Sunday, July 5, 2009

anatomy of my red, white, and blue 4th of july tags

During this round of making tags, I decided I would photograph the process. Here is an altered art (or collage) tag tutorial of sorts. I feel kind of odd calling it a tutorial as it is more of a process; after all, there is no real directions for creating/altering a tag.

1) I like to start with distressed manila tags. Plain ole manila tags will work just fine, too, but distressed tags already add so much texture. I like to buy mine already distressed from my friend Blanca at Magic Moonlight Studio. You could make your own using coffee, spices, and other delights from your kitchen (mine don't come out nearly as splendid as Blanca's though):
2) After removing the strings, I covered up the tags using some vintage ledger paper.
3) Next, I lightly distressed the edges of the tags using ink. I used Close to My Heart Exclusive Inks, but Tim Holtz distressing inks work well, too.
4) Next, using some stamps in my collection,
I stamped on the ledger paper. I wanted the paper to have a vintage letter feel.
5) Because I made these tags for the Red, White, and Blue Tag Swap, which I hosted, I added a flag image. After printing and cutting the image to size, I lightly inked the edges and adhered them to the tags.
6) Next, I embellished my tags a bit using a penny (to go along with the patriotic theme), a paper clip, a silk flower, button, and vintage lace.
7) Then, using strips of vintage sheet music, which I scalloped, I adhered them to the bottom of each tag, pleating them slightly upon gluing them down.
8) Next, I punched out a few hearts from some text paper. Using the hearts and buttons,
I made flowers to go on the side of the tags.
9) Next, using some red, white, and blue beads,
I took a hammer, and smashed them up in a baggie to make glitter.
Then, I glued the "glitter" to the bottom edge of the tag using glitter glue as an adhesive. It worked very well!
I made 17 tags like this for the swap.

On the back of the tags, I usually add my personal information with very few embellishments:

... and that's it!

See more of my tags or tag books here.
See more of my tutorials here.


  1. OOH I love these! I got my Tag swap in the mail today and I just adore EVERYONE"S tags! I am in awww at the creativity you ladies have!! 80) OOH and the smell of the tags! LOVE IT I am so going to have to buy some from her!!

  2. Oh, this is wonderful - the tutorial plus your tag! I'm definitely going to use this. When's your next tag book swap?!
    Jane - Jacksonville

  3. Hi Jessica,

    Your tags are wonderful and love the way you have given a tutorial for them.

    Have a great week

  4. Jessica, I loved your tag!!!
    Thanks for sharing your creativity! Like Jane, I'm ready for the next tag swap!

  5. You are so talented chicky!!! I love my tag book!!!! Thanks for the tips!!!
    ~Molly P

  6. I love how you made your tags... thanks for the tute! (I was wondering how you made the glitter, so thanks for telling us)

  7. Thank-you so much for the link and your kind words! and the Tutorial and your tag are Great!and Like Sandy, Me too, I'm ready for the next swap,Have a wonderful Day, Blanca.

  8. I love your stuff! You make the CUTEST things! I really love your work. I sound like a broken record when I come over here, don't I? LOL!

  9. This tutorial is great. I love tag swaps and you are right that it really isn't ovewhelming once you figure out your design. Then you just whip into assembly mode. I'm going to have to stop by more often in case you host another swap! Sorry I missed this one...

  10. Great tutorial Jessicca! Thanks for sharing, I'm going to have to order some of those yummy tags!

  11. I love the smashing beads to make glitter idea! and the tags are gorgeous...clever you!

  12. oh i wondered where you got the red, white and blue glitter! how original and clever!! thanks for sharing! suesue