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Make DIY Holiday Gift Tags with Cricut Maker

I’m a big fan of the convenience of gift bags for my holiday gifts. (And they are environmentally friendly too, since I reuse them year after year!) Extra special DIY holiday gift tags are the perfect way to punch up simple gift bags and turn them into something fabulous!

[Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Cricut.]

These wood DIY holiday gift tags that I made with my Cricut Maker machine each have only three pieces to cut. But with this much style, no one will notice how simple they are!

Cricut DIY Holiday Gift Tags

These DIY holiday gift tags are really simple to make, because what makes them special is the material that is used. With the Knife Blade, the Cricut Maker is able to cut Basswood and Balsa Wood that is up to 3/32″ thick. The look of natural material, and the dimension that can be created, takes these tags to a whole new level!

Supplies Used:

Start your DIY holiday gift tags by using your Cricut Maker and the Cricut Knife Blade + Drive Housing to cut out all of the wood parts from the projects.

Cricut Maker cutting wood

Cutting the 1/16″ basswood with the Knife Blade requires using a Cricut Strong Grip Mat. You also need to fasten your wood down to the mat with plenty of painter’s masking tape. Don’t skimp on the masking tape, and make sure that it is pressed firmly down!

(Don’t forget to slide the white rings on your rollers to the right to get them out of the way of your wood as it passes under the rollers.)

Cricut Maker cutting wood

When you are done cutting the wood pieces, switch to the regular blade and a light hold mat to cut the two patterned paper pieces for the DIY gift tags.

When you are done, you should have these three pieces to make the Christmas tree gift tag. Use a glue like Mod Podge to assemble them into a sandwich in the order shown.

DIY Holiday Tag parts

You will also have these three pieces for the Christmas ornament DIY holiday gift tag. Paint the ornament base with black chalkboard paint, and paint the frame red.

(Here’s a great idea to customize this ornament tag – Instead of using chalkboard paint, paint the base with regular paint and cut a photo to fit in the center of the frame!)

DIY Holiday Tag parts

Use glue again to assemble these pieces with the patterned paper on one side of the ornament base, and the red frame on the other. (The patterned paper is optional, but sure brightens up the back of the tag.)

After the chalkboard paint is cured, rub it with a piece of chalk to prepare the surface for writing. Then you can write on your tag with chalk over and over!

DIY Holiday Gift Tag with chalkboard

Since they are made of wood, these durable DIY holiday gift tags can be used again and again. Or, after you use them, hang them on the Christmas tree as ornaments!

DIY Holiday Gift Tag

Attach your DIY holiday gift tags with a  loop of baker’s twine or ribbon and enjoy all the compliments that will come your way!

DIY Holiday Gift Tags

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.


See the Entire Halloween Tag Trilogy!

Awhile back, I showed my readers these three tags that I had created in a single inking session from Tim Holtz Distress Stains, intending to use them to create a Halloween tag series. The series is now complete, and I’m back today to share the results!

Distress Spray Stain Tag Art

The first tag that I made was actually fall-themed, not strictly Halloween, and was created around a Tim Holtz blueprint stamp. The directions for creating the fall tag, along with the directions for the inking process that created all three tags, are in my Fall Pumpkin Tag project article.

Fall Pumpkin Tag by Nancy Nally for

The second tag that I inked in the series ended up a more faded mix of orange, green and purple than the first one after it sat for a long time in the sun and got exposed to a heavy dose of UV light. For this one, I wanted to play with my new Tim Holtz Crazy Cats stamps that I just bought. I created a spooky spider and spiderweb to freak out my scaredy cat with! Instructions for this tag – including the seed bead twist tie – are on the Buttons Galore blog.

Scaredy Cat Halloween Tag

Also on the Buttons Galore blog is my Spooky Halloween Tag, created from the first, most bright of the tags that I inked in this series. This one uses another Tim Holtz blueprint stamp, and is a bit different from my usual style, but I’m really pleased with how it came out.

Spooky Halloween Tag

For now, I’m enjoying my Halloween Tag series by using clothespins to attach them to a small spooky Halloween tree that I bought for my living room at a local chain craft store. After Halloween, they’ll find a home in an 8×8 album that I have set aside to store my tag art in.


