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How to make quilt labels with Sulky Transfer Pens

by Robin Bogaert

Happy Thursday! As you know, if you have been following along, this week is all about the tools and techniques used to easily make quilt labels. Today I’ll demonstrate how to use Sulky Transfer Pens to make quilt labels.

Sulky Transfer Pens come in a 4-pack (black, blue, red and brown) or an 8-pack with the addition of yellow, green, orange, and purple. They are displayed at retailers (or in your sewing room) in a unique, re-closable clear tube storage container that can hang on a pegboard or slat wall. These transfer pens easily transfer designs permanently onto fabric, canvas, stabilizers, wood, or just about any surface where a hot iron can be used – perfect for fabric painting, needle punch, hand embroidery, appliqué, and many more crafty techniques.

Today’s Label

A quilt label made with Sulky Transfer Pens, and two of the pens used for the project.

Quilt label made with Sulky Transfer Pens

My quilt inspiration for this label:

 A colorful quilt was the inspiration for the label made with Sulky Transfer Pens.

Inspiration for the label made with Sulky Transfer Pens

Supplies Needed to Make the Label:

  • A computer
  • Sulky Transfer Pens (I used red, blue and black)
  • Fabric Creations 100% Cotton Fabric – White (approximately 8″ x10″)
  • Pinking Sheers – I used LDH 9” Pinking Sheers
  • Scrap of fabric for backing (yellow 10″ x 12″ as shown)
  • Freezer Paper (optional but helpful to stabilize the fabric for writing)
  • Thread to match your fabric
  • Rickrack for the edge (white ½” rickrack was used)
  • Iron
  • Sewing pins
  • Sewing machine

How to Make the Label

1. Press the shiny side of freezer paper to the back of the white cotton label fabric.

2. Using your computer’s word document program, type what you want on the label with simple lettering in a text box, and reverse/mirror image the lettering. The text box will allow you to format the direction of the lettering. You may have to Google how to do this with your specific computer. Print this out on paper.

See Photo:

A mirror image of the text for the quilt label has been printed onto paper.

Mirror image of text printed on paper

3. With the right side of your paper label facing you (lettering reversed), trace over each letter carefully and with good pressure using the Sulky Transfer Pen

Tracing over each letter with Sulky Transfer Pens to start the process of label making.

Trace over each letter with a Sulky Transfer Pen.

4. Once all the letters have been traced, place the paper label with traced letters facing down on the white label fabric. Center the label paper on the fabric. Tape the corners of the paper label to the fabric with masking or painter’s tape. As you can see in the photo, you can now read the label through the paper.

Paper label traced with Sulky Fabric Transfer Pens is shown face down on Fabric Creations 100% Cotton label fabric and taped in place.

Lay the paper label face down on the white fabric and tape in place.

5. Press with the iron on cotton or hottest setting. Do not move your iron by sliding; instead, press and lift to reposition. You do not want to move the paper, or this will blur/ distort the lettering on the fabric. Press for 10-20 seconds in each area of the label.  Once you are satisfied that the ink has transferred to the fabric, remove the paper.

The ink from the Sulky Transfers pens has transferred to the fabric.

The ink has transferred to the fabric.

6. Cut out the label with LDH 9″ Pinking Sheers.

7. Center and sew the label fabric onto the backing fabric (yellow) with a simple straight machine stitch.

8. Sew rick rack to the raw edge of the backing fabric as shown, leaving the corner ends long for trimming after it’s all attached.

 Rickrack is sewn to the all four edges of the backing fabric.

Rickrack sewn to the backing fabric

9. Trim away the excess rickrack, matching the curves of the rickrack.

10. I felt a graphic element was needed on the label, as my quilt has modified eight-pointed stars in it. Using the same process as for the text, I printed off a graphic on paper, traced it with the Sulky Transfer Pens, and ironed the traced design on paper to my fabric label. See photos:

Star-shaped graphic element printed on paper and ready to trace onto label fabric with Sulky Transfer Pens.

Graphic element ready to be traced with Sulky Transfer Pens.

Note: This design is symmetrical. If your design isn’t, you need to think about reversing/mirror-imaging it before tracing so that it goes on your label as desired.

Two eight-pointed star designs on paper, coloured with Sulky Fabric Transfer Pens.

Eight-pointed star design coloured with Sulky Fabric Transfer Pens.

Sulky Fabric Transfer Pen designs being heat transferred onto fabric label with an iron.

Star designs being heat transferred with an iron.

The Sulky Fabric Transfer Pen complete and ready to be stitched to my quilt. I prefer to stitch labels on the right lower backside of the quilt.

Tomorrow I’ll share a few tips on how to make a more formal looking machine-embroidered label with lots of color, using a gorgeous multi-pieced quilt in all solid coloured cottons as my inspiration. Stay tuned and check back with us tomorrow.

This is part 4 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 3: How to make a quilt label with Fabric Fun Fabric Markers

Go to part 5: How to make an easy machine embroidered quilt label


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