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Monday, February 14, 2011

The other day I was swapping out my Christmas-scented candles (evergreen, cranberry, etc.) for my regular, every-day scented candles (anything that smells like it came from a bakery), when I noticed a problem: my candles are ugly.

I mean, they're just your typical glass jar candles, but the labels...well, just look at this thing:

Yeah. Classy.
(Smells heavenly, though.)

Anyway, I turned to the Internet, and about an hour later I had this:

Better, right?

I'd hoped to find some really detailed apothecary labels to give the candles a more vintage vibe, but it turns out antique French cologne labels are much easier to find, and in some cases work just as well.

Next I turned my attention to my bundles of Bath and Body Works candles. Thanks to sales and coupons we ended up taking home maybe half a dozen of these things over the holidays. If you're not familiar, they look like this:

Which is fine, I guess, but a little modern for my taste. I wanted something with a bit more character to display.

Like this:


Or this:

(I also have a weak spot for Art Nouveau.)

I could have stopped there, but those chrome lids are too modern and show every fingerprint, which is super annoying. So, a quick blast of primer and bronze spray paint later...

Much better.


Then I discovered two fantastic labels by Inka of Altered Artifacts, so I printed one of each:

The one on the right is a vintage apothecary label (woot!) and the one on the left is, again, for French cologne. (I later sprayed that lid bronze, too.)


Now, because it's Valentine's Day and I love you (awww), I've assembled a bunch of great graphics and links for your own candle-labeling endeavors:

- The Graphics Fairy has massive archives of free, downloadable goodies like these:

Actually a label for chocolate, but wouldn't it be great on a chocolate-scented candle?



I also love the idea of using the same apothecary label on all your candles, and then hand-writing in the different scents in ink. (Or use an old-timey handwriting font for that "authentic" spidery scrawl.)


- Another great spot is Vintage Feedsacks (aka Free Vintage Clip Art):





This is the label I used on my first candle.


My favorite so far for short, round jars:

via Flickr



And here's Inka's cologne label. Visit her site to download the apothecary design.


I somehow lost track of where I found this Art Nouveau label, but here 'tis:


Once you download your graphic, open it up in an image-editing program and re-size it to the dimensions of your candle. Then print it out, cut it out, and use rubber cement or a glue stick (I used a glue stick, which worked beautifully) to attach your new labels to the jars. It's about as close to instant gratification as you'll find for a craft project. Promise.

You can also age your labels with a quick dunking/splattering of coffee or tea. Most of the ones I've found so far don't need it, but for apothecary labels especially you'll want that really well-worn look.

Happy labeling!

I'm still on the lookout for more great labels, guys, so if you find more please link to them in the comments!

Posted by Jen at 1:35 PM Labels: ,

79 comments:

  1. Aaaahhh! Do tell where you got the glazed doughnut candle. Do want :D

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  2. OR instead of gluing them on you can print the labels on label paper - no glue mess.

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  3. Just a thought ... you could print these directly on label paper, cut them out, then stick them easily. Avery sells full sheet labels that I love for anything of odd or differing sizes. I would just set a bunch of them on one page to maximize usage and minimize waste.
    The candles do look great!

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  4. Jen! You're so cool! I already knew that, of course, but these are just great!

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  5. I'm going to have to bookmark all my favorite crafts by you ... ummm ... that would be all of them :) and someday when I'm not running around nutty I'll do them. Promise.

    Thanks for the future inspiration!

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  6. Oh my gosh - those are AMAZING! What a great idea....I'm so on it.

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  7. Another option would to be to use rubber stamps, they come in loads of options that could suit loads of decorating tastes. This tip is especially for those of us without printers. LOVE your idea, and think I'll adapt it to decoupage on some wooden boxes.

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  8. A website with a list of (technically buyable, but you can probably screencap and print them) old labels :
    old soap labels.

    This one, is a search on the website of the French National Library, I can't link directly to the pictures so I'm linking you to the result of the search, if you click you'll get a picture on the right side, which you can click again to get more pics.
    Labels this way.

    Hope you'll find some you like :)

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  9. Ooooh, fun!! Those are gorgeous!

    I actually have a bunch of cute glass bottles that I bought from Michaels around halloween. They had goofy pretend apothecary labels. I removed them and made my own in photoshop. I'd found some templates for very simple apothecary labels online, so I took those into photoshop and jazzed them up. I then layered a scanned pic of some old paper behind everything, printed on sticker paper, and cut out. You can see it here if you're so inclined (notice I used that lovely schooner script!).

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  10. Looks great! The label paper may work better, the glue might not do well once the jar heats up. Love the antique look of them!

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  11. This, Jen, is why I am seriously addicted to your blog.

