Trio of Skull Tags made from Gauche Alchemy's Dia de los Muertos kit

Tag, You’re It!


I’d spend so much time on the Memorial Canvas & Frames that I didn’t have enough time to even start the next project I’d planned (still in the works, by the way) before the next deadline came due, so I needed a quick fix for an impromptu project.

Enter the concept of highly-decorated tags!

Tags were never really my thing back when I paper-scrapped a lot. They were nice to have and could fill some space on a page quite nicely, but I never really got into them the way others did. I think I’ve now changed my mind on the “simple” tag.

Trio of Skull Tags made from Gauche Alchemy's Dia de los Muertos kit

The thing about tags is that they are, as mentioned, quick. But they’re also great for other reasons:

  • Instant gratification gives you a creative boost for other projects.
  • They can be used to decorate packages, gift bags, or decorations.
  • The small size means there’s not a lot of space to agonize over.

And, possibly the best reason to try your hand at tags:

  • Tags are a great way to use up miscellaneous supplies.

In the case of the Dia de los Muertos kit, it was the 3-D skull stickers. They’re cool stickers with a little bit of a girly-biker vibe, and I loved that they were part of the kit, but they were the type of thing I’d squirrel away and not use because either I didn’t have a specific use for them or I didn’t want to use them up.

Plopping them on some tags meant I got to use them in a no-pressure situation, and I still get to keep the pretty tags around until such time as I find a better home for them. It’s not quite the same as having your cake and eating it, too, but it’s pretty darn close!

Each tag is 3.5″x6″ and is cut from some of the cardstock supplied in the kit. Here are close-ups and details about each one:

Garnet & Gold cameo tag made from Gauche Alchemy's Dia de los Muertos kit

For the Garnet & Gold cameo tag, I stamped the background with the VLVS stamp, highlighted the texture in the braille paper with cranberry ink, then layered it all with woodgrain punchinella and brown & cream lace, stitching the looser bits up along the top edge.

The cameos in this kit kinda make me want to start wearing pins and brooches again, but I gave this set up for the tag and added some buttons and ribbon from my own stash to round it out. In the center I sewed one of the cross beads in the kit and called it a day.

Staring Skull tag made from Gauche Alchemy's Dia de los Muertos kit

The two pink & black tags exist solely to highlight the multi-layer skull stickers. For Mr. Staring Skull, He got embellished with a heart/motif sitcker from the same pack, turned on its side, a purple gem, some pen detailing on the other side traced through the sugar skull mask, a bow from wired mesh ribbon, and a bottle milagro. Cheers, dude!

Talking heads skull tag made from Gauche Alchemy's Dia de los Muertos kit

The talking heads, on the other hand, got a layered heart sticker, some faux stitching care of a silver Sharpie, a matching mesh bow and a heart milagro.

So how ’bout it? Why not drag out those unused stickers and supplies and make some tags?



So that project that had me all in knots last week? All done and up over at Gauche Alchemy today!

Dia de los Muertos Memorial Canvas

I got to play with the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Mixed Media Paper Crafting Kit and I’m really having fun with all the pieces and parts. My first project was, perhaps, a bit ambitious, but it never hurts to go all out.

It started with the frames and fabric.

I used a trapunto quilting technique to stitch and stuff two of the faces in the fabric.

Trapunto quilted skull-face fabric

Then I trimmed them up nice and neat. Hint: there are commercial fray-stoppers out there but I couldn’t find mine. Instead I used clear fingernail polish on the prone-to-fray taffeta ribbon and it worked just fine!

The frames that came in the kit are these awesome Victorian bubble frames that not only have 3 layers to the front of each frame, making the different cuts customizable, but also rounded “glass” (plastic) so that you can place non-flat things behind them.

Close-up of bubble frames

It was fun to work with the frames, and they have so much potential, but I went with a simple prep of charcoal gray paint highlighted with bright fabric paints around the edges to make the layers really stand out.

Painted frame layers

For the background of “portraits” I Mod Podge’d some of the book pages to the frame back and then spritzed them with Art Anthology Colorations Mist in Asphalt. After some dry time all around, the faces got paired with some punched film strip (from the Black Out Mixed Media color kit) and a purple feather from my stash for the female face, and two of the milagros (charms) and metal flowers from the DotD kit for the male face.

Assembled frames with quilted portraits

Originally this was going to be it for this project, and the canvas was going to be a separate project altogether, but I decided that they’d make a better project together, so on we go!

The canvas was one of those pre-primed things that I picked up on sale at the craft store with no particular project in mind.

First I layered book pages and sheet music onto the canvas with Mod Podge, then sprayed it with the Colorations like the frame backgrounds.

Then I used the sugar skull mask (as in stencil, not the type you wear on your face) with the Art Anthology Gelate in Splashed, and created a skull image on the layered canvas. When I couldn’t scrape all the gelate off the front I decided to flip it over and use it as a pseudo-stamp just to see what happened.

Applying the Art Anthology Gelate through the sugar skull mask

After the gelate dried I realized what LOOKED like white with sparkles in the jar actually dried clear. That’s okay, though, as I wanted the background darker anyway so just kept spraying and blotting the mist on until I’d reached the right shade of dark and the gelate was standing out nicely. And the secondary “stamp” turned out awesome.

Not quite dry gelate--still looks white, won't last for long!

Since the whole idea of Dia de los Meurtos is the remembrance of those who’ve passed on before us, I dug up some pictures of my grandparents in their younger days and printed them in a few different sizes. I ended up using the largest and the smallest of each to decorate either side of the canvas. A few details added with more puffy paint (make fun all you like, those precision tips are awesome) and then the single word, freehanded along with some scrolly bits.

Decorated canvas

To finish the canvas I glued on some burgundy ribbon from my stash, then attached the frames to two wide pieces of taffeta ribbon, the lace from the kit, and more black ribbon from my stash.

Finally, I declared it done.

And you know what’s even more awesome than having a completed project from one of the awesome Gauche Alchemy kits? Having tons more supplies left to do even more fun stuff. There will be more projects from this kit, but first we’re going to get back to the woodworking art for a bit.