12 tags of 2016 – may…

2016TAGpeople often ask how i plan these monthly tags?  truth is, i don’t…  each month i look back on tags from previous years, choose two very random techniques that have nothing to do with the other, and try to make them work together.  the outcome is as surprising for me as it is for you since i don’t start the tag until the day before it posts.  this is how i’ve always done the 12 tags series as i enjoy the creative challenge.  what i’ve also discovered through this process is that i don’t always end up with what i might have initially imagined, but it still reflects my personal style and that’s most important.  a word of advice is to allow yourself to play, discover, and experiment with different techniques, but stay true to your style throughout the creative process…



  • surfaces: manila tag
  • inks: distress spray stain/tattered rose/cracked pistachio/antique linen/tarnished brass, distress stain/tumbled glass/scattered straw, distress ink/walnut stain/peeled paint/abandoned coral/broken china, distress archival ink palette
  • mediums: texture paste
  • embellishments: tissue tape/symphony, heart charms, silverware adornments, loop pins, crinkle ribbon, lace trimmings, vial labels, remnant rubs/special delivery
  • stamps & stencils: CMS255 lady rose stamp set, THMST003 mini stencil set 3
  • dies: tiny tattered florals thinlits, vagabond
  • tools: craft sheet, scissors, paper distresser, remnant rub tool, hot glue, heat tool, distress sprayer, palette knife
  • misc: sewing machine


1– follow the technique for the tissue tape resist deciding which images are to be resisted and which images are part of your background.  be sure the images are all stamped in waterproof ink.  i’m using the new distress archival ink mixed media palette.  this is a 4-cell ink pad containing 4 distress colors in the waterproof archival formulation – love it.

2– apply texture paste over various areas of the background and let dry.  i’m really liking the mini stencils for techniques like this since the overall scale of the pattern is smaller and works better on smaller projects like cards and tags.

3– colorize the background with various distress stains.  you can use regular stains or spray stains depending on what you have and the overall effect you want them to achieve.  blend the color with water and dry the tag completely.  the resist from the tissue tape is so cool.

4– when creating a background with fluid stains, don’t overdo it with color to achieve the “perfect look”.  you can always add more color to intensify specific areas.  the trick is to use distress ink and a blending tool to highlight and avoid making a muddy background.

5– for an added splash of metallic i masked the stamped face image and lightly sprayed metallic distress spray stain from a distance.  metallic distress stain is opaque so remember less is more or you will cover everything with metallic.


6– cut the 3 roses using the tiny tattered floral dies.

7– create the roses using the quilling tool that comes with the dies, and die cut a few leaves.  note: be sure to watch the video from the original post (linked above).

8– stain pieces of crinkle ribbon and lace trimming using distress stain and dry them with a heat tool.

9– now all you have to do is embellish the tag.  i inked the roses a bit using distress ink and adhered them over the stamped image using hot glue, added a few of the leaves too.  with a sewing machine i stitched the lace trim on the tag and added a few random areas of stitching just for fun.  i created a heart charm and pinned it to the lace with a loop pin.  i tied a piece of string around a silverware adornment and adhered it to the tag using hot glue to add a touch of nostalgia.  last i finished off the tag with a tiny vial label and remnant rub numbers.

5a– the intensity of the tissue tape resist contrast against the colorful textured background brings focus on select images on your tag.

detail2– creating various sized dimensional flowers using patterned paper is one of my favorite things about the tiny tattered floral dies.  i also love the effect of layering them over the rose stamp on the background.  when you get to see all of the colors and layers up close it’s important to remember it’s all about the details.  so dig into that stash and enjoy the process of letting your creative imagination run wild…t!m

congrats to the winners from the april 12 tags of 2016.  if you see your name (and it links to your tag), please email mario@timholtz.com to claim your prize…
1. Zoe Hillman
2. Catherine
3. Barbara
4. Mimi
5. Abzappel
6. Lime Green Flamingo
7. WB Burgoyne
8. Stephanie
9. A Thing For Paper
10. Iriska Vohlídková
11. Deb Riddell
12. Kriss

*be sure to check your local stores for these supplies, or click on the links below to purchase online from Simon Says Stamp with a discount of 10% off your purchase – use code: 10MAYTH5

Tim Holtz Creative Chemistry 101