12 tags of 2014 – june…

DSC00308 3.37.51 PM
if you love the look of blended watercolor and looking for a different way to create colorful backgrounds, this month’s tag is just the thing.  like many crafters, i have a new love and appreciation for using stencils on my cards and projects.  their unique and often bold shapes allow me to incorporate them by layering with other imagery.  layering with stencils is key in my opinion.  of course there are so many different ways to use layering stencils, but today i wanted to show one of my favorites that is also in my book “a compendium of curiosities vol.III”.  this technique also incorporates the new mini distress inks, but you could use your regular size distress pads too.  i just prefer the convenience of being able to add color to smaller areas with these little guys.  so before we start i want to remind you not to judge the success of this technique until you dry it.  the look and effect of this watercolor monoprint using a stencil often changes when it’s completely dry.  the definition and detail really come to life so hang in there and have fun playing with both color and design – here we go…t!m


  • surfaces: distress watercolor cardstock, #8 manila tag
  • layering stencils: star
  • stamps: cms182
  • dies: stamp & framelits- french flight
  • embellishments: mini gears, game spinners, mini fasteners,
  • trimmings: crinkle ribbon
  • distress ink: mini distress ink pads- assorted
  • archival ink: jet black
  • adheisves: foam tape
  • tools: mini ink blending tool, detailer waterbrush, heat tool, craft sheet, mister, vagabond, magnetic cutting pad

DSC00268step 1: gather various colors of mini distress inks and a layering stencil.

DSC00269step 2: begin tapping or lightly rubbing the distress ink on the back of the layering stencil (since we will be “printing” the design i always get in the habit of inking the back of the stencil – this is really important when working with things that have letters or numbers so they don’t print backwards)

DSC00270step 3: continue inking the stencil until you have color in most areas.

DSC00271step 4: generously mist the inked stencil with water from a mister to react the distress inks.  remember, distress reacts with water so the color will actually become more intense now and blend beautifully.  *note: this is the one step what you will need to play with to find the right amount of water that works for the look you want to achieve.

DSC00272step 5: lift the stencil from the craft sheet and place it on to the smooth side of distress watercolor cardstock.  *note: i found this technique worked on many surfaces including directly on to the tag, but the watercolor cardstock provides more “play” with the colors and water which i prefer.

DSC00273step 6: place the inked layering stencil directly on to the cardstock.

DSC00274step 7: while the stencil is on the cardstock, press down over the entire design using a paper towel to print the color as well as immediately absorb any ink that might seep out inside the stencil openings.

DSC00278step 8: lift the stencil off, set it aside, and immediately dry your print with a heat tool.  *note: as i mentioned in the opening, this step is very important since initially the image appears blurry and washed out at times.  heating the image defines the color and design much more than what you see while it’s wet.

DSC00279check this out…colorful and cool don’t you think?

DSC00280step 9: cut the cardstock to fit the tag, tear the bottom edge if you wish, and adhere to the tag.

DSC00282step 10: ink the edges with distress ink using an ink blending tool.

DSC00283step 11: stamp the butterflies image from the “french flight” framelit set using black archival ink.

DSC00284step 12: stamp the butterflies a second time on the smooth side of a piece of distress watercolor cardstock using archival ink.

DSC00286step 13: stamp the creativity verse on the tag along side of the butterflies using archival ink.

DSC00285step 14: watercolor the butterflies using your mini distress inks by swiping the waterbrush directly across the pad.

DSC00287step 15: continue coloring until desired look is achieved (make sure to color outside the lines for this one), and dry with heat tool.

DSC00288step 16: place stamped images on magnetic platform over a clear cutting pad.  place framelits around the image and die cut.  *note: you can use any stamped image and hand-cut around them if you don’t have this stamp/die set.

DSC00289step 17: die cut all butterflies (see why it’s good to color outside the lines?).

DSC00290step 18: ink the edges of butterflies with distress ink using ink blending tool.

DSC00291step 19: apply a small piece of foam tape on the back of each butterfly behind the body area only.

DSC00292step 20: secure each butterfly to the tag slightly bending the wings to create dimension.

DSC00293step 21: embellish the tag using mini gears, game spinner, and mini fasteners.

DSC00295step 22: apply various colors of mini distress inks to craft sheet.

DSC00296step 23: mist the inks with water from a mister to react the inks.

DSC00297step 24: press 2 cut pieces of crinkle ribbon into the inks until covered. (i cut the ribbons at 8″ and 24″ for my tag)

DSC00298step 25: crinkle the ribbons into a ball and dry with a heat tool.

DSC00299i love how the custom ribbon matches the tag background perfectly…

DSC00301step 26: next we’re going to make what i refer to this as the “paula bow” – start by inserting the short ribbon through the hole in the tag as shown.

DSC00302step 27: take the longer ribbon and secure one end under your thumb as shown.

