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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Make Your Own Vintage Hang Tags Tutorial

Hi everyone, I am joining Jan's Primitive Linky Party over at The Primitive Outhouse and so decided to make up a tutorial on how to make your own vintage hang tags.  I don't know about you, but it is almost impossible to find hang tags in stationary stores around here any more.  So I decided to make my own using card stock, some vintage graphics and my computer. I don't have a fancy PSP graphics program or anything, I just use my Microsoft PictureIt! program that came with my computer. You will also need:

- cardstock (kraft paper colour or white)
- scissors and/or a paper cutter
- ruler
- pencil
- hole punch
- glue stick or craft glue
- vintage graphics (download free graphics off the internet or you can also purchase vintage graphic tag sheets on-line, see the links in my tutorial)
- brayer
- twine
- sand paper
- Tim Holtz Distress Ink (or equivalent)
- Sparkles Glitter Writer (or equivalent)
- embellishments if desired (buttons, brads, rusty safety pins, etc.)

I use a kraft coloured cardstock that I buy at Michael's.  You can use white card stock if that's all you have and if you want it to be nicely aged looking, just give it a little bath in some coffee or tea and then dry it.  You'll get a nice "wrinkly" texture if you do that as well which is perfect for a real primitive look.
First, cut out your hang tag shapes from the cardstock.  I make mine about 4 1/4" long by 2 1/8" wide and use my paper cutter but a pencil, ruler and a pair of scissors will work just as well.  Cut the sheet into 4 1/4" wide strips to begin and then cut those strips into 2 1/8" wide hang tags.
When you have your tag shapes all cut out, measure up the angled corners.  Stack your tags and trim off the angled corners, I find I can do about 3 tags at a time with my little paper cutter.  You can make the corners any angle or length you'd like, I usually cut off about 1/3".
Yep, starting to look like hang tags!
Time to add some vintage graphics to the front of the tag.  There are lots of sites out there where you can download free graphics, some of my favourites are The Graphics Fairy, Reusable Art and Vintage Holiday Crafts.  But there are lots more, just do a Google search for free vintage graphics.  If you don't feel comfortable making up your own collage sheets, you can also purchase premade sheets on-line, a great place to start looking would be at EweNMe Printables, PatternMart or Crafty Avenue.  If you've purchased premade collage sheets, print out your file as directed and cut out the vintage pictures.  If you have downloaded some free graphics to your computer, here's how to make up your own collage sheets.  Just open your vintage graphics or pictures with your picture editing program.  I use PictureIt! and open multiple pictures at one time so I can see and edit them all together to save time.
Resize and/or crop your pictures to fit onto your 4 1/4" x 2 1/8" hang tags.  Also, make sure they all have the same pixel dimensions when you resize them so you don't end up with really huge or really tiny pictures when you make up your collage sheet (next step!).  I always make my pictures 300 pixels per inch since that is the size PictureIt! uses when it creates a new project.  Your program may be different, so just check out the size of your new project when you create it to see what pixel dimension to use for your photos.
Next, create a page to put your vintage photos on.  In PictureIt!, click File (upper left), click New and where it says 'Select a canvas size', choose custom and set the measurements to 81/2" wide by 11" high, portrait configuration.  Click save.
Next, drag your vintage pictures from the right sidebar onto your newly created project sheet.
Just drag and drop them all and then rearrange them so they are evenly spaced on your page.  Now would be a good time to save your new project as well so that you can just print out this sheet the next time you want to make up some more hang tags!
Now print your vintage collage sheet.  Under File (upper left corner), choose Print and then click where it says Change printer settings.  Your printers set up box may look different than mine (I have an Epson printer) but all you are looking to do is to choose a photo quality print on regular or plain paper.  Save your printers settings, then choose how many copies of your collage sheet you'd like to print, choose print exact size and then print your collage sheet.
Cut out your vintage pictures with either your paper cutter or scissors.  I have also just torn the edges of the pictures if you want a really aged look.  Now comes the fun part, aging your pictures!  I struggled with this for a long time because the ink in my printer is NOT water proof so every time I tried to age them with tea, coffee or paint the ink from the printer would run and smudge and they looked like heck.  Then I discovered this wonderful product!
Distress ink by Tim Holtz, I love it!  I get it at my local Michael's store in the stamping department and I like the Walnut Stain but you can get it in other colours as well.  I also bought an inking pad to apply it with but you can just use the Distress Ink pad itself to apply the ink, it's just a little big to use on smaller pictures.
Just load up your inking pad and rub the Distress Ink onto the edges of the picture.  I find using a light circling motion gives you a nice diffuse line.
Distress Ink all of your photos, let them dry and then get ready to glue them onto your hang tags.
I like using the glue sticks, they are easy to use and clean up with soap and water but you could use any craft or contact glue that you have on hand.  Apply the glue to the back of your picture and then place it onto your hang tag.
Now some places will tell you to use a fancy brayer to adhere your picture to your hang tag but you know what works just as well?  Your rolling pin!  I just wrap mine with some plastic wrap in case there is some glue on the front of the tag and then roll the hang tag to make sure the picture is adhered well and that there are no air pockets underneath it.  You can then head right on into the kitchen and whip up a pie as you are waiting for your glue to dry ;O)
Next, punch the hole in your hang tag.  If you are really type A you could measure it so it is centered but I usually just eyeball it!
Next, add a piece of aged twine.  I soak a big ball of cotton twine in a coffee, vanilla and spice mixture then bake it in the oven at 250 F till dry for an old time feel.  Just watch it closely so it doesn't burn!  And voila, a vintage prim hang tag.  It is certainly ready to use at this point in time but if you want it to look older, keep on reading!
Take your wonderful Distress Ink and put some on the edges of the hang tag too!  Want to give it a little sparkle to juxtapose with the aged look?  One of my favourite embellishments is Sparkles Glitter Writers (the bottle says the website is but it links to another website now?).
Again, I purchased it at Michael's (are you detecting a trend?  It's the only craft store in my area LOL!).  The bottle has a really small tip so you can add just a wee drop of glitter here and there on your picture.  I love the look of the old, aged picture and tag with just a hint of sparkle on it!  I don't usually add too much, just a few drops here and there, on this picture I just added some glitter to the flowers.
Want it really aged looking?  Then grab it in your fist, scrunch it up and then smooth it out again so it's all wrinkled and used looking.  Take a wee piece of sand paper and scuff up the edges so it looks worn.  Add some embellishments such as buttons, brads, rusty safety pins or whatever else you have on hand.  Print some words or a saying onto your hang tag if you have room above or below your picture.  If you're afraid of 'free handing' your lettering, just open up a Word document or Wordpad and type out the words you want in a font you like.  Size it so it will fit onto your hang tag and then print it out with your printer.  Use a piece of carbon paper to trace the letters onto your hang tag and then go over the words with a felt pen or even the Glitter Writer.  Voila, perfect lettering!  Here's my finished vintage hang tag.
 Thank you to Ewe N Me Printables for this cute vintage bunny image!  Have fun making your own tags, it's easy to do and you can add your own personal flair to each and every one.  I often include a few hang tags as a wee 'gift' with purchase when I sell my crafts at Etsy or at my selling blog and I have also used them as business cards; just print your business information onto the cardstock, then cut out your hang tag shapes and embellish away!  If you have any questions about this tutorial, give me an email and I will try to help if I can.  Just remember I'm no computer expert, I just like to play around to see what I can create.  There are lots of folks out in blogland who know way more than I do, so if you have a technical question if might be better to go searching for a real expert!  Thanks so much for stopping by and hope you'll hop on over to Jan's blog to join in the fun at her linky party!  Just click the button below and go blog hopping, have fun!
Come join the fun at The Primitive Outhouse's Linky Party!

