it’s day 3 – yippee…

Tag3_2 "timeless santa" – tim holtz 2007
craft sheet (ranger)
distress embossing powders: fired brick, antique linen, peeled paint, black soot (ranger)
distress embossing ink (ranger)
distress inks: antique linen, fired brick, peeled paint, vintage photo (ranger)
ink blending tool & foam (ranger)
heat tool (ranger)
paint dabbers: pitch black, silver metallic (ranger)
stamp set (stampers anonymous)
grungeboard (tim holtz idea-ology)
tag and embellishments


step 1: ink stamp with distress embossing ink and stamp image on to tag (*tip: if you have trouble seeing your image(since the ink is clear), swipe your lightest color of distress ink on to the stamp first – it won’t hurt your embossing pad and create a "tinted" embossing ink image)


step 2: shake all color of distress powders you’re using. open them all up.


step 3: using your fingers, take a "pinch" of the first color you want to use and hold your fingers directly over the part of the image you want to color.  twist your fingers together to SLOWLY let the powder fall on that part of the image (*tip: hold your hand directly over the tag.  also, it doesn’t matter what color you start with – honest!)


step 4: repeat the above steps for all colors you want to use on the image until entire image is colored with powders (*tip: don’t worry about time – you have about 5-10 minutes to get your powders on while the ink stays wet so relax!)


step 5: IMPORTANT STEP – keeping your tag flat, hold it up with one hand and place 2 fingers under the tag with the other hand. using a tapping motion with your fingers, tap under that tag to bounce around the powders.


step 6: tip tag to remove any/all excess powders that don’t stick to your stamped image – cool huh? (*tip: do not flick! these leftover powders are obviously all mixed up, but store them in an empty jar to save as a "party mix" for another project – maybe for grungeboard huh?)


step 7: emboss the image using your heat tool.  first thing you’ll notice is that these powders never really change from matte to glossy like regular embossing powders do when they melt.  so how do you know when they’re done?  well, practice…  the colors of the powders will actually change when they are melted, but if you’re not sure, just heat as long as you think you would normally emboss something (*tip: the best part of distress powders is they can never be over-embossed like regular powders can so no worries).


step 8: THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP – distress powders MUST COOL before you can touch them.  unlike regular embossing powders that stick when melted, distress powders only stick once they have been melted and COOLED!  that’s right, if you rub them while they’re still hot, everything will fall off the paper.  just be patient.


step 9: once cool, touch areas of your image to make sure they feel like sandpaper vs. sand on the beach.  if they feel loose, just re-heat, let cool again, and then rub your hand across the image to remove the release crystals. (*tip: the release crystals are random what’s done is done. do not put release crystals back into the jar, just throw them away)


step 10: ink the tag with various colors of distress ink using an ink blending tool with ink blending foam. your image is already colored with the powders so you’re just filling in the background(*tip: i like to leave the center of the focal image light)


step 11: paint grungeboard number plate and mini numbers with paint dabbers and let dry. (*tip: don’t forget the glue dot trick we learned on day 1 – Dec.1st post)


step 12: attach to tag with brads or adhesive and embellish tag with old charms, vintage buttons, and german scrap (this is cool stuff from my friends at paper artsy!)

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1,095 Comments to “it’s day 3 – yippee…”

  1. Paige says:

    I bought 3 tubs of distress powder, as I specifically wanted a matte worn effect, but the powder has dried very shiny, and no crystals rubbed off at all I have been crafting for years, but first use of distress powder. Any ideas?

  2. Max says:

    Interesting blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your design. Kudos

  3. Shelton says:

    Hey there! Do you know if they make any plugins to protect against hackers? I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on. Any suggestions?

  4. mae says:

    YAY!!!! I have the stamp, embossing powders, distress ink pads—was just waiting for you to show me what to do! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Kar says:

    dang… these tags keep getting better and better!!

  6. Amazing!!! You are truly amazing!

  7. Amazing!!! You are truly amazing!

  8. scrapexpress says:

    Well, I just found out about your blog, and I LOVE it. That tag is awesome!

  9. Jennie Gisslow says:

    What a great new meaning to the “twelve days of Christmas”, it’s all about giving, so thank you for the inspiration and juicy techniques.

