DIY diva

DIY Spice Jar Labels

September 20, 2011 | 113 Comments | Creative, DIY, Featured
DIY diva

It might seem a little strange that even though I don’t have a working kitchen (or even really the hope of having a working kitchen anytime soon) I just had to do something about my spice rack situation. And technically it’s less of a “rack” and more of  a “bunch of stuff in a box or maybe on a pantry shelf” which looked kind of like this.


I actually really liked the glass bottles with corks when I got them years ago, but the corks make horrible lids, and the labels I hand wrote for most of them were either crappy or gone. The rest of the spices were in mismatched jars or containers, and the whole thing was basically one big mess. I’m the kind of person who likes to have things I use often out in the open, and this just wasn’t going to do.

Luckily I stumbled on some inexpensive clamp-top glass jars at Crate & Barrel (12 for $15) and instead of putting it off any longer I bought some jars, made some labels, and ended up with this…


A slight improvement, right?

For the labels, I started with a little inspiration from this pin on Pinterest. I wanted the labels to be useful and a little funny. The garlic label, if you can’t read it, says:


Use with wild abandon in sauces,

meats, marinades, or mixed with

butter for bread or pasta.


Treats infection, keeps vampires

and kissers at bay.


You can see I included culinary uses as well as “traditional medicine” uses. You know, just in case the zombie apocalypse happens and I can’t get my hands on any Tums.

I did my research and laid the labels out in InDesign…


I wanted to print them on brown Kraft paper, and I found a roll (in the style of wrapping paper) that had some interesting texture, however it was a little too curly to run through the printer. I cut it down to 8.5×11 size, and about five minutes after I stuck it under a heavy book to flatten I ran out of patience, then remembered this long forgotten “tool” I owned. In the laundry room.


Yeah. That’s right. I haven’t ironed a shirt in over a year, but I’ll be dammed if I didn’t bust the clothes iron out to flatten my kraft paper for spice jar labels. Probably I need to reexamine my priorities… uh, later.

The iron-on-low trick did work to get the paper flat enough to run through my printer, and after some trimming I had these:


The real question I had when planning this out was how on earth to stick the paper to the jars. I actually looked for “sticker paper” which is what they use for beer labels and such, but I couldn’t find it at my local craft store. What I did find was this thing…


A sticker maker! (And somewhere deep deep inside, my five year old sticker-collecting self gives a squeal of joy.)

This one was $12 at Michael’s and I used a coupon which brought it down to something like $8. They have different sizes but this one will make stickers up to 1.5″ wide which was perfect. Just put the paper in the top and pull the “sticker” on the bring it through.


A little rubbing…


And a DIY spice jar label is born!



The printing did bleed a little bit in some places, but overall I’m really happy with the way they turned out. (Also you can see my “cropping” skills suck, which is probably why people shouldn’t use paper cutters after midnight, but I think it adds to their rustic charm. Or something.)


Now I just have to fill all the jars up. And then find myself a kitchen to cook something in. (Update: I found one.)

UPDATE (May 2013):

These labels, bless their spicy little hearts, have become quite the internet sensation. I’m thinking about getting them their own agent (one of the Nuggets might be up for the job) in the meantime, I’ve provided two downloadable files below, if you’d like to make your own version of these spice jars.

  • Printable PDF – Almost any person with a computer should be able to view and print this, but it is not editable.
  • Adobe InDesign File – If you have Adobe InDesign and want to edit or make your own labels, you can download this file. (InDesign is not a cheap program and it doesn’t come automatically installed on a computer– it is not Adobe Acrobat or another PDF reader– so if you are not familiar with it, you probably won’t be able to edit this file.)

So, here’s the deal. I’m totally happy to put these out there so that you can use them… I just can’t provide any type of technology, software, or design support for the files. Because, you know, a girl running a farm by herself can’t spend all her time on the computer. I mean, somebody needs to hug the donkeys.)

Even though I can’t personally email the files to everyone who asks I hope at least the pictures in this post provide some inspiration for you to create your own!

DIY diva


  • allie


    i got a 30 day free trial of adobedesign so i could make more/different labels :)

    • Jody

      Where did you get the Adobedesign from? was it the adobe website and how much was the trial?

