how to mark components on breadboard?

Thread Starter


Joined Oct 9, 2019
What is the best/easiest/neatest way to mark components such as R1, C2, LM1458#1 on the surface of a breadboard? My breadboard is growing complicated and I need to mark the component location because my memory often fails me. This is a solder-type breadboard, not a solderless breadboard.

I tried indelible ink, but it does not work well. I tried rub-on letters, but they are difficult to use.

How are other people doing this?


Joined Jan 18, 2008
I use an ECAD program (Eagle) for my breadboards. All I need to do is refer to a printout to see the label for every component. Of course, you could use magic marker or gummed labels, but that might get messy.


Joined Dec 19, 2007
Look for "Ultra Fine" Sharpies. "Fine" Sharpies are like a ballpoint. "Ultra Fine" is a very fine felt tip, that writes over most surfaces.
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Joined Apr 11, 2010
What does the breadboard surface look like?

For use on a typical punch breadboard, I’ve printed a list of components. Then, with a hobby knife I cut a strip for each component and trim to length plus some extra for a tab. Then, I push one of the component leads through the tab and into the breadboard.


Joined Jan 18, 2008
My original reading of the TS was that he wanted to mark individual components (e.g., C1) on the board. I do not do that. However, like @DNA Robotics, I do label some devices, like switches and pinheaders. Avery labels will work, but I usually use a thermal printer on plastic tape (like Brother). It will print down to 6 pt with clarity, and they seem durable.

Here's an example (not 6 pt) :


Joined Jan 6, 2004
If I do, it is for connectors and keyboards/pusbuttons. Even the most obvious as a precaution against the idiot in me.


Joined Apr 11, 2010
Now that I’ve seen the type of breadboard, I’d like to add to my suggestion.

Print out a list of components to be labeled and carefully trim the labels with a hobby knife as before.

Then head to a stationary department and buy a bottle of rubber cement. Also, see if you can buy a cheap package ($1) of hobby paintbrushes. You’ll use these to apply the rubber cement as the brush in the bottle is too big. Get a package of several, as it’s not worth it to try and clean the rubber cement out of them after use. I’ve also used coffee stirrers from my local coffee shop as rubber cement spreaders.

Brush a little cement on the back of the label. Be sure to coat out to all edges. Set it aside.

Brush a coat over the label location on the breadboard. Don’t worry if you cover more than the label area. In fact, this is a good thing. Don’t do anything yet! Read on...

Rubber cement works best when it’s almost dry. Watch the two areas until the rubber cement surface is dull; no longer shiny. Then carefully place the label in position (get it right the first time. it’s difficult to reposition). Lightly burnish with the brush handle and let dry further. You can move on as at this point, there is nothing too dry.

Once you’ve placed all labels and the last ones have had a while to dry (15-20 minutes), then rub all edges of the labels with a finger, small stick or pencil eraser. This will remove the extra rubber cement and leave the breadboard nice and clean.

Another tip, especially for ink jet printers, is to buy some clear lacquer spray paint. After printing the labels and before cutting, apply a couple of coats of clear lacquer. This will help prevent the rubber cement from affecting the print and also create a more permanent label.

You can also buy decal sheets for a PC printer. With a few coats of clear lacquer, now you can label the breadboard with decals. Soak in a little water and slide the decal on the board. The downside of this technique is that without buying a special printer that prints white (they make them), you’ll be limited as to the color of the labeling. It may be difficult to see the letters on the breadboard.


Joined Mar 30, 2015
My breadboard is growing complicated and I need to mark the component location because my memory often fails me. This is a solder-type breadboard, not a solderless breadboard.
I use Eagle to layout a board and the component designators on the board and schematic eliminate the need for labeling. I do a board layout even when I wire point to point.

This is 5 discrete NAND gates. I think I used labels for the headers.


Joined Jan 18, 2008
With Eagle, you can print out a "silkscreen" for the whole board (that is the layer with all the part names on it) on a clear water-slide decal base and make it any color you want. Then using the lacquer/clear acrylic spray technique mentioned by @djsfantasi apply it to your whole board. No need to drill holes in the mask. Just stick the part leads through it. Here is one of several backings I found:

Look for water slide decal paper. Some vendors even sell a "special" lacquer for it.

Oh, the method I mentioned above can be used for either soldered or solderless breadboard. I usually use it with soldered breadboard.