Heat’n Bond instead of folding them up. Then you can iron your tags directly onto your project and skip the sewing part! This way you can still tag your no-sew fabric projects too!

You can stick a pin through your folded labels to keep them together until you’re ready to use them!

DIY Custom Printed Fabric Tags - Use pins to keep tags together

Make your own custom printed fabric tags with fabric, a printer, and some vinegar!

Do you tag your work when you sew, or sign your drawings, or watermark your photos? I like the tags because it lets people know I made it by hand, and also, if I’m ever rich and famous, maybe my little projects will be worth that much more because they were “signed” by me!!!

This post may contain affiliate links to the products I use and recommend for your convenience. Your price won’t change, but these links will share a small commission that assists in the maintenance of this site.

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I link up at these awesome parties!

Jessi Wohlwend

I believe that anyone can do crafts and DIY projects, regardless of skill or experience. I love sharing simple craft ideas, step by step DIY project tutorials, cleaning hacks, and other tips and tricks all with one goal in mind: giving you the tools you need to “do it yourself”, complete fun projects, and make awesome things!

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Reader Interactions

  1. Valerie says

    4 months ago

    Will this work for photos? I want to make a quilt with photos on it and I want it to be washable.

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      4 months ago

      In theory, this method works for anything your printer can print! That said, I haven’t tried it with photos, and they definitely use a lot more ink than little labels I made, so I’d be a little worried about the ink really setting permanently into the fabric. You can also use a printable iron on transfer sheet and print and attach your photo that way, though that does add an additional layer of material on top of the fabric, so the feel won’t be as smooth. Though if the photo is about the size of your quilt squares, then you could just iron the entire 8.5×11 sheet onto fabric and cut it into a square instead of cutting out around the photo and just ironing the photo piece onto the fabric.

  2. Dale says

    5 years ago

    Hello Jessi, thanks for the info. What about HP DeskJet printers, can it work too?

  3. barbara says

    5 years ago

    This worked very well the first time I tried but the next two times the freezer paper kept bubbling when ironed. I was not able to iron out the bubbles and the fabric kept slipping off during printing. Any suggestions as to what Im doing wrong? I used muslim fabric and plastic coated freezer paper. Should I have emptied the water from the iron? Any help is greatly appreciated.

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      5 years ago

      Bummer that it wasn’t working for you! I didn’t use any steam on the iron when I did this, so I think you’re right; try emptying the water from the iron, or just turn the settings to no steam, and see if that helps!

  4. Jenna Howell says

    6 years ago

    Great idea, never thought of vinegar!! Looking to make some of my own tags, but the problem is I only have laser printers now ;( 1 is monochrome and 1 is color, inkjets got too costly with the ink and you can get a great wireless color laser printer for 100.00 and it last for MONTHS…but then I loose the ability to do the tags unless there is a way to print on the fabric like this or only on the paper then modge podge to transfer?

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      6 years ago

      I don’t think the laser printer “ink” will stay on the fabric tags through washing, which is why the inkjet stuff works great! But I’m sure there is a way to do it with a laser printer; maybe try searching on Pinterest or Google; I’m sure someone has done it before!

  5. cindy says

    6 years ago

    Brilliant idea! Am wondering how you set up the double sided tag as it seems it would print one side upside down?

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      6 years ago

      It’s not double sided, just folded in half. The back side is blank. But if you want a double sided tag, just flip the image before you print! That way you can print one right side up and one upside down so that when you fold them in half, both show the correct way!

  6. Tara says

    6 years ago

    Hi I used this method and as soon as I placed it into the vinegar it started to bleed. Any suggestions? I’m using the HP Officejet 4640 printer. Thanks!

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      6 years ago

      Bummer! How long did it air dry before you put it in the vinegar? The only thing I can think of is that it wasn’t quite dry before putting it in the vinegar, otherwise I really don’t know! As far as I know, that printer is an inkjet printer, so unless it has a weird type of ink in it (other than the standard printer ink you get from HP), it should be fine. 🙁

      • Kreative Toad says

        6 years ago

        It’s not the printer, it’s the INK. After trying this with really bad results, I did a little research. Your printer must use pigmented ink not dyes. My first try was my canon photo printer…dye ink. 2nd attempt on my Epson…pigment ink. Held beautifully!!

