When making things that go in bottles (primarily beer), I want to add labels to the bottles. I like the look of matte paper labels such as those found on fancy wine bottles, but I'm having difficulty attaching the paper to the glass. Superglue and PVA soak through the paper and somewhat spoil the effect, while glue sticks don't do a good job of adhering to the glass.

Which glue should I use to attach paper to glass?

If at all possible I'd like to avoid the need to rough up the surface of the glass. I could just use sticky labels, but they don't look nearly as nice.

  • I have tried milk, variations of cream, various glue sticks and glue gun and I'm still searching for something that works. I will try gelatine at a thicker mixture than recommended.
    – Dell
    Sep 30, 2019 at 17:39

6 Answers 6


We make beer.

We occasionally make labels for that beer.

The easiest, best cheapest way to attach the labels is... ready for this... you sure???


Don't know why, don't ask why. It works. You won't be able to wash the bottles without the label coming off but if you're brewing, by the time you're washing the bottle, you probably want the label to come off.

Because you're getting the entire label wet, it will evenly discolor but I haven't had major issues with the colors running or smearing. There's a helpful guide for it on "OnlineLabels.com". They even have a comparison photo of a sticker label next to a milk-application.

Comparison of sticker to milk application

Of course, they want you to buy their labels, so they make it sound onerous to do the application process. We've done a full 5 gallon batch pretty easily, so don't be too concerned about it. And if you try it once and hate it, well... you could switch to sticker paper. Apparently a lot of people use Avery brand sticker labels (the ones you might use for mailing).

Based on their instructions, they have you dip the paper in the milk... we found it was much easier to use a basting brush (or a cheap 1-inch chip brush from the hardware store) than to try to dip the paper.

For other options, see the related/identical question to this on our Homebrewing site - here. This answer, specifically, talks about using milk.

  • don't ask why. If I wanted to... does that not make for a good question here. Perhaps better for Chemistry or something like that?
    – Matt
    Aug 8, 2017 at 18:50
  • Good question, @Matt I'm not sure. I was mostly being tongue-in-cheek. I don't know why so there's really an implied "me" in the middle of that. It might make an interesting question for Chemistry.
    – Catija
    Aug 8, 2017 at 18:52
  • 1
    This was...not the answer I was expecting... Going to go and try it now.
    – walrus
    Aug 8, 2017 at 20:12
  • 7
    It worked beautifully and I got strange looks from my housemates!
    – walrus
    Aug 8, 2017 at 20:33
  • 1
    @bgmCoder There are often special considerations for different applications. Depending on the type of ink printed on the paper, the milk may cause it to run. I'd encourage you to ask a question (feel free to link to this one) and talk about your project specifically so that we can see if there's a better solution for you! :D
    – Catija
    Nov 14, 2019 at 3:51

I have yet to try this for my own home brew bottles but I've read (here, for example) that unflavoured gelatin powder dissolved in water also works in the same way milk does. Labels are supposedly easily removed when you wash them, and you avoid the possibility of the milk going sour and creating an odour. I haven't tried the milk method either, so I can't confirm the odour complaints of some home brewers.


I use UHU Glue Stick for my beer labels and it works a treat.

If I print on an inkjet printer there is always the risk of ink running if it gets wet. Laser-printed labels are much more robust and colour permanent.

The glue sticks do not last long and for that reason are not the cheapest way of labeling bottles.


We made a bunch of homemade hot sauce from ghost peppers and I made a label for it. I scanned the label and printed it on regular printer paper and cut it out.

Then I glued it to the bottle with good 'ole Tacky Glue. Works really well. I just used a little spatula and spread the glue on nice and thin. No bumps, and it sticks really well.

Of course, if the bottle gets too wet, the paper dissolves, but that's the paper's fault, not the glue.


For labels that should not come off when the bottle gets wet, hot glue.

In factories they use big(ish) machines to spray the glue on the bottles, but you can use a hand held hot glue gun as well.
Best on smaller labels, to allow you to spread the glue and attach the label before the glue cools too much.

And of course, keep the bottle on a reasonably warm temperature if you can, to stretch the working time.


Flour and water, combine so it is thin enough to brush on the paper, but not so thin that it soaks the paper. Work quickly and allow to dry before touching the paper or it will shift on the glass.

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