These DIY Labels Will Make Organizing More Affordable

custom labels

I really like using glass containers to store dry ingredients and other pantry staples, but it does help to add clear labels so you don’t have to guess what’s inside. As long as you have an inkjet printer, you can make them using printable label sheets you can find at most office supply stores, but there’s another option that’s quite a bit cheaper!

Related: 9 Simple Ways To Conquer Clutter In Your Kitchen

A more affordable alternative is to make your own clear labels using your printer and some packing tape. I was skeptical about this idea at first, but it works surprisingly well and they’re simple to make too!

Aside from saving you money, the other advantage of making these packing tape labels is that you get total control over what the labels say and what they look like. Use your favorite font in whatever size will fit your containers best!

Author’s Note: I ultimately decided against making a set of downloadable labels for this post because I have no way of knowing what you’re labeling, what size your labels ought to be, or even what fonts you like. With all those unknowns, I figured the smartest solution was to leave those decisions up to you!

DIY Labels

How To Make DIY Clear Labels With Packing Tape

You’ll need:

DIY Labels


Step 1 – Make And Print Your Design

Start by creating your labels and printing them out — you can make them in Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or whatever word processor you like best. (Tip: To make 4 labels per page as shown above, set your page orientation to landscape, insert a 2×2 table, and set the borders to 0 px or make them transparent.)

For best results, choose a bold or thick font and print your design in black or grayscale, as thin fonts and colored ink don’t usually transfer as well.

Step 2 – Tape Over The Design

Carefully cover the printed area with a piece (or pieces) of heavy-duty packing tape.

DIY Labels

Step 3 – Press The Ink And Cut The Labels

Use a craft stick (or whatever you can find that’s sturdy and has a flat edge) and rub it firmly over the printed areas to ensure a solid bond between the ink and tape. Don’t be afraid to use some elbow grease here, because more pressure will make for clearer labels.

DIY Labels

Use scissors to cut your labels down to your desired size.

DIY Labels

Step 4 – Soak The Labels

Next, fill a wide, shallow bowl with warm water and put the label(s) in to soak. Leave them there for 20 minutes to an hour, or until the paper separates easily from the tape.

DIY Labels

Step 5 – Remove The Paper And Let It Dry

After soaking, remove the labels from the water and carefully peel the paper away from the tape. Set the wet labels on a towel with the sticky side facing up, and allow them to dry for a few minutes (or until the adhesive becomes sticky again).

DIY Labels

Step 6 – Apply Your Finished Labels

Finally, apply your finished clear labels as desired — they look great on glass, but you can also apply them to wood or plastic.

I love how these clear labels look on the big glass jars we have in the kitchen at the OGT Studio, and the fact that it didn’t cost us a thing to make them is the icing on the cake! How’s that for frugal organization?

How do you label your containers?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Homekeeping Tips

  • It’s an interesting way of making labels with packing tape and normal paper. I’ve never seen it before. I design my labels in Canva and then I use the label App named Ecardify to organize them in one plain A4 paper sheet. I’ll try your method to make them look like fabric made labels. Thnx Jillee

  • Thanks for reprinting this article. I thought I had forgotten how to do this. What I remembered seems to easy to be all there was to it. Glad to know my memory is ok. Now I just have to do it.

  • I invested in jars like these about a year ago to hold my flour, brown sugar, and powdered sugar and they have been great! I just used painter’s tape and a sharpie but I’m excited to try this trick! Thank you Jillee :)

  • Great idea for kitchen containers. Does anyone know of a way to make waterproof labels that won’t slide off when wet for home-made liquid soap and shower gel?

  • I tried this before. It worked okay. Part of the problem is I live in a humid area which can affect things like this staying on. I do like the idea.

  • These look SO very neat!! Love ’em! However, I wish all of you could come over and show me how it’s all done. I am 65you and not real computer savvy, and I have NO idea where to find all the fonts, and what to do if I could find them?? I DO have an in-jet printer…and tape…and scissors and flat edge…frustrating to be so close yet so far!! ;>) If anyone can help me, send me a line. Thank you and have fun making your beautiful labels.

  • Wow! Mind blown. I had no idea the adhesive on packing tape would get re tacky after drying.
    This is something I really want to do – the possibilities are endless :-)

    • Erica, I have read other articles on this and they specifically called FOR a Laser Printer! (which I don’t have). So, I was really glad to read Jillee’s article, which says to use an Inkjet Printer.

  • Hi, Jillee! I have always wanted to try this method ~ it seems so easy and very inexpensive! A question, please: do you remember where you originally got your glass jars? They resemble some vintage jars my Mom & Dad had … I think they held coffee many years ago!
    Thanks for a reminder about this project. It will simplify the storage in our pantry, which has limited space because it’s a half wall of cabinets rather than a walk-in …

  • Thank you for the tip. I’ve been wanting to replace some of the store packaging with jars but was unsure how to label them the least expensive way.
    I also want to thank you for including the link to print your articles, including the ability to save as a PDF file.. It is so much easier than having to copy and paste into a word document. I save helpful articles to specific folders on my computer instead of saving the email or printing the document.

  • This is definitely a keeper, like that you can do a real large print, moving a lot of my stuff to jars, think it lasts longer or at least does not pick up plastic odor after a bit. Great tip, people may just want to write down the font they use so if they add a jar or 2 later

  • Such a good idea. I have a label maker and tape does get expensive but also it does not make labels this large.

    I will be trying this. I have these same jars which I bought at Wal-mart.

  • This is such an awesome idea! I have hunted all over for labels that will actually fit snugly on my curved spice jars. I haven’t found anything that will curve around the glass. This is just PERFECT! Thank you!

  • This is great! I always store stuff in clear glass containers and I’ve used a silver metallic sharpie to write on the glass (it is removable with rubbing alcohol). As a celiac, all my flour replacement ingredients, and blends, look the same. I’m going to try this, thanks Jillee.

  • Just what I was looking for! I was contemplating buying those transparent inkjet labels until I read the reviews from users complaining about the ink smearing and smudging off. Brilliant idea! Thanks.

  • This sounds like a great idea Jillee! Thanks for all your ideas and research. Love your website. I agree with others commenters…you are a smart cookie!

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