As I mentioned in my previous post, our project at The Artist Circle Yahoo Group was to create a tag booklet. We started with coffee staining some tags, then colored them in various ways, followed by different embellishments. The final tag booklets were as varied as they could be, with all sorts of colors, artistic styles, and themes. This is really a great group for anyone looking for inspiration and encouragement to try lots of different artistic projects.
I really liked the first tags I made, but they were a mishmash of shapes, sizes and materials, and I wanted a more uniform look for the final book, so I made myself some more. I simply cut a single sheet of cardstock into 2 1/2″ X 2′ rectangles, then cut the corners at angles and punched holes for the tags. So these were little tags, but I like the small size. I think being constrained by a small space forces me to maximize my creativity.
I coffee-stained, colored and dry-brushed the new tags with gesso. (There were a few days between each of those steps, because I like time to think about where I want to go next.) Then I started looking for images or themes for my finished book.
In a catalog (one of my favorite sources for free imagery to use in my artwork), I found a set of glasses with pictures of hummingbirds and flowers on them. They were exactly the right color, and more importantly, the right size for my booklet.
I cut the hummingbirds and flowers out, and played with several arrangements of the images on my tags. When I had a layout I liked, I glued everything down. I then sprayed all the tags with Platinum Pearl Color Mist spray for an additional unifying layer.
The tags were pretty, but fairly bland, so I went to Google to find some hummingbird related text to go on them. I found this site, with the perfect hummingbird poem by Charlotte Smith. I added this to the tags, one line per tag, in black Sharpie.
by Charlotte Smith
Minutest of the feathered kind,
Possessing every charm combined,
Nature, in forming thee, designed
A proof within how little space
She can comprise such perfect grace,
Rendering the lovely; fairy race
I was happy at this point with the look of each individual tag.
Now, how to put them together?
I considered various options – craft wire, binder rings, a stick and ribbon close, but ultimately decided that the look was best maintained by a simple binding of ribbon through the hole in the tag.
I still had 2 problems, though.
1) While the tags all looked good and like they belonged together, the booklet as a whole still looked unfinished.
2) I wanted the attribution for the poem to be more prominent. (I had written it on the back of the last tag, but it’s kinda hard to read, and you’d have to look for it.)
The obvious solution to both problems was to add another tag – a cover that would have the poem’s title and attribution on it. But none of my leftover tags jumped out at me as being right for this purpose.
What did look like it might work was a tag I’d saved from a toy the baby had been given for Christmas. It was the right size, but an oval shape, which I thought would be a nice contrast with the body of the book.
I painted the tag with green acrylic paint, a fairly thick layer to obscure the writing on the tag. I then applied some gold ink with a baby wipe to add some sparkle. A quick spray with the Platinum Pearl color mists worked to tie the cover in with the rest of the tags.
The final step was to write the name of the poem and the author on the front of the cover, write my name and the date on the back of it, and tie everything together with the ribbon.