How to make DVD labels

How to make DVD labels


Got unlabeled DVDs? These are original footage or backups of DVD movies you already own, right? Great! It’s easy to whip that collection into an eye-popping shape with a little effort and know-how.


First, if you haven’t already, ditch any jewel box cases you might have. Either keep your collection in a nice zippered case with dozens of pockets the ideal choice for the movie fan on the go or the couch potato with space constraints or pick up some inexpensive DVD cases at your local office supply or department store.

The DVD case cover insert is 10 3/4″ wide and 7 3/16″ tall. Obviously, this sheet covers front, back, and spine. The distance from the outside edge to the spine fold is 5 1/16″; the spine itself is 9/16″ wide. So, to recap:

front design = 7 3/16″ tall, 5 1/16″ wide
back design = 7 3/16″ tall, 5 1/16″ wide
spine design = 7 3/16″ tall, 9/16″ wide

You can also buy inserts that are letter-size matte or glossy paper sheets that are perforated at the 10 3/4″ x 7 3/16″ size. Sometimes the insert kits come with software to help you fit your design to the page properly. However, it’s a fairly simple matter to create your case design in your favorite image editor or even word processor.

Image editor: create a document that’s 300 dpi, 11 3/4″ wide, and 8 3/16″ tall. The extra 1/2″ on each edge (1″ per dimension) is to give you a safety margin on the outer edge. Create guides or reference lines that mark the spine’s edges, at 5 9/16″ and 6 1/8″ from the left edge. Implement your design, making sure to keep everything legible. If you want the colors or graphics to go to the edge of the case insert, make sure to go over the safety margin and out into the 1/2″ border we created.

This will avoid an ugly white border at the edge of the design, creating what’s called a bleed in printing terminology. In the 1/2″ border, at the top left corner, make a line that’s parallel with the top edge, 1/2″ from the top of the document, and about 1/4″ from the left side of the document. This will help you find the top edge of the design when you cut it out. Make another line, parallel with the left edge, 1/2″ from the left edge of the document, and about 1/4″ from the top. Make six more reference lines like this two more at each corner.

Word processor: set your margins to 0″ on all sides of a standard 8 1/2″ x 11″ document. Set the document into landscape mode. Using the rulers and your word processor’s drawing tools, locate and mark out the dimensions of the insert, leaving a 1/2″ safety margin on the outer edge. See the image editor instructions above for more information. Insert graphics and type text to make the design you desire. Just as above, you can create a bleed over the border of the insert for a more professional look.

If you have a scanner, too, you can simply scan the case insert from the original movie, size it to the dimensions listed above in your image editor, and print.

After you’ve printed your insert, put it on a hard surface, and cut it out using the reference lines, a ruler, and a sharp utility or craft knife.

Take a look at the corners of one of your own DVD inserts. Notice how the corners are cut off? You may want to do the same to make it easier to put the insert into the case. Put the insert in the case. Nicely done.


Making the DVD labels themselves is actually even simpler, but does require the purchase of a labeling kit. The kits come with printer-ready labels (usable for CDs or DVDs), a label applicator device that presses the labels to the discs, and simple design software.

You can also buy a printer with the capability of printing directly on special ink-receptive DVDs. Such printers are fairly economical now, especially for printing on CDs.

The labeling kits do vary in price and quality, but this reviewer has found that Avery’s Afterburner system stands head and shoulders above the rest, primarily because their ingenious label applicator device is tensioned so it applies pressure away from the center of the disc during the application process. This ensures that the label goes on smoothly, without wrinkles or bubbles. Strongly recommended. Their labels also have handy tabs for muss-free setup when you’re taking the label from the label sheet to the applicator.

Install the kit’s design software and create your label, using graphics from your case insert if you desire. The software comes with the ability to wrap text to the shape of the label.

It’s possible to make your label art entirely in an image editor, but since the design software is calibrated to print perfectly onto the label, you’re much better off using it to print instead of printing directly from the image editor. To do this, simply save your design in the image editor as a high-resolution.BMP or PICT file and import it into the label kit’s design software.

Print your design using the instructions in your label kit, and apply the label. Inspect your work. Good? Put that disc in the case and you’re done!

Print your design

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