When we first got engaged, we had a wedding brainstorming session with my parents and sister Adie. One idea that sprung up was customizing wine labels for the tables. Adie suggested featuring the cats which we all agreed would be a super cute idea. Then the idea sat dormant for months since we had other decisions to make. Then about three weeks ago, I was ready to cut this project from my to-do list, but Nate admitted how excited he was to have cat labels made so I got to work.
I am so glad we put the effort into these labels. They are such a fun detail. It goes to show once again that collaboration really makes a stronger vision. Nate’s opinion has been very valuable to the overall look and feel of wedding and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Designing the Labels
We chose three wines to serve at the wedding. I knew I wanted to use these two sweet photos of each cat that I took at Christmas time plus an equally cute photo of them together for the third wine. Each wine description was customized to both be a description of the wine and the cat(s) featured. Then it was a matter of just messing with the design in Adobe Illustrator until the labels were right. My goal was to keep the look pretty simple since they were going to be featured on the guest tables.
I’ve seen people create labels many ways so if you don’t have Illustrator try working with MS Word, a photo editing program or even a label making program like Avery’s Designer Software.
Once I got all three labels designed, I created a print sheet so I could easily print out the labels in bulk then cut them to size. After testing out a few paper choices I went with Neenah’s 32 lb. Professional Series paper in Natural. It’s a common resume paper you can find at Target. I liked it because it has a nice texture, but is still lightweight to easily stick to the bottles.
I also tested the labels on the bottles themselves. Each bottle had a slightly different shape so I varied the label size to accommodate each bottle. Then I did a water test. I attached a label and sprayed it down with water to see if the ink bled, the adhesive stuck and how it dried.
I found that the label would shift slightly when wet and only had a slight bleed to it. You can see what I mean in the photo above. I recommend testing out your own setup as well because inks and paper will vary the results.
Removing Labels & Adhesive
Like most of my projects, I researched a bunch before executing this one (sources will be listed at the bottom of this post). When we were ready to remove the old labels from our chosen wedding wine, I kept reading over and over to use Oxi-Clean. I decided to test it out the process for myself with a couple different bottles.
Unfortunately, not all the bottled worked with this process so we ended up using three different techniques to get all the labels off.
The Oxi-Clean method worked really well on our Vinho Verde. In an ice chest, I dissolved the Oxi-Clean in a small amount of warm water then filled the chest about 2/3rd full of cold water. Then I loaded the chest with bottles and left them soaking overnight. By morning, most of the labels had slipped off already. All I had to do was sponge off the rest and then remove any remaining residue.
I highly recommend trying this method because it is so simple. From my research, it seems like this works really well on beer labels as well.
2. Soapy Water
Nate went old school with the Viognier and soaked batches in soapy water then scrubbed the labels off. It was the most labor intensive technique, but with a little patience Nate got the job done.
3. Goo Gone
And finally with our only red wine, the Barbera, we applied Goo Gone then let it sit for a couple of minutes until we could peel off the labels and scrub the sticky residue off. This method was messy. We constantly had to wash our hands to not get the Goo Gone or the adhesive everywhere.
I also had some luck using Goo Gone with the Viognier. It just took longer for it to work than the Barbera so I worked in huge batches.
I just lined up a bunch of bottles on a towel then applied the Goo Gone. Then worked on another project until the labels peeled off.
Putting it all Together
Once we had clean bottles, we simply had to apply the new labels to the bottles with a little glue stick. We just used the standard Scotch Craft Sticks you can find at any store. We made sure to completely cover the entire label back including the corners so the labels stuck well.
Adie and I found the Goo Gone Wipes to be really helpful at removing any remaining residue on any of the bottles. We also used this to clean up any glue stick marks.
We also thought it was helpful to keep one bottle as a reference on the table as we applied the labels so they were all roughly the same height. We also took care to make sure the labels were even. I used the wine bottom as my gauge, but you could also use a piece of tape.
The whole glue stick process only took a couple of hours to complete. Luckily Adie and Dagny were on hand to help me out. Then we boxed them up and they were ready to go over to my parents house for wedding day.
Here’s a photo of the finished bottles at the wedding. We put a bottle of white and red on each table and then the third varietal was available at the bar. I will go through our wine selection in a future post and include our whole beverage selection and talk about budget as well.