Sttark's Guide to Applying Your Labels by Hand

Person applying clear labels to a jar of pomade.

So you’ve finally got your custom labels! Now what? It’s time to start labeling your product! If your business is just starting out, you might be looking to apply your labels by hand instead of using a machine. Hand-applied labels might seem intimidating at first, but it’s easier than you think. Follow the steps below and you’ll be sure to have the best-looking product on the block.

Start with a Clean Slate

The first step to seamless and professional-looking label application is to start with a clean container–this is true for both hand-applied and machine-applied labels. Whether due to fingerprints, dust, or your specialty essential oil blend hanging out on the outside of your container, your label will have a tough time sticking to a surface that isn’t clean. To fix this, simply wipe down your container using a microfiber cloth and isopropyl alcohol. Start sticking as soon as the surface is dry!

Pro Tip! Be sure to touch the adhesive side as little as possible. Fingerprints compromise the integrity of the adhesive, preventing labels from sticking well. And worst of all, If you’ve got a clear label, any fingerprints will be completely visible to your customers.


Truth be told, there are many ways to apply your labels by hand. Each method is quick and simple, but you may find that one works better for you than others. Give these label application techniques a shot! We guarantee you’ll find something that sticks (pun definitely intended).

The Band-Aid Method

The Band-Aid method is a great option for labels of any shape and size. Using this method, you can make sure your label is lined up correctly by peeling only one edge away from the backing paper and sticking it to your container. Once you’ve got the label edge in place, peel off the backing paper and press the label down in the same motion. If you have clear labels, this method is great because helps keep your fingers free from the adhesive side.

The Squeegee Method

Another great technique is the Squeegee Method. With this method, you will need a hard, straight-edge object; we find that credit cards or IDs work great. You’ll need to peel the label away from the backing paper and stick one edge onto your container. Then, using the straight-edge object, press the rest of your label down. The straight-edge helps you apply even pressure to the label so that it applies evenly and no air bubbles are left underneath.

The Inside-Out Method

With this technique, you’ll want to apply the middle of your label to your container first. Lay your label lightly on your container and press firmly in the middle with your thumbs. Once the middle of the label is securely attached, run your thumbs to the right and left respectively, so that any air between the label and the container is forced out. Repeat this step until the label is completely adhered.

You’ve Got This!

We hope these tips will be helpful! If you have any feedback or questions regarding hand application, give us a call or shoot us an email at Also, we love seeing pictures of our customer’s final products! Tag us on Instagram the next time you post a picture of those beautiful labels you applied by hand– we’ll be thrilled. As always, #sticktoyourpassion.

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