Project | Fall Pumpkin Tag with Tim Holtz Distress

Perhaps it was sweating in the 100 degree plus heat index for two days while our air conditioner was broken this week that did it, or maybe it’s the calendar changing to September. But for whatever reason, I’m suddenly in the mood for fall colors, changing leaves, and pumpkins! Since I live in Florida, though, I’ll have to settle for making my own on this fall pumpkin tag.

[Disclaimer: Some products were provided by Ranger to Scrapbook Update as editorial samples. My company, Nally Studios LLC, manages social media for Buttons Galore. Links in the supply list are affiliate links or provided as an advertiser courtesy. Translation: People sometimes give me cool things to use, and I’m lucky enough to have clients whose products I like to use.]

Fall Pumpkin Tag by Nancy Nally for www.scrapbookupdate.comAlthough the background to this tag looks orange-brown, it actually was created with Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Spray Stain in Wilted Violet, Twisted Citron, and Carved Pumpkin! This was possible because it wasn’t the first tag that I made from a batch of stain sprayed on my craft mat. I sprayed the stains in a triangle arrangement, and pressed the first tag. It created the tag on the left below. Then I added some water with my Distress Sprayer, swiped a tag across my mat again, and got the tag in the middle. Finally, I grabbed a third tag and swiped again. By that time, the three colors were mingled enough on the mat to produce a more brown color, creating the tag I used for this project. (The other two tags will get used on other projects coming soon!)

Distress Spray Stain Tag ArtThe design of the tag’s layout is simple so I was a bit stunned when I looked at the supply list to realize I’d used almost 20 products! This is because this project has a lot of layered color on it.

First the background was created using multiple shades of Distress Spray Stain, which gives it that shaded and mottled effect. Then the wood grain was stenciled on it. All of the paper elements added on top have inked edges. I used Antique Linen Distress Ink to age the pumpkin stamp block, and Tea Dye to antique the text strip. That’s a lot of subtle elements that use a lot of supplies. It shows the power of keeping a large tool box on hand. It’s taken me years to accumulate my three drawers full of ink in my Ikea Alex, but they are among the most important tools I have and I reach for them constantly.

Fall Pumpkin Tag by Nancy Nally

Since this fall pumpkin tag was all about the color and shading, the rest of the design is simple. I just used a block of patterned paper offset behind the pumpkin stamp block to highlight and frame it. I hadn’t intended to add the text strip to the left side but somehow the pumpkin ended up off-center with a lot of white space on that side, so the text strip was a perfect filler.

For some reason lately I’m incapable of making something completely flat. Nothing feels finished unless it’s got something thick on it. So I added the leaves that are buttons with the shanks cut off. They add dimension while bringing in some more “fall” to the design.

I didn’t tie off the twine at the top of my fall pumpkin tag because I have a special plan for this tag (and the others). Keep your eyes on my Instagram account to get a peek at it!



Family Tag Feud 2010: Notes & Results

Well, the results are in…and it’s a shocking upset!

It was down to the wire – the battle was settled by only a few votes on a single tag – but the rookie pulled out a victory: Mike is the family tag feud winner! The final score was 7 tags to 5 tags in his favor. That’s the last time I teach him to do anything…

So…here’s a look at the tags again, along with the reveal this time of who made which one, and a few random notes about what we did on them.

Day 1:

Results: Nancy 60%, Mike 40%

Nancy : The bingo card is a digital element that I resized and printed out. I had already attached it when I decided to use the music stamp, so I laid a blank index card over the bingo card as a protective mask while I stamped the music stamp.

Mike: He drew a line of Stickles  and then smeared them with his finger to the distressed glitter effect. He says this is an old oil painting technique that he knew. The background is actually a collage created from torn pieces of paper that were glued down in layers.

Day 2:

Results: Nancy 48%, Mike 52%

This was the tag that ended up deciding the battle. It came down to less than two dozen votes and this one wasn’t decided until down to the wire!

Nancy – The music stamp made another appearance on my work already on Day 2. It became a “go to” item for me. You’ll notice as the feud went on that we both had our favorite items that we turned to again and again to use.

Mike – Mike’s “go to” item also appeared on this day’s tag, the Christmas tree stamp that he bought while we were out shopping. His other favorite item, Stickles, also appears here. The man is fascinated with Stickles!

