Published by John Carter on

SciFiantasy - Acrylic Paint

Paint Bottle Cap Labels

Lately I have come to the sad and distressing realization that at some point during the night a smart-alec gremlin switched my eyes with those of a 213-1/2 year old man. It seems like just yesterday I could read even the finest of printing—no matter how small—and now I seem to require an electron microscope to be able to read 175 point Times New Roman fonts.

Ok, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but the truth of the matter is that the tiny printing on the side of the Testors enamel paint—the ¼-ounce square bottle—is terribly difficult to read. If I’m working on a model in the evening hours, and my eyes are tired, it’s actually impossible for me to read the label. I’ve had to hold a bottle under my lighted magnifying lamp more than once in order to read the label. So, I came up with an idea to help me out.

I used to write the name of the paint on the bottle cap with a permanent marker. That worked pretty well when the caps were just plain white. Now, however, Testors is stamping their trademark oval on the caps and there just isn’t much room to write on the caps. That isn’t too much of a problem if I’m writing “Gloss Red”; however, trying to wedge “Gloss Dark Orange Metallic” just doesn’t work. I needed a new way of doing it.

My wife and I were paying bills at the first of the month and I needed to print new address labels. As I’m handing her the sheet of labels, I thought to myself, “Hey! Why not print labels for my paint bottles?” So, I opened up that label file in MS Word and deleted all of the address information from the label template. I drew a circle, set the size to exactly ¾-inch diameter, and typed out the number and name of the paint. After that, it was a simple matter of copy/paste/change the number & name. Repeat as necessary until I had a label for each bottle of paint.

Now, with no additional rambling, is the list of tools and materials you will need to duplicate these labels. By happy coincidence, the ¾” circle labels that fit the Model Master paint caps also work for those “squishy” 2 ounce paint bottles (e.g. Apple Barrel, Folk Art,

If you have different paints, just change the size of the circle and/or font size to meet your needs.

Tools Needed

¾” Hole Punch (if you’re making different size/shape labels, use the appropriate shape/size punch)

Hobby Knife

Sharply Pointed Tweezers

Figure 1: Tools needed.

Materials Needed

Mailing Labels (I used Avery #5160 labels that are 1” x 2-5/8”)

Clear Packing Shipping Tape (Optional)


1. Open Word document and edit the name and number of the paint inside the circle. The easiest way to do it is to highlight the text by clicking and holding the left mouse button at the beginning of the text and dragging to the end of the text. Now type the information you want on your bottle cap label. Figure 2 shows the text selected and highlighted by a light blue color. Note the dashed line around the circle.

Figure 2: Label TEXT selected in order to edit the number and/or name of the color.

2. Click on the outside border of the cap label circle to select the entire thing. Notice how the blue highlight color is gone and the dashed line has become a solid line in Figure 3. Press, and hold, the Control button on your keyboard and tap the “C” key. This is known as doing a “Ctrl C” and it copies the selected item in the document. In this case, I copied the Gloss Black cap label.

Figure 3: Cap label selected for copying.

3. Click in the blank area just to the right of the Gloss Black cap label. Press and hold the Control button and tap the “V” key. This “Ctrl V” key combination pastes a duplicate copy of the cap label from step 2.

4. If you want to make more than one label for a particular color, leave the number and name as is and then repeat step 3. If you don’t need any more of the last color name and number, highlight the text and change it to the next color you want to make a label for. Refer to step 1 and Figure 2 if you need to.

5. After you’ve made all the paint bottle cap labels you need, print them.

6. Lay the sheet of labels out face up on your desk, table, or work bench. Pull out a strip of packing tape long enough to cover the label circles from top to bottom. The tape I used was a 3M product and it’s wide enough to cover two circles at a time. Repeat as needed until all of your circles are covered. What this does is protect the labels from paint, moisture, dirt, etc. so they last longer. This step is optional.

7. Insert the label into the hole punch and align the edges of the circle with the edge of the hole punch. To do this with the punch I used, I turned the punch over so I could see the label through the hole in the bottom side of the punch. Repeat this step until all of your labels are punched out.

8. Use either the hobby knife tip (Figure 4), or the tip of your tweezers (Figure 5), to separate the backing paper from the label. Apply the label to the bottle cap and burnish it down with your finger or your favorite burnishing tool. Repeat this step until all your bottles are labeled.

Figure 4: Peeling label with hobby knife tip.

Figure 5: Peeling label with sharply-pointed tweezer tip.

9. When you’re done, it will be easier to read the color of each of your paints.

Figure 6: Completed paint bottles.

I’ve also included a copy of the Word documents for the ¼-ounce bottle cap labels and the ½-ounce Model Master bottle cap labels.

Labels – Paint Bottles (Model Master)

Labels – Paint Bottles (Square)



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