Monday, April 17, 2006

Make Yourself a Tag Brag Book

By Christina VanGinkel

Tags are great for all sorts of things. They make great embellishments when decorated, and are also ideal journaling spots in your scrapbook layouts. You can fancy them up and then use them to add flair to the next gift you give. I once transformed a miniature one with dried flowers and layers of embossing enamel into a charm for a necklace that I received more compliments on than any other piece of jewelry I have ever worn.

With the popularity of scrapbooking and other paper crafts, the availability of paper tags in various sizes is a fortunate thing to those of us who are always looking for new things to make. By embellishing oversized tags with papers, fibers, brads, eyelets, and your favorite picture, you can make a Tag Brag Book in no time at all. So simple are they to create, you will want to make some for yourself in all of your favorite subjects, and make a few to share too!

To make your own, all you need are a few basic paper-crafting supplies, including:

Wide and narrow ribbon
Decorative paper
Photographs of your own choosing
Any other embellishments you might want to use
Photo editing software
Photo printer (so you can print your chosen photos in various sizes to apply to the tags. While you could have this printed third party, it makes it much simpler if you are able to resize and print the photos, as you need them)

The process of assembly of a Tag Brag Book is so simple, be prepared to make many of them after your first. Start by choosing the photos that you want to include in your brag book. This will help determine how many tags you will actually require. Plan to use only one side of each tag for either a photograph or any journaling you would want to include. With this in mind, plan your layout.

Decorate each tag as desired. Use photo-editing software to transform your desired photographs into various sizes that will work with your chosen tag size. Print and affix to tags along with your other embellishments. Some of the curtest little Tag Brag Books I have seen included other things besides photos and journaling. One of my friends did one about her young daughter's visit to her cousin's birthday party, and it actually only had three photos, one of her daughter, one of her niece, and one of the two girls together on the big day. The remaining six tags were quotes of fun, and profound things her three-year-old daughter and niece had said that day, and some special mementos relating to the big day too. She gave the book to her sister, the cousin's mother, and I heard it was a big hit with her!

Layout of the tags and assembly can be done in one of two ways, accordion style, or loose. Accordion style is achieved by laying the tags out face down, and applying a piece of wide ribbon across the back of them to hold them together. Fold up accordion style, and enjoy. If you would like, you could use a thinner ribbon to tie the tag book closed when not showing it off. Feel free to use ribbons and such in the tops of the tags if the tags have eyelet openings, etc. You can also use the eyelet opening with a brad to hold the pages of your book together. To look through it, you simply slide them by, one at a time. I have also used a medium sized key ring to loop the pages together.

Remember that the fun of a Tag Brag Book is that there really are no rules. What I have provided you with are simply guidelines to get you started. Tags can be small or large, and can be assembled in any manner you choose. If you think that you will be showing off your little book a lot, you may even wish to laminate each tag so that they hold up under lots of handling. Be prepared though to make more than one, because once you start, you will find it hard to stop making these great little books for yourself and everyone you know!

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