diy: fabric label name tags

this summer has been busy. we have been out of town... here and there, big trips and little. and being pregnant, well, pregnancy does funny things to you. it makes you get down on your hands and knees and clean around all of the baseboards with a toothbrush... then wipe down all of the kitchen cupboards, and bleach all of the bathtub toys. it seems involuntary, this is not something you could usually catch me doing. it is totally normal, and unfortunately not contagious. (otherwise i'd have all of the non-cleaners in the neighborhood coming to my house like a chicken pox party to catch my disease). nesting, they call it. my husband loves it. me? yes, it is nice when you could literally lick any part of your house and feel fine about it, but the time it takes... well, i could have been making something, or posting some inspirational blog posts. 

we still have a busy couple of months coming up. in october we are moving. we don't know where yet, except that we want to stay in the manhattan beach area. not any further north, maybe a little south, we really enjoy our little bubble. trying to find the perfect place is really anxiety provoking. i have so many must haves it seems like they will never be able to be met. and the nesting aspect of pregnancy only amplifies my anxiety. hardwood floors, dishwasher, laundry, garage and two bedrooms... is that really too much to ask?

in december, we welcome the arrival of our second little girl. there is so much to do, so many things to organize... and we will be ready before she makes her debut. early or not. 

then back to september, my little girl starts preschool. i can't believe how fast time has gone. 
starting school means filling in the blanks of an amazing amount of papers while writing down all of the things E must bring to school with her. and the rules... so many things to do and prep before her first day. among them... daily lunches, comfy clothes she can play in, and name tags in everything. 

which brings me to my diy. fabric label name tags. sure i could just order the washable name stickers online... but honestly, i want something a little more stylish. sure it takes a little more time than picking a color, typing in your name and credit card info, but i think they will be appreciated, by me at least. they are completely washable and... the tags can be removed from the clothes that will be handed down to #2.

so, on with the instructions... as my nesting instinct can see the dust accumulating as i type.

twill tape, muslin or cotton ribbon
ink jet transfer paper

1. type up the name you would like on your computer. you could even hand write the name, and scan it in... 

2. do a test print: print the names on a plain piece of paper making sure you set the print options to "print mirror image" or "flip horizontally" to have the names printed backwards so they iron on and read correctly.

3. make sure the spacing will work for your ribbon or fabric. (i allowed a lot of space in between each name that i realized later i did not need... the transfer paper is slightly shiny and looks best with a minimal amount of transfer material surrounding the name). 

4. print the names on the blank side of the transfer paper. make sure you set your printing options to "mirror image" again. let dry 30 minutes.

5. cut each name out of the transfer paper and place face down on the tag material. iron on according to the directions on the package.

6. for the tags... the muslin tags were torn in strips and then folded in half, leaving raw edges at the top to be sewn on the clothing. the twill tape and ribbon is cut into pieces, with an angle at one end. they look best if the angle is pointed upward. 

7. peel off the backing paper. to make the label more matte, i held the label by the end of the fabric and brushed it against my hot iron. i did not touch it hard enough to melt the transfer paper again, but it got enough heat to get rid of the shine that was visible against the textured twill tape.

7. sew into your child's clothing!


  1. What a fabulous idea! My little one is much too small right now, but when she does start school I'm definitely doing this.


    1. I really like your take on the issue. I now have a clear idea on what this matter is all about.. embroidered labels

  2. Are you accepting orders? Not the slightest bit kidding. Will pay handsomely.

  3. Anonymous20.5.12

    may i ask what font did you use?

    1. i used a font called "calamity jane". you can download it for free, click the link. http://www.1001freefonts.com/CalamityJane.php
      have fun!

    2. Anonymous4.6.12

      thanks! :)

  4. Anonymous25.6.12

    Hi, 2 questions:
    1. Do you recommend any particular brand of ink jet transfer paper?
    2. Do the labels hold up well to washing?

    melaniemorton [@] yahoo [.] com

  5. hi melanie,
    i only tried one brand, so i am not sure which is the best. they are probably very similar. mine was the least expensive brand they had. it vame with 5 or 6 sheets in a package.
    and... they have held up surprisingly well in the washer! my daughter has outgrown the clothes that i have tagged, and the names are still good as new.
    thank you!

  6. This looks great! I will try it for the name tags for my wedding party.

  7. Anonymous2.7.13

    great idea. It's very hard to find cloth name tags.

  8. Anonymous30.7.13

    Wonderful. Can't wait to try this. Love the font. Can I pin this on pinterest?

  9. These are lovely. I will definitely be making these for my daughter for school this fall. Her name is Ella, too.

  10. Thank you for the fantastic DYI

    This will be quite a savings versus sending out to have them made for those of us who sew.

  11. Wow! This is a great idea for my product label! I cannot wait to start!
    Thank you!

  12. Wow! Thank you! I will be using this for my accessories name label!
    I could not wait to comment that I am now using my boyfriend's profile! ^^
    Thank you so much!

  13. This is perfect for big families out there, through this clothing tags their stuffs will be more organize.

  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  15. Will the transfer paper stick to you clothing if you new to iron your shirt later

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  19. Anonymous23.10.16

    Isn't it get wash easily??pls reply

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  22. “calamity jane” for labels for my handbags. What do you charge? I don’t make them nor wish to.

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  27. Hi! What type of transfer paper did you use? I read the comments and some cheap transfer papers do not come out as clearly as yours!

  28. Anonymous7.4.18

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