Be Yourself (Tag Tutorial)

Tag Tutorial with Distress Inks & Sizzix Dies (Marjie Kemper)Colorful Tag Art

I’ve wanted to use this fabulous Tim Holtz sentiment stamp for awhile!  The focus of my layered tag is the largest stamp from Tim Holtz’s Way with Words stamp set. Highlighted links are affiliate links which means I’ll earn a few cents on your purchase if you buy through them. Your cost won’t be affected in any way.

Tim Holtz Way with Words stamp set

It’s one of my favorite sets for the sheer variety in fonts and sizes, not to mention the very cool sentiments themselves.

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Combining Sizzix Dies

I made this tag using three Sizzix dies: Tag & Bookplates, Elegant Flourishes, and Pediments. Before I started diecutting, I adhered Ranger’s Manila Cardstock to grunge paper because I wanted it to be extra sturdy.  I also wanted those flourishes to be raised up when I adhered them to the tag. Of course, you could achieve the same look with thick cardboard.

Tag art tutorial with Distress Inks and Tim Holtz Sizzix dies (Marjie Kemper)

I inked up my stamp and die-cuts with Distress Inks and stamped the sentiment onto the tag with Jet Black Archival Ink.  Next, I laid my inked flourishes on top of scrap paper (where I’d already stamped the sentiment) and stamped the sentiment again on top of them:

Tag art tutorial with Distress Inks and Tim Holtz Sizzix dies (Marjie Kemper)

I ran the die-cut Pediments through my Sizzix Vagabond machine using the Mini Rays Texture Fades embossing folder.  The negative shapes from these are very interesting. I might use the negative of this one as an arrow head:

Tag art tutorial with Distress Inks and Tim Holtz Sizzix dies (Marjie Kemper)

and attached them with redline tape and long fasteners.  Long Fasteners are brads with extra long prongs.  As a result, they easily do the job of piercing these 2 layers of manila and 2 layers of Grunge.

Tag art tutorial with Distress Inks and Tim Holtz Sizzix dies (Marjie Kemper)

As can be seen below, toothpicks are the perfect tool for applying Matte Medium to the back of the flourishes. In case you have applied too much, it’s helpful to have a cosmetic sponge handy to quickly dab away any excess.

Tag art tutorial with Distress Inks and Tim Holtz Sizzix dies (Marjie Kemper)

Once everything was attached, I hammered the brads for a more distressed look.

Tag art tutorial with Distress Inks and Tim Holtz Sizzix dies (Marjie Kemper)

I really like the way this came out. The Matte Medium was the perfect adhesive because it dries clear, so any overages are unseen.

A few close-ups

colorful tag art tutorial with Distress Inks and Tim Holtz Sizzix dies (Marjie Kemper)

Tag art tutorial with Distress Inks and Tim Holtz Sizzix dies (Marjie Kemper)


If you’d like to learn more about the techniques I use working with Distress Inks, check out my online class with Craftsy. Inventive Ink: Colorful Mixed Media Effects comes with lifetime access and a money-back guarantee.

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Your comments are very much appreciated!


  1. Karenliz says:

    Marjie, This is beautiful. I love the way you stamped on the flourishes and lined them up. I’m going to have to try it. Thanks for your inspiration!

  2. Caroline says:

    Oh My….. I was stunned when I saw first picture at top… Then as I saw how you had achieved it?? You lost me I’m afraid with how you got sentiment on both tag & swirl THEN line it up….. However you did it, the result is fantastic!! 🙂

  3. Way cool!!! I love how you did the sentiment with the flourishes!!

  4. Oh Marjie I simply & utterly adore this!! That sentiment is splendid & the way you have done this tag is just amazing!!

  5. This is a great looking tag and I’m so glad you included a tutorial with this. I really want to try this one day for myself – it looks so awesome cool!!

  6. kazoomi says:

    Thank you so very much for sharing. I wish I was in that part of the country so I could attend your class. I’m so jealous of those who can!

