How to make wine labels
You can easily create labels using a paint program, label program, or desktop publishing program. In this article we used Microsoft Publisher, but you can use any labeling program. You can also find many free labeling programs online if you spend some time searching on Google. The best programs allow you to layer images and text. Layering allows you to move one “piece” of your design without disturbing the rest of the label. For example, you can move one text item around the label without moving other text or images.
The most difficult step can be coming up with an idea. If your label idea is simple, you might be able to use clip art from your label design program. If you need something more, you should look around on the internet. For our label, we wanted to display a pair of blue-footed boobies from the Galapagos Islands. A quick search on the internet provided many photos. If you are making the label for a commercial endeavor, you should contact the artist/photographer before using any images found on the internet. Since this is just for homebrew wine, it is perfect.
Set up the page
The first step to create your label is to set up your page. You need to divide a normal 8 1/2 x 11 page into six boxes. The boxes should fill up the page as much as possible. You can experiment with larger numbers, like 8 or 12, but 6 seem to make a good sized label. If you are using a labeling program, the template ‘Avery 74536 Clip Style Name Badges’ or any other 6 block template is a good choice.
In Microsoft Publisher, we created a block that fits about 1/6th of the page. You can create the block using the rectangle shape tool. Create all six blocks on the page to verify that they are the correct size. If you are using an Avery template or another template, your work is already done for you.
Add the image
Resize the image to fit inside your label box. For this label, we set the image slightly off center and slightly smaller than the size of the complete label. This gives us room to later add text.
Decorate with text
Here we added text to the label. Most programs let you select from any font on your machine. We gave the label a name, added the varietals, and the vintage. Other things you can add are the alcohol content if you know it, the source of the grapes, the wine maker, the name of your winery, or anything else you would like to add.
Replicate the image
In Publisher (or what ever tool you are using), use the ‘select’ tool to select everything. Then use the ‘group’ command. This collects all of your changes, and groups them into one object. If your tool does not have a ‘group’, you should be able to select everything and copy it. Copy your label to fill the page with 6 labels. If you are using a labeling program, this step might be done automatically.
Print the image
Unless you have a very good printer, you’ll want to take your label somewhere else to be printed. Inkjet printers can produce nice labels, but the colors will run as soon as any moisture touches the label. Kinko’s standard color printing produces some very nice labels. These labels look nice and the colors will not run. You will want to save the image to a floppy disk, CD, or a thumb drive before taking it to Kinko’s. Have them print the labels on normal paper. We are not using actual sticky labels because they tend to be difficult to remove from bottles.
Cut the labels
Unless you have an extremely steady hand, do not use scissors to cut your labels. In the school section of your favorite supply store, you should be able to find a straight edge paper cutter. These work much better than scissors, and do not leave jagged edges. Cut out each individual label using the paper cutter.
The best choice for applying the labels to the bottle is to use a glue stick. Most glue sticks are water soluble; this makes the labels very easy to remove. Lightly cover the back of the label with glue. Make sure to get glue on all the edges and the corners. This will provide a good seal for the label.
After your label has dried, you can add a shrink capsule. This provides a top to your wine. There are other things you can do too, like a wax top. Your local homebrew or winemaking store should sell these. Once you add these small touches to your creations, the questions you will get will be “do you own your own winery” and not “did you make this in your bathtub”.
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Credits and Links
I live in Denver, Colorado. This blog is everything about beer, wine, cider, mead and other spirits.
I am a avid homebrewer and winemaker. I’ve been making my own beer and wine for many years. I started making beer when I was in college (mostly because the drinking age in the United States is 21). My first few beers were horrible. The beers are much better now, and I often supply my neighborhood with free beer! It is a great hobby!