DSC00303step 28: wrap the remaining ribbon around your fingers until you run out.

DSC00304step 29: slide the loop of ribbon from your fingers and pinch in the center to hold as shown.

DSC00305step 30:place the loop on to the top of the tag and tie the short ribbon around the loops to hold.

DSC00306step 31: tie again to create a knot and trim ends of ribbon if needed. cool right?  thanks to my friend paula cheney for that great bow trick!

DSC00313 3.38.05 PM*the details: i really like the colors in this background, the coordinating ribbon, and of course the dimensional stamped butterflies…

DSC00322well i hope you like this technique, but more importantly i hope you take time to play with this technique.   try different stencils, different colors of inks, and even different surfaces to create these colorful watercolor backgrounds.  i wanted to share a few of my other favorite layering stencils for this technique…

stencils1 stencils2

congrats to the winners from the may 12 tags of 2014.  if you see your name (and it links to your tag), please email mario@timholtz.com to claim your prize…
1. S@ndy Diller
2. Danielle Mack
3. Lisa F
4. dj@CardsPaperAndScrapbooks
5. Karen Knight
6. Katy Leitch
7. Katie K
8. Nikki Acton
9. Lottie Luvs Lilac
10. chris
11. Cheiron
12. Donna Buchner

*be sure to check your local stores for these supplies or you can
click the links below to purchase online…
(SSS=simon says stamp / IE=inspiration emporium)

GREAT NEWS! both of these online stores are offering a discount of 10% off your purchase – use the following codes with your order:
(SSS code: 10JUNETH / IE code: timtime)


Crinkle Ribbon (SSS|IE)


click here (SSS|IE)


Distress Watercolor Cardstock (IE|SSS)


click here (SSS|IE)


click here (SSS|IE)


click here (SSS|IE)


Distress Mini Ink Pad Kit 3 (SSS|IE)


click here (SSS|IE)


click here (SSS|IE)


click here (IE|SSS)


Mini Ink Blending Tool (IE|SSS)


Mister Bottle (SSS|IE)


Heat Tool (IE|SSS)


click here (IE|SSS)


Metal Game Spinners (SSS|IE)


Mini Fasteners (IE|SSS)










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211 Comments to “12 tags of 2014 – june…”

  1. Marilyn C. Lojek says:

    great colors – love the technique

  2. DANEE says:

    Technical a super simple card but …..WHOA… what impact. I am head-over-heels for most of your background techniques and this doesn’t disappoint. Sadly I haven’t splurged on your stencils yet and I guess this will be the impetus I need to get them. Can’t wait.

  3. debi boring says:

    BeaUtimous!!! Hey Mario! Tell Tim NOT to throw away those beaUtiful paper towels! Layer 4 of them together, with a coat of watered down glue in between, and the 4 layers will seal itself and give a really cool see through ish look where you can see the colors peeking through from all the layers. Cut into 4 pages and bind into a very cool little book! (or send them to ME haha… and I’ll make a book for you!)
    Always loving your inspiration…

  4. Joan D. says:

    Oh, wow! These are beautiful. Never would have thought of inking the back of the stencil. Can’t wait to try. Thanks so much for the never-ending inspiration!

  5. barbara lassiter says:

    The water color look is one of my favorites and I’m so glad it works so well with one of my favorite inks(Distress of course). Love this tag…its beautiful!

  6. Dodie says:

    Wowzers! Last night I kept clicking on the link to your site to see if the new tag was posted. I was so excited to see what you created this month!

    I read the directions and then went to my craft space to create three thank you cards using the printing-on-the-back-of-the-stencil technique. I used them for backgrounds with a simple “thank you” stamped from the simple sayings stamp set. Easy as can be as well as fun and adorable. I can’t wait for the opportunity to create a tag for this month’s challenge.

    Thanks for all you do, Tim!

  7. Melissa Hoffman says:

    OMG! Genius. I know what Im gonna do with the new stencil I got.

  8. cheiron says:

    This has got to be my favorite technique from the book and I can’t wait to try it on this month’s tag. Love the bright colors on these. Thanks for picking my tag as one of the May winners!

  9. Kathy Eddy says:

    What a bright and fun tag! I love the bow! Great idea!

  10. Karen Duncan says:

    WHEN I first saw this tag and saw butterflies I thought “Tim Holtz doesn’s do butterflies”. Then I saw all the techniques and I thought “oh yes, definitely Tim”. Great job!!!!!!!

  11. butterfly says:

    OMG those backgrounds are cool! Really looking forward to playing (and playing and playing) this month! Congratulations to all the brilliant winners too…
    Alison x

  12. Kelly Karas says:

    very fun. I am not really a pastel person, but i really really love this look! thanks for bringing me over from the dark side 😀

  13. rach says:

    Wow! This is a great tag. I had fallen out of love with all my Tim Holtz products and completely missed the butterfly die release. Thank you for this tag, I feel really inspired to use my Tim Holtz products again now. Rach x x x

  14. kaz says:

    This is my favourite tag yet……just beautiful and such a fabulous technique, thanks so much for the inspiration!

