12 tags of 2015 – august…

TAG-MAINgetting the most out of products we have is really important to me.  i’m always looking for new ways to use the products i design so this month i wanted to share a mixed media use for die cuts.  keep in mind you can use any designs for this technique, so when you’re creating your tag have fun with it.  utilizing die cuts as a background provides an immediate dimensional element, and the perfect foundation to collage and stamp on.  it’s important to challenge our creative process to discover different uses for products, so i hope you give this idea a try.  remember, this is all about layering – let’s get started…t!m


  • surfaces: #8 manila tag, paper stash/lost & found
  • stamp: Documented CMS226
  • dies: adventure words/block, vagabond machine, magnetic platform, precision base plate
  • embellishments: found relatives, ephemera/expedition, small talk, vial labels, remnant rubs/special delivery, adornments/arrows, adornments/souvenir, pen nib, mirrored star, trimmings/natural black & cream
  • distress ink: hickory smoke, blueprint sketch, peeled paint, walnut stain
  • distress markers: black soot
  • distress paint: black soot, tarnished brass
  • inks: jet black archival, alcohol ink/mushroom
  • tools: paint brush, heat tool, scissors, sanding grip, tiny attacher, remnant rub tool
  • adhesives: multi-medium/matte
  • mediums: gesso
  • misc: string, removable tape

DSC09507step 1: place a #8 manila tag on to the precision base plate on the magnetic platform.  configure the thinlit word dies to create a mosaic on top of the tag, making sure none of the dies overlap or hang off of the edges.

DSC09508step 2: secure the dies in place with some removable tape so they don’t move while your cutting them with the machine.

DSC09509step 3: die cut the tag and remove the letters (we can save those for another project).

DSC09510step 4: select a background paper and adhere it to a second manila tag using multi-medium.  this particular layer will show through the letters so it can be any type of background including inked, painted, or collaged.

DSC09511step 5: adhere the cut tag to the background tag using multi-medium.

DSC09512step 6: apply a thin layer of multi-medium over the entire tag and let dry – this will seal everything.

DSC09513step 7: apply a layer of white gesso over the entire tag.

DSC09514step 8: while the gesso is still wet, dab and wipe away excess gesso with a dry paper towel to reveal the background through the letters.  be sure to work quickly as gesso is opaque once it dries.

DSC09515step 9: gather several distress ink colors and a paper towel.

DSC09516step 10: swipe the ink pads directly over the dry gessoed background.

DSC09517step 11: continue with various colors of ink.  since the entire surface is covered in gesso, the distress inks will not absorb into the paper so you have plenty of time to work with the inks.

DSC09518step 12: apply a thin layer of multi-medium over inks.  distress reacts with water and the colors will immediately start to blend.

DSC09519step 13: using a paper towel, lightly dab away excess ink until desired look is achieved.  cool looking background right?

DSC09520step 14: select a found relative photo and cut out image (i love these images, perfect for collage).

DSC09521step 15: adhere silhouette image to tag with multi-medium applying it to the back and front of the image (like decoupage).  don’t worry that you are covering up some of the words – remember it’s a background and in order to create a layered effect, you must layer.

DSC09522step 16: adhere various ephemera to tag with multi-medium applying it to the back and front.

DSC09523step 17: choose a phrase from small talk stickers, cut words apart and sand edges with a sanding grip.  adhere words to tag and cover with a thin layer of multi-medium, let entire tag dry or dry with a heat tool.

DSC09525step 18: draw a heavy line around silhouette image using black soot distress marker.  using your fingers, smudge the black soot marker around image.  since the tag has a layer of multi-medium over the entire surface, you have time to blend and manipulate this ink.

DSC09526step 19: to create a shadow around the edges of the tag, apply black soot distress paint using your fingers and rub the paint around the tag.  remember once the distress paint dries it’s permanent so be sure to work quickly for this step.

DSC09527step 20: stamp text over the background using jet black archival.  i like the effect a stamped image gives on a layered collage background.

DSC09529step 21: add a vial label sticker by folding over the top of the tag and secure with a tiny attacher.  apply various remnant rubs using the remnant rub tool.  *note: if you’re distressing the vial label with distress ink – you MUST heat see the distress ink using a heat tool before you apply the remnant rubs.  distress contains resins that remain wet for a long time and the rubs cannot transfer over it until it’s dry.

DSC09528step 22: tint a mirrored star with a touch of mushroom alcohol ink.  this color gives the perfect smoky vintage look to anything shiny.

DSC09532step 23: attach adornments together using string or wire for something different.  adhere all embellishments to the tag using multi-medium.

DSC09531step 24: for one last layered effect, splatter metallic paint over your finished layered collage.  be sure to mask off anything you don’t want splattered using small pieces of tape.

Pin It To Remember It!

12 Tags of 2015- August | www.timholtz.com

congrats to the winners from the july 12 tags of 2015.  if you see your name (and it links to your tag), please email mario@timholtz.com to claim your prize…
1. Kath
2. Julia
3. Carons creations
4. E le perle
5. Charyn
6. Velvet Pearson
7. Shari T
8. Sue
9. Alida
10. Retos Creativos Scrap
11. Deb
12. Vikki

*be sure to check your local stores for these supplies or you can click the links below to purchase online with a discount of 10% off your purchase – use the following code with your order: SSS code: 10AUGUSTTH


Tim Holtz Creative Chemistry 101