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This tutorial is all about how to make your own homemade DIY Christmas Gift Tags out of things you would normally throw out – namely cardboard & fabric scraps!
Materials Needed: DIY Christmas Gift Tags
- Thin Cardboard (amazon envelope packaging is great for this!)
- Fabric Scraps of any size
- Gift Tag Punch (I used this one).
- Scraps of ribbon or twine.
- Fabric Glue or Kid’s Glue Stick (optional)
- Sticky back paper or plain paper from your recycling box
- Scissors or Rotary Cutter
Step 1: Cut your cardboard to the desired width
It has 3 size gift tags you can make and the only thing you need to do first is cut out yours strips of cardboard to the width that you want, either 1.5″, 2″ or 2.5″ – you get a different shape gift tag top for each size.
Just ignore that I haven’t cut out strips in the photo above! I was just seeing if it was easier if I cut the top first – it wasn’t – cut the strips first!
Cut out as many tags as you like and you can vary the length of these to suit what you like. I did some shorter ones and some longer ones too.
Step 2: Get Creative with your Fabric Scraps
I made several different types of designs on my gift tags with my scrap fabrics. I’ll go over each variety below.
You can use the tinniest little pieces for this and it’s great for ‘fussy cutting’ little elements (fussy cutting = deliberately cutting out an image or pattern from a piece of fabric).
Christmas Tree Gift Tags
I made a few different types of Christmas Tree Gift Tags.
For the first one you literally just take 3 or 4 very thin strips of fabric (less than half an inch thick) and trim the ends so that the strips get smaller and smaller as you go up your ‘tree’.
To attach them dab a bit of fabric glue (or just a kid’s glue stick) to the card where you want each strip to be.
Press your fabric in place and then take it to the sewing machine and sew a straight stitch or zig zag across – whichever you prefer. For the zig zag stitch I kept the stitch length at 1.5 and for the straight stitch it was 3.5.
For the second type of Christmas Tree tags I used those little scrap corners you get left with when you trim gussets or quilt binding strips.
`I layered 3 on top of each other until they looked somewhat tree like.
Then I sewed around the edges using a zig zag stitch. You could use another stitch type if you like.
Improv Sewing Christmas Gift Tags
Once I made my Christmas Trees I decided to just have a bit of fun with my other tags.
I made some with groupings of Christmas coloured scraps.
Then I made some with fussy cut elements from a sort of woodsy/christmassy fabric I had in my scrap basket.
And I then I made a whole bunch of brighter tags that I thought might be nice for kids.
I didn’t backstitch when sewing any of these pieces of fabric down and I’ll explain why in the next step!
Snow Flake Christmas Gift Tag
One of the last tags I made in this little snowflake tag.
To make this one I just cut small slivers of white scraps, dapped them with glue as above and then sewed a straight line from point to point in each direction.
I think it turned out pretty cute!
Step 3: Prepare the backs of your Tags
So once you have all your pretty gift tags you might be thinking, that’s great but there is stitching through the opposite side and not enough room to write on!
So here is what I did.
I use sticky back label paper for my day job when I’m packaging shipments.
These get trimmed and I end up with strips of this sticky back paper (everywhere!). I often have no choice but to just throw those leftovers away!
So this year I trimmed those strips to size and stuck them to the back of my DIY Christmas Gift Tags.
Because you are sticking these labels down over the stitching in the back the ends of your threads will be stuck down inside – which is why you can skip the backstitching!
You could also glue or mod podge leftover paper or pieces of junk mail envelopes if that is what you have to hand in your recycling bin.
Another option is to use the method I used in this DIY Kraft Tag Tutorial where I sewed two pieces of cardboard together.
Step 4: Attach Your Hanging Loops
The last step is to attach your hanging loops.
You can use bits of ribbon, twine or even long thin strips of scrap fabric for this. Simply cut a short length, tie both ends in a not, feed the folded end through the hole and loop it through!
In my personal opinion there is no reason at all to ever buy gift tags if you are an upcycler – you can use the method above, or if you aren’t a sewer you can try this super easy method using last year’s Christmas Cards!
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Want to print this project to refer to as you work? Printable version below:
- Thin Cardboard
- Small Fabric Scraps
- Sticky back paper or Junk Mail Envelopes
- Gift Tag Punch
- Fabric Glue or Glue Stick
- Cut strips of cardboard to the desired width.
- Use gift tag punch to punch out the tag tops.
- Cut tags to desired length.
- Use fabric glue to temporarily hold your design on the front of your tag.
- Sew down your design as desired - no need to backstitch
- Add a label back with plain sticky back paper or glue on pieces of unwritten on junk mail envelopes or other paper from your recycling bin.
- Add hanging loop of ribbon or twine.
If you are looking for some upcycled gift wrap ideas too, try these:
- The Upcycler’s Guide to Gift Wrapping
- 6 Ways to Reuse Packaging as Upcycled Gift Wrap
- How to Upcycle a Shoe Box as a Gift Box – Easy Upcycle Project
- How to make Kraft Tags from Upcycled Cardboard
- How to Reuse Christmas Cards as Gift Tags
To keep yourself organized to make save and repurpose more of the wrapping and waste that comes with Christmas have a look at this post too:
If you are still looking for Christmas Gift Ideas before you get around to wrapping and gift tags then head here:
- 10 DIY Personalised Gifts You Can Make From Your Upcycled Stuff!
- How to make Personalised Name Crayons
- DIY Necklace Pendant made from Upcycled Fabric Samples
- The Ultimate Guide to Upcycled Gifts on Etsy
- 13 Scrap Fabric Friendly Sewing Patterns on Etsy
- 30 of the Best Upcycled Mother’s Day Gifts on Etsy
- 25 Last Minute Father’s Day Gift Upcycle Ideas
- Handmade Valentine’s Day Gifts you can DIY or Buy