You may be asking yourself: “Why would I DIY holiday gift tags when I can write directly on the package?” Sure, DIY gift tags aren’t imperative, but just like any piece of artwork, they exist to cause a reaction. The reaction to a lovely handmade tag will undoubtedly be excitement and feeling special! In the case of food, they say that you feast with your eyes before you take a bite — and the same can be said for gifts. A beautiful presentation can enhance the experience and is a fantastic prelude to the discovering what is inside the wrapping paper!
Today, I’m going to cover two simple techniques to make DIY holiday gift tags that are sure to be cherished by your recipient for years to come! In the next TPK blog post, I’ll share two more tutorials … because why make only one variety of gift tag when you could make four? 😉
1. Vintage Ornament Gift Tag Concept
This time of year evokes nostalgia; people love listening to old-timey Christmas jingles and watching movies like It’s a Wonderful Life. Holiday traditions now don’t differ much from the traditions of yesteryear: we still put out the same decorations, we listen to the same music, and we put our presents under the tree. This ornament gift tag pays homage to timeless tradition because it has a quaint, 1960’s vintage feel to it. Its construction is simple; first, you’ll start with a gray piece of card stock. Use a pencil to trace around a circular object on that card stock. In the photo below, I’m using the lid to a bottle of ink that is 2″ (~51 mm) in diameter. However, your circular object can be any size you want!
Once you have traced around your round object, use your pencil to free-hand draw a little tab.
Carefully cut out your shape.
Next, go around the edge of the ornament with an eraser to get rid of any remaining pencil guidelines.
Once your guidelines are erased, you’ll want to calligraph your gift recipient’s name on the ornament. I am using the Amy Style Envelope Helper (from the Amy video course) to prepare my ornament for writing Amy Style calligraphy, but you can use any calligraphy style you want.
You’ll notice that I centered guidelines from the Envelope Helper in the middle of the ornament. If you don’t have the Envelope Helper, feel free to free-hand draw guidelines similar to those pictured below!
This next step is optional, but never a bad idea: write your gift recipient’s name in pencil to ensure that it’s nice and centered. Again, I’m using Amy Style calligraphy, but any calligraphy or lettering style would look great!
Use a dip pen and black ink to calligraph the name.
Once the name is calligraphed, you get to have fun with some simple illustrations! Start by drawing a laurel branch in the upper right corner, as shown in the photo below. The leaves should just be outlines so as not to draw attention away from the calligraphy. Next, draw a simple lines-and-open-circles motif in the lower left corner.
Continue to draw variations of laurel branches. You’ll want to paint simple yellow flowers on the end of a branch or two; this is best done with gouache or yellow acrylic paint (because both types of paint are opaque).
Feel free to draw/paint design elements just like the ones shown below on your own ornament!
Here’s the crafty and clever part of this project! Cut out a ~1.5″ x 0.5″ (~38 mm x 13 mm) rectangle of aluminum foil; whatever you have in your kitchen will work great.
Apply some glue to the ornament’s tab.
Place the aluminum foil rectangle on top of the tab, making sure the straight bottom of the foil extends to the round part of the ornament.
Turn the ornament over, and trim the top and sides of the aluminum foil. The top of the aluminum foil should extend about 0.25″ (~6.5 mm) past the top of the ornament’s tab, while each side of the foil should only be slightly smaller in width than the tab.
Fold the top of the aluminum foil back over the ornament’s tab, as pictured below.
Fold the right tab in …
… Then fold in the left tab! The back of the ornament will look something like this:
Flip the ornament over, and this is what you’ll be rewarded with!
At this point, you can tape the ornament directly to a package, or you can punch a small hole in the top. I have opted to do the latter.
String some ribbon through the hole you punched. Your DIY holiday gift tag is now officially ready to add pizazz to any present!
The vintage ornament gift tag concept can be modified in an endless number of ways. For example, you could choose a different color of card stock, cut it into another traditional ornament shape, use a different design motif, and/or write in the calligraphy style of your choice! Feel free to experiment!
2. Mini Love Letter Concept
Why not prelude your present with a tiny envelope that contains a surprise of its own? This DIY holiday gift tag concept requires a little bit of cutting and folding, but it is a simple tutorial nonetheless, and the results are well worth it! You’ll want to begin by cutting out the Miniature Envelope + Card Template, which you can download for free by clicking here.
Next, identify a piece of paper — any piece of paper — that you’d like to make an envelope out of. I have chosen to use a page from a vintage book.
Use a pencil to trace around the template on your chosen piece of paper.
Cut around the lines you traced; the result will look something like the cut-out pictured below.
Next, fold in all the flaps of the little envelope.
Glue the two side flaps to the bottom flap.
At this point, you can either write your recipient’s name directly on the envelope; or you can calligraph the name on a small rectangle of paper (which you will then glue onto the envelope). There’s a lot of text/imagery going on on the front of my envelope, and I don’t want my calligraphy to visually get lost as a consequence, so I am opting for the latter option. My rectangle here is about 1″ x 0.5″ (~25.5 mm x 13 mm), but your rectangle’s size doesn’t really matter. As long as it is smaller than the envelope, it will look great! (By the way, the ink I am using here is Dr. Ph. Martin’s Iridescent in “Copperplate Gold”, and the calligraphy style is Kaitlin.)
While your ink on the small rectangle is drying, it’s a good idea to prepare a little card for the inside. Use the Miniature Envelope + Card Template to trace a little rectangle on any piece of paper or card stock. Then, use Kaitlin Style calligraphy to write a message in the center of the card — for example “Happy Holidays”, “Merry Christmas”, etc. You can frame your message with laurel branches or laurel wreaths; for inspiration, visit the 10 Ways to Draw Laurel Wreaths tutorial. (I used a variation of “The Julius Caesar” from that tutorial in the photo below.)
While you’re waiting for your “Happy Holidays” ink to dry, you can go ahead and glue the calligraphed rectangle to your envelope.
Next, you can write a little note on the back of the “Happy Holidays” card. Heartfelt words make any gift that much better! (I am using a white Gellyroll pen to write opaque white cursive.)
Tuck the card into the envelope.
Close the envelope with the aid of a tiny dot of glue. Then, light a match and use it to melt 2-3 drops of a crayon to make a DIY wax seal.
Tuck your envelope gift tag under some ribbon on a gift, and prepare to delight a lucky friend or family member!
Like the vintage ornament concept, the mini love letter gift tag concept can be modified in any way that you wish. You could include a little DIY envelope liner, seal the envelope with washi tape instead of wax, make a mini folded card to tuck inside the envelope … whatever you want, really!
Both of the DIY holiday gift tag concepts were created to inspire you, so please feel free to experiment with different materials and techniques! You don’t have to follow my instructions to a T, by any means! I’ll be back next week with two more gift tag tutorials, so if neither of these tutorials quite do it for you, check back then. 🙂
Thanks so much for reading TPK, and enjoy your weekend!