Label Size – How to Get the Right Fit

How to measure a bottle for custom labels. Water bottle labels, bottle, and tape measure.

It’s astonishing how many people order custom labels without checking the size of the bottles they plan to put them on. We give names to certain labels to point you in the right direction, but that doesn’t 100% guarantee that the sizes we offer will fit perfectly on your water bottle or that our ‘standard’ beer label is just right for your exact beer bottles on bottling day. In order to make sure you get exactly what you think you’re getting when you place an order, I’m going to show you how to measure your bottle, whether it’s a one-ounce dropper bottle or a 65-ounce growler jug.

The Right Tool for Measuring Bottles & Jars

First get your hands on a soft tape measure. This is the tool seamstresses and tailors use for fitting a tuxedo or measuring an inseam on pants. They are available at stores like JOANN, Michaels, and of course on Amazon. One flexible tape is under $4.

The recommended tool to measure a round bottle is a flexible, soft tape measure.

Start Measuring at the Zero

This shouldn’t need to be said, but when you measure, start at the 0. Several customers have asked if they should start at the 0 or the 1. True. Story. Start at the 0 please. That first inch counts.

There are two measurements you need for labels:

  • Circumference – the distance around the bottle or jar. Use this to determine the width of the label.
  • Height – the distance from the top to the bottom of the area where the label is applied. Use this to determine the height of the label.

TIP: The sticker size you pick for your bottle should fit within those two measurements; not necessarily fill in that entire area, but fit within it.

How to Measure a Round Bottle for a Custom Label

STEP ONE: Check the bottle for the best placement of the label and find the area that is without curves. See photo(s) below. Measure the height of the ‘flat’ area.

TIP: Avoid putting the label on a curved part of any bottle. If there isn’t a ‘flat’ area to apply the label, it will wrinkle. This holds true for glass jars, wine bottles, and beer bottles.

How to measure a bottle for fitting a custom label.

STEP 2: Wrap the tape measure securely around the bottle or jar and note where the tape starts to overlap. That is the bottle circumference or the maximum width of the label without an overlap. (See photo below.)

TIP: When using a flexible measuring tape it’s important not to stretch the tape. You want the measurement to be as accurate as possible.

How to measure around a bottle to find the correct label size.

TIP: If you prefer to order a label with an overlap just make sure you don’t put any important information in the area where the label ends overlap.

Examples of Where to Measure Bottles

Find where the curve or the ridges on the bottle stop and measure between those two spots to locate the maximum height for the label. It is the space between the arrows in these photos. Any label that is shorter than that measurement will fit height-wise on the bottle. Measure around the bottle in the flat area to get the width of the label.

Example: Measure a Small Dropper Bottle for a Custom Label

How to measure a dropper bottle for a custom sticker.

Here’s an example of how to measure a one ounce dropper bottle for height and circumference. As you can see, the height for this label should be no greater than one and one-half inches and the width should be less than three and seven-eighth inches. The best label size we offer for this bottle is three inches by one and one-half inches, which fits inside the two measurements. See photo below.

The front and back fit of a personalized label on a dropper bottle.

This measuring method applies to measuring jars and cans as well. So if you’re measuring a glass food jar or an aluminum beer can simply follow the steps above.

If you have questions about measuring, we are available on live chat Monday through Friday 9 am to 3 pm Pacific time. We offer free samples of our label sizes if you want to check them against your bottle, simply email us the size you think you need and your complete snail mail address. We’ll send off a sample right away. Happy labeling!


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