Day 3:

Results: Nancy 30%, Mike 70%

Nancy – This holiday travel-themed piece has more texture in person than in the photo. I tried layering a lot of stamping techniques here and didn’t get quite the effect that I had hoped for.

Mike -Mike wanted to experiment with the Cricut and this tag grew out of that. He embellished the moon cut-out with crackle and some other products just to see what could be done with it. He says he would have liked more crackle on the moon but found over the course of the tagging that none of our crackle stuff “crackled” as much as he would have liked (but it’s possible he says that he’s not using it right).

Day 4:

Results: Nancy 37%, Mike 63%

Nancy – This tag centered around me wanting to try using the floral Sizzix die to make a poinsettia flower. And the theme is a bit of a hidden message sent with the  “What Do I really want?” and “Wish.” The tie on it was made by dyeing a strip of fabric with some Studio Calico Color Mist – a detail that I was particularly proud of.

Mike – The music stamp makes an appearance on Mike’s work! This was Mike playing with the fragments. He drilled the hole, mounted paper on it, Stickled it, etc., just to see what he could do with it.

Day 5:

Results: Nancy 23%, Mike 77%

Mike – Mike was trying here to see if he could bring a more familiar world (digital) into the look and feel that he’d been learning about in paper. He liked the result but kind of felt like he was cheating because he could never have done this in paper (the effects he used just couldn’t be replicated in paper).

Nancy – As soon as I saw the tag of Tim Holtz’s from 2007 that did this with the fragments, I knew I wanted to try my own version of it! The 3 flowers reflect my obsession with the rule of 3’s – that elements should be placed in odd numbers. I was really happy with how this one came out.

Day 6:

Results: Nancy 44%, Mike 56%

Nancy – I hated this one…I knew what I was trying to do and it totally didn’t come out anything like I envisioned. It’s a bit better in person than it photographed, but I’m still not happy with it. The top part just has NO dimension, and the rub-on isn’t straight, which really bugs me.

Mike – This was Mike’s first effort at trying to use lighter colors. The tree stamp appears yet again…he says he used it a lot to see what would happen if he used it in different ways.

Day 7:

Results: Nancy 75%, Mike 25%

Nancy – This seriously may be my favorite of all of my tags! It’s got texture and depth…and I love the color scheme. I love that it is so heavily vintage! I can’t believe that I made something collage and vintage when I’m normally so heavily graphic in my layout of things. I was also excited that I managed to incorporate the Cricut cartridge that I love, A Child’s Year.

Mike – His motivation was that he wanted to play with a bunch of different embellishments here. He made the packages from scrap paper. You’ll notice it is, as it’s base, another Christmas tree with Stickle balls on it. He says he learned from this that pre-made embellishments are HARD to use because they are opposite of what you would think – giving them somewhere to shine is hard, you can’t just slap them down!

Day 8:

Results: Nancy 61%, Mike 39%

Mike – This is one of Mike’s favorites even though the voters didn’t receive it well. It was the digital world and the crafting world colliding – he used a lot of percentage blends and transparencies that you can’t duplicate in straight ink and paper so it’s a bit of a cheat in his opinion again. But he liked the way it came out.

Nancy – This was really simple in appearance but actually took me a long time of fussing over to get just right. I was really pleased with this one – it has more texture in person because of the embossing, and it has a bit of a folk art thing going that I was pleased that I pulled off.

Day 9:

Results: Nancy 68%, Mike 32%

Nancy – This tag skirted disaster but then came out really well I thought. I ADORE this bird die by Tim Holtz and just had to try it out when it arrived. The background has a lot of stuff on it – layers of ink, the music stamp (again), the painted edges, and the rub-ons of holly. I was really scared I was going to screw it up doing all that! But I was really happy with the final result.

Mike – Mike wanted to use the flowers and so everything started to turn pink as he built the tag around it. He was in a Stickles phase here. He became fascinated with the way Stickles worked doing this because, as he says, “the last time I played with glitter I was in preschool and it involved Elmer’s glue” – and so it ended up very glittery. Every single tag I think that he did had Stickles (except the digital ones) because he said “it was amazing being able to pinpoint the glitter and when else but the holidays can you get away with that much glitter?”

