How-To: Antiqued Gift Tags

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How-To: Antiqued Gift Tags Hey wehearters, ready for another Crafty How To? Once again, the clever Katie, has found a way for wannabe DIYers to join in the fun with a simple project, Aged Gift Tags. It’s a craft project with countless uses – hang these adorable tags from the next bottle of wine you bring to a dinner party, use them to dress up bagged lunches for the family with a little note or just tie one around a gift (and don’t forget to store a few with your gift wrapping supplies.)

Today’s lesson also serves as an introduction to the great craftster art of dying with tea. Used to great effect to “age” these vintage garden inspired gift tags, this technique can also be used for party invitations, scrapbooks, secret treasure maps and much more. Once you have mastered tea and paper, you may feel inclined to move on to tea and fabric!

For now, grab the following materials and let’s get started:

• 2-8 tea bags (depending on how many tags you want to make)
• Inkjet printer
• Cardstock (Tip: Quality counts here, do not go cheap on this!)
• Scissors or a craft punch

• Cream acrylic paint
• paintbrush

Materials for How-To: Antiqued Gift Tagsphotos: Katie Guthrie for we heart this

Prep Work:
Boil your tea. If you just want to make one page of tags, two family-size teabags (or four regular) will work. If you plan on making more, go up in increments of one family-size (or two regular tea bags) per sheet of tags, with a limit of six family size (or ten regular).

Step One:
Print the page of tags that I’ve made for our project. I chose a secret garden/fairytale theme and all of the images are from antique books – cool, huh?

You can use your regular inkjet printer for this. I tried some tags in color but those don’t work out so well because the color bleeds. So, I think black ink is better but I always encourage you to experiment! Also keep in mind that the quality of the cardstock matters, if you use cheaper paper/cardstock, it will not hold color as well.

To print the Vintage Gift Tags, click on the link below and then save the image to your desktop to print.

Vintage Garden Gift Tags – Full Size

Step Two:
Cut out your tags. I used a scallop tag craft punch, but you can just use your scissors and cut any shape you like.

Step Three:
Place your tags into the tea. If you are just making a couple, you can use a mug. If you want to make several, pour your tea into a larger dish with some depth. Also, this method is good if you want to separate your tags so they don’t touch each other. That will provide more even dyeing. However, I found that I prefer the tags to be touching each other or sticking out of the tea some. This creates random light spots or streaks that I think contribute to the aged look. This part is up to you and this is where the fun comes in!

Anything that is touching your tag as it sits in the tea will leave a lighter design. So, have fun with it! (i.e. cut out a heart and place that on your tag as it dyes). Leave sitting in the tea for several hours. Overnight is easy but if you want to wait, four hours should do it. If you don’t leave it long or streak/splash the tea on instead, it gives a watercolor effect, which is pretty too.

Tags placed in the tea

Step Four:
Punch a hole in your tag and tie a bow. Ta-da! You’re done. You now have pretty, vintage style tags.

Optional: Need a sturdier tag?

Collage images of Glued newspaper pages to the tag and trimmed

1. Glue a sheet or two of phonebook or newspaper pages to your tag, and then trim to size.
2. Paint both sides of the tag with cream or white paint. Let dry.
3. Place in tea just like the above instructions. I love the effect! The cream paint leaves interesting streaks and it doesn’t look like it’s painted at all (see the last image).

Have fun with this everyone! See you next month for another How To to help find the crafter in all of us!


  • Katie

    Frugal. Jewelry maker. Hard worker. Creative crafter. Coca-cola addict. Reader. Curly-haired. Over-analytical. Open-minded.

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  1. @katieg -Are you trying to put yourself out of business?? Just kidding! I have been eying these lovely tags in your shop for awhile. I certainly appreciate now having the ability to make my own if I so choose. Thank you for sharing the crafty love!! BTW-What does Destash mean? It is probably super obvious. I just can’t figure it out.

  2. I love tea staining products! I’ve never tried it with paper (wet paper makes me all squicky) but I’ve tea stained lace and linens to make antiqued fabrics. Great tutorial @Katieg !

  3. Haha, @kellie76 – I’m glad to know you’ve had your eye on them! I’m happy to share and I’d love to see your results. And Destash means decluttering your stash of supplies!

    @mandaleem – i love the wet paper comment, haha! I quickly transferred my wet pieces to get a bit of sunlight, which sped up the drying process a ton. So just bear through the wet feeling for a minute! Haha.

  4. Having spilled tea on myself, I know how staining it can be, but I’ve never thought of dying with tea on purpose, @katieg. This is brilliant! Thank you for sharing your secrets.

  5. @katieg – I couldn’t heart these more! You are one crafty gal. I love having gift tags, but always have a hard time paying for them for some reason. Paper and ribbon, no problem. But tags my wallet shuts for, weird, eh? So, I love the idea of making my own.

    And a special thanks for the download, so great!!

  6. I remember a teaching showing us how to tea stain paper – a map to make it look older -back in elementary school. She also burned the edges for that burnt, ripply edge look – I thought it was so cool. (Bet teaches can’t play with matches in school anymore.)

    That’s the last time I attempted to dye anything with tea – thanks for the primer @katieg!

    And the vintage garden theme is adorable. I’m thinking of trying this project with a deep green printing color (I tried it with a navy blue and it worked out nicely – maybe darker colors are ok?) on creamy yellow/beige paper – for an elegant summery feel.

    I guess now I just need to look out for that squicky wet paper – heh @mandaleem

  7. @katieg I am with @Stef you are one crafty girl!! And as a fellow crafty fiend I commend you on these all! They are so pretty! I love the key hole on them.. so pretty! And the link to the printable images! They are all so pretty thank you for sharing them!! The tip for sturdier tags is so great too, it almost makes them look older!! so cool!

    I love using tea-bags to dye stuff.. works for old fabrics too….Turmeric is another good dyer.. makes it all bright yellow!! Good for bumble-bee stamps!!

    Also Beet powder is a good one..if you mix it with the tea it goes all pink and brown.. so pretty!

  8. These are seriously cute! Such a great idea. I love seeing ideas from fellow craftsters! Thanks for sharing @katieg!

  9. I really love these tags and can’t wait to make some. Thank you so much for sharing the technique!

  10. have you ever baked the tags after dying? it makes them shiny and even more antiqued looking – I’m going to try it and wondered if anyone has advice on temp and duration?

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