Easy Recycled Gift Tags

 

Recycled gift tags

It’s time for Christmas gift buying, gift wrapping and gift tagging.  Don’t you just love Christmas time?   To me, wrapping presents is fun and pretty relaxing, but I’ll admit that one of my least favorite parts of wrapping is tagging my wrapped gifts.  Am I the only one?  I always make sure to buy gift tags at the after-Christmas sales so I have plenty on hand, but the things make me crazy.  The plain ones are often, well…boring and the beautiful foiled ones always seem to repel ink.   Seriously, someone should test those things out before they sell them as gift tags.  It seems that if I can find a pen that actually writes on them, the ink always smears when I try to stick it on the package.   Urrgggh.

This year, I decided to make some more permanent tags.  I went as far as my recycling bin to find my main supplies-  these empty thin cardboard boxes:

Empty food cartons for gift tags

First thing that I did was to cut simple tag shapes, pairing two for each tag.  I made sure that the plain side faced out as I cut them, because really, who really wants a picture of a tri tip sandwich on their gift tag.

recycled cardboard gift tags

The first couple of tags that I made had a layer of flannel sandwiched between them:

As you can see, I used a tiny loop of tape to hold each side of the fabric/cardboard in place, making sure to line the cardboard up well.  Easy.  Next, I took it to my sewing machine and used a long, straight stitch around the whole thing.  I made sure to start at the center-top of the tag and overlapped a few stitches to secure the thread, knowing that the ribbon would hide the cut threads.  Once the sewing was complete, I trimmed the fabric to the actual shape of the tag.  For added effect, I frayed the flannel edges of one of my tags, and the other tag I snipped lots of tiny cuts along the whole fabric edge to create my own fringe.

After doing a couple this way, I got lazy and just ended up gluing the two pieces of cardboard together, skipping the flannel.  I think that I prefer this simpler look, actually, and it makes tag making so much easier and faster.  Once the tag layers were secured, I used my hole punch at the top.

Of course I could have hand-written the names on these, but instead I went to my computer and found some fun, bold fonts which I printed in large sizes and glued on my tags.  I used white paper, but colored or lightly patterned paper would be fun, too.   Glitter, stickers, and other embellishments would spiff these up even more.  Really, the sky’s the limit on what you could do with these.   You can have all of your tags exactly the same, with only the names different, or you can color code for each child/recipient, or you can make each tag totally different.

Gift tags made from recycled carton cardboard

You might think that, with the rush and fun and craziness of Christmas morning unwrapping that these tags will just get tossed in with the other trash.  Maybe…maybe not.  These gift tags are actually very study and feel substantial in your hands.  I don’t think that they will easily get mixed up with tossed gift wrap and bows.  I’m going to tell my children to save them so I can use them next year…and the year after that…and the year after that, etc., etc. .

What started out as trash will be avoiding the trashcan for years to come.  That’s the plan.  Now, I just need to invade my recycling bin again to make a couple dozen more tags.

So, do you have any empty cereal, crackers, or other thin cardboard boxes in your trash right now?  I think it’s time to rescue them!

 

*********Linking up to these awesome parties*********

 

 

 

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Easy Floppy Bow (Using a Blouse Sleeve)

Remember this pillow that I made using a blouse that I recently bought at a thrift store?

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Well, I promised that I would show you how I made the floppy bow.  Remember?  I hate to break promises, so here we go.

For this bow, I used the sleeve portion of the blouse.  See here?

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First, cut off the cuff, like so:

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So far, so good?  See that fancy slit?  That is what helps make this easy bow so, well… easy.  You’ll see.

Now, just cut your fabric so it is slightly wider than you want your bow to be.  Basically 3 quick snips, don’t over-think it…it doesn’t have to be perfect.  Turn the fabric inside out and pin it, making sure to secure that slit well.  Then simply stitch the ends like so:

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Now here is where that little slit makes life easy.  Remove the pins and turn that baby inside out through the slit.  No need to sew it up, it is going to be hidden in the back of the bow.  You may notice that one side of the bow is a little wider than the other.  Since the fabric is so floppy, it really won’t be noticeable when you are done.  Trust me, it will be okay.

