Part 7 of the Series on
DIY Holiday Gift Giving from the Kitchen
A reader asks, “How do you make your labels?” Good question! I design my labels in Photoshop, import them into Microsoft Word, and make a PDF file which I can then print when I start my gift-giving packaging. I realize that is an awesome task for someone who does not have the graphic arts background that I do, so I have gathered up some of my favorite designs for you to use in printable PDF files. For each part of this series, I have arranged a PDF file for your use.
Sharing is caring and I am pleased to have you use these files for your own personal use and share them with your friends. However, be aware that these designs are copyrighted by 21st Century Simple Living and should not be sold or redistributed under a business license.
If you want to make labels of your own hopefully these will be a good foundation for getting those creative juices flowing. This is my creative outlet that I have fun with when the family is sitting down and enjoying the nightly TV watching. Instead of knitting, I create labels! I have broken each part of the series down into sections, giving examples of the containers I use for my homemade gifts and providing you with some tips to make your creations easier to make. Choose a theme and make baskets or just use these ideas for stocking stuffers. Make this holiday a stress-free adventure! I hope you enjoy.
Why Give Homemade Edible Gifts?
At 21st Century Simple Living, we are ALL ABOUT gift-giving from the kitchen. It is easy, frugal, and does not take a lot of time out of your busy schedule. By the time I drive to the stores, fight the insanity of parking and being jostled about in the Malls, hunt down those special gifts, and finally get them home, my day is shot. I would rather spend two hours in my kitchen making gifts for everyone on my list!
Who wouldn’t love your wonderful foods that will make their lives easier, tastier, and healthier? You will be the star of Christmas morning and for months to come. Every time they pull out those jars/bags/boxes, they will thank you again. If your friends are anything like mine, this will be the gift basket that keeps on giving. Long after the Christmas deluge of sweets and rich foods have ended, these items still fill my cupboard for a wonderful treat!
I am giving you links to some of my favorite ideas, products, and tools to make it easy for you to source and make your holiday goodies. Check out these ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Spend some time in your kitchen with your favorite music and some baskets, boxes, and bows and your Christmas “shopping” will be complete. And don’t forget to make some special gifts for yourself. After all, haven’t you earned it?
Creative Ideas for Edible Gift Wrapping
Most of these ingredients can be found in your local grocery stores. It is worth noting that the Aldi’s stores are carrying more organic products at great prices. Other stores you may consider are Sam’s Club/Costco/BJ’s/Gordon’s/Trader Joes chains. I love frequenting my local health food stores, co-ops, Amish stores, etc. However, if you need products that are not readily available to you or you want to save money by buying in bulk, try these links for your goodies.
Ordering in bulk online is the way to go when making herb/spice blends, tea blends, flavored coffees, etc. because it saves you time and money. I order from a number of online merchants that have great organic, well-sourced products.
- My favorite is Mountain Rose Herbs. They offer high quality organic bulk herbs, gourmet spices, loose leaf teas, essential oils, and herbal extracts. Their extensive selection includes certified organic, fair trade, ethically wild harvested, and Kosher-certified botanical products.
- If my favorite is out of stock or does not have what I need, I order from Frontier Co-op who has a great line of bulk products, including organic, well sourced spices.
- I also order from Amazon who has a large variety of organic/bulk products available for comparable pricing.
You can shop stores like Dollar Tree or other discount stores for bargains. Kitchen supply stores and thrift stores are also great for finding containers. If you can find Mason jars in the various sizes, these work well and are easy to dress up with twine/raffia and a cute tag. Gift baskets and other containers are readily found throughout the year at thrift stores, flea markets, yard sales, and clearance centers. Last year I bought 10 miniature wheel barrows for $5.00 for the lot. And remember, as long as these items can be cleaned up, rustic is in!
I like jars that hold 3-4 ounces of my herb blends and seasonings. They seem to work the best for this purpose. However, I do prefer glass because the essential oils from the herbs and spices will not leach into the containers. I also tend to use stainless steel and glass measuring and mixing equipment for the same reasons.
If you are like me and have more ideas than you do time to run around the shops, you can also order a variety of containers and supplies online. Pictured are a few examples of jars and other products I have used in the past that worked well for me.
Herb/Spice Jars. Make sure, no matter where you get your jars, that they are sterilized first by you before they are filled.
Bottles. Same as your jars, make sure, no matter where you get your bottles, that they are sterilized first by you before they are filled.
Bags. Choose bags that are specifically labeled as “food safe”.
Baskets, Cello Wrap, Tags. As stated before, I usually find baskets and other really cool containers second hand. I make sure to wash/soak/scrub these containers thoroughly and dry before adding my food stuffs. Cello wrap and other miscellaneous goods are bought at the local Dollar Tree because that is where I find them the least expensive.
