Are You Applying Labels Correctly?

by Maverick Label | November 09, 2022

You’ve worked hard to create great looking labels, you’ve partnered with the best label printer in the biz, and now you’ve got your shiny new labels in your hands. But wait! Did you know that there’s a right and a wrong way to apply labels? Maverick Label is here to give you our expert tips on perfect label application, so your labels stay looking great for years. 

Tip #1 Clean Your Surface 

It’s tempting to get your gorgeous new labels and just start slapping them on your products. But did you know that even tiny amounts of dust, grease, and grime can affect how your labels look after application? A clean surface will help ensure that your labels stay put. If you use a cleaner, rubbing alcohol, or vinegar, make sure that you rinse with water and thoroughly dry the area before positioning.  

If you’re applying your label by hand, don’t forget to also clean and dry your hands to reduce the transfer of skin oils. 

Tip #2 Handle Your Label by the Edges 

This is especially important for clear labels, but no matter what type of label you have, it’s important to limit how much you touch the adhesive. Touching the adhesive can get oil from your fingers on it– potentially leaving fingerprints, making it less grippy, and leaving a sticky residue on your skin. Adhesive from your fingers can then transfer to the surface of the item, or to the face of the label making it tacky and sticky. 

Tip #3 Let Your Labels “Cure” 

Most adhesives take between 24-48 hours to completely cure or dry down. After you’ve applied your labels to your products, leave your products alone so that the adhesive has the chance to dry down and stay in place. Moving the product around too much may result in your label moving or lifting, if it hasn’t had enough time to adhere. If you ordered labels with specialty adhesives or materials, this timeframe can be longer. If you ever have any questions reach out to us and we will be happy to help you determine the proper cure time.  

Tip #4 Pay Attention to Temperature 

Like many of us, most labels don’t like the cold. If you apply regular labels in temperatures below 50F, they may later peel or lift. Make sure that your containers or products are at room temperature before applying them. If you need a label that isn’t sensitive to cold temperatures, we've got you covered! We have materials and adhesives that can withstand both hot and cold temperatures.

Tip #5 Repositioning Your Label

This last tip is a little bit of a sneaky workaround, but very useful in certain situations. If you have a label that requires exact placement, or if you have a large label that is difficult to place all at once, you can use this little trick. Please note that this tip is NOT for labels printed on paper material! 

Run a slightly damp sponge over the surface or mist the area slightly, before applying the label. The moisture decreases the surface energy and allows you to slide the label around a little bit after applying. You can scrape away any excess moisture or bubbles using a scraper. A little extra curing time is needed to allow the water to evaporate and the adhesive to set.  

This method only works with vinyl or polyester labels, don’t try this with paper labels or you will end up with labels that are wet and falling apart! 



Did you know that there are things you should consider, even before placing your order? Making sure you're choosing the right material, adhesive, laminate, and treatments will help to ensure label longevity. 

Consider Your Surface 

Where will you be sticking your labels? What kind of surface is this? These are important questions to ask yourself when deciding on the right adhesives and materials. Some surfaces are very slick and are harder for labels to adhere to; these require stronger adhesives. Surface texture can also affect how well a label will stick. Very textured or slightly curved surfaces may require adhesive with additional sticking power. Our Label Experts can help you determine what the right choice is for your products. 

Choosing the Right Size  

You want to make sure that you are measuring your label correctly and that you have the right size for your product or application. If your label is too big, it will peel or buckle. If your label is too small, it will look unprofessional and may be hard for people to read. We put together some tips on measuring your container to get the right sized label, but you can always reach out to us for assistance! 

What Environment Will Your Label Be In? 

It’s important to consider the types of environments your products (and labels!) will be in. Will they be stored in an ice chest or a fridge? Maybe they’ll be run through the dishwasher? Will you be scrubbing your label with harsh cleaning chemicals? Will it need to sit in the sunlight for days or weeks? You need to make sure that the materials, adhesives, and laminates that you are ordering are going to be suitable for whatever conditions your product will face. 

Not Sure What You Need? Get Samples! 

One of the best ways to determine what type of label you need is by getting samples. We’ll send you samples of any type of label or adhesive that you’d like, at no cost to you. You can get samples for any of our products right on our website, or you can email us and let us know what you’re looking for and we will get them to you ASAP!