Holiday Giving: Prettifying Your Jars + Giveaway

November 21, 2012(updated on October 3, 2018)


Judging by Thanksgiving’s rapid approach and the number of Black Friday commercials playing on TV, we are now officially in the thick of the holiday season. This means that it’s time to start thinking seriously about gift giving.

In my household (and I suspect in many of yours as well), this means taking stock of the jams and pickles that are good enough to give and spending a little time trying to make them presentable (because my standard labeling method is a quick scrawl across the top of the lid).

Because my skills as a crafter and designer quite lousy (I have many other talents, but a visual artist I am not), I’ve taken to outsourcing my labels. Here are some folks that make lovely tags, labels, and stickers that will have you set for gift giving in no time.

Don’t forget to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page to check out the giveaway! 

Once Upon Supplies

This sweet online shop offers brown kraft paper labels, hang tags, and fun washi tape. If these tickle your fancy, shopkeeper Linda is offering all Food in Jars readers 15% off their orders. Just us the coupon code FIJ15OFF.

River Dog Prints

RiverDog Prints makes customizable canning jar toppers and labels, as well as printable recipe cards, gift tags and even really cute recipe dividers (for those cards that you ordered). Shop owner Cyn isn’t just a designer, she’s also a canner herself, so she understands what works on a jar and what doesn’t. Her Etsy shop can be found here.

Sew Love The Day

For a touch of whimsey, nothing tops the hand-sewn jar toppers from Sew Love the Day. You can get them themed for your particular preserve, or you can get ones for the holidays that feature bows, baubles, and peppermint candies. They are even more adorable in person.

Modern Harvest Home Canning Labels

First off, I apologize for the lousy picture. These labels are hard to photograph not on jars and I could not muster the energy to shrink one to a jar earlier today (I’m fighting a bit of a cold). The way they work is that you write the contents on the label, as well as the month and date when the product was made. Then, you slip it around the jar and dip the jar, label and all into hot water.

The temperature change causes the label snug up around the jar, in a style reminiscent of Shrinky Dinks. Once you’ve eaten everything in the jar, all you have to do is slip a knife under the label, make a little slit and it pulls right off. Because there’s no glue involved, you never have to scrape any sticky residue away. They come in a variety of different sizes and cost $5.49 for 36. It’s a seriously good deal. Click here to see all the size and design options.

Jigsaw Graphics

Finally, for those of you who are slightly more crafty than I, this kit that allows you to customize your fancy labels might be the thing for you. These are made by Jigsaw Graphics, a company based in Portland, Oregon (my home town!) and are pretty darn nifty. The labels can be used either with permanent markers or with dry erase ones (if you want to reuse them). Click here to check out all the buying options.

The giveaway goodies:
Once Upon Supplies: 20 mason jar labels, atching baker’s twine, and 20 gift tags.
RiverDog Prints: A collection of labels and tags.
Sew Love The Day: Your choice of three sets of six toppers.
Modern Harvest: A variety pack of labels.
Jigsaw Graphics: Jar kit with labels, tags, markers, and hemp string.

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share how you label your jars for gifting.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm on Friday, November 23, 2012. Winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog over the weekend.
  3. Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post. I do not accept submissions via email.
Disclosure: These five vendors provided samples for review and photography, as well as units for giveaway. However, they did not pay to be included in this post and my opinions about their products were all my own. 

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492 thoughts on "Holiday Giving: Prettifying Your Jars + Giveaway"

  • Love these! Last year was my first year canning and all I did was thrust a jar into someone’s hands, mumble something about it, and hope that they remembered what it was!

  • I’m not too creative, I usually just write on the lid with a sharpie and tie some ribbon around it. These labels would sure come in handy for dressing up my jars. Love your blog!

  • Because I also write on the lid directly, I usually find round labels at the office supply store and add cute themed images before I print them to cover up my chicken scratch.

  • I like to cut out rounds from fun papers, like bingo sheets, menus, or magazines and stick those inside the rings. I’ll make a tag that ties around the jar explaining what it is!

  • I use a piece of fabric over the lid and secure with twine. I’ll either write on the fabric or make a gift tag from a brown paper bag.

  • I love the shrinky dink ones! So cute. So far I’ve just used the little labels that come with the Ball jars, or Sharpie.

