Vintage Harvest Crate Stamp/Label Patches (A Tutorial)

This was my first submission to the SYTYC contest for the theme “harvest.” Here is the tutorial in case you are interested! Thanks all of you who voted!
I love John Steinbeck….I own every book he wrote, including Grapes of Wrath. I love the wooden crates used for harvesting fruit way back before plastic was available. My friend George and his family have owned a grape farm since the 1940’s and I asked him for some of his old wooden crates with the ranch’s stamped logo. I used the wooden crates and some vintage fruit crate labels to create knit patches for girl and boy t-shirts. My two favorites: the “Brother’s Pride” crate label because of the wood grain, and the “American Beauty” fruit label because of the distressing technique I used.
Vintage Harvest Crate Stamp / Label Patches DIY Tutorial via
Below is a photo I took at George’s farm. I think it is amazing how much agriculture is grown out here in the desert… is all irrigated by canals! You’ll be driving along surrounded by only sand and tumbleweeds and then all the sudden:
Vintage Harvest Crate Stamp / Label Patches DIY Tutorial 2 via
Step 1: I took these wooden crate slats and scanned them directly into my computer. I also had a few paper labels I scanned in. You can actually buy an entire CD of copyright free images here if you have trouble tracking down physical labels.
Vintage Harvest Crate Stamp / Label Patches DIY Tutorial step 1 via
Step 2: Reverse the images on your computer, resize them and the print them onto t-shirt transfer paper.
Vintage Harvest Crate Stamp / Label Patches DIY Tutorial step 2 via
Optional: If you wish to apply a distressed look (similar to the “American Beauty” label shown at the bottom of the page), lightly scratch off portions of the printout before transferring.
Vintage Harvest Crate Stamp / Label Patches DIY Tutorial step 2 optional via
Step 3: Cut out the transfer and place face down onto the t-shirt knit. The trick is NOT to use an ironing board… should a hard surface like a table or the floor and place protective brown paper or an old t-shirt on your surface to protect it. Follow the directions of the specific transfer paper you are using.
Vintage Harvest Crate Stamp / Label Patches DIY Tutorial step 3 via
Step 4: Peel off the transfer backing…..
Vintage Harvest Crate Stamp / Label Patches DIY Tutorial step 4 via
……and cut out your transfer leaving about 1/8″ of plaint white knit around the edge.
Vintage Harvest Crate Stamp / Label Patches DIY Tutorial step 4 optional via
Step 5: Cut out a piece of Wonder Under or other fusible web product slightly smaller than your patch. Note: Do NOT use the fusible web that needs to be steamed in a second step (usually has backing on it)….the steam will affect the ink in your transfer.
Vintage Harvest Crate Stamp / Label Patches DIY Tutorial step 5 via
Step 6: Position your knit patch onto your t-shirt with the Wonder Under sandwiched in between.
Vintage Harvest Crate Stamp / Label Patches DIY Tutorial step 6 via

Step 7: Place a cloth over the transfer, press and apply enough heat from the iron around the edges to fuse the patch enough to keep it in place. The transfer will block much of the heat so you will have to continue fusing with the next step.
Vintage Harvest Crate Stamp / Label Patches DIY Tutorial step 7 via
Step 8: Turn the shirt inside out and place over the narrow edge of the ironing board and press the patch area with the iron to finish fusing the patch to the shirt.
Vintage Harvest Crate Stamp / Label Patches DIY Tutorial step 8 via
Step 9: Zigzag stitch or use an embroidery stitch around your patch to secure it permanently.
Vintage Harvest Crate Stamp / Label Patches DIY Tutorial step 9 via
Vintage Harvest Crate Stamp / Label Patches DIY Tutorial finished via
There are so many designs out there you are destined to find the perfect ones for your little girl or little boy! You can also use the patches for jeans, coin purses….so many possibilities!
Vintage Harvest Crate Stamp / Label Patches DIY Tutorial finished 2 via


  1. Natasha says

    Great tutorial. I also follow your blog through Google Reader, does that count as an extra entry?