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  12. This is great! I have a candle someone gave me from Yankee Candle and the label has *always* bothered me. Not to mention Walmart candles. This is perfect. Thanks!

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  13. Fantastic! I hate candle jars. I actually use wide wired ribbon and hot glue to make mine look less commercial. It looks beautiful at Christmas time, but the rest of the year it looks a little too fussy, so these will be wonderful! Thank you!

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  14. Nifty idea. And I agree...where do you get a glazed donut scented candle?

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  15. These look fantastic! The only problem with using avery labels, for me, is that I love to reuse candle jars. After removing the leftover wax and cleaning them reaaaallly well, I like to use them as attractive storage for things like coffee, rice, and dried legumes (beans, peas, lentils). I can't imagine that removing a bunch of adhesive would be fun.

    I do have a gluestick though. :)

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  16. Love, love, LOVE the labels. My husband & I are in the beginning stages of steampunking our basement -- I might have to find a use for these!

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  17. With the right software, I would imagine a person could edit the text on many of these labels or them completely from scratch, giving the crafter the ability to add a super personal touch and create lovely housewarming gifts, party favors, or heck, cheap Christmas gifts!

    Oh I have some playing around to do before Mother's day! :)

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  18. Not the type of labels that you are looking for, but adorable all the same. Bookcovers for Matchboxes Great for small stationery or craft items.

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  19. OMG they have donut scented candles in the US?

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  20. Great idea! Usually I just peel the labels off and use the candles plain. But these are so cute, I might need to reconsider and spruce the jars up some!

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  21. Thanks for digging these out - I've been looking for this type of cool labels! :)

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  22. This is a great idea. Taking the theme in a completely different way, Ursula Verson's Red Wombat Tea Company prints would be wonderful as well. She offers download links for her artwork at the bottom of each print's page.

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  23. For everyone asking about the donut candle, it came from either Ross or TJ Maxx.

    @ Bri - those are ridiculously adorable. Love it.

    @ Danielle - WOW. Fabulous! Those would be so fun to add to an alchemy-themed shelf. Or the kitchen, just to see people's reactions. :D

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  24. I like the idea of using the apothecary labels and writing the scent on them in an old-timey script. If I did that, though, I'd probably write the scent name in French to make it look more fancy or exotic: "beignet," "canneberge," etc.

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  25. Have you ever thought of glass etching them? I am doing that as a hobby / craft. I am starting to get good at it. I found a stencil store on ebay and went a little nuts. I also have figured out how to make my own stencils using line art and ink jet transparencies, lots of work but really fun! (Making the stencils is work, the etching is EASY PEASY!)

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  26. Thanks Jen! I do have them all up on a shelf in the bedroom--I'll take a pic of them all together!

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  27. This is marginally related, but the nice labels reminded me of a soap company from Portugal, Claus Porto, that have cute vintage labels. I couldn't see any that you could print yourself, which makes sense since they are still around... Anyway, I thought maybe you'd like it :)

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  28. If you have a room where these labels wouldn't work, try getting some old travel labels. I haven't looked on the web but I buy them in a tin. They have them to advertise transatlantic ships, old hotels, etc.

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  29. "The other day I was swapping out my Christmas-scented candles..."

    Huh? You mean you don't BURN your candles?? No candle is safe in my house - I burn them all till they're gone!

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  30. This may be a good resource for some apothecary images.

    apothecary

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  31. Jen, this comment has nothing to do with your post (although your craftiness is awesome and I, too, don't like candle labels).

    I'm not sure if you read the blog "Sleep Talkin Man". But that is where I first heard of Cake Wrecks (over a year ago). I'm now a loyal reader of Cake Wrecks and EPBOT.

    The couple that maintain the STM blog are amazing (like you and John). ;) They have a Facebook fan page, which has pictures of their recent trip to a monkey sanctuary. I think you will find the pictures to be touching as well as beautiful. I would love to volunteer at a place like that.

    Anyhow, I thought you might find Sleep Talkin' Man amusing, as well as enjoy their photos.

    Happy "VD" Day :P
    Jessica

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  32. These labels reminded me of an etsy store that I love. He makes really cool die-cut wood thingies that are really neat. Pork Chop Show.

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  33. oh, p.s he's on vacation now so you'll have to look through his past sales.

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  34. @statJr - I remember doing some glass etching as a teen, and you're right: it's fun! For the candles I like the ability to swap out the labels, though.

    @ Connie - hah! I promise, I *do* burn my candles; we just have so many I don't use them up in the two months I have the Christmas ones out. ;)

    @ Jessica - we love the couple at STM, although I haven't checked in over there in a while. Thanks for the reminder! (And I'll be sure to check out the monkey pics.)

