details, details ~ making tags…

would you like to visit “little thief’ on etsy? click here

Having finished Little Thief and needing, desperately, to revamp my neglected etsy shop, I decided today it was time to get started, and I chose to start with a seemingly insignificant detail ~ new tags for my work.

I really have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to stamps and ink, but I had a clear vision of what I wanted my tags to “say”.  I wanted them to “say” that they looked old but not dirty, primitive but graceful, I wanted them to be soft on the eye and above all simple to make.  6 hours later, I had my tags all done.  6 hours may seem like a long time to spend on such a trivial detail, but, fortunately, art is about process and journey, and besides this project was FuN!

Here’s what I did:

gathering materials

For someone who knows very little about the stamping/scrapbooking world, I seem to have lots of supplies.  So, I got out my Distress Inks, of which I have a plethora, and narrowed them down to two colors I really like ~ Walnut Stain and Antique Linen.  I also needed plain tags, which I purchased some time ago at an office supply store, and some stamps.  Does anyone else accumulate things like stamps?  I seem unable to resist purchasing stamps, they’re just tiny works of art and so whimsical….  I feel sad for the stamps that are sitting on store shelves unused and unloved, I just have to bring them home!

cinnamon and coffee ~ who can resist?

Coffee and cinnamon are two heavenly aromas, so I use them whenever I can.  For this project, I put a splash or two of coffee in a small frying pan and added the stark white strings from the tags.  They’ll soak for several hours and, hopefully, come out of their bath a pleasing tan color.  The cinnamon will be used to sprinkle on the tags, once they’re stamped, which will add a layer of depth (I hope).

little tag on a big stamp

With my supplies at hand I started stamping.  I have to admit, it took me a good long time to figure out that life would be much simpler if I placed the small tag on the ink-loaded large stamp rather than the other way around.  I’m hoping that the image on this large stamp will lend the grace I’m looking for to the end result.  For these tags, I used Antique Linen on the background stamp.


After trying several different methods of aging, I finally came up with the idea of using shiny tissue paper as the ultimate ink-rubbing tool.  I wanted something that wouldn’t absorb the ink or leave brush strokes or stippling.  I found some shiny tissue in a shoe box and it worked very well.  I dabbed the ink pad with the crumpled tissue and rubbed it onto the stamped tags, starting at the edges and working in.  I did a layer of Antique Linen ink over the whole tag first, and then used the walnut stain just on the edges.

before and after

It was exciting, for me, to see how the rubbed-on ink pulled the stamped bits to the fore.  I’m hoping that the tags now look aged, but not too grungy.

Stamp 2

Next, I centered my custom stamp, which has my info, on the tag.  I used the Walnut Stain ink for this bit.  Though I used the background stamp and aging technique on both sides of the tags, I used the custom stamp on one side only.  Now, I’ll be able to write things on the backs of the tags like the title of the piece and the name of the designer.

cinnamon bath

The final layer is a dusting of cinnamon.  The tags were the tiniest bit damp from the rubbing of ink, so, even though I wiped them well after the cinnamon layer, there was still just a hint of aroma to the tags and a bit of visual softness, as well.


And so, another day passes in simple quiet fashion… a lovely day, filled with lovely fragrances and soft colors, and time ~ time to reflect on how the smallest of details can bring peace into the main…

I hope you found some simple beauty and quiet peace today.

happy labor day,






7 thoughts on “details, details ~ making tags…

  1. Rebecca,
    I think you accomplished what you had envisioned! Your tags are beautifully, softly aged and very elegant. Thank you for taking us along on each step. Hugs, Lori

  2. Fabulous!!! I’ve dyed my tags before but they are never dark enough – so since you let yours soak for so long I’m going to try that. Your tags are just perfect.
    Thank you for sharing your technique!

thank you for spending some time with me!

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