Small size print solutions

Hi everyone!

I have a bit of a conundrum, hopefully someone here will have advice for me. It would be greatly appreciated.

I own a small retail business. We manufacture all our products, and I handle most product packaging and labeling on site. My issue is that I have a small sized product that we sell thousands of monthly. I currently print 1.75" x 6.75" labels 6 up on a standard letter size paper. The full sheets are then trimmed and cut into individual labels. As you can imagine, this is quite time consuming.

I’ve looked into custom printed sheet labels, which are cost prohibitive, especially considering I need at least 16 versions. Not to mention that an adhesive label is not ideal for my purposes. I’ve also reached out to printers I’ve worked with in the past, however the 1.75" dimension is too small for their capabilities.

Ideally, I’d like to have these product labels printed and cut to size for me. Is anyone aware of a printer who can handle these dimensions? If worse comes to worse, I don’t mind cutting the labels from a standard size sheet, but there’s got to be a more efficient way to do it. I don’t mind investing in equipment for this purpose, but I don’t even know where to begin to look.

So in a nutshell: Where would I look to have this size printed for me? Or, if that’s not feasible, what is the most efficient and precise method of cutting thousands of these labels?


Not sure I’m understanding what you are looking for.
Single or double sided?
Paper stock (plain, card, heavy?)
Black ink, or color?
If color 1, 2, or 3 spot colors or 4-color process (full color)?
If you don’t adhere them, what do you do with them?

Any printer can do cards any size, and your need for 16 different versions isn’t an issue, unless you are only ordering 10 of each or something or you need a shaped die-cut. You might be talking 500-1000 each before you see any kind of price break, even printed digitally.

These would be printed full color, single side on plain paper. They are adhered, currently with glue in one spot. A fully adhesive label would possibly work, but as I said it wouldn’t be ideal. I am looking at 1000 minimum of each version, no die cuts or funky shapes.

I’ve requested quotes from 3 printers (online) who all state their smallest dimension starts at 2". Perhaps seeking a local printer is going to be my answer.

You need a label specific printer. They can print a tremendous variety of sizes. They will be delivered on rolls, not as individually cut labels – the roll thing is pretty standard for label printers. I’ll send you a private message with the name of a label printer I like. Downside is that the entire back will be adhesive. Upside: if you factor how much your time is worth and how long it takes you to print and cut your own labels, your profit margins will most likely go up by purchasing the labels.

Let alone gluing each individual label? Time consuming.

I keep leaning in this direction, despite my stubbornness to avoid fully adhesive labels. Thanks for your input!

Yes, the whole process is rather laborious.

Uh yeah . . . thousands per month? Of course, you haven’t given us anywhere near enough information to start weighing cost benefits of operational upgrades, but if your model includes a healthy profit margin, it sure does sound like you’re outgrowing your original production methods.

Maybe a roll printer or a desktop printer with a roll attachment like this:

You could print on normal paper but would still have to cut your labels to size (or you could put sticky labels through this kind of thing).

A label printer might be able to only apply adhesive on part of the label. I’ve never had a need for this, so I’m not sure if that’s a capability they’d have or not.

I don’t know your reasoning for preferring labels with no adhesive, but if you’re concerned with them being difficult to remove, low-tack adhesives labels might be an answer to that problem.

Yes, although I’m not sure I understand the OP’s aversion to full adhesive, (maybe I missed something), partial adhesive may be a good option, and it it is certainly doable. Removable adhesive is also a thing.

I wasn’t going to do this but at the risk of committing a spammatory offense, I’m gonna go ahead and plug a local (to me) label producer that is just so so good. Tech Tag & Label in Hatfield, PA does mostly spot-color, flexographic output, but they are so flexible and smart, they can find a way to get just about anything done. I’ve seen it first hand. The guy who runs the show, Alan Thompson, I could only describe as an “honest wizard.” He is simply a consultant’s consultant. I expect they can take/deliver jobs from/to anywhere, their pricing is fair, they make much smaller labels for me than that, and as a client, I’ve never been mislead or negatively surprised.

We started very small, and have gradually grown over the last few years. But yes, we’ve definitely outgrown this production method.

Oh, interesting. I didn’t know such a thing existed. Thanks for this, I’ll look into it. The roll printers I’ve looked into in the past have been a bit beyond my means.

No, you didn’t miss anything. I spared details in an attempt to be succinct. The product I’m wrapping is soap. I’ve tried adhesive labels in the past, and in my experience, over time the soap dissolves the adhesive turning it into a gummy mess.

I’ve gotten a couple of suggestions for printers who could possibly handle the job. I will definitely look into your suggestion as well. Thank you!

Mention this to the printers you talk to. There are different types of adhesive available.

Inkjet or laser printable labels, removable.

What you are looking for is a Pressure sensitive label printer. They can print at those sizes and likely already have stock dielines to use for your labels. Depending on the printer’s capabilities they might be able to apply adhesive to specified locations on the back of the table instead of the entire back being an adhesive.

Also, sounds like it’s about time for you to invest in a Tamp label application machine. They are pretty cheap second hand and much more efficient than by hand.

There are plenty of pre-punched and kiss-cut label sheets out there. If not avery, U-line, Spinnaker, Star, and many other manufactures are attempting to take a piece of Avery’s market share.

Quite a few are very close to the size you’re looking for, and spending a bit more to save labor costs is a common print goal. Labor is the most expensive part of the process. By far.

If your budget is so tight that you’re glueing sheets of cut paper to boxes, ordering labels from a flexo printer or sheet fed/trim size print vender may prove more expensive than your budge allows.

look deeper into kiss-cut label sheets. Conform your size if you must. I think that’s the best path for you.
Look at it this way, I worked for a 35,000 square foot trade printer, and using an Avery or Star sheet was still a common method of getting the job done.

Will do!

Yes, it looks like this will be the way to go. I’ll research a machine as well, the whole idea is to improve our efficiency. Thanks!

The budget isn’t so much the issue, rather we’ve outgrown a method that used to work fine for a much smaller scale production. I admit, I’ve procrastinated in finding a solution, I should have made this change long ago!

Thanks for your input. I still want to outsource the majority of the printing where I can, especially for this particular product. However, in the instances that we have a small run production of one variety, this may very well be a solution.

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