Wednesday, February 28, 2007

How to Make Grubby Tags

Grubby tags are a great addition to any scrapbook page. They can be used as tags on baskets, packages or even as Christmas ornaments too. You can make them as elaborate or as simple as you wish with decorating. The directions below are for the simple basic grubby background to the tag.

3x5 index cards ( You can substitute boughten shipping tags but I like using index cards - they are less expensive and you can make them any shape or size you want.)
3 heaping tablespoons of instant coffee ( the more expensive brands will give you a darker color - if you use a cheaper brand you may want to add more)
1 cup of boiling water
Few drops of vanilla ( I like vanilla for a scent, but do use cinnamon oil at Christmas time...the choice of scents is yours)

Directions:Cut the index cards into the shape you want and punch a hole in the top ( I have used star shapes, Christmas trees, bells, snowflakes besides the standard tag shapes)

Mix the hot water, instant coffee and vanilla well then apply with a sponge brush to both sides of the tag place on a drying rack to dry ( I use an old window screen but a baking rack will work also)

Let the tags dry thoroughly turning them over a couple of times . If they dry to light you can restain them.To hurry up this process place them on a cookie sheet in a low temperature oven for a few minutes

If you would like the tags to have a motley effect spray them with a bit of water before completely dry.Should the tags curl up ( I find this happens more often when I dry them in the oven) press them with a old iron on the cotton setting ( a pressing cloth may be used if you dont have an old iron)

You should also stain the string you use - embroidery thread may also be used as string as well as torn homespun or raffia

Once they are completely dry the fun begins. Writing should be done with a permanent sharpie marker.Embellishments such as mica flakes, buttons, rubber stamping, bottle caps, vintage copies of photos, vintage images can all be used. Also like to paint on the tags with acrylics.If I do more than just write on them I do modge podge them. If the items you add seem to light colored just add some of the staining mixture to them with a q-tip.Let your imagination and creativity run wild and have fun making tags !

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