Top tips for applying custom stickers or labels to products

Are you selling a few handmade products on Etsy each day? Or are you launching a new product line and wanting to know how to apply 20,000 labels in the fastest possible time?

We’re going to share some top tips on how to ensure your custom stickers are applied perfectly. Every single time. 

Let’s jump straight in.

When thinking about how best to apply your labels, you have a choice to make. Do you apply by hand, or do you apply with a machine?

Here are some pointers to help you choose which might be right for you.

  • If you’re applying less than 500-800 each month – apply by hand. Much more than that, invest in a machine, either automatic or semi-automatic.
  • Is the product you’re applying to a cylindrical bottle or jar? If so, there are simple, low-cost machines that can help you get perfect results every time.
  • If you’ve got 5000+ products to apply to, we recommend investing in a machine or outsourcing to a plant. For example, if you sell craft beer, a bottling plant will apply labels for you.

Hopefully, this has helped to give you some direction. Now let’s dive into each method a little more.

Applying by hand

Stickers are straightforward to apply once you know-how. Follow these steps, and you’ll get a great result:

  1. The most important step: Clean the surface with an alcoholic cleaner or glasses wipe. Ensuring there’s no dirt below your label is especially important if you’ve got clear labels as dirt will really show.
  2. Remove your sticker from the backing and place it where you want to apply it. If it’s not right, peel up and start again.
  3. Working from the sticker’s center, apply pressure to the sticker to ensure it sticks properly. You can use a squeegee or your thumb.
  4. If you get any small bubbles, lift and re-apply the sticker with pressure from your thumb.

custom stickers

Here’s an example of a correctly applied clear sticker.

Here are some tips to get the best results:

  1. Be patient to get the best results. Too many people rush and don’t work from the sticker’s center, leaving bubbles beneath the label.
  2. Use heat from a hairdryer or heat gun if you’re applying your labels to a curved surface, such as a vehicle wing mirror.
  3. Get labels on sheets. They are up to 65% quicker to apply than individually cut stickers, saving you hours and hours! Not to be underestimated. 

Applying labels by machine

As mentioned earlier, if you have 5000+ labels to apply, try to outsource this & get them applied by proper machines. 5000 labels will take a lot of time, even with a semi-automatic label applicator.

If you have less to apply or want to apply them yourself, you can get machines that look like this (see below) for about $200-300.


Here are a few essential tips if you plan to apply labels with a machine.

  • You’ll need to get labels on rolls.
  • The label specification needs to be the right, so you need to think about: Label orientation (so it sticks to your bottle correctly. The gap between labels – with a semi-automatic machine, like in the image above, 3mm will be sufficient. The roll’s core size needs to be right to fit on your device – 3″ is usually industry standard. The maximum roll diameter so it works on your applicator.

There you have it – lots of helpful tips on applying your stickers or labels.

If you have any questions, please comment below!

Dinesh Kumar VM

Professional Author @ Time Business News | Contributor at London Business News & at UK News Blog. Checkout my personal blog at www.dineshkumarvm.com