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  35. And again, another fabulous idea. You rock, Jen! I'll be using these ideas soon!

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  36. LOL--I just typed in "vintage labels" on the google images search page, and look what I got!

    Google images of vintage labels

    I really like all the colorful food ones. Some of the blank ones you can buy--it would be fun to buy some and put your own spin on various languages to name your product. Perhaps using Elvish or Klingon for the text...?

    The Burton Inspiration

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  37. I love this idea! Thanks for sharing it with us. Soon as my printer is up and running again I'll give it a try.

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  38. Ok, here's a pic of my bottles on a shelf, although now I feel like I need to put together a little cabinet or something for them. :) I saved all those labels you posted--thanks for the project inspiration!I also loved Bri's link to the matchbook covers which lead me to the other mini tutorials on that site--I especially loved the horsehead bookends and the flower vase made of stacked buttons--brilliant!

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  39. Jen - Have you seen these?

    http://justsomethingimade.com/2010/07/apothecary-label-hand-towels-free-digital-downloads/

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  40. Hi Jen,

    You and I seem to have been on a similar quest lately. I was recently doing a massive hunt for public domain neoveau ads, specifically, because I had this cool idea to do my room in a bohemian decadence theme. Naturally, images like wine illustrations by Mucha, or Devil's Auction, were a must. While I was looking, I found a few cool spots to find print size images of such ads, including Wikimedia Commons . This site is all open source stock, both modern and historical. they've got a great collection of well known artists work, and while I can't speak for apothecary labels, I do know they have a nice selection of antique wine labels to pick from. Hope this is a help :)

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  41. Danielle, did you get those jars at Michaels? I think I've seen them year-round there. I am IN LOVE with your homemade labels. Very Harry Potter-ish!

    Bri, THANK YOU for that dollar craft store website! I already found some projects I want to make! And I'm looking for those horsehead bookends Danielle commented on--I need bookends badly!

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  42. katphoti, I did indeed get the bottles at Michaels. Also the horsehead bookends I was commenting on are miniature dollhouse sized--lol! :)

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  43. Can I just say that as a Frenchie (well, half) that I LOVE those old French labels? :)

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  44. Hey Jen here are some Apothecary labels I found about a month ago. They look great and are free to download. Hope you like them.

    http://justsomethingimade.com/2010/07/apothecary-label-hand-towels-free-digital-downloads/

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  45. To heck with candles, I want to relabel the stuff in my bathroom! If I decant all the stuff to glass jars & bottles then use labels like these & could have the coolest bathroom ever!

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  46. What I love about you, is that you are crafty CLASSY, not tacky. This is a great idea and I LOVE your Steampunk Dining room.

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  47. @ Lady Bright--I did that at Christmas time. I glass etched several bottles (old skool with rubber caps) and moved my shampoo and conditioners into them. Now my shelves are prettier. I love it!

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  48. This. Is. Awesome. Thank you for sharing, Jen! Now I have a new craft obsession to add to my fondness for Shrinky Dinks.

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  49. YOU ARE BRILLIANT!

    I usually take labels off of soap pumps, candles and the like when I can because I think it looks nicer, but I never thought of applying my own labels to the containers.

    As for the suggestions to use label paper... well I've used many types of printer labels and they all tend to look label-y. You'll get a nicer effect if you use some parchment or antique-looking paper, especially if it is nice and thick. You might need to use a strong glue to make it stick to glass but the results should be much nicer.

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  50. what a great idea! i end up turning my candles around so the label doesn't show for this exact reason! I wish i could print these on a colour printer, alas i don't have one! but will use b&w instead!! THANK YOU!!!

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  51. Fun! I'd absolutely do this, but our house is scented-candle-free due to allergies. :(

    You must go look at these Antique Apothecary Labels. They're not quite right for candles, but super cool in their own right.

    Shutterstock (and others) have cool vector versions so you can customize your own like these.

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  52. Those are BEAUTIFUL.

    MORE CRAFTY POSTS, PLEASE PRETTY PLEASE! :D

    WV - bleteran: a veteran of the nonexistent Blog Wars.

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  53. Ah... if I knew your address, I would send you some authentic Drug Store pharmaceutical labels from my grandparents store (Maynard Drug, Washington, OK, in existence from 1951 - 1981 or so). They are red and white and I think quite beautiful in their simplicity. Of course, perhaps I am biased, since I have such fond memories of the Drug Store (as we called it). They used to have a pharmacist in the back and there were all these old labels in a wooden dispenser box on the back wall. There were even some poison ones. Sadly, I don't have any of those (we probably used them all up playing with them as kids). My grandmother passed away last year at 101, and these are a fun reminder of the store.

