Making Initialed Gift Tags with Pages from a Trashed Book


Do you save select bits of trash with the thought that one day you’ll make something with them? I do, although I have been known to find the stuff I was saving sneaked into the garbage can behind my back at times. And when I do, out it comes again. I promise, one day I will find a use for that stack of berry boxes that I have perched here on the corner of my desk!


To make these gift tags with initials of the recipients on them, I used pages from an old novel that I rescued from the trash when helping a friend move. It had a broken spine and missing pages, so was no good for reading but I liked the browny-tan colour the pages had turned to with age.

Speaking of paper that is browny-tan, I also used some of the store-bought tags that came white but that I died by soaking them in tea, that I had leftover from a project I did last year (the process seen here).


The complete list of supplies required for this project is:
– Tags, either store bought and tea dyed, or not, or handmade ones like the C tag at the end of the post.
– Pages from a discarded book, preferably old looking.
– Some coloured construction paper.
– A printed page of initials of your particular gift recipients, formatted in a large size that will fit your tags, using a simple font (I used Arial Bold).
– Tracing paper (optional). I used an old ballpoint pen that no longer had any ink in it … you’ll see why later.
– A cutting tool (Exacto Knife)
– Some regular scissors and some fancy edged scissors if you have them, although they’re not necessary. Old pinking sheers you’re no longer using for fabric would work too.
– Glue stick, two sided tape and packing tape.
– A ruler if you want straight lines but I’m winging-it.
– A fine tip black felt Sharpie pen.
– Gold stars and a gold pen (optional).
– Some yarn or string.


What to do:

(1) Using your tracing paper, or simply by pressing hard with a ballpoint pen so the impression shows through, outline your initials on the book pages. Depending on the book, you might check the words that will ultimately show up on your tags … if you’re giving these to kids you don’t want inappropriate words visible!

(2) Carefully cut the letters out of the book page using your knife. Note that if you do this carefully, you can get two tags from each pass, one using the letter itself and the other using the outline of the letter (see the M tags below to see what I mean).

(3) Cut out pieces of construction paper to layer behind the initials. Tack the initials to these by lightly dabbing the delicate letter onto the glue stick which will transfer enough glue to keep the letter in place but it won’t stick it down for good.

(4) Seal the initial down by covering completely with packing tape. (To see this Packing Tape Laminating technique, see this post.)

(5) Use the two sided tape to stick the initial/construction paper part to the tag.

(6) Add more decoration with the Sharpie, Gold Pen and Gold Stars if desired.

(6) Add the wool or string.







↑ This one was made with a tag I cut from some cardboard. ↑

I made some ‘ribbon’ by crocheting a chain …



I’ll be back tomorrow to show you the gift decorations I made to go with these tags, so please consider coming back to see those.

If you’re keen to see some other things I’ve made using trash, here is a greeting card and bookmark combo and here is another greeting card.

Thanks for your visit,
xo loulou