Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Precious hand printed gift tags.

This is a  nice and easy printmaking activity that can have gorgeous results, and you can do it in less than half an hour! Great for kids too, and easier that you'd think to clean up. Nothing adds a special touch to a gift like a handmade element, and these gift tags are just so sweet!

'Tis the season for gift wrapping!
You will need; Ballpoint pens (I used the brand new Paper Mate InkJoy), scissors, cardboard, block printing ink, two rollers, a palette knife or spoon, and some scratchfoam board. The scratchfoam is available from art and craft stores and is the same stuff used to make Styrofoam coffee cups.

Tape some butcher's paper to the table to create your workspace

If you are using small pieces of cardboard you will need to trim the scratchfoam so that it is smaller than the area of the cardboard. To mark out make sure that you press very, very lightly or that you use a texta. Any impressions that you make on the foam will print on to your card.


The printing surface is created by your pen making an impression in the scratchfoam. You don't need to press very hard, just with enough pressure to make an indentation. To make gift tags I used a shipping tag shape. I drew it free-hand for a quirky feel, but you could just as easily trace around one you have kicking around. Remember that everything will print backwards, so if you are writing you will need to be tricky and mirror image it.

Laying out your equipment before you print will make sure it goes smoothly


You need to roll your ink out a little on the paper until it becomes tacky. This makes sure that it spreads evenly on to your printing plate. You can tell when it's ready because it starts to make a sticky kind of noise as you roll and it forms little peaks.


Roll your ink out gently and evenly on your scratchfoam printing plate. Again, it is ready when the ink is tacky. Ensure that you don't apply too much pressure at this stage or you will flatten the foam and ruin your plate.


Place your plate on top of the paper being super careful not to move it once it has been placed or it will smudge like nobody's business. Use a firm and even pressure to roll across the back of the plate with your clean roller, taking special care to cover all the edges. You can make several prints from the same plate, just re-ink in between.

Peel your paper off the print...voila!
Easy, right? My prints have a textured appearance because I printed on to textured card. If you want a smooth, clean impression then simply use smooth card. Once they are dry all you have to do is trim them to shape and punch a hole if so desired.

Just un-stick your paper from the table to clean up
Now you have a stack of cute tags to attach to gifts! You can use this printing technique for greeting cards and all kinds of things. Scratchfoam prints can look striking framed as well. Simple to design, simple to print, lovely to give!

Tuck a tag in to some gorgeous twine

Add layers of washi tape for a funky effect

Layers of paper and tape create a lovely look



14 comments:

  1. super cute. I did some printing with foam boards in Uni a few years ago. must get some boards and do it again. great tutorial. cheryl xox.

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  2. Very sentimental! i would love to get presents like these ahah! thanks for sharing! i will use this idea now :]
    I just found your blog :] Follow for a Follow?
    http://tiasauraus.blogspot.com/

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  3. Love the gift tags and also the use of washi tape. I never really know what to do with mine!

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  4. Nat thanks for the inspiration. I need to get into gear and get in Christmas mode. So much to do and so little time... I love wrapping and styling the pressies :) Not only do I love your hand-made tags but I love your use of tape. I bought a whole lot in Japan earlier in the year but have just been using it as traditional sticky tape. I need to get more creative with it!

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