For years I’ve been making these tumbled, hand dyed gift tags and since I was running low on my supply, I thought I’d whip up a new batch and show you just how easy they are - and the surprisingly simple step that gives them their trademark worn textured look.
This season I was inspired to try a unique spin on traditional holiday gift wrapping by using warm muted tones and colors that could easily transition to other gifting needs throughout the year. Let’s get started!
Prepare dye per manufacturer instructions for cotton dying. I used half a bottle of Rit Liquid Dye for each batch.
Place an old towel on the counter - one for each color. I add a length of plastic wrap underneath the towel for good measure.
Working quickly, drop tags into dye bath and submerge completely. Let sit a 1-2 minutes. For darker gradients of color, leave some tags in for another minute or two longer, but make sure they don’t get too soggy to pick up.
Remove tags and place on old towel. Pat dry.
Place towel and tags in your dryer and run a cycle for 5-10 minutes or until dry. This step is what gives them a worn patina!
Dampen another old towel thoroughly and place in dryer and run cycle until towel is dry. This helps clean any residue in dryer.
Tags will be rumpled and curled when you remove them from the dryer. Stack 5-10 together and tie with string to help them straighten out a bit. Personally, I love the beautiful worn texture and leave them a little frumpy.
If you’re dying cotton twine or bags, you will need to leave them in the dye bath for several hours for the dye to completely absorb through all the layers. For best results only use 100% cotton items.
If you prefer to air dry the tags, you can do so by laying them flat on an old towel until dry. They will not have the same worn, rumpled texture but will certainly have beautiful tones and color variations.
You could package up a bundle of your handmade tags to gift to a friend or use them as name cards for holiday gatherings. I keep a stack on hand throughout the year for birthday presents, quick labels, and food gifts for friends and neighbors. Happy Holidays!