Make: Projects

Aged Specimen Jar Labels

Aged specimen jar labels for your spooky decor.

  • By
  • Time Required: 1-2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
Aged Specimen Jar Labels

This is a fun way to make labels look like they’re aged for specimen jars for your spooky decor or laboratory, for Halloween or whatever occasion strikes your fancy.

What you’ll need:

  • Heavy card stock
  • Glue – glue stick/rubber cement/spray glue
  • Coffee – instant or leftover
  • Jars
  • Iron
  • Paper towels
  • Fonts – I got several from



Step #1:

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  • Be sure to do a test page first. Some printer inks CAN handle being printed first and then going through the 'aging' process, but most don't. I know ours doesn't.
  • Ball up your paper into a tight ball. I pulled it apart and balled it again. Stick it into a coffee bath. It originally called for instant coffee and water, but I used leftover coffee. We make rocket fuel and knew it would do just fine.
  • I played with it a bit and started to smooth it out as it began to absorb the liquid. Depending on the thickness of the paper, it can stay in anywhere from about a minute to about two minutes.

Step #2:

Aged Specimen Jar Labels

Once it is saturated to your desire, pull it out and let it drip for a few seconds. At this point you can hang it, lay it, or iron it between paper towels to dry. I chose the latter for expediency.

Step #3:

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  • Once it’s dry – and it has to be dry – set it up in the printer feed and initiate printing. The paper isn’t very flat so I made sure to stand by the printer and keep an eye on the feed.
  • If the ink gets a little blotchy, don't worry as it adds more to the effect!

Step #4:

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  • Cut and glue to what you’re labeling. I used a glue stick for our project as several labels went on antique bottles and I needed to get them off with ease. Rubber cement and spray glue are great to use if you're not too worried about getting the labels off quickly.
  • For any 'blood' effects on the labels, just add a drop or red food coloring. Let it soak in for a minute and gently blot off any excess.

Step #5:

Aged Specimen Jar Labels

Set your spooky scene!

  • Instead of the red food colouring for the label try using a few drops of hot chocolate instead because dried blood is actually a browny rust colour

  • Amelia Host

    Whats the font you used for the name of the item?

  • Lenie

    Thanks for the tutorial! This exactly what I’ve been searching for. I found these vintage doctor prescription labels at and was looking for ways to make something custom out of them.