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Scrapbooking 101 - Tag You're It

Updated on November 16, 2015
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Lori has more than thirty years of crafting practice! She enjoys a variety of arts and crafts; decorative painting being her first love.

12 Tags of 2014


Not All Tags Are Created Equal

Tim Holtz, a household name in the world of scrapbooking, is the creative director for Ranger Industries. I personally love the look Mr. Holtz has created. I was searching the web for a particular item of his (sadly it's no longer available) and found myself on his website, On the sites home page I noticed "12 Tags of 2014" and immediately became curious. It seems each month scrappers upload a picture of their own tag creations. Not only can you view the tags submitted for 2014, you can view tags from previous years as well. These tags are truly works of art. In addition, each month Tim creates a tag himself and walks you through the process. If you become completely addicted and mesmerized like me, find Tim on YouTube - there you will find several video clips of him at various trade shows creating tags.

Manila tags from my stash.
Manila tags from my stash.

My Stash is Awesome!

I love my stash - well I should say stashes, is that a word? I have a yarn stash, a paint stash, and a scrapbooking stash. As luck would have it, I had some manila tags in my stash - amazing! So I quickly got to work.

A "tag" is just that, a manila price tag that you might see on an item in an old hardware store. When watching several of the YouTube videos I was intrigued with the layering of product (alcohol ink, stamps, paint) on the tags, in particular acrylic paint and ink. It is beyond me how one discovers these techniques but I was so ready to try it. Of course it was about 10 o'clock at night, but fortunately for me I had plenty of acrylic paint on hand, tags, stamps and ink pads - so I got to work.

It turns out acrylic paint resists ink. It is amazing to watch what happens. It which creates a wonderful and unique looking surface. You can layer a variety of mediums on the surface of the tag by adding different colors of ink, stamping an image and/or adding embellishments.

I guess most people use the decorated tags as an actual gift tag, but to me they are works of art and could be used for more than just a gift tag, i.e. decorate a scrapbook page or album cover, a journal cover or even frame them to be used as a wall decoration. You are really only limited by your imagination.

Let me know what you think of my tags, and don't forget to check out - you will be amazed!

My Rudolph tag.
My Rudolph tag.

My First Attempt

I cannot tell you how excited I was to find manila tags in my stash. If you are like me when you are wandering through the craft store there are time you just say to yourself, "I may need this for a future project," and you throw the item in your cart. Sometimes I use the item the next week, sometimes the next year. Brilliant!

I just couldn't wait to try my hand at creating a tag. I began by lining up all my supplies; tags, paint, ink, confetti, brush, sponge brush. Whenever I set out to start a new project my mind always goes to Christmas - I don't know why, I just love Christmas - not only the meaning, but the cold crisp air, the colors, the lights, the sparkle - everything! So I chose a new Christmas stamp I had purchased on clearance to be the focal point of this project, my first tag.

Acrylic paint resists ink and therefore gives you this amazing look - it's like magic. For me the trick was getting a nice even stamp of acrylic paint - that took some practice. Next I had to be patient (always difficult for me) and give the paint time to dry. That's very important. Ranger sells a Heat It craft tool - it's on my wish list - it allows you to dry your product, be it paint, ink, glue, etc. with just the right amount of heat but no "air" so it doesn't blow your project all over the place - brilliant!

After patiently waiting for the paint to dry, I added touches of ink and then with a soft cloth began blending and wiping away excess ink. I added just a touch of water to the corner of my cloth and took of some extra ink here and there to give the tag some shading.

Finally I added a few embellishments, including a red crystal to the reindeer's nose. I'll add some ribbon to finish it off. I was quite pleased with my first attempt.

My shabby chic tag.
My shabby chic tag.

Shabby Chic in Pink

The hour was late, but I was not ready to pack it in for the night. My mind was racing with ideas for my next tag. Perhaps a vintage look, I love vintage.

I had purchased some metal embellishments on the Internet and thought the leaf embellishment I purchased could be used as a stencil. Using a light touch I could achieve a subtle, abstract pattern as the background. I used my acrylic paint on a flower stamp to again create that muted but chic look to the tag. I inked my edges and added some pink ink. Upon rooting through my stash once again I discovered a gaudy, glittery butterfly- perfect. I pulled it apart, inked its edges and attached it to the tag. Next I added some paper flowers and seam binding tape/ribbon (which I also inked). Adding these embellishments to the top of the tag gave it that shabby chic look. I then added the "remember when" stamp and sprayed the seam binding with a shimmer spray. That completed the shabby chic look, very nicely too.

My vintage retro journey tag.
My vintage retro journey tag.

Hitting My Creative Stride

At this point the clock was not my friend; even though the hour was very late I was hitting my creative stride and didn't want to stop.

Since I began scrapping a few months ago I decided that on every trip to the craft store I would add at least one stamp to my supplies. I'm trying to build a collection of versatile stamps because I don't have many stamps and I really like what they add to a project. So I had just purchased a few new stamps, some were Tim Holtz stamps, some were not, but they all had a vintage retro vibe.

The large stamp I wanted to use had images of old newspaper articles and the women looked to be service women; I decided to use this stamp as my background for the tag. So I loaded the stamp with my acrylic paint and stamped the images on my tag - it takes a little practice to get a good image, but when you do it's magic. After my paint dried on my tag I inked my edges and then added a touch of red ink here and there to add some interest.Then, as earlier, with a soft cloth I blended the ink until I achieved the look I wanted. To finish off this tag I used the Tim Holtz Enjoy the Journey stamp set, added a few cut outs and then a piece of leather string and a ball chain to the top of the tag. This one is my favorite.

I was very tired by the time I cleaned up my mess and turned off the light, but I was happy.


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