Friday, February 26, 2016

The Tim Tag Trials - Episode 1

Please join me on my new blog - where this project is included with more already added. Thank you. I hope to see you there.

Though my main craft is making little cardboard houses, much of my inspiration and many of my tools come from scrapbooking websites. Probably Tim Holtz has one of the most visited craft websites that is not specifically a seller of goods. Each month he demonstrates various techniques with his products to make a tag. I think he's been making tags for about 10 years. It started as 12 tags of Christmas, now it's 12 tags of the year.

Ok, so in the past 10-12 months when I have been crafting like crazy, I have been tempted to make a tag. But I often misunderstand the concept and think that I don't have the rights supplies (really, you should see my crafting area - there is no shortage of supplies) so I've never done one.

While I was working so hard on my Easter houses, I thought I would make tags to go along with the houses when I deliver them. I made the January tag in February and I can safely say it was not successful. See the January Tim Tag below.

This is the January tag where you use embossing powder and chalk on a stamped image.  My image is a little complicated and clearly did not work well.

I can fix it as seen below. I'll glue a better stamped image over the chalk rabbit. I think the colors look better as well.

Ok, so the February tag was posted on the first. I'm thinking to myself, "I'm doing this one. I will make this tag." The only thing is that you really do have to pay attention to instructions. Tim Holtz designs most of the products he uses so he knows what makes it work. And when he says he uses watercolor paper, he says that for a reason - perhaps because the inks and dyes need to soak into the paper or spread over the surface of the paper, you think? So what do I do? I read on one website where the artist says she always coats her tags with a layer of gesso. Since I love gesso (its thickness, slightly rough texture, how fast it dries) I must coat my tags with gesso. I wasn't really thinking that it might inhibit the paper's ability to do its job with the inks and stains. Next I see some pretty pearlescent paint on my table that I love because I like the color so much. I think I will use that as the background color. Do you think a layer of pearlescent paint might prevent the paper from absorbing the dies and stains? Maybe.

So I try out the first technique called the stencil monoprint. Seems pretty easy, but it is not if you have changed the nature of your paper. Step one of the February tag is unsuccessful, you could call it a Pinterest fail. Since there are 2 techniques to be demonstrated this month, I have an additional chance and getting one part of the tag right. This is embossed paste technique which is much less confusing than the stencil monoprint, though not without challenges. I have a few nice stencils. I chose 2 Damask lace-like stencils, one ray of sunlight stencil and a harlequin stencil (not shown because it was so unsuccessful). In the demonstration, the textile paste which you rub though the stencil is sprinkled with metallic embossing powder to give it a really nice shine. I actually did the first one correctly, but my embossing powder (not a Tim Holtz Ranger product) is kind of funky and didn't shine very well, but it's still usable. The 3 others were not right. I don't even know what I did wrong. I let the paste dry overnight, but on one of the tags, the embossing powder all fell off the next morning. If you rank your success at this technique on a scale of 1-5 for all 4 tags, I might have made it to 2.

Two months of tags have gone by, the second set of tags are salvageable, but I feel like I'm in school and I didn't follow the instructions. Creativity doesn't really work that way and I'm sure Tim Holtz would not think that, but if you have traditionally been a good student and went to school forever (20+ years), you still have that ingrained thinking. I guess that's what you have to let go of to be creative. I have posted my not-so-successful February tags below.

You can barely see the stencil monoprint technique in the upper left hand corner. I was trying to stencil a watch face on the background.

No way the stencil would work on this tag, but the embossed texture paste is pretty nice and I still like the tag.

There was a lot of white texture paste showing on this one so I had to strategically place my images to cover it up. 

That is episode one of the Tim Tag Trials. We'll see what happens when March rolls around. I hope the instructions are easier. 

Have fun, everybody.


  1. Hi Lucy - This is Lynda from You posted such a nice comment on my site so I had to come by and visit. Your post made me smile. I've watched Tim do demos in person and he makes it look so easy. He did that stencil with ink resist technique using a snowflake and it made my jaw drop because it was so beautiful. I later asked him about it and he said that it was purely by accident that he decided to try that. So when I tried his technique and had my own epic fail that was when I decided to share my missteps with the world. I'm glad you shared yours too because I think your final tags look wonderful. Great job! Have fun with the March tag soon!

  2. Thank you for your kind comment. I will remember to play with the technique because this is fun and creative.

  3. Awesome tags and I love that Easter house too, Lucy! So much love and labour went into it and that creates this kind of magic that makes projects like yours "alive".
    Thank you for the lovely comment on my book cover over at OCC! You made my day! :)

    Claudia xx

  4. COnGrAtuLatIOns!!!! I loved reading about all the processes you went through on each of your tags...That's what it's all about and the FUN! And hats off to you for attempting to follow all of his directions....Me....I got really distracted and went way off the reservation! LOL! I hope you are having FUN! LoVe!!!

  5. Congrats! Your tags are so adorable - love them! Love that bunny stamp, too! I enjoyed your blog post and it sounds familiar. I started doing these tags last August. The first one I made, I thought how could I have possibly made something so ugly (not that I think I'm talented)??? I went ahead and entered it and it was one of the 12 selected. Go figure. In your case, your tags are so cute as I already said :-)

  6. Congrats on winning. Loved that you shared the trials of being in the challenge. It is great to know we are all together in trying new things, struggles and amazing successes