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provo craft and novelty

Salt dough Christmas gift tags – provo craft and novelty

I know, Christmas is over and has been for a while. Maybe one year I’ll manage to share our wrapping ideas before Christmas, but this year was just way too busy!

 

We’ve done homemade tags for the last couple years and it has become a tradition I really enjoy! The first year we did wooden tags and last year we made paint chip tags.  This year, I tried salt dough!

 

They were definitely the most work, but they turned out so cute!

 

I used this simple salt dough recipe:

 

1 cup of flour (NOT self-rising)

1/2 cup of salt

1/2 cup of water

 

I rolled out small, thin sections and cut out shapes using random things like cookie cutters and a jigger for circles. I used a paper tag from last year as a template and cut the dough using a flat knife. A Cutco cheese knife, actually…probably not its intended use!

 

Then I “decorated” the shapes using smaller cookie cutters, snowflake plunger cutters, stamps, the edge of a snap-off box cutter, and a piece of milk glass with a fun pattern that I rolled lightly over the dough. I used a straw to create the hole.

 

Some recipes say you can microwave them for faster drying (90 seconds to 3 minutes) but I tried this with a couple and they bubbled and warped pretty badly. I didn’t really want these to look like a child’s craft project, so I opted for hours and hours (and hours!!) in the oven at 200 degrees. You don’t want to burn them, but any moisture could make them mildew or crumble more easily so you do want to make sure they’re completely dry.

 

I couldn’t seem to find the right balance of completely dry but not yellowed (at least on one side), so once they were all done, I decided to paint them with acrylic craft paints.

 

If you want them to last more than one season, you need to paint or varnish them with something anyway to keep moisture from getting in, so I painted all of them on both sides and all the edges (even inside the hole!). Once the paint was dry I coated them again with matte Mod Podge, just to be sure. It didn’t change the appearance, but it made them feel much smoother, which hopefully means less porous!

 

Then I decorated them some more by drawing in the indentations with gold Sharpie…

 

Or red Sharpie (right) and red acrylic paint (left).

 

And then came the wrapping! This year we used brown Kraft paper (from Amazon) and some silver polka dot wrapping for smaller gifts, along with some silver sparkly tape from the dollar bins at Target!

 

I made a few snowflakes using the plunger cutter just for fun (kind of hard to do since these cutters are really made to be used with softer fondant or frosting), and then realized this tiny gift was too small for a regular tag anyway! Isn’t it adorable?!

 

I decorated some of the Kraft paper presents with the gold Sharpie…

 

And gold polka dot Washi tape.

 

For others, I used stamps. The tags took so long, I didn’t have a lot of time for the wrapping so I just decorated the top. Who really cares about the side of the present anyway, right?

 

I wanted to stamp the names, but the ink from the metallic stamp pad would NOT dry (I experimented on one and even after 7 days I was able to wipe it off with just a little water) so I just used the gold Sharpie instead.

 

That gold Sharpie really won Christmas this year! Way to go, gold Sharpie!

 

We had one very awkwardly shaped gift, so I made a gift bag out of the brown paper and decorated it with stripes. It was kind of a lot of work for one gift, but I couldn’t help myself!

 

With our incredibly busy December, we never got around to putting very many of the tags on the tree, but I’m storing them inside (instead of in the attic with the other decorations) in hopes that we can use them next year!

 

Despite how much work went into these, I really enjoyed decorating them and LOVED the results! Possibly my favorite gift tags yet, and unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be able to top them!

 

Another free magazine wreath – provo craft and novelty

So, as expected Andrew gave me a very hard time for cutting up even more magazines and making yet another wreath!

 

But this wreath was almost entirely free, and I think of all my homemade wreaths (like my spring magazine wreath, my fall paper wreath, or this quick twig wreath), it may have been the easiest!

 

Materials:

 

Magazine pages (or other scrap paper)

Foam board/cardboard for the backing or a wreath form*

Scissors

Elmer’s glue or hot glue**

Double sided tape

 

*I made my wreath using a circle of foam board for the backing so that it would be flat enough to fit inside the storm door, but if you wanted a more dimensional wreath, a wreath form (and hot glue) might work better (for an indoor wreath, of course. Magazines don’t exactly hold up well to the elements!)

 

**I chose to use Elmer’s glue because the space in between our door and storm door has the effect of a greenhouse (even when it’s not that warm outside), sometimes causing the hot glue to re-melt. Since I was gluing paper to paper, I figured this might be a more permanent option.

 

First, I went through tons of magazines and tore out any pages with fall colors. I tried to stick to red, orange, yellow, brown, gray, gold, etc. Then I cut a leaf shape out of a paint chip, traced the shape onto the magazine pages, and cut out all my little shapes. Definitely a bit time consuming, but turn on a movie and it’s not so bad!

 

Once I had all my shapes cut out, I folded the leaves in half (in stacks of 10 or so at a time) so there would be a bit more dimension once they were on the wreath. I also opted to use some patterned pieces to give it a bit more interest.

 

I had some pieces of foam board left from another project, otherwise I probably would have used cardboard so I didn’t have to buy anything. I didn’t have a circle big enough to trace, so I just measured out from a center point until I had enough dots to draw a circle. Man, I really need a compass. Then I cut the circles with an exacto knife, and ta-da!

 

I used a lamp shade and a large bowl to draw different sizes of circles on the form so I would know where to line up my rows. You can see the faint pencil lines in the picture above. This was really helpful so I didn’t space my rows unevenly!

 

Then, starting from the outside of the form, I used thin layers of Elmer’s glue to place the leaves in rows. Only glue the bottom of each leaf, and let the first row hang way off the edge, so you won’t see the form once it’s hung. Also, on the first leaf of each row, be sure to leave half of it unglued so once you get back around to it, you can slip the edge of the last leaf underneath it!

 

The Elmer’s glue does make the magazine pieces a little wrinkly, so I used a very thin layer only on the very bottom of each leaf, and then covered up the bottom of each row with the next row of leaves.

 

Because of this, I decided to use double-sided tape on the last row so the wrinkles wouldn’t be visible. I placed a small strip for each leaf, being sure to overlap the leaf before.

 

Then I placed each leaf one at a time, leaving enough excess to wrap them around the inside edge.

 

Once I had taped a few, I wrapped them under and continued around the circle.

 

After taping the entire last row, I turned it over and taped the leaves down to the back of the wreath.

 

This created a really nice clean edge for the inside circle. I didn’t want to see the rough edges of the cut foam board!

 

And it’s as simple as that! I really love this wreath! It might even be my favorite. The colors look so cute with the front door and the brick, and I think it looks very fall-esque from outside.

 

Hopefully it’s cute enough to distract from our poor, dead alberta spruce? Died from the summer heat, and yet it’s still there. Hmmm…

 

Still can’t figure out to do there that won’t die, so maybe I’ll just keep making wreaths in the hope that they’ll be enough of a distraction!

 

So there you have it. Yet another free magazine wreath that, in my not so humble opinion, is adorable and totally worth the work! Happy fall (and wreath-making)!

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