  10. Neet says:

    It’s unlucky for some (the 13th) and maybe it is unlucky for us that the tags have come to an end. It has been fabulous – thank you so much.
    I am at the end of my Christmas cards for this year so have copied all your techniques to “word” and have got some atc’s cut ready to try out the techniques on – ready for making into next year’s cards – I think your downloads will inspire me more than just doing them as a card for next year. In fact can’t wait to start.
    Hoping to buy all that I have not got in February when I come to America – see you then!

  11. Heidi Kinnamon says:

    This has been such an amazing daily treat!
    In the end, I think you should ask for people to write in with their favorite tag!!

  12. Debbie Emmons says:

    Wow! This tag brings such JOY! Just when I thought it couldn’t possibly get any better. The keyhole unlocked so many possibilites. But the bird, the bird just made the tag sign.
    Thanks for the GREAT IDEA!

  13. Ruth Ann Landry says:

    Okay Tim…once again, cudos for the tag. I found a LSS that carries lots and lots of your supplies and I’m going through these tags and making a list and checking it twice…then I’m off to power shop!!!

  14. Bonnie Schulte says:

    Another great tag, and fun ideas!! Wow, you make my head swim. I want all of these products, now that you have inspired me. I hate to see the show end. Bonnie

  15. Ruby says:

    My daughter has just pointed out about the tags that you are doing. They are absolutely wonderful. I love all the tutorials and need to go shopping to get some of the products. Thanks for the inspiration.

  16. Mary says:

    I absolutely LOVE this beautiful tag–I can’t wait for tomorrow’s tag. I look forward to checking out your blog to see what you have come up with next. Thank you so much for sharing such wonderful ideas. I’ve learn sooooo much!!

  17. Mindy says:

    A million thanks for a wonderful 12 days! You’re the best…. sure we can’t have another 12 days?

  18. Karen DeMeyer says:

    Tim: Yesterday I went to my favorite Rubber stamp store to pick up some stuff the owner had ordered. Pure delight. 8 packs of grungeboard, cut and stamp felt, daubers, crackle paint, and the distressing hammer.I have to say, I LOVE the pack titled Elements. I took some samples of the other packs into our scrapbooking book club Christmas party to give to everyone, and it was quite a hit. Can’t wait to have some time to actually work with it. It really felt like Christmas. Karen

  19. Neet says:

    Well this really has been an incredible journey – thanks so much. I love each and every one of the tags and techniques you have shared with us.
    Impossible to have a favourite but I am rather addicted to Distress inks (thank goodness I was impressed at the beginning and bought them all as soon as they became available here) and I am addicted to the Santa stamps.

  20. Pam O says:

    Tim: The 12 Tags of Christmas have just been great — I hate to see them end! Your step-by-step instructions are excellent, and the detailed photography is just outstanding. What a Christmas gift you’re giving us all. Thank you!

  21. Riette says:

    Tomorrow the 13th is my Wedding Anniversary….32 years of marriage and I am dying for that SUPER PRIZE!!!!!!That will make my day even more SUPER!!!!Thanks anyway for all the fab ideas Enjoyed every bit of it Your products are fabulous!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. Margaret Leonard says:

    Just shared your blog with my stamping friend at work. Wow! what a great 3-d wreath. Can’t wait to get my hands on some distress crackle.

  23. Gale Cottrell says:

    Who says you can’t teach Gramma new tricks? Thanks for inspiring me to get out of my “I can’t do this” mode. Love all of these tags!

  24. mickie says:

    Wonderfull tags, all of them!

  25. Gloria Harvey says:

    you are simply great! The ideas that you have are wonderful i just love the distressing and colors the wreath on the tag is just amazing.One more day!What is next?UMMMMMMMMMM
    Gloria Harvey

  26. Linda Romero says:

    This tag is gorgeous! As soon as I opened the file and saw it I let out a moan I think everyone around me heard! First thing every morning I look forward to checking out the new tag. It’s like opening a present everyday and this one took my breath away! Please say I can have it!

  27. Jackie Kalchert says:

    Hi Tim. feeling a little better and able to get off the sofa sick bed earlier today to read your awesome blog entry.I love those distress inks and I use them with everything I make. They are so very versatile as you have shown with this tag.
    I’m sorry to see this all come to an end tomorrow. Thanks so much for sharing!

