Don’t Miss the Last Step – Label Your Rugs

June 13, 2012 2 comments | Updated February 18, 2021

Written by Cindi Gay

Update: Feb 20, 2018: Listen to this podcast about creating labels.

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Printable rug hooking fabric for labels
Printable rug hooking fabric for labels

Update June 2012: For the labels for my hooked rugs, I have switched to packaged Printable Fabric* since I use so little.  This fabric is already cut into 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheets and ready for printing. You can find it in the fabric department at Hooby Lobby or Jo Ann Fabrics, but most quilt stores will have it also. Follow the instruction on the package for your brand. Once your label is ready, jump to the Sewing on the Label instructions below.

For either method, be sure to print the label on paper and look it over carefully.  Why do you always see the typos AFTER they are printed?

*See my recommendations page for a link for Printable Fabric and other items that I recommend. These links change often and it is easier to keep all the links in the same place.

List of info to put on your label

  • Name of the pattern
  • Designer name or company (add the web address also)
  • Year you started and / or finished
  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Why you chose this pattern
  • Workshop you attended
  • Teacher at the workshop
  • Year and location of the workshop
  • What materials you used, wool on cotton rug warp, for example.
  • What did I miss? Send me an email.

We invest so much of our time, money and energy into our rugs. Be sure to do the last step and label your rugs. Like you, many of the rugs I make are very personal and have a story to tell. I want the story to stay with the rug.

My first workshop was at Sauder Village the summer of 2000. I saw the pattern for the first time at the workshop. Our teacher, Jule Marie Smith, encouraged us to personalize the pattern. It was a tree with a crow looking down at a “deer-dog.” I immediately thought of all the times my husband went hunting in the hills of West Virginia during deer season and came home empty handed. He was a good woodsman and accurate with a gun so his lack of success was a mystery to me. When our daughter was old enough to join her dad, the problem became clear. After loading his pockets with goodies, dressing warmly in the morning chill, and walking the hills to his favorite spot, David settled down under a tree. He folded his arms across his chest and was asleep within minutes. Jenny never went hunting again. As she put it, “There are bears in those woods!” and she didn’t want to be alone while her father slept.

No Deer This Year hooked by Cindi Gay
No Deer This Year hooked by Cindi Gay

This was a family story worth documenting. I added my sleeping husband to the pattern, hooked his gun leaning against the trunk of the tree with the West Virginia hills and sunrise in the background. Now all I needed was a label. I didn’t trust my ability to write out several sentences plus my name, the date, and the other important information in black permanent pen. So I turned to the computer, designed my label, and trusted the quilt and craft shops to have something to transfer it to fabric. About that time I received some information from PROChem. They had a new product that was perfect. The catalog read:

Bubble Jet Set 2000 prints permanent color images on 100% cotton and silk fabric using your ink jet or bubble jet printer. We’ve found that it works best with Canon, Epson and Hewlett Packard printers/cartridges.

This is an exciting and inexpensive way for you to prepare your own fabric sheets for printing. One bottle prepares approximately 50-60 sheets that measure 8 ½” x 11”. The fabric also maintains its original feel and texture. Quilters! This is a great opportunity to customize your quilt labels.”

Well, this sounded good from a rug hooking point of view also. After following the steps included with the product, I had a wonderful label. An Ohio Star border surrounds my detailed story that will not be forgotten.

To purchase Bubble Jet Set 2000: (The dyes we use for wool are the washfast acid dyes.)

PRO Chemical & Dye
PO Box 14
Somerset, MA 02726


PROChem’s Steps: (My notes are in Italics.)

  1. Shake well and pour solution into flat pan.
  2. Saturate fabric in solution for 5 minutes. (I use unbleached muslin. It’s 100% cotton and usually on hand.)
  3. Allow fabric to dry. (Drip dry overnight works great.)
  4. Iron fabric to smooth side of freezer paper. Cut to size to fit your printer. (Cut the fabric and paper a bit larger and trim to the exact size after the paper is ironed on with a rotary cutter or razor knife.)
  5. Print on treated fabric and let sit for 30 minutes. (Put a mark on a piece of paper, load it into your printer, and print something. This will tell you which side the fabric needs to face.)
  6. Machine wash (delicate cycle) in cold water with a mild detergent.
Hooked rug label sew on the back

Here’s my label. It needs to be redone because the muslin does not hold up. Not sure where the stains came from. It hangs on my wall but it has been exhibited several places. Another thing I have learned is to move the label about 1″ away from the edge. I hang my rugs on carpet tack strips that have been nailed to a wooden frame. The sharp points of the strips pierce my labels. You may also notice that this label is so old that it says Cynthia Gay not Cindi Gay.

Sewing on your rug hooking label

Another quilting tip for crisp straight labels: Place a spent dryer softener sheet over your label so that you can see the label through the thin sheet. Stitch with the sewing machine completely around the label. Trim seams and corners. Cut a “X” carefully through the dryer sheet only and turn the label right sides out. Press. Now it’s easy to stitch on your rug. You will not be fighting with the loose ends and the label will stay square.

Written for the National Guild of Pearl K. McGown Rug Hookrafters, Inc. Newsletter, Summer 2002

I originally printed my labels on muslin but I am not happy about how they have aged.  I have since found a better fabric.  I asked a few quilting friends for tips and found that there is a special fabric they use for printing pictures or labels called Southern Belle by Springs.  If you forget the name just ask at any quilt store for “the special fabric that is used for printing.”  Cost was under $5.00 per yard in 2006.

Update June 2012:I now use a prepackaged fabric. It reduces the steps and since I don’t print a lot of labels each year this solution works best for me. I can generally get two labels from each sheet of fabric. I’m including a link to Amazon’s Printable Fabric for your convenience.

Update: This is an image of a more recent label made with the printable fabric.

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