        • Jessi Wohlwend says

          6 years ago

          Oh, smart! So glad you figured it out! I knew it had to be an inkjet printer rather than a laster printer, but I didn’t realize there was a difference between inkjet ink.

        • Sarah B says

          3 years ago

          I have an inkjet printer by Epson, so am optimistic. Thank you – I saw this on another blog too, but this is the most helpful. thank you

  7. colleen s. says

    7 years ago

    I made a few of these as a gift for someone just learning to sew–so cute and maybe an incentive for her to keep on going! Thanks so much for the great tutorial.

  8. risa west says

    7 years ago

    This is so great!!! I’m going to be making these soon.

  9. Julie says

    7 years ago

    I did this today. I saw the technique on different site. My image almost completely washed away in the vinegar wash. Not sure why, but it was a bust. My guess is that it depends on the printer you are using. Some printers use pigment blacks and dye colors so blacks would hold, while the colors disappear.

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      7 years ago

      Aww bummer! It definitely depends on the printer you’re using, but as long as it isn’t laser printed, most inkjet printer inks should be fine! Another way you can help set the ink is to iron it after printing, once the ink is dry. You might try that; it isn’t as permanent, but at least it won’t wash the ink away completely! And maybe if the iron sets it just a little bit more, then you can try the vinegar bath after ironing.

  10. Bethany says

    7 years ago

    What a great tip and trick! 🙂

    A couple of questions:
    1. Is it okay to use apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar?
    2. What do you recommend to keep the “pink” ink from washing out on fabric (black works fine though?)?

    Thanks,
    Bethany

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      7 years ago

      Apple cider vinegar would do the same thing, but I’d be careful on light colored fabrics because it might stain the tags! And the vinegar should help set all of the ink, regardless of the color. 🙂

      • Cathy says

        4 years ago

        I am late to the party! I used an ink jet printer and tried the vinegar bath, but there is still excess ink I can smudge off. Any ideas? I’m super disappointed.

        • Jessi Wohlwend says

          4 years ago

          Bummer! Someone else had this issue too, and another idea that might help is to iron the printed fabric before the vinegar bath. The heat can help set the ink.

  11. Tara says

    8 years ago

    Amazing tutorial! Love my final product. Thanks for sharing

  12. Heather Kaluf says

    8 years ago

    This is such a great idea! I am sure going to give this a try. I didn’t even know you could do this, I am amazed!!!
    xoxo
    Heather

  13. Susan says

    8 years ago

    Brilliant idea and great tutorial! Pinning now for use later. Thanks.

  14. [email protected] says

    8 years ago

    YES! This is awesome. I had no idea could make my own labels this easily. My tags will be way cuter than the ones that cost an arm and a leg in the store and say “Made by Grandma.” Thank you, pinning!

  15. Marilyn says

    8 years ago

    I’ve seen this done before and have been meaning to try making my own labels. Thanks so much for this post….it has moved this project up on my “to do” list! 😀

  16. Lisa Haley says

    8 years ago

    Great idea. I’ve been using the store bought printable fabric, but I’m all for do-it-yourself projects. Will definitely give this a go for my items.

  17. Sarah Yoder says

    8 years ago

    This is a great tip. When I first started reading I was worried about using an inkjet printer! LOL..should have trusted you. The vinegar trick is genius!

      • Jackie G. says

        7 years ago

        I tried this method and as soon as I put the printed cloth in the vinegar solution, the print immediately bled and almost completely faded away. My tags were unusable. Got any ideas on why, before I try this again? Thanks.

  18. Susan says

    8 years ago

    Jessi that is an awesome tip! Thanks so much for sharing, I want to make some tags myself… I had no idea that the vinegar would set the ink… I wonder if you could spray it on from a spray bottle? Great, great ideas…. Love your blog!
    Thanks
    Susan

    • Jessi @ Practically Functional says

      8 years ago

      I haven’t tried a spray bottle yet, but you could test it out! From the research I did, soaking the fabric in vinegar is what helps, so as long as you totally drench the fabric with the spray bottle it will probably work too!

      • Theresa Noble says

        3 years ago

        Do you have to use cotton material? I printed.mine on a sheet. The color came out, except for the black and white, when I put the vinegar on it. Thank you!

        • Jessi Wohlwend says

          3 years ago

          The ink sticks best to cotton, but you can certainly try other materials!

  19. keri @ shaken together says

    8 years ago

    You are one smart cookie and I really need to get some freezer paper and start experimenting!

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