  28. Chris Blubaugh says:

    You’ve done it again! Such a cool tag using the distressing products. This is good since at my craft club we are planning a “Tim Holtz distress day”.
    You always manage to find such unique embellishments… how do you do it?
    Love when you can use dimension.
    Only one more day :{
    What are you going to do to top yourself??? Hopefully continue to post various techniques on your blog. :}

  29. Laurie Laikam says:

    Tim~ Just when I think you’ve created the best-ever holiday tag, you outdo the last one AGAIN. And today’s is no exception. WOW! Today’s tag, with 21 steps to perfection, is quite incredible. Love the shades of green against the distressed background! My birthday is on Saturday and I am going to reward myself with a full day of making each of your twelve tags. The only thing which would make the day more perfect would be to WIN your wonderful collection of goodies.

  30. Carol Dickson says:

    Hi Tim, I love the creackle. Yours looks so
    good. When I used mine it did not crackle at
    all. I seems very thick and not easy to spread either. If you would adivse on your
    site. I would appreciate it.
    Carol Dickson

  31. Carol Dickson says:

    Hi Tim, I love the creackle. Yours looks so
    good. When I used mine it did not crackle at
    all. I seems very thick and not easy to spread either. If you would adivse on your
    site. I would appreciate it.
    Carol Dickson

  32. Elizabeth says:

    I am guilty!! I have stolen your wonderful and inspiring ideas and applied them to my ATC Christmas Swap…….crackle paint on an ATC…..just wonderful, thanks Tim.

  33. Erin Bennett says:

    Seeing Christmas through your eyes is truly amazing, your work is beautiful. I’ll be waiting for your package at my door.

  34. Sherry Letchford says:

    Tim I had such fun yesterday making that tag, made 4 slightly different from yours but they are great and now today the crackling paint. I bought some but was hesitant to try it. This tag is just the thing. Wish there were more than 12 days of Christmas. Thanks so much for your tags!!!

  35. Judith Strausbaugh says:

    You must have saved the best for one of the last. Loved this wreath tag. It is awesome. I, too love the crackle paints and green is my favorite color.

  36. Jean Pipp says:

    Tim, Oh my gosh, Every day I think I have seen my favorite but this wonderful wreath tag is just spectacular…..I get the feeling I will be making many tags in the days ahead. Each day bring a new adventure. Your talent is amazing! Thanks again. Jean

  37. Mel Nunn says:

    Thanks for the tips with the distress powders. I have some but have been hesitant in using them…

  38. Love that idea.
    Aussies have grunge board hitting Blue Bazaar on Monday! Yay!! Gonna get me some of that!!

  39. Judy Jackson says:

    I have always wondered if you could emboss this way but when i tried it failed — i see my problem! It needs a delicate hand.

  40. ScrapAddict says:

    I have so gotta try this. Where do you get all the inspiration? Seems some people are just given these wonderful gifts, to share with the world. How wonderful that you share yours!!!

  41. Michelle says:

    I may have commented about this post already but I couldn’t find my comment amidst all the other ones. So I apologize if I am repeating myself…
    This is a great tag and what a great “step up” for a standard technique. Heat embossing was the first stamping technique I learned, back when I was 11 years old, so it is nice to see a more current technique with heat embossing. You do a beautiful job. Thanks so much for taking the time to teach us!

  42. I’m a big fan of vintage et I love your santa stamp … I’ have somme distress powder : it’s really wonderfull to play with all of this … I’ w waiting now for the grunge :o))

  43. kearneykrafter says:

    I am loving loving loving your blog site! Such a cool angle from a man’s perspective! What a fun, and whoda-thunk-it idea! Distressing reinkers??? Awesome!! Beautiful project, very vibrant! And at the time of my post, I was #1052 on the list! Big wow! Keep ’em comin’ cuz you’ve got a following!! Thanks for the chance at the blog candY!!

  44. Sesil in Chicago says:

    Thank you for teaching these great techniques. Such a great treat for the holiday season. Thank you again. 🙂

  45. Jinkie says:

    No Blog Humbug going on here. Thank you for inspiring me to grab that brass and get those creative juices flowing. (It’s been dormant for 10 years) I recently bought 4 of your cropper hoppers and loads of your inks & grunge board. When checking out, the girl asked me if I was one of those “Tim Holtz Junkies” I proudly said why YES and felt like belting out the Amy Winehouse tune changing the words to “Jinkie’s gonna go to rehab NO NO NO ! I’m proud to be a Tim Holtz Junkie and thank you for many more future inspirations!

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