Monday, October 18, 2010

Tag 1. Star Pinwheel

I can't believe it's finally time to start making tags!  This year we were at least smart enough to start early so everyone will have 6 weeks until the December 1st deadline.  Deb and I have been living and breathing this calendar for some time now and it really will not come to a close until we teach the class in PHX in November.  But you know us, we'll just come up with something else!So here's the plan...for the next 2+ weeks I will go through step by step instructions for 7 or maybe 8 of the 25 tags.  Even though I am starting with Tag 1 today, the rest will be at random.  I picked tags that look the most complicated or have a technique you may not have tried before.  The individual tags are really quite simple once you break them down. 
I think the calendar is a beautiful sum of simple things.  It's the way Deb and I think and decorate our houses, so this calendar will fit right in (as soon as I move everything else off the mantle).
You ready to get started?
Important info you need to know
Edges of all tags are inked using Vintage Photo Distress ink, blending tool and craft mat. 
We used 3 colors of Distress Ink in the Advent; Vintage Photo, Antique Linen and Frayed Burlap.
If you are using a BRAND NEW Vintage Photo ink pad, it is very dark.  Because it is so dark you will want to stamp on a paper towel before inking the tag or only using Antique linen.  My Vintage Photo stamp pad has been used A LOT so it is much easier to get a more subtle, warm brown color.  To me, a Vintage Photo pad is so much better with heavy use.  Ranger makes a such huge range of Distress ink that you might need to experiment with what works best for you. 

My go to glitter has always been Stampendous Halo Ultra Fine glitter in gold.  However, when Deb and I ordered the glitter for the kits we got a whole box of BRIGHT gold glitter...apparently, the vendor changed the mix.  After many discussions with the company they have said that they are going to change the glitter back to the original (don't ask me how) yet I am wary of recommending purchasing this glitter until I see it for myself in my local store.  So with that being said, I am recommending Martha Stewart glitter in White Gold for a similar look.  (All kits have a custom mix)

Other instructions/information you might need:
Supply List 
Foundation Board
Calendar Number Pins

To get started, stamp background with a harlequin stamp.  You can see how I did it here.  This link will lead you to the instructions for tag 8 (which is the same as tag 8 this year).  I just couldn't change it!
Stamp tag with harlequin stamp (Antique Linen) and Avignon flourish (black)

To make the pinwheel-
1.  Cut a piece of crepe paper 1 1/4” wide x 30” long. This does not have to be exact.

2.  Run a basting stitch along the 30” side and gather to a tight circle.
If you don’t have a sewing machine you can use and needle and thread. 
3.  Adhere pinwheel to a 1 1/2” circle of heavy weight interfacing (or cardstock) with liquid glue.

4.  Fold over the end, squeeze on a bit more glue and close the circle.

make sure the gathering is how you like it and let dry.
Back of the pinwheel

 5.  Use a foam paint brush to paint thick white glue on the edge of the pinwheel.

6.  Then, holding the circle like a wheel, roll "the wheel" through glitter.  As you can see, I use an old Marie Calendar pie pan for glitter but a piece of paper works just fine (and it's much easier to get the glitter back in the bottle).

Depending on what kind of glue you use, you might have to add glue to 1/3, roll in glitter, add more glue, keep repeating till you get all the way around the pinwheel.

7.  Glitter a chipboard star
Remember when you are glittering anything, once you add the glitter leave it alone for a few minutes to dry before shaking off the extra.

 TIP: I painted all glittered chipboard pieces with silver metallic paint (Ranger) before I glittered them.  I have found that when things get handled, packed away and then unpacked, often the glitter will come off on the edges.  The silver paint helps each piece maintain integrity even if the glitter wears a bit.  It's an extra step but I think it's a worthwhile one if you want something to last.  

8.  Add a foam square to the back of the star.  Set aside for now.

I started with flat seam binding (my favorite kind of ribbon) for this project but decided to change it up a bit by crushing it to create a different look from last years calendar.  Totally up to you if you want to try this.  Your calendar will look great either way.  

Here's how I did it:
1. Spray ribbon with spray starch.  Iron.
2. Spray again, but this time crumble the ribbon in your hand until you have a ball. 
3. Place ribbon ball on the ironing board and iron with steam.  You might move the ball around and steam again until you have the effect you want.

9.   Make a dangle with beads, drop pin and Eiffel Tower charm (7gypsies).  Tie a bow with ribbon at the top of the jump ring.  note: You can also glue the bow and dangle to the pinwheel separately by adding a bit a of glue, then pushing the ribbon up under the star, then adding the dangle.  Both ways work.

10.  Add star and ribbon dangle to pinwheel (the ribbon sits up and under the star).

11.  Add glue to the back of the pinwheel.

12.  Add pinwheel to tag, hold in place for a minute or two till the glue dries.

Here's how it should look when you are done.
Okay, I'll see you back here on Wednesday for Tag #23
ps) If you have any questions you can email me at


  1. absolutely fab.u.lous. i really appreciate the inspiration of your wonderful blog - thank you so much:) i'm always eager to see what's new here!


  2. Oh so pretty! I'm waiting anxiously for my box to arrive. Can't wait!

  3. Gorgeous! I LOVE your blog!


  4. this is just wonderful, thanks so much for giving us instructions on how to make some of the tags. I was so disappointed that I had missed out on buying one of the kits on your etsy shop. thank you

  5. Oh my goodness ~
    that is an awesome tag !!
    Thank you for your wonderful
    instructions !


  6. I love your advent calendar ... so beautiful ... and so inspiring ... you got me started on my own Christmas tags ... and I love them! Thank you so much for the inspiration!

  7. That glitter is gorgeous! I love the vintage look and can't wait to try it out!

  8. HI I am new to the art of Tags and wanted to know where I could find the ribbon you use in this piece.

  9. Oops forgot to tic email follow up ...