      Thanks! ;)

  • Amy Jo

    I downloaded the InDesign file to modify it to my need, however, it will not open due to an error. Could you possibly email me the document or repost?

  • Desiree

    OMG thanks this was more than helpful to me and your amazballs !!!

  • Chris

    Great post! Thank you!

  • Martine

    Thank you for sharing! I love these labels.

  • Deana

    Wonderful post. Great addition to a country or cabin kitchen.

  • Maggy

    This is so cool… you are getting so many hits that your page wasn’t available… I am getting my download while I can!

  • Dana

    These are absolutely gorgeous. So earthy and organic looking. My favorite things. PLUS there are no swirls or wavy lines, hearts etc. I’m a minimalist by heart, and these look clean and uncluttered. Thank you for sharing them.

    • Kit

      If I put a swirl or heart on anything, somebody better use my framing nailer to put me out of my misery… glad you like them!

  • Dana

    P.S. thanks for the humour in some of the labels like the one about vampires and kissers. If you knew people wouldn’t get too uptight or offended, I’d add to the garlic one “may help relieve anal retention”, as the bit about the vampires and kissers might make a person laugh.

  • Sakura

    I enjoyed your post. The labels are quirky and fun.

  • Carol

    That is the most creative project ive seen in awhile now. Just fabulous.

  • JustMe

    the document you attached has so many spelling errors, I prefer not to use it.

    • Kit

      Um… okay. Well I was going to put you in a headlock and MAKE YOU USE THE LABELS, but if you prefer not to I suppose you could make your own.

      • Lisa

        Aren’t people charming? I love your ideas! I downloaded the labels (didn’t proof them first…lol), went to look at the doormat (I want one), then saw your DIY tab and immediately subscribed to your email list. Thanks for the hard work you put in to document your projects. I’m feeling empowered!

  • Karen

    Where can you get those jars? I really like those. The labels are cute too, looks a lot nicer to have organization!

    • Kit

      I got them through Crate & Barrel, here.

      • Mary

        Are the jars wide enough to fit a tablespoon into?

  • Riversana

    Thank you so much for sharing these! Love the brown paper look. I don’t have much extra $ for fun sticker makers (though I’ve eyeballed that one several times) so my go-to adhesive is packing tape.

  • Charleen

    I just love these. Please, could you do more? Ie – sage, parsley, paprika etc? I have a really LARGE spice cupboard. haha

  • Linda Greiss

    Thank you so much for sharing your awesome fabulous spice labels!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They are so fun!

  • Jackie

    Hi! Love the labels- quick question about the sticker machine…does it put a glossy cover on the front of the sticker as well? I’m asking because I’m wondering if you can wipe them off or if it would smear the ink?
    Thank you,

    • Kit

      It only puts a sticky back on them, no cover.

    • Sondra

      I’ve had one of these sticker makers for a few years and ran out of sticker paper probably within the first month of owning it. I need to go get more for this project! Also, if you just buy some self adhesive laminate paper and stick it to the top of these, it should work great to be able to wipe it down. That’s what I do with printouts I want to use as a dry erase like a menu calendar for my fridge.

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  • Sue

    Dear “Diva” – Im busy as a bee getting all my labels on – Im using clear packing tape!
    These are the most uniquely beautiful labels I have ever seen!
    There are several spices that I have that there are not labels for. Sage is one. I also have lots of seeds – sesame, celery, mustard, etc. that I would LOVE to make these labels for. Will you be making more or should I find and buy the program.?
    By coincidence, I had just jars exactly like yours!

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  • Bill

    Very nice!! Could you tell me what version of Indesign you used? I tried opening the file and got an error. I’m assuming you used 5.5? ;)

  • Victoria Ross

    Thanks for the downloads:) I love these and now that Christmas is over I have time for all the little crafts my heart desires! Go hug those donkeys and let us worry about the rest!

  • jess

    These are great! I did something similar with labels displaying a selected organic molecules/structure/info for the spice. I ran into a problem protecting the stickers (I used printable mailing labels and the ink ran pretty easily). I’ll definitely try your method when I redo them!

  • Helen

    I LOVE your spice labels but you only have 20! I have so many more spices. do you think you will/could add more?

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