How to Make CD Labels With Photoshop

Updated February 21, 2017

If you've just finished the breakout CD for your band, compiled a collection of road trip tunes, or saved a vacation's worth of photos onto a CD-R or CD-RW, dress up that plain disc with a custom label. Use Photoshop to lay out your label before printing it onto a pre-cut CD sticker. The key is sizing your designs and text to fit the sticker, and experimenting with placement and colours within the Photoshop workspace.

Open Photoshop and create a new file by clicking "File," then "New." Name the file "CDLabel," and set the dimensions to 4.5 inches by 4.5 inches. Click on the "Mode" menu and select "CMYK Color." Click the "White" button under "Contents", and then click the "OK" button. The CD label workspace opens.

Select the "View" menu and choose "Fit on Screen." This won't increase your label size, it just gives you more room to work.

Use the "Paint Bucket" tool on the "Tools" palette, and pull down the "Fill" menu at the top of the screen. Select "Pattern." Click inside the "Pattern" box and select a background design for the CD label. Background choices include silk, snowstorm or checkers. Slide the "Opacity" bar down to 25 per cent, and click inside the "CDLabel" box. Your pattern is set.

Click the "Type" tool, which looks like a "T" on the "Tools" palette. Select a font, size and colour from the text toolbar at the top of the page. Click inside the "CDLabel" box and type the name of the CD, band or a personal message.

Choose the "Move" tool, which looks like a black arrow head and cross, on the "Tools" palette. Drag the text into place on the CD label.

Click the "Paintbrush" tool, double-click the "Color Picker" below it, which are the two overlapping coloured boxes. Select a paint colour. Click "OK", and draw designs such as skulls, fire flames or music notes onto the CD label.

Turn on your printer and load in CD label paper. Pull down the Photoshop "File" menu and click "Print." Select your printer from the options and click the "Number of copies" box up to the number of CD labels to print. Click the "Print" button to print the labels.


Add more text, such as the name of your band's latest single or the date of your vacation. Keep in mind that you will print on a round label, so avoid text in any of the four corners in Step 4. Keep text out of the very middle of the box, where the sticker will have a hole.

Things You'll Need

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Printer
  • Ink
  • CD labels
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About the Author

Fionia LeChat is a technical writer whose major skill sets include the MS Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher), Photoshop, Paint, desktop publishing, design and graphics. LeChat has a Master of Science in technical writing, a Master of Arts in public relations and communications and a Bachelor of Arts in writing/English.