DIY Spice Jar Labels

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Although you are probably ready for another kitchen renovation update, today’s kitchen post isn’t as grand as a full space reveal or even a moulding update. Boy do I wish we were done, it has definitely dragged on longer than I ever expected and I am so ready to just start using it and enjoying it. And I am sorry that y’all have to be excited sideline spectators while we work through things behind the scenes. Aside from fighting with fully booked weekends, summer schedules and sports, we have run into a few roadblocks that have set us behind schedule (more on that when we get them all figured out – but imagine me banging my head against the wall multiple times). Buuuut, we just picked up the last batch up trim last week and I have a feeling that even getting toe kick and crown installed will start making big differences in getting the space to a finished state.

Until then, my busy hands couldn’t wait to tackle our new spice drawer!

A few years ago, Bryan laid his eyes on a pull-out spice drawer, and I had to fight my way back to becoming his primary love interest again. He is our family chef, and he loved the idea of keeping cooking essentials in an easy-to-access location near the stove, without having to clutter up the island countertop with trays of oils and spices.

After many positive comments and reviews regarding pull-out spice drawers in kitchens (and testimonials that the heat of the oven doesn’t typically impact the contents), we kept it high on our kitchen wish list even when other things stopped making the cut. Of course, I was beyond excited to have a new cabinet to organize, but didn’t realize I would have to bump it up on the priority list. I went to put our spices in the cabinet, and the awkward jar shapes and sizes didn’t all fit and I couldn’t even slide the drawer closed due to the height of many of the containers.

I started by taking measurements of the drawer height and width and doing a lot of online shopping. Being limited by very specific measurements meant that I was also limited in jar options. I finally found these on Amazon, and loved that I could fit exactly two rows of 12 jars side-by-side with absolutely no wasted space. (When I purchased them they were $18 per set, now they are $25? What the heck Amazon?)

I adore the glass jars, but instantly ran into a labeling issue when I spotted the domed lids. Typically, adding labels and stickers to anything round causes gaps and creases and doesn’t offer a seamless look. There was plenty of area on the sides of the jars, so I decided that I would just label the sides and all would be well in our world of spices.

In these labeling situations, I naturally reach right for my Silhouette die cutting machine. It can do just about anything and everything in terms of labeling (vinyl, stickers, etc…), but for this project I wanted to try something new. I have read a little bit about using decal paper, and thought this would be the perfect project to step out of my labeling comfort zone. I also loved that this labeling solution is one that anyone can do at home with a standard computer/printer setup; no fancy cutting machine required.

STEP ONE: DESIGN YOUR LABELS

I searched around for decal paper, and ended up ordering this from decalpaper.com. It comes with very helpful step-by-step instructions, making this process much easier than I initially anticipated. Just be sure to order the paper for your type of printer (laser jet vs. inkjet).

Once I had the paper, I used Microsoft Word to create some very basic spice jar labels. I then printed them onto the decal paper (make sure to remove the tissue film and print directly on the glossy portion of the paper).

I did a quick check to be sure the font didn’t run off the edges of the jars, and also ended up re-printing it with the font bolded for easier reading.

STEP TWO: PREPARE YOUR JARS

Prior to labeling and filling, all of the jar labels were removed and the jars were washed and dried.

STEP THREE: FILL SPICE JAR

I did this both ways, but I found it easiest to fill the spice jar first, and then add the label immediately after. When I did the label first, I then ran the risk of ruining it while pouring in the spices (or having to wait the three hours for the label to cure). Small spoons and this funnel were both really helpful in transferring the spices from their original packaging to the new jars.

STEP FOUR: CUT LABELS

After the jars were clean and dry, I cut out each of the labels. I eventually realized that the clear portion of the decal paper around the font will dry to an almost invisible state, so how you cut the label doesn’t have to be perfection.

STEP FIVE: DIP!

To activate the decal label, I dipped it into a small dish of lukewarm water until the clear portion of the label began to separate from the backing. The warmer the water, the more the clear portion of the label began to curl and was harder to work with.

STEP SIX: STICK AND DRY

When it came to applying the decal label, I found it easiest to place the edge of the label onto the jar and hold it with my finger while I carefully slid the backing out from behind it. Once it was in place, I used a paper towel to pat both the jar and the label dry. You don’t have to be super quick, you will have time to work with the label and adjust it until it is right where you want it. It took about 5-10 minutes to really start forming a bond to the jar.

And that was it! The label decals took a total of three hours to completely dry and cure, and once they did, they looked so professionally finished!

The label was 100% seamless and I appreciated that they had a such a clean finish.

Speaking of clean, the label instructions do indicate that you can add a clear coat of poly to the top of the decal to extend the life and allow for heavier scrubbing of the containers. I didn’t want to put poly near our food, so I opted to leave them without. I have already wiped these down with a damp towel and they seem quite durable, so I am hopeful that they will hold up to gentle hand-washings down the road.

And then this happened….

Again, imagine my forehead and my palm meeting at this very moment. My poor head right? Suddenly it didn’t matter how beautiful the spice labels were, I placed them too far down the side of the jar to completely read them while in the drawer. Ugh and oops!

The first set of labels were already cured, so I left them and just flipped the jars over to add a second label at the correct height on the other side. I guess the bonus is that the jars are now labeled from both sides so there will never be any confusion about what is being used.

SO much better! I fell right back in love with this labeling solution and then I asked Bryan for a head rub.

The labels are pretty fabulous and overall really easy to read, however, they do get lost slightly in some of those busier, dark spices. The good thing is that these labels can be whatever you want them to be, and you can change the color of the labels just by changing the font color on your computer. Lighter colored labels will work better with darker spices, while darker wording really pops against lighter spices.

I also alphabetized them to be sure they are even easier to find in a “pinch”.

So once again, not a smooth as silk project, but a hooray worthy happy ending! And although it took me a tiny bit of trial and error, it was extremely simple (which you know I love). In fact, I can’t wait to re-label my cleaning bottles and pretty much everything else in our home now! I feel like a kid with a new toy…

When I was finished with the labeling, I added the expiration dates to the bottom of each jar with a dry erase marker (similar to what I just did with my makeup). A few of the original spice containers had some leftover spices that didn’t fit into the new jars, so those are temporarily stored in a basket in another cabinet for future refilling. Once they are gone, we will just start purchasing our spices in smaller amounts that accommodate the sizes of the new jars. Now we can really “spice” things up in the kitchen! OK, enough cheese, I am off to open and close the new drawer a few times to enjoy the small amount of kitchen progress.

I would love to know if you have ever given decal paper a try and what you thought of it?

**Update! In typical Jen fashion, one of my labels had an incorrect spelling. I tried scrubbing off the label with a wash rag and it didn’t budge (great news for future cleanings!). However, I was able to carefully scrape off the label and update it very easily with a new decal. A small blessing in disguise I suppose, now I know that I have some flexibility with the system in the future. Thanks for catching that friends!

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