Also joining these linky parties!

Sunburnt Cow Handmade Shop
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  1. Thanks for the hang-tag how to husband will be happy..another trip to glad there's a Borders next door so he can go read a book. :-}

  2. This was a great tutorial, Deb - you put a lot of effort into it - thanks so much for sharing! ~*~Lisa

  3. Wow! Deb this is fantastic!! It is sooo hard to find tags in the stores!! I am going to try this for sure! Thank you for linking up! ~Jan

  4. Thanks for a great tutorial! So far I have been lucky enough to find tags but with all the downsizing some of these places are going through, I may have to try this.

    Thank you!

  5. Great tutorial:) It is very difficult here as well to find the real good Manilla Tags, these day's they are all the Yellow ones:( I have made my own a couple of times but still....not the same:(. Another tip. If you can't use the brown Kraft card (hard to come by here) take a sheet of normal white card and tea/coffee stain it before you cut and decorate them...I know not the same but still gives a nice look

  6. Love the tutorial Deb! Thanks for sharing. I've been thinking about you and your family - wondering how everyone is doing...*HUGS*

  7. This is such a cute idea and one I think I could do! Thanks for sharing your how to! ♥♥♥

  8. What a great tutorial. I found your blog on the Sunburnt Cow's Link Party. I am sure I will use some of your ideas for my hang tags. Thank you!

  9. Hi Deb,
    thanks for the wonderful tutorial!!
    Thank you also for entering my giveaway and for posting on your SB.Good luck to you!
    Have a great day.
    XO Marie

  10. A fun post...lots of nice instructions! Just wondering if your "chick" arrived from me yet..hope so...and the other two made their way to their new homes...have a nice day!!

  11. Hey Deb! Great tutorial! I've made some plain ones but think I'll try a few of the vintage art ones. I love Deena over at Ewenmeprintables!

  12. Wow, Deb, what an amazingly detailed tutorial. This is super helpful. :)

    I use Tim Holtz's stuff, too. He has such great products.

    Thanks for linking up to the Sunburnt Cow party.


  13. Deb, what an awesome tutorial!! Thanks so much for spending the time and posting it :)


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