  2. sofia's sketchbook says

    need to learn!!!
    need to try!!!
    need not to be affraid!!!!
    need to follow step by step and try it out!!!
    great tutorial…..i knew it was you!!!


    Thank you for the tutorial!! I follow your blog…I follow several but I get the most excited when I see that yours has a new post!! I recently bought the Paper doll dress pattern from you on Etsy and I'm LOVING how the dress is turning out…& I'm a beginner at sewing! Thank you!!

  4. Lorin and Heather says

    Thanks so much for sharing!! I have a little man that would look so cute in one of these!!

  5. Remembrances says

    Very cute t-shirts! I love vintage fruit/veggie labels. Very inspiring……now I must get busy!

  6. Marilyn says

    These are so cute. I didn't even think of scanning the crate right to the computer. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Annalee says

    I love it, and I'm pretty sure I follow your blog!

    I'm having fun with all of your fab tutorials! Thank you!

  8. Alli Cat Creations says

    I love your blog…….I knew that this was you when I voted for it….I can't wait to give it a try. Would look super cute on the sienna dress.

  9. threemoonbabies says

    I love this tutorial! I have some lemon crate labels that I would love to try it with. My son would look so cute in the shirt that you are giving away. I am keeping my fingers crossed:) Thanks!

  10. Your cool friend Cheryl says


    One of the first units I taught as a student teacher was Grapes of Wrath…so many memories of that book!

  11. Karen says

    Seriously cute! I can't wait to try this with a holiday card instead of the crates… or, may have to do a wine one for my girlfriend! It's perfect. I have you linked from my personal blog, so I guess I'm a follower! Thanks again- K

  12. Jessica says

    thanks for this! there are not nearly as many cute boy clothes tutorials out there as girl ones, so this excites me- it's adorable!

  13. Kristin says

    I was planning on leaving a xomment to say that I was hoping for this tutorial so thanks…but the giveaway is even better. I hope to win! I loved these shirts in the contest!

  14. margaret says

    thanks for another great tutorial! i haven't experimented with transfer paper, but that would probably involve us actually buying a decent printer…. 😉

  15. The Montalbos says

    I had you picked for something else, but I did love these shirts! I might be able to do that.

  16. picknstitch says

    Good idea. I actually own a book/CD of vintage fruit label designs because I think they're so beautiful, and now I know how to use it! Thanks!

  17. Attilio says

    i want to say thanks for sharing so many great ideas….
    had a horrible day as took my 3yr into hospital today,tests tests and more tests next week. praying God will look after us.
    so..i have a little boy whose up for a tshirt i guess!!!
    keep it up girl….love your blog
    becky in malta

  18. Cathe Holden says

    Marvelous post/tutorial!! I love that you distressed the crate label. I love that you appliqued the labels to the shirts for dimension. I love love love it!

    So enter me in your giveway, I'd just hang that little shirt in my studio to look at.

  19. Ashley says

    Amazing! I have a ton of transfer paper I bought in bulk at Sam's club. The 2 shirts I used it for did not turn out…perhaps I used an ironing board??? Anyway, this gives me inspiration to use them up :)

  20. Randy Bailey says

    What would the washing & drying instructions B 4 the finished project? Will the ink fade or run upon washing in washing machine? I am going to do projects like this with inkjet transfer paper, but was curious on how the project would hold up over time on washing & drying? Love your blog, very helpful! Love your projects!!


  1. […] a huge wine barrel-inspired tray with their name, date and the family’s ranch logo on it (the same one I used way back when for those Harvest Crate Label tees).  I think I’ll have to make one for us now too because it’s seriously the biggest […]

  2. […] The finished design.  The groom’s family grows grapes here in the desert so I wanted to incorporate that somehow with a grape leaf motif……I used an old grape crate from the ranch as a guide.  You might remember the crates from the Harvest Crate Label patches I made a few years back. […]