Shhh… it’s ok if you read them. I won’t tell. Trashy romance novels are a reader’s junk food – yummy, quick, deliciously unwholesome. Not good for a steady diet, a trashy romance is a delightful break from more serious fare. And pretty much nobody wants to admit they consume them. Like Twinkies, or donuts. Or malted milk eggs. “That’s so unhealthy for you!” they cry. That’s ok, your secret’s safe with me. But if you want a pretty, sparkly way to mark your place, tag art is the perfect antidote to ugly dog ears on those pages that you’re <ahem> not reading.
Tag art – the paper crafter’s “quick fix”
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Everyone knows that dog ear-ing a book’s pages isn’t the best way to pause the story. It’s destructive to the paper, and frankly, it’s ugly. That’s not to say we don’t do it (oops), but there are better ways to mark your spot. You could use a piece of paper napkin. Or a ticket stub. Or a store receipt. The list is endless, and it’s usually whatever’s handy at the moment when you have to put the book down. (Except in the case of a cookbook when there are more wanna-try recipes than ways to mark them.)
I once read that someone used a piece of bacon. Ew.
Paper crafters have a better option – a decorated paper tag. Why decorated? Well why not? Who says a bookmark has to be boring? Tag art is a popular “thing” in the paper crafting world. Like Artist Trading Cards, they are tiny works of art. You can do a lot on a 2 ½” x 5” piece of card stock.
Now if you’re making these as tiny art pieces, you can load them with a lot of texture and dimension. But this project is for making bookmarks, so I’m going to keep these cute tags on the flatter side. But make no mistake – they ARE decorated with sparkles and texture. Let’s get to it…
A bookmark by any other name
I hadn’t really planned for these to be Easter tags, per se. And if you raise ducks, or grow lilies, they’re not. It just happens that I made these right before Easter because I had received a new set of beautiful Easter papers from my favorite image source, The Graphics Fairy. And I love ducks and lilies. So decide for yourself if they’re Easter-ish or not.
The background paper is from my very own delicious “Shimmery Colors” Designer Paper Set. (Would you like some? The 5-piece set is FREE!) These papers have a decidedly springtime feel to them with clear, vivid pastels. They are super versatile, too, with each sheet providing various colorways with a watercolor-y, shimmery vibe. So no two tags ever need to be exactly alike, which keeps things fresh and interesting from a design perspective.
There is a bit of glitter on these tags. A little might flake off into the book, but that’s ok – I’ve never heard a book complain yet about a little added sparkle. And you could leave the glitter off if you want to. (But, but… why??)
The image layers are gently raised for a bit of dimension, but not so much as to interfere with their primary job of marking one’s place in a book.
Tag Art 101
Tag art is pretty straightforward.
- Cut the shapes;
- Decorate them;
- Add a textile as the pull tab.
- Boom, you’re done.
For added strength, I like to back my paper tags with coordinating papers, which is a great way to use your paper scraps.This helps strengthen the tag as well as adds interest to an otherwise boring expanse of white. As a friend of mine used to say when wearing one of her 25 Christmas sweaters (back when Christmas sweaters were still fashionable), “you might as well look good going as well as coming.” This means the backs (of the tags as well as the sweaters) need to have a little interest too.
- Tag punch or pattern (a cutting machine, like my Silhouette Cameo, will cut a bunch of these in a few seconds along with matching reinforcement circles)
- Shimmery Colors Designer Paper (get your 5-pack below!)
- Coordinating paper, either printed or plain
- Oval metal dies
- Stencils and/or stamps and inks
- Sponge daubers
- Glitter (I use Art Glitter, the sparkliest glitter known to man and beast)
- Pop Dots
- Ribbon or twine
Instructions for making Shimmery Colors tags
- Cut out (or punch) the tag shapes from designer paper. Cut out the same shapes from the backing papers.
- Decorate the front layers with various stencils in contrasting colors and/or stamped images. I used a star stencil for one tag, a dot stencil for the other, and my favorite flourish stamp for both.
- For the backs of the tags, I used printed papers, then stamped them with music or script background stamps, rubbed on some stencil shapes using contrasting ink and ink daubers, then stamped them with the same flourish as used on the fronts. This gave them an almost 3-dimensional effect.
Note: for a softer look, use grey ink for the flourishes, or, if using black ink, stamp off on scrap paper first.
- Stamp focal images on white paper. Color them or use printed digital stamps.
- Cut the images out with an oval die.
- Ink the edges. Have some fun and ink them in contrasting colors.
- Line the edges of the tag fronts with glitter.
- Pop the oval stamped shapes up on dimensionals. This will not interfere with bookmarking.
Note: Use the scraps around the Pop Dots. Waste not want not.
- Tie contrasting ribbon or twine through the holes at the top.
Voila! Pretty, functional tag art bookmarks!
So I ask you – what do you use to mark your books? A piece of a used napkin (don’t judge), or a quick and easy, yet oh so pretty (and slightly glittery) tag? With these deliciously-colored papers on hand, why wait? Create one or more bookmarks and share them on the G&B Facebook page. Then tag me on Instagram and share your beautiful tag art.
And then go bookmark “Love’s Swift Fury” in style. I won’t tell.
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