Watercolor Christmas Tags


I absolutely the stamping/cardmaking hobby, but let’s be honest, it’s an expensive one. Purchasing every stamp or die set that I like is unrealistic for me. Keeping that in mind when I make my purchases  I know I am making an investment, and I need to be able to use them multiple times. It has honestly taken me 7 years to come to this realization!

Before I would see a stamp set or die, think of one use or need it to use on one card, and I would buy it. Needless to say I had multiple items that would lay around collecting dust. I knew I needed a change in my buying strategy. So I came up with a rule for myself.

If a stamp set costs $15 I need to be able to use it at least 15 different ways. If I also bought the matching/coordinating die set and that cost $15 also I needed to be able to use them either separately or together on about 30 different projects. The same goes for a die. If it costs $10 I need to have 10 different projects I could use it on.

This simple rule has helped me immensely keep my buying under control. And I would love to share this buying style with you in action. For example, today I will be using these  stamps and dies from Ellen Hutson. These are technically Christmas stamps and dies, however, there are so many uses for them throughout the entire year and all occasions and I will share those ideas with you.

So here’s my first project that I will be sharing with you. I also wanted to say that this project was heavily inspired by Julie Ebersole’s tag. Be sure to check back to see other ways I will be using these sets in the future!

Here’s my process-

First, I cut down some Ranger Watercolor Paper to 3 x 5 inch rectangles.


Again, these are the stamps and dies that I used on this project.


On this particular project I used the wreath image and the Peace, Joy, Love sentiment. Since I was stamping onto watercolor cardstock I opted to use my MISTI so I could double stamp the images. Also, I adjusted my wreath image by stretching the branches further apart so the sentiment could fit into the center, and also to fill up more of the blank space on the tag.


To be able to resist the watercolor that I would be applying over the top of the stamped images I heated embossed them. I used three different embossing powders to give each a different look. I decided to use Stampin’ Up’s  White and Silver and Ranger’s Super Fine Detail Gold. To heat emboss you will also need a slow drying ink, I used Versamark, and a heat tool, like this one.  You may also want to use an anti-static tool. This is very similar to the one I use.

To heat emboss the image, first, prep your cardstock by rubbing your anti-static bag over the surface. Next, ink up your stamp with your Versamark ink and stamp onto your paper. I did this step twice since I was using watercolor paper and wanted to make sure I got a clear, crisp impression. Take your cardstock and put it onto a piece of scrap paper to catch excess embossing powder and dump on your embossing powder making sure to cover your entire image. Don’t worry about wasting any, you can dump your excess back into the jar. Tap off your excess embossing powder, being gentle so you don’t remove too much. You can also use a small brush to remove stray powder. Finally, melt your embossing powder with your heat tool. I always allow my heat tool about 30 seconds to heat up before taking it to my paper to decrease warping.


Next, I used Stampin’ Up’s Large Scallops Edgelits dies. to round the top part of my tag. (I will be using the other die from this set later on in these tags.) These dies are no longer for sale, unfortunately, however these dies from Pretty Pink Posh are quite similar. The stitched edge from the Pretty Pink Posh dies would give a nice effect to the tags!


Now for the fun part, WATERCOLOR! I picked three colors or distress inks that I loved, Evergreen BoughCrushed Olive, and Festive Berries. I use the mini ink pads, but you can also find these in full size pads.

To create the ombre look of these tags, I simply smooshed some ink onto my glass craft mat, added a tiny bit of water and swiped it across the bottom forth of the tag. Then, I just pulled the color up the tag, adding more water as I went. If you want a darker color you can let the tags dry and go over them a second time, but mine were intense enough for me the first time.


After my tags had dried I took the second die from the Large Scallop Edgelits die set, which was the large scallops and cut off the bottom quarter of the tag. Initially, I didn’t intend to do this , however, after I had watercolored the tags, I noticed I had gotten color all over the back of the tags. If this doesn’t bother you you can certainly be done at this step, but I wanted a nice clean back to my tags.


To cover up the back of the tag, I cut some Bazzill Coconut Swirl Cardstock into 3 X 5 inch rectangles and attached them to the waterolor pieces with Score Tape.


To keep the round edge top of my tag I just used my craft knife to carefully cut away the white cardstock, using the edge as a guide. Then I took a regular hole punch and punched a hole into the top center of the tags.


On any tag you also need a place to write the recipient name. I used Simon Say’s Stamp’s Envelope Sentiments stamp set and Versafine Onyx Black ink pad to stamp a simple  To and From at the bottom part of the tags.WatercolorChristmasTagsProcess10

Now, you can add your ribbon or twine to your tag and be done here and your tags would be beautiful, but I decided to add just a but of dimension. I took my Versamark ink pad again and smooshed it onto some scrap cardstock. Next, I again used the same gold and white embossing powders as before, but switch the white out for Zing Silver Glitter embossing powder, and heat embossed each following the same steps as above.Then I die cut the second to largest star in the Home and Hearth die set from Ellen Hutson from each of the embossed papers and popped it up with a very tiny piece of foam tape.

Finally, I added a piece of twine to each tag to finish them off.


Here are a few pictures of the finished tags.


I also wanted to share one last picture. This is a comparison of the watercolor on the two different sides of the paper. The rougher side gave me more saturation and color, which is pictured on the left side, while the smoother side gave a softer and lighter effect, which you can see on the right. I opted to go with the smoother side for the remainder of the tags, but still wanted to show you a side by side comparison so you could make your own choice o which you liked better!


Thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ll visit again soon!




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