Now grab that cuff and cut it in half lengthwise

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Position this knot to form a bow and either sew to your desired tightness, or just add a touch of hot glue.  Trim the ends off then add a hair clip if wanted.  Done!

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Yep…that was pretty easy!

 

 

 

DIY: From Blouse to Pillow in 10 Minutes Flat

Do you have pillow forms hiding at your house?  Maybe in your garage?  Closet?  Craft room?  Yeah, me too.  And when I say “pillow form”, I am also referring to ugly throw pillows that just need to be updated.  Like the ugly hunter green checkered pillow that I adored in the 90’s.  It has been hiding in the garage for the last 10+ years.  Well, I resurrected it today with this:

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I know what you are thinking… that is one stylish blouse.  Am I right?  Or am I right?  Or am I right?  The fabric is a really shiny rayon/polyester mix that doesn’t photograph well, but you get the gist.  This blouse came from my local, small town thrift store that likes to do deals like “as many clothes as you can stuff in a bag for $2” sales.  Yep, I shoved this in my bag, knowing that I wanted it for the fabric only.  I wanted to see if I could use it to make some of these silk flowers:

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Unfortunately, my gray shiny blouse was an epic fail for that project.  Caught on fire!  Luckily, I was near the kitchen sink.  I know that polyester fabric melts, so I just “Bing”ed the question, “Is rayon flammable?”.  The answer, “Yes. Very much so.”.  Perhaps I should have checked before I lit it with a candle.  Hmmm…you learn something new every day.

I couldn’t let the blouse go to waste, I mean, it cost me a quarter.  I got my thinking cap on and thought of my ugly hunter green checkered pillow hiding in my garage and out it came.  Remember this pillow tutorial where I made a heart-shaped pillow out of a sweater with buttons?  Same concept here.  I just cut out two rectangles just a bit bigger than my pillow form using the front and the back of the blouse and then sewed around all four sides.  No need to leave an opening  so I could shove the form in and hand sew it shut.  No way… that is where the buttons come in handy.  Check it out:

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Can you see how I made the buttons (which were purposely hidden on this particular blouse) off center.  Much better than sticking them smack-dab in the middle.  Don’t you agree.  I made a floppy bow using one of the sleeves and just safety pinned it on.  That way I can reposition it later if I want to.  I will show you how I did the bow some other time.  Promise.

Since it is a rectangular pillow, it can sit either way:

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Now you can see why I just pinned the bow on… I might want to change the position depending on which direction the pillow faces.

I seriously spent more time getting my sewing machine set up and then put back away than I spent making this simple pillow.  You have GOT to try one for yourself.  Resurrect an old pillow of your own.  Time to do some blouse shopping.

 

 

 

10 Minute Heart-Shaped Sweater Pillow

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I love all of the awesome items made out of sweaters that I have been seeing all over Pinterest lately.  So, when I recently found this red, cotton cable knit sweater at a local thrift store for the right price (as many items as you can shove in a bag for $2),  I knew that I had to get it, even though it had a huge hole on the neckline:

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so I figured that this sweater would make a perfect heart shaped pillow.  Since it has buttons down the front, I knew that it would be a super quick, super easy project.  You will see why, in a minute.

First, I made a pattern.  Needing a bigger piece of paper, I just pieced together a couple of pieces of paper.  Remember 1st grade heart-cutting lessons?  Yep, it was that simple.  Next, I pinned the heart pattern on my sweater and cut around it.

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After flipping the right sides together, I quickly pinned them and sewed completely around the heart.  This is where having buttons comes in handy.  No need to leave an opening for stuffing and then hand stitching it closed… just unbutton to stuff and re-button to close it up.

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Once I finished sewing, I just unbuttoned it and turned it right side out.  For stuffing, I cut open an old pillow insert and transferred handfuls of the fluffy white to my heart and buttoned it up when it was full enough.

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Seriously…DONE.  Easy as can be!

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Sweater shopping, anyone?