  • Love your blog! Haven’t posted before but our household has followed for a while. Generally we put up over two tonnes of food and drink in jars per year so prettifying takes a distant backseat to just getting through harvest without exhausting our enthusiasm. But for our wedding this year, we dried mint, lavender and Old English roses from our garden to make an herbal tea that we gave away in small jam jars. We made the label stickers out of adhesive kraft paper. Then I sewed together the swatches of fabric that we had received from the shirtmaker and dressmaker when we were deciding on our attire for the big day. So each jar of herbal tea was topped with a tiny quilted swatch of pale blue poplin and white lace. They really were the prettiest little pots you ever did see and they were made extra meaningful by re-purposing elements from each of us sewn together.

  • A lot of my food gifts are for teachers. My kids draw labels on cardstock, punch a hole and then we just tie them to the jar with curly ribbon. Not terribly original, but no one’s complained so far, of course- they really can’t speak through mouthfuls of salsa or applesauce.

  • I’m not that exciting–I don’t do much special except put a bow on them! I like the idea of making them a little more exciting.

  • I’ve got round printable labels that I design myself from a template. Then I lug a couple boxes up to the giant family Christmas party and let people pick their own treats.

  • I have only just started canning, partly due to the inspiration of your book!

    I just write on the lids in a sharpie but an checking out other options. I just bought some simple labels and plan on getting clear wrap and twist tags.

    Happy Thanksgiving to Canners everywhere!

  • I selfishly hoard my jars. but to my defense, I only have 2 right now. So I haven’t had a chance to give any as gifts.

  • I put a pretty piece of paper between the lid and the ring, and send along a recipe or suggestion involving the item.

  • I haven’t had the opportunity to really determine a good method for labeling my jars. I have been buying label sets and simply writing it in with a dream of having personalized labels.

  • In the past, I’ve used little cardboard tags, tied around the jars with twine or ribbon. I am gifting lots and lots of canned goods this year, and I would LOVE to win!

  • This is my first year canning. I have just written in sharpie on the jars I have given to friends/family but I would love to have cute tags for the holidays.

  • I can get kind of crazy about labeling. A past gift that’s been well used is a labeler. It’s plain and boring, but I label on the top of the lid. If giving as a gift, I will put a slip of fabric under the outside ring to dress it up. I keep used lids and cover them with chalk paint to reuse for pantry items we use often.

  • I use those little ugly labels that come with the Ball jars and are really hard to get off. Would love to own some of the cute labels in your post!

  • It is funny you ask, as I just made up a basket of jams for a charity silent auction. I ended up putting a square of fabric under the ring, making tags out of Christmas scrapbooking paper, and writing on them with my very best handwriting. My best handwriting is … not good. The winner is in for a surprise when they open the jar and find my normal chicken scratch on the lid proper. Oh well.s

  • Print circular labels from Office Depot and pop them on the top…nice and efficient, but not nearly as pretty as any of these labels!!!

  • I would love some new labeling! I just use the ever-popular Sharpie method with the name of the stuff and the date bottled. But I have gotten a few ideas here…thanks for your posts.

  • I have made my own labels…sometimes with paint chips from the store. I also buy from a company not represented here. I would love to win these labels for my many homemade goodies.

  • This is my first year canning, I’ve been scrawling with sharpies on the tops of things, I was thinking about heading to a stationery shop to get some fun stickers.

  • I put a piece of christmas gingham over the lid, then wrap a piece of christmas ribbon around the lid (sometimes with a spoon if it’s cake or something) and always with a small ornament for the tree around the bow. It’s so cute!

  • I usually put a little square of kraft paper over the top, tied with a bit of twine. Super simple and cute, but once the paper’s off, it would be nice to have some prettier indentifying labels!

  • I usually print a label and then use a large circle punch to cover the top. Sometimes I’ll decorate it with a stamp. Simple, yet effective and no one has to try to get a label off the jar.

  • what an awesome giveaway-thanks for the chance. I usually print up labels on my computer paper and then tape them on the jars, or I cut cotton fabric in circles and place them under the ring

  • I love Riverdog! I used them for labels and I was always very pleased with the quality of the product and how they were able to design exactly what I wanted. These days, I use plain white round labels and handwrite them. For my own use, I can’t beat masking tape and a Sharpie marker!

  • I use thick stock paper left over from another project, cut them into rounds and use different colored ink depending on what is in the jar (blueberry jam – blue ink, etc).

  • I love to try and come up with a new label idea every year for my jarred gifts. I usually reuse paper or fabric to cover my jar lids and create different types of hanging tags with craft papers, stamps, ribbons or raffia. Sometimes I will print labels on cardstock from fun fonts on the computer. It just depends on what is in the jar as to what I come up with. All of the labels above are very cool, thanks for the opportunity to win some of these fabulous labels!

