Making an Old Timey Flourish for Your Shipping Labels

We’ll be using the freely available Inkscape to create some old timey flourishes for your shipping labels. If you don’t have Inkscape, you should get it. You can also do the same thing in Adobe Illustrator, but why spend all that money when you really don’t need all that power and funcionality. It would be like buying a Semi-Tractor Trailer, when all you need is a pickup truck.
You used to be able to copy directly from your Inkscape drawing, and paste right into your Microsoft Word document way back in Word 2007. Now in Word 2010 if you select and copy from your Inkscape drawing and paste it into your Word document, Word converts it into a low quality graphics format so now you need to perform an extra step. You must first save your SVG drawing as an EMF drawing. Then in Microsoft Word, click on the INSERT tab, and choose Pictures. Find your artwork, and when you insert it, it’ll be nice and crisp and clear, even when you zoom in.
Here is our flourish:
Old Timey Flourish

Old Timey Flourish
It’s not too difficult to make. You can start with a little spiral made with the spiral tool Shown in #1. Convert the spiral from a spiral object to a path by clicking on Path, then select Object to Path.
Next use the Pencil tool to draw the shape in #2 but make sure that the smoothness is set to about 50, then clean it up by using the node tool on the left.
In step 3 , duplicate the item by pressing Cntl-D, then make it smaller. Repeat the process. Next bring them close together as in step 4.
Next, use the node tools to join the top nodes in each of the curves created in step #2. I duplicated step 4 and then shrank that copy even smaller. and then attached the spiral to the end. Resize to your liking, then duplicate it and flip it to create the mirror opposite that we see in step 5.
Using the pencil tool, create a straight line to connect both #5’s and use the node tool again to connect the ends of the line, and you get #7
In #8 I just dragged down the center of the line with the node tool.

Now you can squish it, expand it, squash it, blow it up, and make it look however you want.

And now put it in your shipping label by exporting to a EMF and then importing it into your word document.

Old Timey Flourish

Shipping Label Flourish Design

Customize your shipping label with some flourishes.

Shipping Label Design with leaves

Don’t just cut and paste them into an empty ML-0600 Shipping Labels template. What you have to do is first export the artwork to EMF format, then import it into your Microsoft Word Document.
Microsoft Word shipping label template, which is also compatible with the Avery 5164 Template.

Shipping Label Design with leaves

Free Operating System, Free Software to Create Address Labels

If you’re unaware that there was a free Operating System, then let me introduce you to Ubuntu. Ubuntu is a Unix like Operating System that functions like Microsoft Windows. You can run Word Processing, Database, Drawing and Spreadsheet programs that are free. Open Office contains all those things. Which you can then use to create the Address Labels or shipping labels that you need.
Ubuntu is super easy to set up. What’s really neat, is that you don’t have to install it as the main operating system on your machine. What you can do is download yet another free program called Oracle VirtualBox.
With VirtualBox, you install any operating system as a Virtual machine. So you can take Ubuntu for a test drive to see how you like it before installing on your hard drive as your primary operating system. You don’t need to spend all sorts of money to be productive and start printing address and shipping labels with expensive microsoft products.

Printing Shipping Labels

Shipping labels are applied to all different kinds of packages. These packages go to all sorts of environments. They go to nice dry places like out west in Arizona, and California, and New Mexico, and they go to other places like the northern states and southern states like Florida and Louisiana. At some point your label might get wet. When printing your shipping labels, it makes sense to use a laser printer. You can use an inkjet printer, but a quick little rainstorm and a bit of inattention to a package can ruin things for everybody involved. Then when your package gets lost or is not delivered, you’ll look like this:

Princess Sparkle Pony

Address Labels – Treat them right

Things can go fugazi if you don’t treat your address labels right. I don’t mean you should talk sweetly to them and buy them candy and jewelry and take them out on expensive dates. You need to keep them out of the sun. Really, many times you don’t realize it, but labels can come in contact with direct sunlight sometimes when you leave them out on your desk, and your desk happens to be near a window. If you wouldn’t leave your beer in direct sunlight, why would you do that to your labels. Even worse, don’t forget to close your windows (if you’re fortunate enough to have opening windows at work), when you go home for the day. One winter, our building got a little too warm, so we opened up some windows. Somebody, ahem, forgot to close a few windows. That night there was a big snow storm. When we came in that morning, there was a snow drift on a couple of desks. You don’t know how weird it is to see a snow drift in the office. Needless to say, snow is not good for labels. Any kind of moisture will affect label performance adversely. So keep your address labels, shipping labels and really, any kind of labels in a nice dark storage closet, not to humid, not to dry. Your labels will last longer, look better, and you’ll be happier.

Ahgrrrrrrr! I misprinted a bunch of laser labels

I hate when that happens. Yesterday I was printing some ML-0600 shippinglabels / laser labels when I realized I was printing the labels incorrectly. I thought, well, there’s got to be something I can do with these now seemingly useless shipping labels. So I was having my morning coffee and it was getting a little cold. I threw it in the microwave, which some people in the office think omits brain damaging radiation. I mean seriously, not even when it’s on. They think if you leave the door open, it emits radiation. What? Anyway I went for the coffee, and aye yay yay, it was too hot. I had put it on a full cup setting and there was only a half cup left. Ding Ding Ding. I got the misprinted ML-0600 labels, and stuck them triple thick around the cup. I saved my fingers, I used the labels, and all was right with the world. Except for the huge fight I had with my wife at 4:30 this morning. Don’t ask.

ML-0600 shipping label used as a coffee cup insulator, ML-0600 is used in lieu of Avery 5164

Turn your sketch into Computer Art with Inkscape.

If you’re into free and useful stuff, you’ll love Inkscape.
Also, if you’re an artist, and have a collection of your art that you’d like to turn into clip art or other computer art, look no further than Inkscape. Oh, and you’ll need a scanner. Almost every printer out there is a combo printer/scanner, so you should have a scanner or at least know somebody with a scanner.
Here’s an image I scanned:

John

I then imported the image into Inkscape.

Using the “Trace Bitmap” feature, the pic is transformed into a native SVG graphic. Once it’s in SVG format, you can edit the heck out of it and improve the graphics. With a little messing around

John

Once you’ve mastered Inkscape, it’s a cinch to create great artwork for your shipping labels, full sheet labels and address labels.