Proper label application goes beyond simply sticking a label onto a product or packaging. It involves precision, attention to detail, and understanding its impact on your business. Implementing the right techniques can enhance your brand perception, ensure product presentation, and ultimately satisfy your customers.

This blog will show you the key aspects of label application that will help you effectively use shipping labels, barcodes, and the like.

Before applying labels, thorough surface preparation is crucial to ensure optimal adhesion and longevity. Let’s explore the essential steps and considerations for preparing surfaces before label application:


Cleaning and Degreasing

For proper label adhesion, it’s important to clean the surface thoroughly. Remove any dirt, dust, oils, or residues hindering the adhesive’s effectiveness. Use a mild detergent or a specialized cleaning solution suitable for the surface material.

Pay attention to areas prone to buildup, such as corners or textured surfaces. Ensure that the cleaning agent is compatible with the surface to avoid damage.

  • 2″ x 4″
  • 10 Labels Per Sheet
  • Bright white for professional-looking labels


Surface Drying

After cleaning, allow the surface to dry completely before applying the labels. Moisture can compromise the adhesive’s effectiveness, leading to poor adhesion or premature label detachment.

Use clean, lint-free cloths or air-drying methods to expedite the drying process. Avoid using heat sources, as excessive heat can warp or damage certain materials.


Surface Evaluation

Before applying labels, assess the surface for any imperfections or irregularities affecting adhesion. Check for rough spots, bumps, or uneven textures hindering proper label adhesion.

Depending on the surface material, smooth out any inconsistencies by sanding or filling. Ensuring a smooth and even surface promotes better label adhesion.


Surface Compatibility

Different surfaces require specific considerations for applying labels. Here are some common surface types and their specific requirements:

  1.  Glass or Smooth Surfaces: Clean the surface using a non-abrasive cleaner to remove residues. Avoid using ammonia-based cleaners as they can leave behind a film that affects adhesion. Glass surfaces may benefit from using alcohol wipes for final cleaning.
  2.  Plastic Surfaces: Select a cleaning solution compatible with the specific type of plastic. Avoid using solvents that can degrade or dissolve the plastic. Test the cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire surface. 
  3.  Metal Surfaces: Remove rust, corrosion, or oxidation from metal surfaces before label application. Use appropriate cleaning agents or metal polishes to restore the surface and ensure optimal adhesion.
  4.  Cardboard or Paper Surfaces: Ensure the surface is free from moisture, stains, or creases. Flatten out any wrinkles or folds on the surface, as they can affect label application and adhesion.
  • 1-4/10″ x 3-1/2″
  • 260 Labels Per Roll
  • Bright white for professional-looking labels


Environmental Considerations

Consider the environment in which the labeled products will be stored or used. Extreme temperatures, humidity, or chemical exposure may require additional surface preparation steps or specific adhesive options. Adhesive selection should align with the environmental conditions to ensure long-lasting label adhesion.

You should also  consider the type of label you are using: For instance:

  • Dymo Labels can withstand moisture, temperature fluctuations (-40°C to 150°C or -40°F to 302°F), and physical stress.
  • Zebra labels are generally suitable for applications where the labels may encounter occasional exposure to moisture or moderate temperature changes (-20°C to 60°C or -4°F to 140°F).
  • Brother DK Labels can withstand demanding environments, including moisture, UV light, and other environmental factors that can compromise label integrity. 
  • Laser / Inkjet printer Sheet Labels can operate within a temperature range of -10°C (14°F) to 40°C (104°F), ideal for both indoor and outdoor uses.

By following these preparation steps, you create an ideal surface for label application, maximizing adhesion and minimizing the risk of label failure. Taking the time to prepare surfaces properly enhances your labels’ overall appearance, durability, and effectiveness, contributing to a professional and cohesive brand image.

Remember, each surface type may have unique requirements, so it’s essential to refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations or consult with label experts if you have any doubts. Proper surface preparation is a crucial foundation for successful label application and ensures that your labels remain securely adhered to for the intended lifespan of your products.

For flawless label application, following proper techniques that ensure accuracy, evenness, and smooth adhesion is important. Here are some detailed techniques to help you apply labels effectively:


Step-by-step Guide

  1.  Positioning: Begin by carefully aligning the label with the desired location on the product or packaging. Consider any design elements or specific requirements, such as centered placement or orientation.
  2.  Peeling: Peel a small portion of the label’s backing paper, exposing the adhesive side. Hold the label by its edges or use tweezers to avoid touching the adhesive surface, as fingerprints or oils can compromise adhesion.
  3.  Application: Starting from one end, gradually apply the exposed adhesive section of the label onto the surface. Avoid placing the entire label simultaneously, as it increases the risk of misalignment or air bubbles.
  4.  Smoothing: When applying the label, use your fingers or a clean, dry cloth to smooth it down, ensuring firm adhesion. Start from the applied section and work towards the other end of the label, gradually pressing out any air bubbles or wrinkles.
  5.  Pressure: Apply gentle but firm pressure on the label to ensure it adheres uniformly and securely to the surface. Pay extra attention to the edges and corners to prevent them from lifting or peeling.


Hand Labeling & Other Application Methods

  1. Manual Application: This method is suitable for small quantities of labels. Follow the step-by-step guide mentioned above, taking your time to align and smooth the labels accurately. It allows for precision and control, ensuring optimal adhesion.
  2. Applicator Tools: Consider using applicator tools such as label dispensers or hand-held applicators for larger volumes of label application. These tools facilitate quicker and more consistent label placement, ensuring efficiency and reducing the risk of misalignment.
  3. Automated Labeling Machines: In high-volume labeling operations, automated labeling machines offer precise and efficient applications. These machines can handle many labels, ensuring consistent placement and reducing the potential for human error.


  1. Air Bubbles: If air bubbles appear during label application, gently lift the label and reapply it while smoothing out the air bubbles using your fingers or a cloth. Applying the label slowly and gradually can help minimize the formation of air bubbles.
  2. Wrinkles: If wrinkles occur, lift the label and smooth it down again, starting from the wrinkled area and working toward the edges. Smooth out any creases or wrinkles to achieve a clean and professional appearance.
  3. Misalignment: In case of misalignment, gently lift the label and readjust its position. Take care to avoid damaging the label or the surface. Ensure proper alignment before applying pressure to secure the label in its new position.
  4. Removing and Repositioning: If necessary, carefully remove the label and clean the surface to remove any adhesive residue. Once the surface is clean and dry, reapply the label using the step-by-step guide mentioned earlier.

By following these techniques, you can achieve precise and flawless label application. Remember to maintain a clean and controlled environment during labeling, as external factors such as dust, moisture, or static electricity can affect adhesion. Taking the time to apply labels correctly enhances the overall presentation of your products, reinforces your brand identity, and contributes to customer satisfaction.

Always refer to the label manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations for specific label types and materials. Experimentation and practice with different application techniques can help refine your skills and achieve consistent results.

At Enko Products, we are dedicated to serving small and medium businesses with top-quality label supplies and adhesive properties that ensure flawless label application. Our shop features a wide range of label options, including different sizes, materials, and finishes. You’ll find the perfect match for your product labeling needs!


Proper label application is far more than a cosmetic consideration. It directly influences your brand identity, customer trust, regulatory compliance, and product integrity. Small to medium businesses can elevate their packaging, create a lasting impression, and ensure customer satisfaction by recognizing the importance of flawless label adhesion.

Remember, investing time and effort into proper label application is an investment in the success and growth of your busines.

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