So lately I've had an itch to make some tea-stained tags. I haven't made them in awhile, but between those and scrapbook pages, that's pretty much what got me started on Etsy several years ago. I love to bounce between crafts, but making these tags are so much fun, so I make them now and again. If you haven't tried your hand at making them, here's how easy it is!
Products you will need are:
*Cardstock. You can find cardstock just about anywhere. Because I like to sell the things I make on Etsy, I try to purchase high-quality cardstock. My favorite place to get mine is from Close To My Heart. I used to be a consultant for CTMH and I have never quit loving their products! I LOVE the quality of their cardstock. I know Stampin' Up has great materials also. Anyway, choose colors that are neutral. ..white, beige, tans, etc. Something along those lines will work just fine.
*Tea or coffee. Tea bags work fantastic. If you do not have tea bags, then any tea or coffee will work. Just seep it strong and have paper towels or other soft material (cloth) handy.
*Hemp String. Packaging string, ribbon, or the like.
*Stamp. If you desire to choose to stamp a design. If not, then skip this step.
Instructions: (You'll never believe how easy this is!)
Step 1: Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Step 2: Cut out your tag shape. I use either a tag stencil or my Cricut cutting machine. In the past, I cut all my tags by hand. In fact, I literally traced each tag and then cut them out. It was worth it, but with my Cricut, the cutting goes much faster! Another way that someone could do this is by ordering the tags in bulk that are already cut for you. That works, but I just love to cut my own.
Step 3: Lay out your tags on something that you can stick into the oven. It could be foil, parchment paper, a cooking sheet, a baking pan. Anything, but just make sure it is clean of marks or your tags could be stained by something other than the tea.
Step 4: Take your moistened tea bag and dab the tags all over with it. You can see the tea (or coffee) on the tags. You can mottle it however you desire. I have made them heavily stained, lighter stained, extra mottled...meaning I dab it in some areas, but not others; or dab stronger in certain areas. There is no right or wrong way to do this...Just have fun!
By the way, this last time I used simple Lipton's Cold Brew Tea Bags. They brew cold and worked amazingly well. It was just so quick!
I have also used raspberry tea for a pinker color. Different teas or coffees will give you different shades of color.
(Your work space may not be as messy as this when you are finished. I just happened to make a lot of tags this time around!)
Step 5: Place the tags in the preheated oven. This temperature is low enough that you do not have to worry about burning the tags and it really speeds up the drying process. I am not sure exactly how long it takes to dry them, but it isn't too long. Just keep checking every few minutes. I flip them over when I check them, though it probably isn't necessary.
The tags will curl a little when drying. I happen to kind of like this characteristic to them. However, if you want them flat like before the drying, then take a warm iron to them. It will flatten them right back out.
Actually, I have used an iron from the damp stage to the drying stage when I wanted them flattened and just skipped the oven drying step. It works too. If you are using an iron designated for crafting, make sure that the bottom is clean or use a piece of clean cloth between the tag and the iron so there is no staining form other previous crafting on the tags.
Here are some other options to consider:
*Double-stained. When I have wanted my tags super primitive-looking, I stain, dry, and then stain again.
*Using coffee makes a darker stain.
*Purposely getting the grains from the coffee or tea on your damp tag, drying the tags, and then brushing off the grains when dry can give it some additional textural appeal.
*One of my favorite tips is to crumple your tag and then only gently flatten out. Tea-stain and then bake/dry as normal. I LOVE the extra primitive look with the added wrinkling. If I can find one of my photos from doing this, I will add soon.
The final steps are pretty obvious: Stamp an image on your tag using your choice of stamp (or leave plain), and use the hemp string (or other choice such as packaging string or ribbon) to string through the hole. Just loop and tie, or string the way I did with the ones in my photo.
You're finished! Attach to a gift or tie around a jar of homemade jam that you made for someone special for a nice, personal touch!
In case you don't want to make your own, but would love to have some tea-stained tags on hand, here are some of the tags I have listed on Etsy right now:
My tags have been used for gift tags, jar tags, tags added to packages of handmade soaps, added to wares sold at vendor shows/craft shows, pinned to the dresses of primitive hand-made dolls, and accented old-fashioned weddings. I have loved all of my customers that I have had the pleasure of working with!
By the way: Notice on these tags I made that around the hole there is no "reddish" ring as seen in many tags like this. In my next post, I will show you how to add this when making your tags handmade. Stay tuned!
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