  • This is my first year canning so needed some ideas as I plan to give many of apple cranberry jam and a peach hot pepper jam. I did find red plaid lids at a big box store but could use a bit more decorations!

  • This year I’m trying something new.
    Bought a sheet of black chalkboard contact paper and cut into 3×3 labels.
    Also bought chalk markers to have fun with colors.

  • I usually just use a sharpie on the top of the jar! Not very crafty but, it gets the job done! Thanks for all your great recipes – I made your pickled cranberries and cranberry/apple jam. Both turned out great!

  • Ball has washable labels. Rather bland but they are cheap and does the job. My sister has much prettier handwritting, so I enlist her skill.

  • I write the date made, & what’s inside on the lid with a Sharpie. For gifts, I add a tag with ribbon or twine, but these items are really clever, & would spruce up any jar!

  • I usually just use the labels that come with the jars. Not exceptionally pretty so these labels would surely be a huge step up!

  • I usually collect random bits of ribbon through the year and tie on tags I’ve bought on etsy or made. Try to recycle somethings to decorate them wtih too!

  • After the jars are sealed and cooled, I unscrew the bands and add a second lid (a used one that I won’t use for canning again), rubber-side up because this side is white, on which I’ve written the contents and date. Then I re-screw the band. This temporarily uses up some of the old lids that accumulate when one does a lot of canning.

  • This is the first year I’m giving home-canned stuff away as gifts, so I’m still label shopping. There are some great contenders here!

  • I’ve been printing my own really horrible labels… I should probably look into a better presentation! These labels are awesome. Thanks for the giveaway and for showing us so many options in one post!

  • We use simple blank mailing labels, and since I’m relatively artistic I use some of my many Sharpies to customize the label based on jam and whoever I’m giving it to.

  • I would LOVE to use these to dress up some of the jams I made this year so I can give them away as gifts. I’ve used the dissolvable ones but these are great options.

  • I haven’t done anything great with them–a little bit of ribbon along with the sticky label on the side. I had never thought of things this clever!

  • Cool. I want those shrinky jar labels. While chicken cooked in cinnamon apple butter turns out to be ok, chicken cooked in correctly labeled sweet-n-sour sauce is much better!

  • I usually paint a large piece of paper with water colors, cut it up in small pieces , write the labels and tape them on the jars.. Not efficient but kinda pretty?

  • I cover the lid with funky fabric and tie it up with a bow of my handspun yarn. Love all these labels! I’m going to be canning meyer lemon marmalade this weekend for gifts with the windfall of lemons we’ve got this year.

  • I’ve been using Avery labels and then designing my own labels. This year I plan to give concord grade jam to basically everyone I know (how did I manage to buy so many?)

  • I usually just make a sorta-cute tag and tie it around the neck with thin twine. This cute kit would be so much better!

  • I label my jars with a black sharpie for contents and date. This year I purchased brown craft paper hang tags and made them “vintage” by dipping them in brewed vanilla coffee with cinnamon and nutmeg(they smell amazing). Dried the tags in a warm oven and stamped them with the contents. I covered the top with a blue and tan checked pattern fabric (pinked edges) and tied the tags on with twine. Cute, cute, cute & oh so country! OH, for pickles I tied on olive/pickle forks and for jams, vintage jelly spoons. I am still looking for vintage serving spoons to tie on the jars of salsa. I just started canning this summer but once I got started I just couldn’t stop! Your book is my favorite Marisa and I am giving a copy to my sister in law for Christmas. I think she will love it. I’d love the labels to do a “modern” theme! 😉

  • I like to wrap mine with garden twine and give it a big bow (still with sharpie across the top). I have a friend who spray painted a bunch of puzzle pieces silver and wrote the jam name on the puzzle pieces in sharpie and put that on the jar, which I just might steal an idea similar to that. This post gave me lots of inspiration as jars of things are my primary holiday gifts that will be given.

  • Sometimes I print out a label in a nice font… or more likely, cut an address label in half so it fits on the lid and hand write (badly). I’m hoping they are looking at the jar contents…

  • The last label I made was to take a photo of the ingredients and then size down and print it out on the stickie label. It was a lot of effort, but looked really cute!

  • I’ve only given a few jars away, and not for the holidays yet, so I’d love a little something to make them look more special!