Oh my gosh, it’s taken me forever to figure out how to make soap cigar bands for my labels effectively. I had the measurements down but today I finally figured out what was wrong with my printing as well! Since I just had to redo my band size and go through the whole process, I thought I’d throw together a quick tutorial on how I do it in case it saves someone a bit of time.
You’re going to need:
- Microsoft Publisher
- Bar of your soap
- Piece of paper
Step 1 – Prep
Grab all the stuff you’re going to need. Use a ruler to measure across the length of your soap for an idea of how wide you want your cigar bands to be. Mine are 5.6 cm. Holding a piece of blank paper in landscape orientation, cut off a strip of paper close to the measurement you think you’d like. Doesn’t hurt to make it a bit bigger because you can always trim it if you don’t like it.
Step 2 – Measuring
Wrap the piece of paper around your soap and try to crease the paper along the edges of the soap to mark where each section of the soap starts/ends. When you’re done, draw lines across the creases to make it more clear. Measure the distance in between the lines for the different sections of the soap. I also labelled mine so when I made the template, I’d remember what was supposed to go where! The numbers in brackets at the bottom are also the total amount of cm to make it easier for transferring to Publisher. There was a 1 cm difference between the front & back, and the side & bottom so I changed them to match.
Step 3 – Guides
Once you have your measurements figured out, open Publisher (I use the 2016 version). Create a new landscape 11 x 8.5″ blank document. Under Page Design, change your margins to none. Start inserting vertical guides for your columns (Page Design > Guides > Add a New Vertical Ruler Guide). Each column = 1 cigar band label. I want mine to be 5.6 cm long so I put in a guide at 5.6 cm, 11.2 cm, 16.8 cm, 22.4 cm. In the bottom left hand corner, you can see the exact measurements as you’re rearranging the lines. To add the horizontal guides, use the measurements you just got from the template you made (Page Design > Guides > Add a New Horizontal Ruler Guide). Mine horizontal guides went to: 2 cm, 7.5 cm, 10 cm, 15.5 cm, and 18 cm. I like using guides like this because it’s easier to picture how the label will look, as well as get more control over spacing.
Step 4 – Cutting Lines
I like to put in a really thin dotted line over the vertical guides to make cutting faster. Go to Insert > Shapes > Line and make a line the length of the page. I have to do the line beside the guide and then drag the line over the guide when I’m done. To easily make a straight line, hold shift so the line stays locked into place. When it’s done, go to Shape Outline and choose Weight > 1/4 pt and Dashes > the dotted line. Copy and paste the line 3 times to get the rest of them and drag them into place. I also like to put another one along my 18 cm horizontal guide so it’s easier to tell where to trim the end.
Add in the information you want in your logo wherever you want! There will be helpful thin red lines to help with placement as you’re dragging things around. I don’t have anything on the bottom slot (which actually appears on the top of the soap since the 2 cm box called top is to have space to secure the ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ of the template together).
Step 6 – Print
I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to optimize my images and fiddle with dpi. Generally 300 dpi is all you should need for printing but I found that even that wasn’t guaranteeing good results. After much Googling, I found a suggestion that said to save your Publisher document as a PDF and print from PDF instead of Publisher! When you got to save, choose Save As > Save As Type > PDF > Optimize for High Quality Printing. Open your PDF with Adobe and print, making sure the margins don’t change.
Step 6 – Cut:
Cut your labels! I got a Guillotine Paper Trimmer so I don’t have to worry about trying to do a steady cut with scissors. Like I said, if you chose to use the dotted line for cutting and you miss, just trim it off. I find that it hardly shows when I’m using darker paper so it isn’t a problem then. Now you’re ready to put them on your soap! I wrap it around the soap first like we did with the template and then fold along the creases for a snug fit. I tape the ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ together with double-sided tape.
Hope this helps you! And if you have any tips for me, I’d love to hear them too 😉