I'm looking for a good way to make labels for SD cards.

I'm thinking something involving a label maker so that I can cover up the label with the brand that most SD cards have.

However, beyond just "buy a label maker" I'm wondering which brand? Do I need to do something to get a small font? Advice for not wasting tape / managing that cost?


There's a natural tendency for people to want to offer ways to avoid the problem all together. People might suggest things like "Just back up your photos and delete" or "3D print a wallet to store your materials" or "Use a database (notepad or actual database) to track your cards".

Thanks, but no thanks. I want to label my SD Cards, which is why I'm asking this specific question. I'm not asking for a new way to do things, and that discussion is beyond the scope of this question.

I treat my full SD cards as a backup and just start with a new card whenever one gets full. It's kind of like a giant roll of film. Once it's exposed, it's done. Beyond that, I have a lot of SD cards that I use for a variety of purposes.

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    SD cards and other forms of flash storage are not really suitable for long-term archival storage. There's a reason people make some of those suggestions - I would heed them and at least have a second copy somewhere of all the photos you don't want to find have bit-rotted away next time you go back to take a look at them... – twalberg Nov 24 '19 at 22:07
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    What is "the problem" that people are avoiding? – Please Read Profile Nov 24 '19 at 23:16
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    "someone might find this post years from now" - In which case the recommendation for a specific label maker that you've requested has a good chance of being obsolete. – xiota Nov 25 '19 at 9:44
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    To be honest, I'm also having trouble taking "managing the cost" seriously. Sixteen meters of label tape costs less than $10. – Please Read Profile Nov 25 '19 at 9:46
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    This question about label makers has little to do with photography. – xiota Nov 25 '19 at 9:47

The Brother P-Touch label makers have a thin label. I have the PT-1290, which is many years old and still going. It has multiple font sizes, but it depends on how much text you want to put on it.

I've used it to number my SD and Compact Flash memory cards. I've had no problems with the labels in multiple cameras and card readers.

I'll reiterate what many have said about using them as backups. Any backup system needs to have multiple backup locations. A good portable drive will last many years if not left plugged in and running all the time. You can get a 4TB or 5TB drive for about $90 as of November 2019.

Don't be surprised if the cards just stop working in a few years (5 to 10 depending on write cycles). The data cells in an SD card carry a charge that will dissipate over time. They also have a very high failure rate.

  • Look, I don't plan to use the SD cards ever again, that's why they're backups. I move the pictures I want to Dropbox and google photos (which is low-res), I copy the SD volume to an external HD, but keep the SD cards as backup. I also never overwrite photo SD cards. But when I goofed up my backup drive in 2016, I was glad to have the SD cards for a few pictures from 2004-2007 that never made it into Dropbox and predate google photos. I also try to periodically copy my backup to a new backup and store it at my aunt's house. – geneorama Nov 27 '19 at 15:23

I know a trick

First of all you cut up a piece of paper and after writing on it with pencil you put a layer of transparent adhesive tape which goes around the SD card wrapping the paper to the SD card

This is how the final result looks like.

What makes this method better is the fact that you can use any kind of pen or pencil that works on paper. I have used Pilot Hi-Techpoint V5 and I still managed to fit in information from the phone number (Which is something I usually name the SD card in Windows while adding Contact Information.txt inside the card. This way people managed to reach me and give back my lost SD cards on multiple occasions) to the shooting date etc. You can use 0.1mm pens or techincal drawing mechanical pencils if you truly want to fit in lots of information.

You can also simply swap the labels by simply removing them which doesn't leave any traces or anything.

The first thing I do after getting an SD card is removing the brand sticker and doing this. I have been using this method for a long time and I am yet to see an "sticker" with curled up ends or the SD card getting stuck inside the SD card slot. Even if something happened you can always get scissors or a sharp object and use the notch on the bottom front part of the SD card to pull it off.

  • I will give a picture of it when I come back home – Delta Oscar Uniform Nov 25 '19 at 5:36
  • How do you read what you wrote on the paper if it's covered with duct tape? – xiota Nov 25 '19 at 6:21
  • @xiota the only duct tape sold in Turkey is transparent while the black ones are what electricians use. There is no such thing as opaque tape here. – Delta Oscar Uniform Nov 25 '19 at 6:23
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    Thanks, good answer. I think the key is taking off the company label. I'm still interested in a label maker, and after some research I think that key is to get a high resolution label maker. I thought you were messing with me when you said duct tape, I wouldn't have guessed it's a regional thing. – geneorama Nov 26 '19 at 3:10
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    @geneorama you can always get some "sticker labels" which are basically paper with adhesive on the back (Which is basically band aid) but my method lets you use anything that you can write with and you can find tape and pen anywhere on the planet (unless you are an American with opaque tape I guess :D ). Also I strongly suggest you to put CONTACT INFORMATION.txt inside the SD Card just in case you lose it and someone finds it for you while putting your cellphone number as the drive name of your SD card and on the card I have multiple occasions where someone contacted me when my cards were lost – Delta Oscar Uniform Nov 26 '19 at 12:08

SD card slots have little clearance. Putting additional labels on the cards risks the card getting stuck in the slot. Or the label rubbing off inside the slot. Or the slot being damaged.

Consider purchasing cards that already have a blank area on the label for writing. Another option is to put the cards into envelopes, sleeves, or card holders that have room for labeling. This would also work for micro SD cards.

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    Although it's a good point, I think your point about clearance would be more appropriate as a comment since it doesn't answer the question. – geneorama Nov 25 '19 at 6:29
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    Purchasing cards that already have a blank area is a nice idea, but I don't see any in the top 50 or so results on Amazon. Plus, I can't write that small. I'd like to say things like "2019-03-24 to 2019-04-29 (+Michigan visit)", or "Raspbian, ver: March 2019, networked, timelapse". – geneorama Nov 25 '19 at 6:37
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    SanDisk SD cards all have space for a label. It is just one line, so you will have to write small. I think the concern about clearance is very legitimate. Consider a number + database solution. – Please Read Profile Nov 25 '19 at 9:27

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