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How to Make Kraft Tags from Upcycled Cardboard

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If you love the look of Kraft Tags for your upcycled or homemade products or even just to use as gift tags then this tutorial is for you!

It’s all about how to make your own upcycled Kraft Tags using cardboard and paper from your recycling bin.

This is a super easy project and it only takes a few supplies.

Materials Needed – DIY Kraft Tags:

You really don’t need much to create your own Kraft Tags –

  • Thin Cardboard from your recycling, for example cereal boxes, thin cardboard packaging boxes or cardboard product packaging backing.
  • Gift Tag Punch (I used this one).
  • Mod Podge (optional)
  • Sewing Machine & coloured thread (optional – see below)
  • Stamp (I used this one)
  • Twine or Ribbon
  • Alternatives to the cardboard are – wallpaper, thick craft paper

Don’t worry to start off with if your cardboard has print or writing on it for the moment. I’ll give you options for how to disguise this.

You can sort your cardboard into only brown cardboard (like traditional Kraft Tags) or use a mix of white and brown like I did. But again don’t worry about the text or marks on the reverse side just now.

Step 1: Cut cardboard strips in the correct width for your tag punch

make your own upcycled kraft tags

If you want to make these in bulk you need to get a bit of a system going. So here is mine.

First you need to decide what width you want your product tags or gift tags to be.

My gift tag punch does three different widths of tag – 1.5″, 2″ and 2.5″.

Once you’ve decided on the width, you want to cut the cardboard in strips of exactly that width.

Make the strips as long as you can (this will depend on the size of the packaging or box that you are upcycling).

Make as many strips as you have materials that you want to upcycle.

Step 2: Punch your tags

Once you have the strips feed the first strip in to the tag punch as far as it will go and push down on the lever.

homemade kraft tags

The end of your strip will now have a curvy kraft tag end with an embossed hole for you to string your twine or ribbon through.

Now obviously at this point that is a rather long product tag you are holding. So the next step is to decide on how long you want the tag to be.

Cut it to whatever length feels good to you and then feed the strip back into the tag machine to make another tag.

diy kraft tags

Repeat until you get to the end of your strip and then repeat with each strip you have cut out.

P.S. – don’t worry about the fancy ruler and cutting mat – you don’t need those I just used them as I was doing this at the same table where I do my sewing!

Step 3: Disguise the text and images on the cardboard

diy recycled kraft tags

Now obviously, the issue with these tags you’ve just punched is that most of them are going to be printed on one side as you are using packaging and other recycled materials.

If you were able to find some appropriate cardboard without print on it for this you are laughing – just add some twine or ribbon and you are done!

However if you have printed cardboard on one side of your tags you’ve got a couple of options.

  1. One is to plan ahead and try to strategically cut your strips and tags so that you’re just getting a plain colour on the back rather than any actual text or logos.
diy kraft tags

2. Another easy option is to decoupage the back side of your tag with thin decorative paper using mod podge.

3. The last option – which is my favourite – is to take two tags of the same size and line them up text sides together (so plain unwritten sides facing out) and then use a decorative stitch on your sewing machine and a pretty colour to sew them together.

make your own upcycled kraft tags

You’ll need a strong denim or leather needle for this and you’ll need your machine on a pretty high tension.

sewing cardboard kraft tags

I use a wonder clip to keep the tags together as I sew.

I sew around in a square around the edges or just up both sides depending on the size of the tag.

The two ends of the tag where the hole is will still be loose but once you put your twine or ribbon through that will hold that end together nicely.

Step 4: Add your logo or message

made with love stamp

I used a stamp I bought on Etsy to mark my tags ‘Made with Love’.

You could simpy handwrite a gift message or a product price if you prefer.

You can also buy personalised stamps like mine with your small business logo or even just with ‘Handmade by ___(your name)’.

Step 5: Add twine or ribbon

diy product tags - kraft tags

Feed some twine or ribbon through your kraft tag holes to attach them to your products or gifts and your done!

Alternatives

diy gift tags - wallpaper

I have also tried this with thick wallpaper, as well as wallpaper samples, and you could do it with maybe really thick wrapping paper or another kind of craft paper as well if that’s what you have on hand.

Handmade Kraft Tags

diy kraft tags

I just think these handmade and upcycled kraft tags look really cute. And I love that the supplies you need to make them are one purchase items (the gift punch and a stamp), you can just keep reusing them and reusing them without having to spend more to make more tags.

If you like’d this post, you’ll probably also like our post on how to price your homemade products, and you might also want to have a look at The Upcycler’s Guide to Gift Wrapping.

If you want to save this idea to come back to later, don’t forget to Pin it!

diy kraft tags
diy kraft tags from upcycled cardboard

How to make Kraft Tags from Upcycled Cardboard

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Make homemade kraft tags using cardboard from your recycling, a tag punch and stamps.

Materials

  • Thin cardboard from your recycling, for example, cereal boxes, thin cardboard packaging boxes, or cardboard product packaging backing
  • Mod podge (optional)
  • Twine or ribbon
  • Alternative to the cardboards are - wallpaper, thick craft paper

Tools

  • Gift tag punch
  • Sewing machine & coloured thread (optional)
  • Stamp

Instructions

  1. Cut cardboard strips in the correct width for your tag punch
  2. Punch your tags
  3. Disguise the text and images on the cardboard with decorative paper and mod podge if desired
  4. Or sew around the edges of two tags to hide the text and add extra flair.
  5. Add your logo or message with a stamp
  6. Add twine or ribbon

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The Upcycler's Guide to Gift Wrapping - Upcycle My Stuff

Wednesday 2nd of September 2020

[…] Our top tip for how to make tags like these from almost any kind of paper or card is to use a gift tag punch. The one below even embosses the hole to string your ribbon or twine through to fix it on to your present. It’s the same punch we used for this post about homemade gift and product kraft tags. […]

What is Upcycling & What can you Upcycle? - Upcycle My Stuff

Sunday 16th of August 2020

[…] a little ‘Made with Love’ gift tag that your recipient can keep as well and watch their face light up.  ‘You made this for […]

kathy

Monday 1st of June 2020

the link to the rubber stamp does not work.

Kristen Hubert

Tuesday 2nd of June 2020

Hi Kathy,

Thanks for letting me know! I've fixed it now and tested it so it should work now!

Kristen

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