Common Label Problems & Solutions

There are a few common reasons that labels do not apply properly to your bottles, tubes, or plastic containers. Our experienced staff will advise you on the best material, adhesive, and printing options available when you place your order. Thorough and specific communication with your label printer is a best practice when ordering self-adhesive labels. 

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To help us serve you better, we typically inquire about the type of container the label will be applied to, if the labels are applied by hand or machine, the environmental conditions where label application will take place, transport and storage conditions, and more depending on your specific needs.


If issues do arise with your custom labeled products, the following steps will help determine the cause of the problem:

Inspect the labels

Carefully inspect the label for liner cut-through, label curling, or a broken release liner. Also be on the lookout for adhesive that is either too aggressive or not aggressive enough. The problem could also be as simple as an oversized label

Check your containers

Be sure to check the condition of your container. The surface should be clean and dry and free of debris and oils. Containers that have been handled with bare hands are often the culprit when labels fail. Certain discount containers may have pronounced seams or uneven surfaces that affect label application. Plastic and glass bottles and containers can be inconsistently formed or asymmetrical, causing some labels to fail.

Consider the environment

Often it's not the label causing the problem, but the environment. Cold or damp bottles will not allow the adhesive to attach to the bottle and set up. As winter bottling has become more common humidity, condensation, and cold weather issues occur more frequently. Apply your labels in dry, room temperature conditions when possible.


Common issues with label application include:

  1. Scuffing or Scratching
    Can occur when labeled products are shipped long distances or frequently come in contact with each other.

  2. Wrinkling
    Most commonly seen with thin label material that has been improperly applied.

  3. Tearing
    We offer many durable label materials, including film, for label products that require tear resistance.

  4. Flagging
    Evidence that the label size it too large for the container.

  5. Peeling or Curling
    Peeling can occur when labels are applied in cold and/or damp environments.

  6. Inconsistent Color
    Inferior label printers have difficulty matching color from one label run to the next and sometimes even within a single order.

Common issues with tube label application include:

  1. Wrinkling When Squeezing Tubes
    Originates from the incorrect material being chosen for tube label applications, such as a rigid or semi rigid polypropylene material or worse, a paper label material. In very rare cases, the adhesive may be the problem but this is actually quite unusual.

  2. Flagging
    If your label is too large, even by a small amount not immediately evident to the naked eye, wrinkling or "flagging" may occur.

  3. Labels Falling Off
    Is the label too small for the tube? A tube label that is too small will cause problems when the label is designed to wrap around the entire container and adhere to itself. Even if the label wraps completely, if the amount of overlap is insufficient, acceptable adherence may not occur. Similarly, with varnished labels that wrap, an unvarnished area should be left at the point of overlap to allow proper adhesion. If your tube labels are not adhering, the unvarnished area may be too small.

  4. Peeling or Curling
    Peeling can occur when labels are applied in cold and/or damp environments.

  5. Inconsistent Color
    Inferior label printers have difficulty matching color from one label run to the next, or even within a single order.


Considerations when ordering tube labels

To avoid the issues mentioned above, be sure to utilize a fully squeezable white or clear film material with an adhesive specifically designed for tube applications. Verify the correct size of the label, the overlap area (if applicable) and always test before going into production.


The simplest way to avoid common label application problems is to work with an experienced label printer like Advanced Labels. We also offer resources for you to learn about labels and label application in a special section of our website called the Label Learning Hub. Understanding the basics about labels and containers, while communicating any concerns you may have with your label printer are vital to the success of your packaging.