From a food and foraging point of view, autumn – fall – is my favourite time of year. Whether it’s picking blackberries on the dogwalk or spending an afternoon foraging for apples, the abundance of ‘free’ or foraged food makes my heart sing. Not just the food, but the time spent outdoors, catching the last of the sun before the colder months set it, it’s just one of my favourite things in the yearly cycle. So much so, that I often spend a fair chunk of time making up jars and bottles of things that will eventually go into christmas hampers, for example apple chutney, jellybean fudge, hawthorn blossom vodka, lavender and rose salt scrub, and chilli salt are all things that have made it into Christmas hampers in previous years. When finished off with pretty labels and decorative wrapping, these can make unique and gorgeous gifts – especially for people who don’t really want or need stuff. Sometimes finding and creating labels can be really time-consuming, and even when I’ve bought ready-made labels, I find that they don’t always compliment the ‘feel’ of the gifts. For example, a beautiful jar of jam with a white envelope label stuck on will do the job, but it feels so unfinished, so I like to spend a little time on creating labels, and I do it rather simply.
When you’re buying plain label paper there are two options – you can buy pre-cut label paper, which I find super frustrating as I can never get my home printer to quite do the job – or you can buy plain sticky-backed label paper. This is my preferred option as it means my options in terms of size and shape are endless. You could also upload your designs to a sticker printing service if you’re going for big numbers! I have 60 bottles of elderflower champagne waiting to be labeled, and I think that might be the better option! Whichever way you choose to make your labels, decorating them is, to me, part of the fun.
I recently started using DesignBundles.com to source images, because – as these are for personal use – there were no licensing issues with using their downloads, and I could make the labels in the way that worked best for me. Additionally, I liked the uniformity of using images by the same artist, and I loved not spending ages googling around for usable images. I must say, I am really pleased with this year’s labels. I think they are so pretty!
Making them was easy too – I found the images I wanted to use and downloaded them, saving the .png files (with the clear backgrounds) onto my computer. From there I uploaded them to Canva, for which I have the free account, and uploaded the images I wanted into Canva. From there the fun started and I used a basic label template, adding the image where I wanted it, and using some of Canva’s free fonts, though you can get those from DesignBundles too, I wrote what it is, and where relevant, when it was made onto each label. I opted for white backgrounds on my labels, but there are plenty of background patterns you can choose from to make it suit your theme. I love the feature in Canva where it looks at your imported image and gives you a selection of colours from it to use in the rest of the design. I think that’s really clever. I was quite intimidated at first by downloading bundles and seeing lots of file types and documents in the zip folders, but many of them actually come with instructions, and ultimately it as very easy to do.
Obviously, my hamper contents aren’t all ready yet, but I know roughly how many I’ll want to make, and I already know what will go in them – I won’t spoil the surprise for my friends entirely! – so I can use the time now to make and cut the labels, ready for when the goodies are. It’ll help me keep track of how many dog walks I need to go on and how many blackberries I need to pick, and saves the issue of not knowing what to make next – if there are still labels unstuck, that’s what I have to forage for next!
I really like making my own labels. I think it adds a lovely touch to the gifts, and they’ll come off fairly easily too, so do ask people to return your jars so that you can use them again next year.