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'Twas the Week Before Christmas! -- Tags, Bags & Gift-Card Holders

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Projects designed by Sharon M. Reinhart

'Twas the week before Christmas,
And the last card was sent.
I looked for some tags,
But didn't know where they went.
I gathered supplies to make more festive tags,
Then realized I needed some decorated bags.
I had opened my cardstock and scrap-paper folders,
When, alas, I remembered I still needed gift-card holders!

Yes, you guessed it! This issue of the CardMaker update is about those final touches of tags, bags and gift-card holders!

It is nice to have a few special handmade tags to adorn packages for friends and loved ones. These tags look beautiful on packages, and they make the recipients feel extra special. Often tags are saved and used as tree ornaments or Christmas decor. I even know of some who take it a step further and recycle the tag by adding it to a cardstock base for use as a future Christmas card. I think this is a great idea and would love to somehow track the tag to see how much joy has been spread.

Project 1 is a great example of a festive tag. This particular one was hand-cut from pearlescent cardstock by starting with a rectangle of cardstock and then just trimming two corners at an angle. Wafer-thin die templates may also be used to generate a tag base, or if you wish to use heavier materials, there are also steel rule dies. Just follow the manufacturer's recommendations as to the weight or thickness of materials that may be used.

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Project 1

Once the base has been made it's time to decorate! A textured background is easily achieved by using an embossing folder. Or perhaps you may wish to use rubber stamps or stencils -- all of these supplies work wonderfully! Next up is making a festive grouping of images and textures. The first layer is a simple strip of green cardstock to add color to the tag base. The texture is created further with the use of some die-cut greens and berries. For a little bit of sparkle I used a clear Wink of Stella pen on the berries. The focal point here is created with a die-cut cardstock star and a wooden snowflake layered on top. The snowflake has also been accented with the Wink of Stella pen along with a few adhesive rhinestones. The final touch is a die-cut sentiment. Don't forget to add a "To" and "From" label to the back.

Project 2 is another style of tag. This one is perfect for gift-giving bottles of sparkling juice, wine or flavored oils. It starts with a 3 1/4 x 6-inch piece of cardstock that has been scored at 2 inches across the width. In order to make the opening for the bottle neck, use a circle punch or die template. The first layer on this tag is a piece of pearlescent cardstock that has been embossed using an embossing folder and then cut into a banner shape. The banner shape has been hand-cut by making a cut up the center and then from each corner to the center point. Another option is to use a die template to create the banner shape; in that case it is recommended to die-cut the shape first and then emboss.

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Project 2

The focal point is the decorative washi tape ornament which is quick and easy to do! Just apply strips of washi tape to cardstock or lightweight chipboard, and then die-cut using a desired shape. Trees, stockings and presents are a few other suggestions of shapes to use. Further texture has been created with the addition of die-cut greenery. Of course we have to have a little bit of sparkle, and this has been accomplished by accenting the greenery with a Wink of Stella pen. As you can probably guess, this is one of my favorite ways of adding a little bit of glitz! The ribbon and die-cut sentiment are the perfect finishing touches.

As it is the week before Christmas you may be short on time. Gift bags are a quick way to package a gift. To add your creative touch and keep the festive theme going I encourage you to give this card bag topper a try. In Project 3 this delightful card serves dual purpose -- first as a greeting card and secondly as the bag decor.

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Project 3

This technique may be used on almost any size of gift bag. Make sure the card is slightly wider than the bag, and then decide how much of the bag you would like to be covered and measure. Double this measurement to determine the size of cardstock needed. Then score cardstock at the center and fold in half.

This festive card is a layer of embossed pearlescent cardstock followed by a trio of die-cut trees. The trees have been embellished with sparkling ornaments created by punching 1/8-inch circles from glitter paper. A great method for accomplishing this is to apply double-sided adhesive tape to the back of the glitter paper and then punch out the circles. Then remove the tape liner from the punched circles using a straight pin or piercing tool, and apply the glitter dot to the tree. To add texture, the center tree has been accented with an embossing folder and adorned with a die-cut glittering star and a delightful cardstock mini bow. The mini bow was made using a die template. Decorate the card inside as desired.

The final step is to lay the bag in its collapsed form on your work surface with the finished card on top. Lightly mark on the back of the card at the outside edge of the handles. Punch on the fold at these marks using a 1/8-inch punch. Next, cut along the fold line from one punched circle to the next using a craft knife and mat, or a paper trimmer that has a sliding blade. All that's left to do is to slip the card through this opening over the handles of the bag.

Our last project is a gift-card holder. This particular one is a pop-up style; however, there are many different styles. This one begins with a 4 1/4 x 10-inch piece of cardstock that has been scored and folded at 3, 4, 5 and 8 inches across the width. To create the pop-up element that holds the gift card, fold the 5-inch score line into a mountain fold. This now becomes the inside of the gift-card holder. On the back apply 1/8-inch-wide double-sided tape on one of the 1-inch panels along the left and right sides, as well as along the folded edge on one side. Do not put adhesive on the center fold area. Remove the tape liner and adhere. Flip the entire piece back over and the gift-card area will be upright. To make the opening, either cut a small sliver from the fold or use a decorative punch or die template to cut on the fold. Decorate the inside of the gift-card holder with a greeting panel, leaving an area to write a message.

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Project 4

Now it's time to dress up the front! All of the decorative elements have been attached to a 1 x 9-inch belly band that serves to keep the holder closed. A die-cut mini doily serves as the base for a few die-cut foliage and berry stems. The focal point is the wonderful tea-bag folded medallion. It begins with eight punched or die-cut circles from lightweight paper. This paper is a pearlescent text-weight paper. The fold is a combination of a basic circle fold with a progression. Fold each circle in half and then into quarters, and burnish the folds with a bone folder. Unfold and re-crease each fold so that both are in a mountain-fold orientation (raised versus recessed). Holding the paper circle with the folds in an X shape, press inward on the sides, collapsing it into a pie shape. This is the basic circle fold. The progression fold is completed by folding back the top layer.

After each circle has been folded, apply double-sided tape to the back along one folded edge, keeping the placement of adhesive the same on each shape. To assemble, remove the tape liner and slip the top layer of one folded shape between the layers of another. Continue until all have been assembled. Attach a glittered brad through the center for the final touch and layer onto the foliage on the belly band. For further inspiration and instructions on tea-bag folding I encourage you to check out my Fabulous Paper Folds online class or DVD.

I hope these fun and festive projects will help you with your final holiday preparations. Keep in mind that all of these projects can easily be translated into many other reasons and seasons!