  7. This technique is very cool … actually several techniques here I like: layering the paper on grungeboard before die cutting instead of trying to adhere pop dots on tiny parts; the layered flourish with the stamped image on top, and using the Rays embossing folder and brads on the Pediment pieces. Thanks for the tutorial!

  8. That is so brilliant, Marjie – genius to have the stamping on the flourish too… it tickles the eye wonderfully as it moves over the dimensional quote. Fabulous embossing on the pediments too… I’ve also decided, after all, that I can’t continue to fit everything in, so will be bidding a fond farewell to eP myself tomorrow!
    Alison xx

  9. Great tutorial Marjie! This is one of those projects that I saw in a store I wouldn’t think twice–I would buy it right away. In LOVE with the colors!

  10. Love this Marjie both for the colours and the full size of the sentiment. I haven’t found a way of using mine yet. Love the pediments and the way you did the flourishes, so cool.
    Sorry I have been mia since my holiday, just catching up on DT work.
    Take care.
    hugs {brenda} x0x

  11. That’s a gorgeous tag, I really enjoy the colors. Thanks for the tutorial.

  12. I Totally love this! The colors and that quote. Plus, I really want that die now. Love it. Thanks for the tutorial.

  13. loved your tag! the colors are amazing!

  14. Stunning creation Marjie and those colours remind me of vintage circus theme.
    I’ve so missed visiting your Blog and seeing your unique creations.
    Marjie, thank you for all your good wishes you have sent my way. Still taking life easy but I sure hope this is me making a start to be part of the blogging community once again – missed it so much (and creating – no crafting taking place at the moment 🙁

  15. FABULOUS!!!! Love the top and bottom, and those swirls rock! Oh the color too…yummy!!!!

  16. Another cool technique – how do you do it??? Love this, the pediments are awesome with the embossing and the colors are fabulous!

  17. Great colors! Love this tag, it is very unique.

  18. This is truly fabulous. Your inked backgrounds are so very beautiful, Marjie…and then to do that cool technique with the flourishes…love that! The texture on the pediments is wonderful, too.

  19. Stunning tag and tutorial, Marjie! Love those reds! You know I have not used my pendiments and if I had not already finished something and remember about them, it would have been a done deal! We share the same love of the almighty toothpick! I use it for all sorts of gluey goo! Hugs!

  20. What a fun idea to stamp over the die cuts! I’m going to try that one for sure. Stunning tag, Marjie! Hugs, Sandra

  21. I’m impressed~gorgeous!!!

  22. Wouldn’t have thought to stamp twice…. once on the bottom and once on your embellishment. That makes total sense!
    I’m chuckling over the fact that you felt the need to distress your brads. =)

  23. Barbara Albrecht says:

    Love it, Marjie!! Thanks for the photos and tutorial!

  24. Beautiful tag, love the colours and the stamps with those quotes are fantastic. Valerie

  25. Again and again, you amaze me, girlfriend. Ink, stamps and a flourish? Yum.

  26. Hi Marjie, I like the idea of stamping onto the flourishes, it looks amazing. Love that pediment die (need that one) and really love that stamp set, not seen that one before – it looks brilliant. It must be bitter-sweet leaving EP. Really looking forward to seeing what is next for you! Hugs, Anne x

  27. Sweet stamp, love the embossed pediments and brads…..NH, will have to see what that weekend is, might be the same as the Vintage Bazaar, if not maybe I can come! xox

  28. Love this tag. Gorgeous colors

  29. What a clever idea to stamp over the flourishes and then add them back in the appropriate spot on the tag!

  30. Wowwwwwwwwww! This is amazing!! I love the colors and love love love how you did the stamping!!!

  31. Fern Edwards says:

    This is so cool! The dimension with the flourish gives great depth and looks great!

  32. What a great combination of techniques Marjie! The stamps are great against that amazing
    coloured background…gorgeous in total!

    kind regards, Alie 🙂

  33. Love the idea of layering your stamping over the die cut flourish in this way Marjie. Whilst fiddly to achieve it looks superb when finished. Hugs, Jenny x