The Perfect Grubby, Grungy Hang Tags: A Tutorial

Ok, so I think I finally have it down! The batch of hang tags I recently made came out so deliciously grubby!

Here we go! So start by getting basic hang tags at your local craft store. I don’t make any fancy mixtures – I use straight (very strong) coffee. The coffee was really hot so I put it outside in the snow to cool for a bit, so it’s a little easier to work with.

Tip: Seriously, wear rubber gloves! My hands were in the coffee for a very short time and it still stained my nails brown. I usually get down and dirty with my crafts, but for this project, I will definitely wear gloves next time!

Drop in a few tags and mix them around until the are completely submerged in the coffee. Leave them in for only a minute or two.  Leaving them in for a long time makes the little red enforcers fall off. One thing I have learned is that this process is not about how long you soak them, but about how long you bake them in the oven!

Once the tags are completely saturated, lay them out on a cookie sheet so they are not touching. Tip: Don’t shake off the excess coffee. I am convinced that leaving them really wet and saturated (see pic below) is the key to making them grubby. That excess coffee soaks right into the tags as they bake!

Cook at 200 degrees for about 15 minutes. The excess coffee should be absorbed by now and the tags mostly dry.

You’ll notice that one side is pretty grubby, while the other side isn’t. SO, the next step is to RE-DIP all of the tags in the coffee mixture and flip them over to bake on the other side. Bake another 15 minutes. Yes, this is time-consuming, but it works really well and creates a really great over-all grubbified effect! :) Enjoy the winter scenery while you wait…

Then…VOILA! Perfectly grubby, grungy hanging tags!

Use them for all your prim country projects, scrap booking, gift wrapping, or whatever else you can think of! The possibilities are endless! I think I might start by stamping a few with a great new skeleton key stamp I recently found!

That’s all for now. I am leaving going to Arizona for a week so I won’t be posting for a while. I hope to have some fun pictures to share when I get back. Happy crafting to all! :)

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cindy
    Feb 10, 2011 @ 15:11:25

    Your tags turned out great!! Thanks for sharing how you did it. I wonder if tea would work…I can’t stand the smell of coffee. My girls love it though…maybe I can get one of them to stain my tags. LOL…

    Reply

    • Eyeballs By Day, Crafts By Night
      Feb 10, 2011 @ 15:34:35

      Thanks Cindy! I love the way they came out. I have used tea before and it works okay…I feel coffee works a little better for a more grubby effect. It’s just more intense and seems to stain them better. I am sure with some experimenting and a strong tea mixture, you could get some good results. Although out-sourcing the work to your daughters would be an easier option…LOL!

      Reply

  2. Gloria Hutson
    Sep 05, 2011 @ 16:19:34

    Hi, try a mixture of 2/3 warm water and 1/3 hydrogen peroxide (3%) and soak your fingers and nails to get rid of the stain.

    Reply

  3. bluebell
    Nov 21, 2012 @ 16:15:01

    where do you buy your tags?

    Reply

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