  15. Cathy Wegner says:

    I love it! So bright and pretty!! You are the man, Tim!!

  16. Angele says:

    Love these Rainbow colors, nothing better than play with ink and water and end up colorful too (only the hands hopefully). Great inspiration for the start of summer! Thanks T!m!

  17. Wilma Fox says:

    What a lovely bright tag just right for our dreary days of Autumn.

  18. WendyT says:

    Beautitful and a new way to use my stencils!

  19. Dana Davis says:

    Wonderful technique Tim……..Beautiful tag!!

  20. Janet Castle says:

    WOW…love what you do with the stencils Tim!!! Cool look!

  21. Debbie Myers says:

    I love this tag!! So refreshingly easy and playful!! Love the colors and I especially love the technique of using stencils to stamp with on watercolor paper.

  22. Norma says:

    This is totally my style, I love the colors and the butterflies. I’ll try to do it. =)

  23. Loraine says:

    Beautiful love the array of colours x

  24. Norma says:

    This is totally my style, I love it. I’ll try to do it. =)

  25. Sharon. Storm says:

    Looks like I have some shopping to do. Love it.

  26. Mou Saha says:

    This is just GORGEOUS!

  27. Ann Marie says:

    Have I been out of the game so long I didn’t even know there was a round blending tool? Zoiks!

  28. Mary Werner says:

    The colors really WOW when using this technique and that ribbon is gorgeous! Thanks

  29. Gina H. says:

    Another awesome technique T!m!! Thanks for keeping us inspired!

  30. Carol P says:

    Beautiful as always! Thanks for sharing.

  31. Noreen says:

    I like the way you use the stencil for printing – an interesting idea. It’s nice to be able to dye ribbons to match the colors in your project. No more trying to find the right shade or color.

  32. Carmen Lucero says:

    Oh, I just have to try this new technique!! Thanks for the tutorial!

  33. ali gitt says:

    Completely adore the tags….and can’t wait to try that technique out.

  34. Shirley in Queen Creek says:

    I loved the colors you used with this months tag!

    Thanks again Tim and Mario for the wonderful class in Columbus, Ohio this past weekend. You have no idea what a “HIGH” it was for me to personally take a class from you Tim and to meet you and Mario in person. You are such a giving man Tim, and Mario….well you are the sweetest guy! Thanks!

  35. Eva R. says:

    Wow, I love this tag. I am really into multi coloured, vibrant effects and this one is perfect, love it!

  36. Gale says:

    Love the use of the stencils and the “watercolor” style.

  37. Jo says:

    Very pretty. I will give this a try soon. Thank you

  38. Jani Howe says:

    Tim, Thanks so very much for all the cool new ideas! I just spent part of yesterday playing with DI and watercolor paper. One side was a disaster, but I turned it over, and made some lovely lemonade from my lemon!! I’m loving the DI’s more and more, so keep the new techniques coming! You’re the best!

  39. Robin Parker says:

    Love love love this tag! The colors, butterflies, and matching ribbons are wonderful…thank you again for sharing your creativity! Robin

  40. Barbara L says:

    I always look forward to new ideas for using the stencils (which I love). The bright colors cheer me too. Now I just need the new sets of minis.

  41. Lorraine Brock says:

    Can’t wait to try this technique. Love all the ideas I find using stencils and the mini distress pads.

  42. Judy Cantrell says:

    This looks fabulous, Tim! I can’t wait to try this technique. Thanks for sharing with us!!

  43. Cim Allen says:

    Congrats Winners !!! I love love love the tag this month .. this is one of my favorite techniques. It allows you to have vibrant color with a soft look. AWESOME TIM !!

  44. Linda Polaretzki says:

    Love this tag!! And as for the technique with the stencils – learned this technique over the weekend in a class with Wendy Vecchi

  45. Maria Calderone says:

    This is super fantabulous, love, love, love this technique, what an awesome look! As always, it’s wonderful to see yet another mouth watering idea…yum!!! 🙂


  46. Dolly says:

    Now I definately need the minis. What a great technique. Love the tag.

  47. Carol Watson says:

    Love this background, it’s so bright and cheerful and your mini stamp pads make this addicting!

  48. Love all the color! Makes me want to leave work early and get to work crafting…lol Also, I really liked that you showed some of stencils that you did not use for the tag too. I have recently started journaling and using stencils more often in them.

  49. Lois Skiathitis says:

    Now I can look at my stencils in a new way. Thank you for that. Your tag is beautiful. Thanks for showing us how. TFS!!! :-D124

  50. Judy D. says:

    Cool tag, great technique and instructions, as always – can’t wait to try it!

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