Extra tools. It really does not take much to put your gifts together. A good, sharp pair of scissors, a hand-held hole punch, some twine or ribbon, good card stock or adhesive paper, and your printer are all that are needed to make your labels and tags. It is also handy to have a ruler, paper cutter, Xacto knife, or circle cutter, but again, these are not necessary.
Printable Labels for Your Use
Part 1: Popular Herb/Spice Blend Recipes
For my Blends, I use standard glass spice bottles measuring 1-3/4” diameter by 3-3/4” high. The circumference of each bottle is 5-1/4” round. The labels I have designed are 3” high by 5” wide, allowing for a comfortable fit. I also use a few other jars as pictured.
I print out my labels on standard paper or adhesive full sheets and cut them out. The labels for the bottle fronts have suggested uses as well as recipes for each. The color code for Savory Blends at Casa Colleen is Beige and for the Sweet Blends the color is Turquoise.
I have also supplied toppers for the bottles so that you can label the lids for ease of identification.
Download your Popular Herb-Spice Blend Labels here.
Part 2: The REAL Stars of Movie Night—Popcorn Seasoning Blends
This part uses the same information as Part 1. The color code for Popcorn Seasoning Blends at Casa Colleen is Mauve.
Download your Popcorn Seasoning Blend Labels here.
Part 3: Gifts from the Sea—Flavored Salt Blends
This part uses the same information as Part 1. The color code for Popcorn Seasoning Blends at Casa Colleen is Blue.
Part 4: Dry Rub Seasonings, the Ultimate “Man Food”
Because a dry rub usually is used at a ratio of 1/4 cup to each pound of meat, I make larger amounts than I would other seasoning blends. I put my dry rub seasonings into 1/2 pint (jelly jars) or pint Mason Jars to keep them fresh for gift giving, so the labels I have designed for them show those sizes. You certainly could go larger or use other jars also.
Mason Lid Labels-Regular Size or Wide-Mouth Size. Print out whichever size you are using, place over the Mason lid and either attach with glue or just screw on the cap. The regular lid covers are 2-1/2” diameter and the Wide-mouth lid covers are 3” diameter.
Hang Tags. These hang tags are 3.5” high by 2”wide. I print these on cardstock and cut them out. Punch a hole in top; strengthen the hole with reinforcement stickers if you wish, and tie to jars with ribbon, twine or raffia.
Jar Labels. If you prefer, you can print out the jar labels on paper or Adhesive sheets and cut them out. Glue or adhere to jars. The labels provided are 3.17″ high by 2” wide.
Download your Homemade Dry Rub Seasoning Labels here.
Part 5: The Awesome Flavor of Homemade Dry Seasoning Mixes
I put my dry seasoning mixes into 1/2 pint (jelly jars) or pint Mason Jars to keep them fresh for gift giving, so the labels I have designed for them show those sizes as in the instructions for Part 4. You certainly could go larger or use other jars also.
Download your Homemade Dry Mix Seasoning Labels here.
Part 6: Taste the Seduction of Homemade Liqueurs
As you will see, I get creative on these. I am absolutely blown away by the caliber of liquor label design found on the world’s shelves. Why do liqueur label designs make for such a creative hot spot? The theory is that many average consumers wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between one mid-range liqueur and another based on taste alone, so label design becomes a distinguishing reason and deal-maker in the world’s marketing of liqueurs. I do have to confess that a pretty label has reeled me in a time or two!
For my homemade liqueurs, I use empty wine bottles or buy Stopper-top bottles. I find the wine bottles with the corks soaked in hot water and pushed into the bottle work well for me.
The labels I have designed are 3” wide by 6” wide, allowing for a comfortable fit on short-necked bottles as pictured. I print out my labels on standard paper or adhesive full sheets and cut them out.
Designing Your Own Labels
When I design my own labels I usually start with some background images I get from websites like My Free Textures. They have literally thousands of background images, including Christmas images. I save or copy the image I like and open it or paste it into a graphics program or a Word document. Then I size it to fit my needs, and put my words on it. I copy the design however many times I need it and print it out on either full sheet adhesive-backed sheets or on card stock (heavy) paper and cut it out.
One of my favorites for graphics is All Free Download, one of the best free download resources for designers. They have all kinds of freebies including images.
Don’t miss the other articles in this series!
Part 1, Popular Herb/Spice Blend Recipes
Part 2, The REAL Stars of Movie Night—Popcorn Seasoning Blends
Part 3, Gifts from the Sea—Flavored Salt Blends
Part 4, Dry Rub Seasonings, the Ultimate “Man Food”
Part 5, The Awesome Flavor of Homemade Dry Seasoning Mixes
Part 6, Taste the Seduction of Homemade Liqueurs