The expense of lost gear can really add up, so labelling children’s clothes and belongings is a great cost-saving measure. Read tips about naming different items in our Labelling article.
As a child I remember my mother having a big black marker which she used to name everything I owned. At the time it annoyed the heck out of me, but now, as the lost property room becomes a familiar place, I can completely understand. It seems that anything that isn’t tied down or permanently attached can be lost, and given how easily distracted my children can be – nothing is safe! The expense of lost gear can really build up, so labelling is a great cost-saving measure.There are plenty of ways to label your child’s belongings, including hard-to-name items like shoes and socks. Take a look at our handy guide, and before you know it you’ll have everything tagged, named and ready to go.
Personalised labels are a great way to label kids’ clothes. Made from washable fabric and printed with permanent ink, personalised labels can either be ironed or sewn on to your child’s clothes.
Iron-on labels are quick and easy, but they are not suitable for all fabrics. Jackets and togs are often made from iron-free fabric, and some sports tops will also burn or shrink. Make sure you check the clothing fabric before you apply iron-on labels.
Sew-on labels have the option of being easily unpicked if you want to on-sell your child’s uniform, or if your contact details change. They are also good for using on socks, as they can be unpicked and re-used when the socks wear out. Stitching your child’s initials into the sole or toe of the sock is also a good way to identify them in the lost property box.
There are several websites which offer personalised labels – see the sponsored links and product listings below. Prices vary from place to place, but you should be able to get 50 labels for $20 – $30. In most instances, the more labels you purchase the cheaper they get, so consider getting just your surname and phone number printed, so you can use the same labels for every child. Not all manufacturers will allow you to do this, so shop around.
A permanent marker can also be used to write on the inside label of your child’s clothes. At $5-8 this is obviously a cheaper option, but you are limited as to where you can write and how much information you can fit on it. A Sharpie or Vivid both come in fine tips and last well in the wash. You can find these at supermarkets or stationery stores.
Shoes are a hard thing to name because any writeable surface is being constantly rubbed, either by the foot or by the ground. To get around this problem, you can stitch personalised labels into the back of the shoe, or use personalised vinyl stickers on the inside sole. Sticking a piece of clear book covering over the top of a vinyl sticker will make it extra durable. Vinyl stickers cost between $20 and $30 for 50 labels, and suppliers can be found in our links below.
Another option for naming shoes is to tie a small tag through the shoe laces. Small vinyl tags are available from most label makers or stationery shops, or use a small dog tag and write on it with a permanent marker.
Both iron-on labels and sew-on labels are good for hats, as is using a permanent marker on the inside. If your child does not have a ‘uniform’ hat, you can personalise it by writing their name on in fabric paint. Plaid (a paint brand) has a great range of paints which do not need heat setting, and they are available from craft stores for approximately $4 per tube.
If your child has a uniform hat, it’s handy to have something that distinguishes it from the others, even if their name is already printed on the inside. Try tying a small piece of ribbon to the neck string, or pin a small brooch or badge to the back of the cap.
Some bags have a tag space so you can slide in your child’s details, or you can purchase vinyl travel tags to do the same job. Using a permanent marker on the inside of the bag is also a good way to get it named.
If your child walks or bikes to school, avoid having their name embroidered or printed on the outside of their bag. While kidnapping is a rare occurrence in New Zealand, advertising your child’s name makes it easier for potential attackers to befriend your child.
These high-use articles (which, in the case of lunchboxes, also require washing) need a particularly sturdy labelling approach. The two best options for these items are to use stick-on vinyl labels or to write on the item with a permanent marker. You can purchase personalised vinyl labels for $20-$30 per 50 from most label makers – see the links below.
You may wish to consider making your own labels at home.
Sheets of blank adhesive labels can be bought from any stationery shop for approximately $12 for 20 sheets, and $45 for 100. These can be put through your home printer and printed out with whatever you choose. Simply set up a table as described on the back of the packet, and your details will print out to fit the specific sticker sheet. These are great for labelling books and stationery.
Plastic and vinyl labels can be made using home labelling machines like the Brother P-Touch or Dymo Labelmaker. These machines are available from most large stationery stores, or a ‘Google’ search will find you new and used ones for sale online. The hand held battery versions retail for approximately $50, but you can go into the hundreds for one with all the bells and whistles. These machines are like mini computers where you simply type in the desired text, and then print it out. The sticker comes out in a single strip which you can cut to the desired length. Replacement tapes retail between $20-$40 depending on length, width, and material.
For a cheaper option, book bags, pencil cases and tog bags can be personalised with fabric paint (see above), and plastic items like lunch boxes and drink bottles can be named with a permanent marker.
Labelling children’s clothes and belongings can seem like a bit of a hassle at the time but it certainly beats having to replace lost clothes and gear!