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Labels from Vintage Textiles and More!


Labels made from vintage hankies, cotton, muslin, and silk are a unique way to decorate a gift, party favor, or a special item in your pantry.

These fabrics are usualy lightweight and sheer like the finest paper and often feature sweet patterns and embroidery that will give your label an embossed look.

Artist chalks are our secret weapon for creating a subtle patina these keepsakes.

Measure containers and make label patterns

We make patterns for our labels on a computer. Make labels however you like and test them on your containers for a good fit.

Patterns will also be a help for uniformity if you're making lots of labels.

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We work on the waxy side of freezer paper, cut textiles into manageable sizes that are larger than our finished label, and brush lint away with a terry cloth washcloth.

Stray fibers and lint work their way out of the fabric a lot … just pick them off.

We wax our fabric with one coat of Waverly Inspirations Clear Wax to make them less likely to fray when cut. Go over the embroidery as well, let dry at least 6 hours or overnight.

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We painted this Lily of the Valley hanky with chalk paint to make it more like paper when dry. Don't paint the embroidery, however, … just the surrounding fabric.

We use our patterns to outline our labels with a pencil. We hold the textile and pattern up to the light to make sure we've got it aligned well.

After outlining, we tint the fabric in a few places with artists' chalk — sparingly! Chalk blends beautifully on fabric with a damp baby wipe. Here's an example of adding chalk colors to our Blackberry Cordial label.

Practice! Spread the chalk directly from the stick or use a cotton swab, then blend the colors with a damp baby wipe.

Any type of chalk will work, but those without wax may take a bit more work to blend into the fabric. If your chalks have wax or oil in them, they will spread more easily onto the waxed fabrics.

We found ballpoint pens worked well for lettering. We traced our lettering from computer-made patterns against a back-lit window, in pencil … then used ballpoint, chalk, and watercolor pencils to make the writing look aged.

When our tinting and lettering were complete, we used ModPodge Clear Matte Sealer Spray. This will darken your artwork a bit. Let the pieces dry again; the spray just needs a short time to dry. Ours dried in less than an hour.

Time to cut the labels. Using the paper patterns held against the fabric really helps for getting straight edges.

Affix labels with rubber cement. The cement will dry overnight.

Rubber cement will allow you to remove the label in the future if you like, but it will hold fast in the meantime. If you feel your labels are too thin, cement them to paper, and then cement the paper to your container.

You can clean these labels with a barely damp cloth … and then admire! They are truly unique, sweet for any pantry or party.

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