Tape + Sharpie becomes easy-pull labels for bottles, jars and cups

tape.jpgMargie’s simple system for labeling sippy cups, lunchbox containers, water bottles…

I tried a couple of different labeling systems for pumped milk when I went back to work, and none were easy to put on and take off or re-label. I finally figured out a go-to method that works for bottles, jars, and any other plastic or glass-surfaced container that I’ve tried it on. I take a piece of my clear office tape (though I would think masking tape would work just fine for this too), and turn under one side so that it has a small tab on one end. I stick it on the bottle or jar, label it up with a permanent marker, then easily can pull it back off when I’m washing the bottle later. No fighting yucky stickiness or going crazy with my fingernails to get the label off. It works every time, is easy and quick.

I’m a big fan of the label maker, but for one-time labels? This is perfect!

builtbag.jpg (A side-hack, if you will, is that I often store my breast milk in half-pint canning jars, which stack well, you can freeze [as long as you leave enough room at the top], they don’t leach anything scary or retain odors, and they’re totally affordable. We’ve not had any breakage problems, and I’ve been using them for at least six months. I transport them to and from my daughter’s caregiver in one of those neoprene Built NY bags, so that helps cushion any falls between home and there.)

If you decide to store milk (or anything else) in canning jars, pick up a package of Ball plastic storage caps. They fit the glass jars, are easy to wash and handle, and go in the freezer.

Related: Organize pumped breastmilk in a six-pack carton


  1. Bev says

    At work I have to label lots of laptops, I use a Sharpie on the low-tack blue tape for decorating. It peels off without leaving any residue, but it stays put until you need it.

  2. says

    Great idea! I use old school off-white masking tape. It’s thicker, so I have an easier time pulling off the label.

    They make a freezer version that works better in very cold temperatures.

  3. says

    We also use the blue painter’s tape for labeling my son’s milk. It’s a little more expensive but it works really well.

  4. pekmez says

    We use Ball jars for a whole lot of other things and I’ve recently been looking for a hack to store the ball jars when they’re empty – so that they stay clean, non-dusty, and non-stale-smelling (which I find they get if the lid is on.)

  5. Evelyn says

    Unfortunately, those plastic lids do leak. I much prefer either using the two-piece flat+ring canning lids that come with the jars, or the one-piece metal lids that have a little rubber gasket built in. These are a bit more expensive.

    I learned from a friend that tupperware-type plastic (and those plastic canning lids) can be labeled directly with a sharpie, and then erased completely with one of those Mr Clean magic eraser sponge-things. It works!

  6. says

    I was going to suggest painters tape too. I have blue, which is pretty smooth, and purple, which is more textured. I’ve used it to label the sections of our formula dispenser, bottles, and food containers. You can even pull the tape off and stick it to another smooth surface.

  7. Mir says

    Sharpie on glass washes off easy. I usually soak my bottles in the wash water for 5 min or so; at that point the sharpie comes right off with the green part of the sponge.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if it came right off in a dishwasher.

  8. pekmez says

    @Asha – I want a box like the one they came in, but not cardboard so I can clean it once in a while, and covered so that the jars are not accumulating dust face up, or sitting face down on a not-so-clean surface. (or in the case of recent @#$@#@#$# pantry adventures, rodent droppings. now you see why I suddenly no longer have the original boxes they came in. ;-) )

  9. phillippa says

    Sharpie on glass does come off in the dishwasher. I use this method to label leftovers.

    I also label plastic tupperware of leftovers with off white masking tape (looks just like the stronger holding ones) and that works beautifully as well. I’ve accidentally put it into the dishwasher, and the tape still came off with no tacky residue.

  10. says

    Could you try a box that is specifically designed for christmas ornaments? They are usually divided so that would make for natural pockets to store the jars.