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. […] NOT adjust your screen… I have used some colour in June’s 12 Tags of 2014! I LOVE THIS TECHNIQUE. I am usually a total colour avoider and so imagine my surprise when this […]

  2. […] stencil, mists with water, and then places it on watercolor paper for this awesome look!  Visit his blog for a full picture tutorial.  Instead of waiting until the last minute like last month, I’m […]

  3. Love love love this technique 🙂

  4. Jean Keay says:

    Wow, love the technique with the layering stencils. Unfortunately I failed miserably when adding my link, I don’t think I selected the photo of my tag – the link works, but there’s no photo to see in the thumbnail! OOPS!!! Jean.x

  5. Terry says:

    A totally gorgeous tag! I love those butterflies and had great fun getting all inky!

  6. Judith says:

    Thank you for the continued inspiration. It is great how you explain the properties of the products and what to expect. Takes the guess work out of making something leaving room for creativity.

  7. Karin says:

    Fabulous tag, Tim. I’ve had to improvise as my French flight set is on pre-order and not due to arrive until July. But when it arrives there is going to be lots of inspiration to see.

  8. Sue McG says:

    Such fun techniques in this post and a very beautiful result – wow, thanks for sharing!

  9. Donna Gibson says:

    Wow! I love just looking at the thumbnails! It’s feast of color for the eyes!!!

  10. Jenel says:

    Beautiful tag. I really love this effect and the bow idea is great, too.

    Thanks for sharing!

  11. Elise K says:

    Gorgeous tag! Love this technique! Thank you for always inspiring me!

  12. I love this stencil technique! I just ordered my copy of the Compendium of Curiosities Vol 3 from Simon Says, and can’t wait to get it. Blessings!

  13. […] The inspiration was found on Tim’s blog HERE […]

  14. I loved using the techniques in this to create this tag! I am new to tag making, but feel so inspired by your tags. Thank you for the amazing work you share with us and all your fun tools to bring everything together!

  15. Hope says:

    that bow! this tag is just the perfect picture of summer! I adore it! I cannot wait to try my hand at it!

  16. […] tag proposta da Tim questo mese è molto colorata…ecco la mia […]

  17. […] butikker. Jeg blev for eksempel gjort opmærksom på Tim Holtz’s månedlige blogpost “12 tags of 2014“, hvor han hver måned viser en billedtutorial plus giver rabat koder til både Simon Says […]

  18. Sandi says:

    I had so much fun with this challenge and I learned some new things along the way. I will now incorporate what I’ve learned in my future projects. Thanks Tim!

  19. Jamie says:

    Love this month’s tag!!!…could hardly wait to try this technique with the distress inks…had such a great time creating and crafting!! 🙂

  20. catherine says:

    Fantastic tag for this month. loved doing this one

  21. Had to come back and look at the new tags that came in over the week, awesome work ladies and gentlemen…. lots of inspiration to be found.

  22. Genevieve Payne says:

    Ooooo! Delicious!

  23. Linda says:

    Wonderful, i like very much !

  24. Rosann says:

    Okay I’ m getting older… cant remember if I commented on this tag… Tim I love it (what’s not to like? )… your watercolor technique looks so cool! Love the ribbon… always so fun to colorize that fabulous ribbon!

  25. Linda Anne says:

    What a beautiful tag. I think I’ll try using the stars and “watercolor” to make my 4th of July cards this year. Thanks, always, for the inspiration.

  26. Katy L says:

    Love this tag and the printing was much easier than I expected – will definitely be using this technique again! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  27. Diane Davis says:

    I tried this technique a few weeks ago and it was so much FUN!!!

  28. LOVE this technique Tim!!! Awesome color achievement! Love the bow tech too…I needed that!

  29. Angie A says:

    I really like this technique it has so much expression and can be pumped
    up or down. Great look!

  30. cheiron says:

    I absolutely LOVE the colors and technique on this tag!!! Can’t wait to make some prints of my own. Thanks for picking me as one of the May winners 🙂

  31. Terri w says:

    Very cool technique I need to try this one and thank you for sharing that unique bow.

  32. Dawn Young says:

    Will have to try this…surgery has kicked my butt for now. Hopefully by later this summer I will be in the studio again.

  33. Maureen Chandler says:

    I love this tag and I HAVE to get those dies for the butterflies! The colors and the style are just beautiful! Thanks so much Tim!!!

  34. Magia says:

    Love it! Will definitely try out this technique!

  35. karenajo says:

    Love the background – stencils are so very versatile and this technique is SUPER – thanks for sharing !!

  36. Amy Gray says:

    This tag is so beautiful! I saw that technique at the last OCC and I have been wanting to try it.

  37. Patricia B says:

    Wow, love how your tag turned out!! Thanks for sharing your awesome technique, I love it! Can’t wait to try it with the stencils I have.

  38. inks4fun says:

    Now I really need to buy the mini ink pads, having the ability to apply the ink exactly where you want it, is just fabulous. This tag is absolutely beautiful, great job.

  39. shirley-bee says:

    I absolutely love this technique and I’ve been using it non-stop since the online card class! One question (don’t know if you get time to actually read these comments): step 14 – does applying the water brush directly to the pad not make the ink react on the pad?

  40. Love this tag, Neat technique for the background. Those stencils are some of my favorite tools.

  41. […] Here’s my version of Tim’s June tag…. […]

  42. Michelle B says:

    Absolutely went crazy using my mini distress inks and stencils. Love how the colors blend, even when spritzed a second time for a muted look.

  43. love2craft says:

    Tim, this is my favorite tag, ever! Looks like i’ll be doing stencil watercoloring from now on. Congrats to all the tag winners!

  44. Wow fabulous tag and such a cool technique! I will be giving it a try – thank you! x

  45. Darlyne Wagner says:

    Leave it to you to mix pastels, butterflies and gears! And yet it works! You are the master, undeniably. The technique you use with the inks and the backside of the stencil–pure gold! Thanks for sharing!

  46. Angelica Chambers says:

    Ohhhhh!!! Love this tag!!!! I must try this!!!!
    Congrats to last month’s winners!!!! Lots of amazing talent there!

  47. naomi davis says:

    Love, love, love and enjoy this stencil technique. Keep em coming.

  48. Virginia says:

    WOW!!! Can’t even tell you how much this technique has inspired me!!! Can not wait to try this…..several times!!!

  49. Terri says:

    Very nice! Love the colors!!

  50. Gigi Black says:

    very clever use of the stencils. Such a great look.

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