Day 10:

Results: Nancy 27%, Mike 73%

Nancy – This photo was printed on a matte self-adhesive paper that is semi-transparent to make it kind of faded out. I think it makes it look kind of antique or like a polaroid in this application (although it looks better in person than it photographed because the flash faded it out more).

Mike – Another exercise here for Mike in playing with embellishments. He used a few smaller embellishments here and then the bells. The tree stamp makes an appearance again too! He also used a stamp as an embellishment which he hadn’t really done before.

Day 11:

Results: Nancy 77%, Mike 23%

Nancy – This tag is a combination of my obsession with graphic layout & elements (the graph background, the joy to the world typeface, the tape) and very vintage elements. I love these sorts of elements like these cards but struggle to know how to use them. (I like how this came out though.) This is another example of my rule of 3 compulsion with the metal embellishments.

Mike – The tag was supposed to feel “old”. The quarter was supposed to be reminiscent of back when a quarter would have been a good Christmas gift. He finds working with grunge paper very frustrating because it always seemed to shrink like a shrinky dink under a heat gun for him. Here he made that work to his advantage, and did that intentionally to the starfish since it kind of worked for this.

Day 12:

Results: Nancy 34%, Mike 66%

Nancy – The bird and cage are a hidden subtext here. The design is simple but all of the elements were extremely carefully created and detailed.  I loved the color scheme that was created on the numbers when I painted the white crackle paint over red inked chipboard that wasn’t apparently dry. The red bled into the paint for a nice pink effect.

Mike – Another variation on the tree, this tag is probably one of his least 4 favorites. He wanted to do a dark contrasty one this time. Actually there are only 3 colors in the whole tag, really. Basically it’s a monochrome exercise. The one thing he says he still doesn’t get about scrapbooking, and that he’d like to get feedback on – the swirl in the upper left corner is there to just fill space…he’s still not sure what it actually brings to the tag. He says he knows it works but is not sure why that works.

In conclusion…some notes from Mike:

A few readers have been asking me to comment on my experience making our 12 tags this holiday season.  There were numerous funny moments, frustrating moments, and amazing moments along the way.  I’ll take away those priceless memories along with two main impressions from my great paper crafting experiment.

#1: Paper crafting allows for far more creativity than I ever imagined

Having gone with Nancy on more than one journey to the local scrapbook stores and having a ton of exposure to the hobby over the years in many other ways, I still had the impression that paper crafting would feel limiting to me.  My background is primarily digital having worked in the photography, digital design, and printing industry for the better part of the last two decades.  I was sure that I would feel limited working in the analog world of pre-printed papers and the limited color palette of whatever inks and such might be in Nancy’s current stash.

I was wrong.  Using various techniques that Nancy was able to show me, along with watching some video tutorials from online sources such as the amazing Tim Holtz and others, I was able to create some amazingly satisfying complex and organic effects.  In fact, it was the unpredictability of paper crafting that appealed to me the most.

#2: Paper crafting is hard

Not to sound insulting but my other opinion of paper crafting going into this exercise was that it was relatively easy.  It seemed to me before this that so much of the hard work, the creative design, is often done for the artist through the use of pre-purchased embellishments, papers, fonts, etc.  For me, paper crafting sounded sort of like putting a puzzle together.  The challenge was putting the pieces together in the right order.  The picture was just a result of being successful.

Again – wrong!  Sure, a pre-printed sticker or piece of paper certainly gives the paper crafting artist a head start on their project.  But I quickly learned that using pre-made pieces was no different than having a broad collection of paints and brushes.  The skill is knowing how to use the resources you have and not trying to let the purchased materials do the work for you.  I’m sure many of you see my limited talents shining through in most of my tags this year.  Just pasting down a bunch of stickers and ribbon on a fancy piece of paper is not what paper crafting is about.

So, with a much deeper respect I bow to you the paper crafters of the world.  I will happily hide back in my world of the pixel and the undo button for now and allow you all to continue to amaze me with your special skills and wonderful artistic creations.  Thank you for letting me invade your craft for a few weeks, making me feel welcome, and even being kind enough to appreciate if not the result at least the intended result of my efforts.

Let’s do this again sometime!

