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Make a Bottle Labeling Jig

How to Position a Label on a Bottle. 

These label positioning techniques work with bottles or any cylindrical surface.
You will need a reference point to position a sticker squarely on a cylindrical object.  The best method for most stickers is the vertical reference line, however if you sticker is short and long you may want to use the horizontal method. For large quantities such as beer and wine bottle labels it is best to Make a Bottle Labeling Jig.

Note: If your sticker is wide or long it may be best to use multiple tape strips (with a 1/16” gap) running vertically to prevent buckling.

Vertical positioning or lines parallel to the curvature.

  • If the object can be held in your hand place it against any wall and door molding and draw line down the object.
  • For lager items or if you intend to do this frequently, the bet method is to place an “angled item”, like an angle iron, on the object and draw a line or butt the label against the straight edge. The longer the angle iron the better. See the wine bottle label in figure 1.
  • Select the largest size 90 degree angle item that is shorter than the diameter of the object.
  • Hardware stores and recyclers have a selection of aluminum angle stock that may suit your needs.
Easy way to align wine bottle labels. Using an angle iron to position a wine bottle label.

Horizontal positioning or lines around the cylinder.

  • Take a piece of paper long enough to go completely around the object.  For large objects use brown wrapping paper or newspaper.
  • Wrap the paper around the object and position the paper so the edge (top or bottom) meet forming a sleeve.
  • Tape the paper sleeve together in 2 or more places not to the object.
  • Now using the sleeve as a guide, slide the sleeve up or down to place the sticker in the desired location.
  • Or draw a line to indicate the location.
  • Use the sleeve on other similar objects.

How to Make a Bottle labeling Jig.

Homemade labeling jigs are very useful when large quantities of similar items are to be labeled, e.g. wine and beer bottles or canning jars. Any Channel or “V” shaped item with the proper dimensions makes a ready made labeling jig.

Plans for making a homemade bottle labeling jig. Drawing for making a canning jar labeling jig.

Labeling Jigs for Round Bottles

  • Channel jigs (diagram A) are the easiest to make. If you find a channel that fits your bottle as in the diagram above, you are done. You may want to take a bottle with you to your local hardware store and ask for their advice. 
  • If the mouth of the channel jig is to wide or the not deep enough diagram B) simply add shims (green) to one side until the bottle nests in the labeling jig. A thin walled channel or a tapered shim makes it easier to place the label.
  • To build a “V” trough jig (diagram C) start with an angle opening less than the diameter of the bottle. Construct a stand (brown) from wood or other materials to hold the “V” in an open up position.

Labeling Jig for Square Canning Jars (diagram D)

  • For square canning jars begin with a channel jig wider than the jar.
  • Using shims (green) raise the jar off the base of the jig to the desired label position. Shims should be narrower than the width of the jar.
  • Place a wedge or triangle shaped piece of wood (red) on the other side of the labeling jig. This will keep the jar tight against the jig when applying the label. You may need to experiment with the angle for maximum effect.

For All Homemade labeling Jigs

  • Place a “stop” at one end so each bottle rests in the same place.
  • Mark the top of the labeling jig where you want the bottom edge of the label to be placed.
  • Place the bottle in the labeling jig and using the edge of the jig as a guide, wrap the label around the bottle.
  • Each bottle will have the identical label placement.

Figures 2 - 4 show the quick and handy homemade bottle labeling jig that I made for wine bottle labels.
I began with a miter box from my woodworking shop. That furnished the channel.
For the shim I selected a piece of 2 x 4 with an angle cut edge to make it easier to place labels against the bottles. That is it, I was done. For smaller bottles I place a second shim between the existing shim (it’s not fixed) and the channel. If I encounter a larger bottle I will use a narrower shim.

Homemade bottle labeling jig for beer and wine bottle labels.

Figure 2 shows a wine bottle nestled in the jig ready for the label.
Figure 3 shows the label in place. The next step is to wrap the label around the bottle.
Figure 4 a view of the homemade bottle labeling jig and the finished wine bottle.

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