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  54. Seeing these labels reminded me of the labels on Villainess jars. They're sort of old timey looking and while I'm not sure you could remove them, the jars have some reuse value. They're clear plastic, with black metal lids. Pretty much what you see in the pics.

    The soap labels may be more flexible, since they're designed to come off. (Plus the soaps themselves are awesome.)

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  55. O I am such a sucker for these for labels :)

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  56. So pretty, Jen! Your'e so crafty!

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  57. a new book for you! you are so crafty and talented!

    http://www.amazon.com/World-Geekcraft-Step---Step-Instructions/dp/0811874613/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1298053089&sr=8-1

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  58. Nice very cool idea. Personally, I like the paddywax literary collection http://www.paddywax.com/public/cat2476.aspx
    I've only bought Poe so far, thou I'd like to try the Witman and Thoreau. I don't like the girly , flower scents and these are not only gorgeous soy wax candles, they smell amazing, and kind of masculine.

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  59. I love the idea. I buy paddywax soy candles. The have gorgeous packaging and smell amazing. Their literary collection is my favorite, it's not girly at all. My favorite is Poe and Thoreau, with Whitman not far behind.
    http://www.paddywax.com/public/cat2481.aspx
    The glass is pretty and they come in these cloth boxes perfect for dice and buttons and other odds and ends.

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  60. I'm so upset. You never post on this blog anymore. :(

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  61. It's only been 4 days, Micalah - patience. ;) New post goes up tomorrow.

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  62. I've always hated those original labels too. It never, ever occurred to me to think outside the box. Let me just say that these vintage ones are awesome!

    I'm over the moon.

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  63. While using label stock might be easy and glue sticks come cheap, to really go DIY gluing paper labels to glass, all you need is some milk and some white vinegar.

    Mix a tablespoon of vinegar into a quarter cup of milk and stir gently until it separates into a somewhat clear liquid (whey) and white lumps (curds).

    Strain the whey into a bowl, dip your paper label into the whey and smooth it onto the glass and let it dry. That's it! The labels stick very well, and to reuse the bottle or jar, just soak it in hot water for a little while.

    And, as an added bonus, you can mix baking soda into the leftover curds to make white craft glue for another project!

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  64. Cathe at http://justsomethingimade.com/jsim-diy-projects/

    has really cool stuff. Candles are one of the advantages of child free life. And large dog free life.

    But the, I can stick labels on other things!

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  65. These are just so adorable! I like doing something similar to wine bottles at Halloween or other holidays. It's fun making Witch's Brew, Spider Venom, Bat Blood etc out of your favorite Pinot's and Cabs.

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  66. Thanks to this post I've spent (my free time for) a couple of days now catching up on the Graphics Fairy blog, which sent me to the Citra Solv website, which sent me to this steampunk robot softie blog post which made me think of you. (Which you've probably already seen before because it was from March of last year.) So goes the circle of distraction. Thanks though :) http://outofthecrayonbox.blogspot.com/2010/03/craft-club-project-2-steampunk-robot.html

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  67. Ok this is weird. The third label down, the "Heiser Pharmacy" one... I showed it to my mom, and we're now trying to research it... Heiser is one of our family names, and they were from that area! (Well still are, but we live in Jersey now) Possibly one of my grandmom's relatives. So cool to find this on EpBot :3 Thanks Jen!

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  68. Here you will find fantastic design from Brazil: www.granado.com.br
    And great labels and packages...
    Beijos

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  69. I don't know if you have seen these, but more apothecary labels:
    http://justsomethingimade.com/2011/04/free-apothecary-style-labels-worldlabel-com/

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  70. Yeah, I know you posted this awhile ago, but I remembered it. So yesterday when I was feeling gloomy about the hodge podge of my house, I started redecorating with my favorite things that were still packed from the latest move. My candle jars looked...unlike things that make me happy, so I pulled this post up again. Within an hour I had lovely candles and a small place in my home that makes me truly, achingly happy. Taking on another corner today. Thank you for the inspiration!

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  71. My grandfather (a pharmacist) has DOZENS of old apothecary jars and bottles scattered around the house. Some are large, Victorian jars with Latin names on them, some are small blue bottles with labels like these... I really really want them!

    Kate
    @ How Not To Draw

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  72. Hi Jen,

    I love this so much! I currently have several jars I want to reuse [pickle jar, large beer bottles, etc] for some crafting, but they have the paper labels on them, and I want to make pretty new labels.

    Any advice on how to best remove the original labels???

    Keep up the awesome!
    Kimberly A.

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  73. @ Kimberly - if they're glass jars I find hot water is best; just soak them, and the heat will help loosen & disolve the glue. You could also pop them in the dishwater, and then peel off the remaining paper afterward. Good luck!

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