For those that have known me for a while, you’re aware that I make my own wine and beer periodically. A batch or two of Zinfandel Blush is my tradition for the holiday season. Mostly because when I got so many positive compliments I decided to stick with something that everyone loves.
However, there is always this plain unadorned bottle left at the end of the process. Why not take the opportunity to create something unique, different and possibly meaningful.
I’ve experimented with pre-gummed label making paper, adhesive labels, and several other variations.
I have to say the simplest and best results are with a quality color laser printer, appropriate paper and a simple word processer like “OpenOffice”. The creative process can be as easy or drawn out as you desire, so I won’t expand on that.
The first thing to do is set the page format to remove as much of the header, footer, and margin space as possible that your printer will allow.
Next, start a table. For wine labels, I set a two columns and and two rows. For regular size beer bottle labels I set a two columns with three to four rows. The goal is for every cell to be identical in size and cover as much of the printable page as possible or as you desire.
Reduce the margins, header and footer by as much as your printer or word processor will allow. Play with the dimensions until you have something close to the size you need.
In your table options you want cell bordering with a very thin line. This will help with straight lines when it comes to cutting the labels out.
Once you have your cells set up, it’s time to fill your first one in. The simplest way is to pick a picture as a background & then type in your text with contrasting font colors. Once you’ve created the label you like in the first cell, it’s a simple matter of copy and paste into the other cells.
You can also use a quality graphics program to play with a huge variety of whatever your mind can imagine. Just consider the dimensions of your labels to ensure fonts and graphics are legible.
Play to your hearts content. Print, critique, edit, revise, print again. Repeat until its the way you like it.
What to use for label paper? I personally use a decent printer paper and a simple glue stick. It’s the cheapest, most available alternative. You can mix it up with variations on the color or bond quality. It’s also incredibly easy to clean the labels off when it comes time to recycle bottles.
They don’t give you the glossy look of a commercially available wine. For those, you’d have to talk to a print shop.
What about special label papers? Nah. They’re costly. They are moisture sensitive so they can stick together like a lump or the sticky stuff isn’t strong enough to do the job. Adhesive labels? Generally they use such strong glue it takes some effort or solvent to remove the label and all the adhesive. Both types of labels still provide the same finish as plain paper. ** Note: When cleaning bottles to remove old labels, keep a small can of Goof Off around. *
In summary, sometimes simplest is the most flexible and easiest for home label making.