Friday, January 18, 2013

Handmade Christmas gift tags

 One recent project I've been working on is making Christmas gift tags out of 2011's Christmas cards.  I do this every year and I never have to buy tags.  I have tag templates that I use to trace and cut the tags,  and then punch small holes to string crochet cotton through (red, green, or white) or in some cases I use gold or silver cord as a hanger.  Many people probably have the paper punches that punch out tag shapes, and that would work great too. 

This year I decided to clear out the box I keep my tags in.  It was my grandmother's, given to me years ago filled with vintage tags, along with a bunch of wrapping paper she was getting rid of.  It's a sturdy box and the perfect size for tags, and ... did I mention it was my grandmother's?  She loved Christmas so much and, as I've mentioned before, wrapped her gifts with such an artistic eye, that throwing out her tag box would be unthinkable. 
One of Gram's tags
But it was getting a bit full, and clearly needed to be decluttered.  I sorted out tags that would work well for labeling items to sell at craft fairs and put them in a separate place.  Then I sorted out vintage tags, for possible sale on Etsy and elsewhere, and set those aside in a box where I keep vintage bits and pieces.

So after disposing of bits of ribbon, string, and card stock too tiny to save (plus some dust) I was left with a fairly neat and full box of tags.  Among them there was one handmade tag I'd made years ago and wanted to share with you all.

I think the idea may have come from Gooseberry Patch originally, but I tweaked it somewhat.  I made loads of these to label gift mixes I was making for our elderly parents.  There was room inside to write down the particulars of preparing some of the mixes.

 If you would like to make some, here is what I did.  You will need:  blank 3 x 5-inch index cards, scraps of Christmas fabric, pencil, scissors, fusible web, cookie cutters or other templates for designs, hole punch, crochet cotton, fine point permanent marker, buttons and hot glue.  Fold the index card in half and crease it.  Punch a hole in the corner, going through both layers.  Fuse fabric to web and trace desired designs  on the paper side; then fuse the fabric shape to the front of the tag.  Hot glue a button to the center of the design if you like.  Use the permanent marker to make little "stitch marks" around the outer edge of the fabric shape.  Cut a short length of crochet cotton and thread it through the holes in the corner of the tag.  You are finished!

When ready to use, write whatever message you like inside the tags.

Why not make up a bunch and have them ready for next Christmas?  When I did these before, I did the same fused fabric/button technique on plain old paper lunch bags, and they came out so cute.  I used them for the mixes.  This year, I found some white lunch bags at Walmart, and they would be great for this, though the brown ones look very nice.

I've been making lots of projects (mug rugs, place mats) out of my Christmas fabric stash,
"Christmas Tea" mug rugs
Front and back of another set of mug rugs made for a friend
Pieced placemat -- I am making a set of ten; I have completed five.
 and still am finding I have quite a few smaller scraps.  This would be a perfect use for these, I'm thinking.  So many projects, so little time!

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