But I discovered that Filters/Distort/Polar Coordinates... does a great job at it.
All you need a decent well-designed template to start you off and you're on your way to do most of the fun work, designing.
Here's the template with sample design preview: Instructions:
- Download the above template .xcf file (not the preview) and it in GIMP.
- Have a look over at the sample design layer see how things are placed. Top of the image/template will be toward the outer edge of CD/DVD label and bottom of the template will be toward the center of the label.
- Create a new layer and design your own design with text or graphics or whatever. If you wish to not distort graphics you can add it in after you've distorted the text (it's up to you).
- Lightest gray color indicates the standard image area of the label.
- Medium gray color indicates the extended image area of the label if you wish to extend your design into this area.
- Darkest gray color indicates the additional maximum space towards the hole of CD/DVD label that you can also add design to.
- The guide that divides the template in half tells you that one half (left) will be the top half of label and one half(right) will be the bottom half of label (notice how the text on the right half is rotated 180 degrees so that when mapped to polar coordinates it'll be right side up when viewed properly).
- Onces you've finished the design, turn on/off whichever layers you want visible on design.
- Goto Layers/New from Visible.
- Now select this Visible layer and Go to Filters/Distort/Polar Coordinates... and use below settings (uncheck "Map from top", and use offset angle of 90 degrees).
- Once applied you'll have a round distorted label to use.
- Copy this layer and paste it on a new image. Then Crop to content and you should have a final product ready to be printed.
- That's it, have fun.
Here are some more samples with graphics added before and after the polar coordinates: