BRANDING ❤️ as a graphic designer, branding is everything. Honestly, I think one thing I was excited about when starting my business, was being able to design my brand 😍
To make my little handmade business seem as fancy and professional as possible, I knew I had to include labels/tags to my felt items. I looked online to order some, but nothing seemed to fit. So, I decided to make them myself!
Think about it. Anytime you buy a plush at the store there is almost always a tag on there with information of the company. You may have just started your business, but don't let that intimidate you.
Think big. Plan big. As the saying goes, “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” While I do enjoy wearing yoga pants covered in thread and felt fuzz to work, I like to present my business in a big way.
You may be a small business owner, but you can't think small, because it doesn’t mean you’re only allowed small opportunities.
Why are tags important?
You may put a lot of thought into packing your item, give plenty of business cards, but what happens when a person is so excited and tears apart your package just to see the good stuff? Packaging ends up on the floor, and business cards tossed in the trash, BUT a tag will stay on your goodies forever.
When anyone else sees the item that you worked so hard for, and wants to buy more—bam! The tag can tell them just how to find you!
Another helpful reason tags can be so important, is if someone posts a photo of your item, at least your little bit of branding may be in the picture as well.
A few months ago, someone posted my Dwight stubby on Reddit, and it received a lot of attention. I probably got about a dozen Dwight orders that day.
Fortunately, this person did tag my Etsy shop in the post, and some people also found my website and ordered there. My business name was on the graphic he shared, so a simple google search did wonders.
However, someone else wanted to get all the Reddit points for themselves, and they reposted the same graphic BUT edited the photo so my logo was gone from the image. Once you put something online, it’s free for anyone to grab and do what they please unfortunately, but I was okay with it because my tag was still showing in the photo. It may not have had my full business name, but at least my bit of branding will always be on that second post.
Branding isn't the only important use for these tags. Maybe your item has special care instructions. This is a great opportunity to include a few tips on how to properly care for your handmade goodies as well.
Tags can be important for future customers to find you, for people to help give you proper credit, and let’s be honest, it’s just cool to feel fancy and all professional 😎
DIY Ribbon Tag Supplies:
Fabric Transfer Paper (I use Avery 3271)
Scissors and/or blade and ruler
Iron or Heat Press
Computer Program or someone that has designed the tags for you
Step 1: Choose Your Ribbon & Create Your Design
First, you need to figure out what information you would like on your tag.
Some ideas are:
Social media icons
Year business established or year item was made
Instructions on how to care for the item
Also keep in mind if you will fold the tag (and how you would fold it), or leave it flat open
Remember that the tag will probably be quite small, so the less info the better, but it’s all up to you and what you feel is important.
Also think about how you would be displaying your tags. I like the option for my tags to be displayed on both sides of my item, so my design needed to be two ways so I can attach the ribbon on the left or right side and it’s still just as cute.
I added my shortened logo, my business name spelled out, and social icons. I wanted my website, but it would have been too long for how I wanted to design it. Since my shorter logo doesn’t have any text, I included “FELT HAPPENS” in text on the back because that’s how someone would find me on Facebook or Instagram. Only recently I decided to add the year that I make the item. Figured it would be something neat to look back on as time passed.
You can either design your own tags, find someone to help you, or send me a message and I’d love to help you out. You can also check out the listing in the shop to order your own design.
Once you know what you want your tag to include, you must decide what width you’d like for the ribbon, so your design can forfit properly. The ribbon I decided to use is ⅝” white satin, and the length I decided on after I had my design finalized.
While designing the ribbon, remember that you need plenty of space at the ends to stitch on, so don't leave important info/designs at the very ends.
Step 2: Printing Your Ribbons
After you have your design finalized, you can fill up an 8.5”x11” page as much as you can! I managed to fit 65 tags on one sheet of paper.
It is VERY important to have your design flipped before you print! You can either have your file saved with the design backwards, or flip it from the printing options on your computer before sending it to print.
Depending on your printer, you need to make sure that your transfer paper is loaded correctly. A test print on regular paper may be best if you don’t want to ruin a sheet, plus the test print is a great way to see the size and how readable your tag will be.
Now you are ready to hit command+P! Don’t forget to make sure the print quality is set to “high” so your ribbons look as awesome as possible.
Step 3: Cutting
Now you have your 65 or so tags printed out, the next step is to cut them all out. This method comes down to your preference and what tools you may have on hand. I like to use my cutting mat and blade to cut the long strips, then scissors to cut the smaller bits down.
Then I will grab one of my paper cut tags and use it as a little template guide to cut all the satin ribbon. Cut, cut, cut. I’ve also noticed that fabric scissors cut best with the satin ribbon. They glide much smoother than regular scissors.
Cutting these individually will stick better to the ribbon then trying to attach it sections at a time, then cutting.
Also, it is important to pay attention to the ribbons printed at the edges of the paper. The printer may not print that last guideline for you to cut. All you need to do is align it with another one and trim the extra paper.
Step 4: Ironing
You can use a regular iron or a heat press for this step. Follow the steps on the package for the temperature and timing for the iron, and for my heat press I set it at 350 degrees F at 30 seconds.
It is also very important to always do a test piece first. Try making just one and see what heat and temperature works best with your tools.
Depending on your heating method, set up as many little ribbon bits (satin side up in my case) that the iron/press will fit, and gently place your printed tags print side down, on top of the ribbons. This requires a steady hand and patience. Sometimes I’ll use another ribbon to help center the tag the best I can.
Remember that these are all handmade, and some may come out a little slanted no matter how precise you may be. Satin is slippery and we are human.
My tattoo was fresh in these photos, and you can tell because it looks dry and peeling since it's healing. Whoops!
Unexpected things may happen, but handmade always means a little extra special and different from machine made.
Once your iron/press time is finished, remove the tags and move to the side to let it cool. While these are cooling, I like to set up the next batch of ribbons.
After the ribbon tags are cool to the touch, you can peel off the paper backing. Be careful at first in case the print didn’t stick to the ribbon. If you see it lifting up with the paper back, just put it back to the iron/press a couple more seconds until it stays. If you do reheat it, make sure the paperback is protecting the ribbon from the heat, do not apply direct heat to the ribbon.
Sometimes if the paper overlaps the satin ribbon, the extra adhesive will leave this clear and stretchy material. You can simply tear it with your hands or cut it off to clean it up.
Now you have the cutest little ribbon tags!
Step 5: Sealing the Ends
To seal off your ribbon ends and keep them from fraying, all you need is a candle, a flame, and a steady hand—turning off the fan helps too!
Carefully, hold your ribbon near the flame and let the heat seal the edges. Be careful though because the flame can have a mind if it’s own and burn your tag design.