In conclusion…from Nancy:

First, I’d like to thank the talented Tim Holtz for inspiring this project with his 12 Tags of Christmas (and planting the seed for some other personal projects I am now planning thanks to my new obsession with tags). Tim not only does things that don’t seem possible with inks and paper, but then he shows you that you can do them too – which is the most amazing part of what he does.

I’d also like to sincerely thank everyone who followed along with us on this journey. We never imagined that so many people would get so much enjoyment out of it. We really just started this as a way for Mike to share in my world of paper crafting and learn about it, and as a holiday activity to share together. It was a very special time for us as a family, sitting at the kitchen table together over our his-and-hers craft mats, and we are touched that so many people enjoyed sharing it with us. Thank you all.

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Family Tag Feud: Day 12

And here it is…Tag #12! We’re down to the wire in the feud…every vote counts so think hard before you vote!

We’re going to leave tags #11 & #12 open for voting for a couple of days and then we’ll post a piece revealing who the winner was, some notes about each tag set and who made each tag. We can’t wait to hear if you all guessed right about who made what!

Here we go….last but not least…with our twelfth tags!

Tag #1:


Ranger Inkssentials Enamel Accents
Ranger Stickles in Silver
Tim Holtz Distress Stickles in Stormy Sky
Stampin’ Up Winter White Embossing Powder
Martha Stewart Crafts Glitter in Crystal Fine
Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Black Soot, Chipped Sapphire, and Faded Jeans
Tim Holtz Distress Embossing Ink
Technique Tuesday Clear Stamps (“Simple Sentiments”)
Me + My Big Ideas (rhinestone swirl)
Royal & Langnickel (silver snowflake rub-ons)
Stamp-A-Mania (christmas tree & tree background stamps)

Tag #2:


Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Fired Brick
Natural Jute by Hobby Lobby
Tim Holtz Distress Stickles (Rock Candy)
Marcella by Kay (pearl brad)
Prima Mulberry Flower
Recollections by Michaels self-adhesive rhinestones
Tim Holtz Distress Crackle Paint in Picket Fence
BasicGrey Chipboard Mini Monograms
My Minds Eye Holiday Glitter Paper Pack
Bazzill Cardstock (Kraft)
Tim Holtz Alterations for Sizzix Die (Caged Bird)
Making Memories patterned paper
Ranger Glossy Accents
Alterations by Tim Holtz for Sizzix Tag & Bookplates Die

So…for the very last time…

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Family Tag Feud: Day 11

Finally…it’s here! The conclusion of the tag feud! We actually finished construction of the tags yesterday but didn’t get the photography done till today.

Now all that needs to be done to complete our little advent calendar tag set is to have our daughter sit down with us and make a tag…but first we have to tear her away from her gifts. Maybe tomorrow.

So, let’s get to it…because nothing says holiday spirit like a family feud, right?

Tag #1:


Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Old Paper, Chipped Sapphire, Dusty Concord, Tumbled Glass, Spiced Marmalade, Fired Brick, Mustard Seed, Worn Lipstick, Wild Honey.
Tim Holtz Distress Embossing Ink
Tim Holtz Idea-ology Grunge Paper
Tim Holtz Distress Embossing Powder in Worn Lipstick, Tattered Rose and Vintage Photo
Ranger Stickles in Cotton Candy & Frosted Lace
Inkadinkado Rubber Stamp (palm tree)
Stacy Stamps Rubber Stamp (Map 405AA)
Great Impressions Rubber Stamp (“Merry Christmas”)
Recollections Clear Stamps by Michaels (“Christmas Collage”)
Hobby Lobby Natural Jute
White #8 Tag

Tag #2:


Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Pine Needles, Old Paper, Fired Brick & Black Soot
Studio AE for Technique Tuesday Clear Stamps (Good Cheer)
Making Memories Label Holder
Hero Arts Rubber Stamp (Graph Background)
BasicGrey Patterned Paper (unknown)
Katie Pertiet Picture Cards: Holiday No. 1 by Designer Digitals
Staples Matte Photo Paper
Tim Holtz for Stamper’s Anonymous stamps (Odds and Ends)
Tim Holtz idea-ology Accoutrements
Making Memories Decorative Tape
Ribbon (Michaels)
Hobby Lobby Natural Jute
Tim Holtz for Tonic Studios Paper Distresser

So, no holiday peace truce in this household…tag pride is at stake!

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