I'm a paper crafter, so I feel guilty using supplies that are so often tree-based. I use recycled paper when ever possible, but you can't control what the recipient paper goods is going to do with it. Gift tags are a big one - they're usually tossed out with the wrapping paper. With the holidays coming up, I wanted to create a made-from-scratch, reusable option for gift-giving.
The best part about these reusable gift tags is that they're made with extremely common household ingredients. There were a few different recipes I could have chosen - air dry porcelain, baker's clay, salt dough - but I chose this recipe because it only requires three ingredients:
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 2 cups baking soda
- 1.5 cups water
Plus, the materials are minimal as well:
- small sauce pan
- wax paper or parchment paper
- cookie cutters
- string or twine
- chalkboard paint
I also like how the dough has such a fresh, clean scent! Let's get started.
Step one: combine all ingredients in sauce pan on medium heat, and stir constantly until the mixture is almost too thick to stir (about 5-10 minutes)
Step two: remove pan from heat. Place dough on plate or plastic wrap to cool. Knead for five minutes when it's cool enough to touch. At this point you can store the dough in an air-tight container indefinitely, or roll it out right now.
Step three: roll the dough to less than .25" thick if possible. Since they will be used as gift tags, you want them to be thin enough to be portable, but thick enough that they won't crack during the drying process. Cut out your desired shapes with cookie cutters. Circles, hearts, pumpkins, trees, leaves, rectangles, or tag shapes are all good options. Use a straw to cut out a small hole at the top of your tag for threading.
Step four: allow tags to air dry. This may take 1-3 days, depending on how thick you cut the dough, and how humid it is where you live. I've also read that you can bake this dough at 200 degrees F for 15 minutes, but be careful of browning the dough.
Step five: Once the tags are dry, apply one coat of chalkboard paint, painting the strokes vertically. Once dry, paint a second coat with horizontal strokes. Allow to dry completely - overnight would be best.
Step 6: Condition the chalkboard by rubbing surface with chalk and erasing. Thread your tag hole with baker's twine, embroidery floss, or brown twine - something sturdy.
Your tags are now ready for use!
These tags may also seem delicate, but they're fairly sturdy: three of them accidentally fell off my desk onto the floor, and none of them broke.