Saturday, June 19, 2010

Vintage tag tutorial

Happy Friday everyone! Several people have asked me how I did these tags so I decided that I would just tell everyone all at the same time here on my blog in the form of a tutorial! So here it goes....
Start with a tag any kind will do however I suggest you gesso it well because you are going to be using water for the image transfer and my tags fell apart when I attempted to do it without gesso-ing the paper tag!
Next choose a few papers that you like (text or music or a pretty scrapbook pattern) glue them down in a composition that is pleasing to your eye, let dry. You can also do some stamping on the tag at this point I stamped some pretty script on one of my tags. Next I added my image transfer, now you can use any image transfer technique that you know how to do but I have found this way to be the best and easiest way to get a clear, crisp, detailed yet translucent image ( normally I like the totally distressed half missing faint ghostly image transfer for projects,but for this project I wanted crisp and clear ), so the products I will describe are what I used to achieve this look!
But before you do the next step put a thin coat of matte or polymer medium and let dry to seal your papers or the water you will be using will peel the paper up. Print out an image onto  Kodak Ultra Premium Photo Paper, I like this paper because it makes a great and durable skin because of the nice top layer of emulsion it has, let it dry for a few minutes- I'm also using  the Epson Dura Bright inks (not sure how this stacks up but its been a great fade resistant, smudge resist, and water proof ink for me)  don't forget to reverse any text if that is what you are transferring. Put a thin to medium coat of Golden Polymer Medium onto the image (careful not to get any on the back of your image or you won't be able to rub off the back coating of paper) I use the polymer medium because it produces the most crisp and clear image although it is a shinny gloss finish, if you want a matte finish all you have to do is when dry put a thin coat of Matte gel medium over it. Anyway, coat the image and glue face down on the tag and let it dry for a while make sure it's really dry,  if it's a little wet the image will just stay on the paper and not transfer. Wet the back of the photo paper with water and begin to rub off the paper backing until the image is seen, if it is milky white when it dries try wetting it a bit more and rub again till you get as much of the paper coating off as you can. If you cant do that without ripping the image then let it dry and use the polymer medium to coat it, The polymer medium will make it look clearer like when you had water on it, you can still coat it with matte medium later when it dries for a matte look. After all that is dry you can distress either with Tim Holtz distress inks or dry brush some vintage white acrylic paint (I did both), it doesn't matter how you distress them so use your imagination here. I also used the Tim Holtz Tonic paper distresser to rough up the edges a bit. Embellish with some vintage numbers or letters or what ever floats your boat here!  print and cut out text strips of your favorite quote, scriptures, saying and glue on, attach some ribbons/fibers and DONE!  


  1. Very cool!! Thank you for taking the time to share! I love it, I will have to get some of those supplies next month! Have a great day!

  2. Sooooo beautiful - much thanks for the tutorial. Another new transfer technique to try! One of these I might find one that I'm actually good at :).

    The images of the women are lovely - where are they from? I'm always up for enlarging my collection of women's images for collage work. These are very striking.

    Thanks again -

  3. These tags are gorgeous--very rich.


  4. WONDERFUL!! I love your tags and I'm so glad you shared your technique. Now I need to get some gesso, polymer medium, distress inks.....

    Hugs, Ashlyn

  5. Very nice tags Melissa. You do lovely work.
    Coleen in Ukraine