Labels have a "preferred size" that the LayoutManager tries to respect. As a rule that is "just big enough to hold the String". The size of the string depends on the Font that you are using and the String itself of course. You can try to pad the label with spaces to add width. The idea is that you really don't WANT to specify the size, because when it looks good on your machine it will look bad on the next O, or when the user messes with the size of the screen etc.
"JavaRanch, where the deer and the Certified play" - David O'Meara