Kitchen Project: Canister Decorating + freebie!

March 5th, 2009


I have the cutest little pantry in my kitchen. It is about 4.5 feet tall and has a little glass door and a nice wide ledge. Ever since I moved here, I have been wanting some fabulous and large glass canisters to put on top. I was so happy a few weeks ago, when I found these beautiful 2.5 gallon canisters at Amazon:


My birthday just happened to be this week, and I asked for three of these puppies (I put a few more on my wedding registry because I love them so much. I want to do one for Rice and one for Bread Flour).

As soon as I got them, I filled them up with flour, sugar, and rolled oats. But what I really couldn’t wait to do, was to make labels for them! Here they are looking adorable on my pantry:


The glass on these jars is a little wavy and imperfect, and I love the dark lids – they definitely have an antique feel. So I made some cute distressed labels (available for download at the end of this post). I printed and cut them out and they were super cute…



… but I really wanted them to have an older feel than just flat printed paper. So I pulled out some supplies:

> a moist/wet paper towel

> distressing ink – Tim Holtz Antique Linen & vintage photo

> emry board – fine sand paper will do

> A flat clean work surface that can get wet/messy.

I printed my labels on regular bond paper. I recommend testing your distressing process on some test paper before going at the printed items. Also if you get water on an inkjet print, it will run, so if you want to get really down and dirty, print your labels with a laser printer. I didn’t worry about the ink running on the lighter parts of the design, but I did try and keep the paper away from the letters since they are so dark.

Step 1: Crinkle your labels. I recommend bigger, deeper folds and creases. As long as the paper is dry, you can be pretty rough with it. I bent and tore and creased quite a bit so that the ink would have a lot of fun detail to hold onto:


Step 2: Wet your labels. I used a wet paper towel to dab water around the edges. You definitely want the paper soaked, but not so much that it tears or bleeds into the center. You have to work fast at this point because it needs to be pretty wet for the next step. You may want to do step 2 & step 3 to one side at a time to keep your paper from drying too fast.


Step 3: Once you have a wet edge, go ahead and use the lighter ink on the wet parts. The ink should bleed as soon as it hits the water and create a “dying” effect as opposed to an “inking” effect. This will make it look aged and not just inked. After a little light inking, I applied just a tiny bit of dark inking on some of the edges:


At this point your paper will be pretty wet and your wrinkles will have disappeared, but they will come back. Just finish each label and set them aside to dry. I let mine dry about 30 minutes. Here is how they looked after I let them sit for a bit:


I love how aged they look and how stiff they feel after drying. I will definitely use this technique on more projects in the future.

If I had printed them on a laser printer, I would have made the entire label more “dyed” looking, but I’m pretty happy with how they turned out.

Attaching the labels was really easy, I used a large glue-dot in each corner. I don’t recommend this if you have a lot of people accessing your canisters, but I know its enough adhesive for my uses with the upside being that I can change them out pretty easy when I get bored of the look. You could use spray adhesive or run them through a larger xyron after they have dryed completely. If you printed on a laser printer, I imagine you could use Mod Podge, just test it on the glass first to see if it drys clear enough.

Here is a before & after shot. I really should have taken a before shot when the pantry was covered in half-empty flour and sugar bags, paper plates & food boxes.


I love how they look, how big the labels are, and just the overall vintage styling with the large black lids + the aged labels. So yummy.


You can really see the variety in the glass from this photo. I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out!

As promised, here is the label file. I did have to make it just a smidge smaller than the one I used in order to fit all the labels on one 8.5×11.


Download this label file and enjoy (for personal use only ). Please tell your friends to come visit the site and download their own labels.ย I would love a comment if you do download!

Each of these files are a 8.5โ€ณx11โ€ณ PDF. Use Acrobat Reader to open the file and print as many as you like! Happy project-ing!

If you are another blog or crafting site and would like to link this project to your site, please contact me. Thanks!

xoxo Jen Allyson

20 responses to “Kitchen Project: Canister Decorating + freebie!”

  1. The Hickster says:

    Brown and crusty, just like Grandma’s house. I can almost smell the cookies and metamucil. Very creative!

    Distress ink is great at making stuff look older. Back when I was under 21, I put it all over my face so I could sneak into a bar.

    It didn’t work.

  2. Came over from TwoPeas…those labels are the perfect touch! You did a beautiful job distressing them! TFS!

  3. Suzanne Webb says:

    Wonderful little labels, they look perfect on those cute canisters ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Hannah says:

    I absolutely LOVE these canisters and labels! I’ve been looking for some glass canisters with black lids. Those are beautiful…thanks for the amazon link!

  5. Kim says:

    Thanks for the adorable labels – I can’t wait to adhere them to my canisters! I don’t have one filled with oats, but plan to buy another canister just for them. I get mine at WalMart in various sizes and they are glass with glass lids. I would love to have one that says “COFFEE”…Is there a possibility I could have one made to match? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Blessings <3

  6. admin says:

    I actually just ordered 3 more canisters so as soon as I get them, I’m going to make more labels and I’ll be sure to include coffee. Check back late next week!

  7. Lisa says:

    I am wondering if these adorable jars have seals undr the lids or if they just sit on top of the jar. i am looking for jars like this but need the lids to seal tight. thanks and I LOVE the cute labels.

  8. admin says:

    These jars do have a seal under the lid. I love them!

  9. Mollie says:

    As soon as I saw your picture I was trying to figure out how I could make these for myself… then I saw that you had the free download! How very kind of you! I love this idea, and can’t wait to look at the rest of your site. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Jessica says:

    I will soon be downloading these for my flour/sugar canisters. Love the idea! The first poster was hilarious!

  11. ambivalent says:

    Great stuff and i’m not easily impressed. i’m referring to all your work.

  12. Found you on Twitter – Love your stuff! I already have the jars – so these labels will be perfect! Thank You!

  13. kgrandia says:

    Congratulations, I think this is a brilliant idea

  14. Sarah says:

    This is brilliant. So easy and SO cute. Any possibility you could make labels that say “coffee” or “tea”.I am definitely checking out the rest of your site. You are amazing!

  15. […] Vintage Canister Labelsย  […]

  16. Rita says:

    I have been looking for vintage labels for my kitchen cannister, but I am not an artist and haven’t been able to find what I wanted. These are really nice. Thanks so much for sharing.Could you make some that say “pasta”, “tea”, “brown rice”, “beans” and “lentils” maybe? Thanks again!

  17. leslie says:

    Love it! You need a pintrest button on your page!!

  18. Juliekins says:

    I have a question. You listed the emery board in the supplies but didn’t say how you used it. What is it for? And what color inks did you use? Thank you!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ I have been on bedrest for a year waiting on work comp to decide to fix my back and need little projects I can do easily propped up in bed. So, it isn’t just a normal project for me, it helps keep me sane and feeling productive and creative. It helps my self confidence. And, it is a cheap and easy project, not getting paid for a year and having to pay medical co-pays and medicine is killing me. I wanted you to know you really helped someone ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Jen Allyson says:

    So glad I can help keep you somewhat entertained. I’m sure it’s extremely difficult to be on bed rest for so long. I used the Tim Holtz (ranger brand I think) distressing ink in walnut. And Also a tan cat-eye chalk ink. Really you can use any earth-tone inks you have lying around. If you don’t like your first try, just print it out again. The emery board I used to rough up the surface to make it look old. I made creases and then rubbed the emery board on them to wear the ink off. You can also use sand paper or anything abrasive. Best of luck.

  20. Technicolor says:

    I remember my mom using wax paper and ironing it on “stuff” to create and preserve printed items. Your creative idea makes me want to try it on printed items. This was 50 years ago, but sure worked as recalled.

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