Labelling Insteon Keypad Buttons Using a Brother PTouch Labeller and Clear TZ Tape

Now that I've organized my Insteon Keypads at the front and side doors, and have some sensors installed that are providing useful information, the next step in my project has been to label the keypads, so that my other family members have a better chance of understanding what I've done and operating the system.

Smarthome will sell you packages of pre-labelled buttons with a variety of phrases, and also will sell you custom etched buttons, where you provide the phrases you would like labelled. I haven't tried either of these options yet. I thought that I would start with some simple, self adhesive labels until I'm comfortable with the entire system architecture and organization, then once I'm content with all the button labels, I may consider an upgrade to custom etched buttons.

Smarthome also sells blank button kits - which I've used for my two main entrance doors. This is a simple option for self labelling. I've also tried cleaning off the printing on the standard printed buttons. A little research on the interweb lead me to acetone free nail polish remover. Handily, there was some available in the bathroom, so I tried it out on a test button. A drop on a facial tissue, then a 10 or 15 second scrub with the button upside down on the tissue, and the lettering is very neatly removed, with absolutely no damage to the plastic of the button. Magic!

Use Acetone Free Nail Polish Remover to remove the labelling from stock standard Insteon Keypad Buttons
 The next step in the process was to experiment with TZ Tape sizes and printing options. I settled on 3/8" / 9mm tape, and tested out some labels on white standard label tape. I found that Medium size text, bold, gives very good readability and a good size for button labels.

TZ Tape Trials - Top Left Label - Large Text Bolt, Middle and Bottom Label - Medium Text Bold

Here's the Medium Text Bold Label, 2 lines, 3/8" / 9mm tape below a standard Insteon Keypad Button

I found using a knife blade point to hold a corner of the label, made centering and levelling the label easier when applying to the button. 

Here's the label installed. Note the small defects - everything has to be kept clean during the labelling process to avoid defects.

Brother PTouch TZ Clear Tape - 3/8" / 9mm

Labelled Button installed on standard 6 button Keypad frame - When all are labelled, this simply screws back onto the Keypad. 
The following image shows the completed Keypad Keys. The two exterior door keypads are on the left, labelled identically. The right keypad is for the Master Bedroom, with a simpler set of options.

Three Keypad Button Frames with PTouch TZ Tape Labelled Buttons.
Use a small magnet attached to your screwdriver tip to help with holding the small phillips screws that attach the button frames to the Insteon Keypad
This is how the labels look when illuminated - quite good, very legible.

Well, that's all there is to that. I'll keep this up to date with experience labelling other Keypads. So far, so good. Post a comment if you have any questions.


  1. How have the labels held up with use as far as wear, peeling, and discoloration?

    1. It's been six years now since I've labelled these keypads, and they still look fine. The labels haven't moved, none have peeled off, the text is still perfect. Because there is a slight rise at the edge of the label due to the thickness of the label, it collects some grime, but that happens over time and a wipe down from time to time keeps the buttons looking clean. These held up much better than I could have expected. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  2. Thanks for this!

    INSTEON doesn't seem to have the clear button caps any more. I've used these in the past, and they were perfect – so this is a great alternative.

    I'm planning to print mine on clear peel-and-stick Avery labels. A Laser printer can print much crisper letters (especially at smaller font sizes) than a labelling machine (which looks a bit ragged to me).

    Thanks again – this has been a huge help!

    1. That's an interesting idea also - you're right that the Brother label makers don't have a great resolution, but they're functional and they stick very well. Let me know how the Avery labels work out - that sounds like a good idea.

  3. Thanks for doing this write-up! Was exactly what I was looking for.. I had figurd I was going to have to scratch the stock labeling off of my buttons. I just used regular acetone, which removed the stock labels with one quick swipe, it did however take a bit of the shine off the plastic.. That didn't matter for me though, since I was putting a new clear label right over top.

    Also, I didn't cut my labels to fit, I left them long when I put them on, and just used a sharp razor knife to slice them down to size one they were attached. This made them very easy to line-up on the buttons.

    1. The trick about trimming the labels after is a good idea. I'm glad you found this post useful.