Monday, May 4, 2009

Making my own hang tags

When I started selling in consignment shops I needed to add individual hang tags to my pieces for branding and as a place to put pricing stickers. Most shops won't want a tag with your web address on it, so I just put "made in lowell by Liz Smith". I started by cutting some Moo cards in half and rounding the corners, those looked fantastic but wow that was going to get expensive fast.

I don't mind a ton of laborious cutting and clipping (OCD heaven!) so I designed a group of 11 hang tags using my product photos and arranged it to fit on an Overnight Prints postcard. I chose Overnight Prints because I wanted the matte finish they offer, sort of trying to replicate the Moo card look. When the box of 100 cards arrived I cut the tags apart, used a corner punch to round their corners, punched a hole and strung them with vintage crochet thread.

While I am overall very pleased with the results, here are the things I would do differently next time:

1) Design to the edge of the postcard, do a full bleed. I designed my card with the images floating inside a large white area and while this wasn't a problem for me, Overnight Prints lil printer bot caught it and emailed me TWICE to tell me my order was on hold because I didn't do a proper bleed on my card and it was coming up as an error in their system. I don't want to give the lil bot a heart attack and I don't want my order delayed again so next time I will make sure my image goes past the edge of the card.

2) Size my tags differently. The best corner rounder I have found is made by Fiskars but your tags have to be at least 1 ½ inches to reach the corner punch part and still leave you something to hold onto. My tags were about ¼ inch too short. *sigh* I cannot be thwarted so I rigged up a lightly sticky strip of paper to extend my reach so all was not lost, but wow, was that a pain.

3) Another note on size: When I took my items to one of my consignment shops, I saw my carefully placed text and image obscured by a pricing sticker that is standard size for a lot of POS systems, ½” x 1 ¾”. My tags weren't long enough for the whole sticker to go on the back so the shop owner had no choice but to wrap the price tag around to the front of my tag ruining its aesthetic. I really should have thought of this when I designed my tag shape, but now I know!

Now that I have tried making my own hang tags using an outsourced printing company, I have more ideas for things like earring cards and other packaging. Please feel free to tell me your experiences with this kind of DIY packaging project!


  1. Thanks for sharing! Great post and love the idea. I don't know if I have the patience to do all that cutting though...Do you have a problem with the strings of the tags getting tangled?

  2. Thank you! Yeah, it's WAY labor intensive! But it's the kind of work I enjoy. I haven't had any strings tangle yet, maybe it's the finish on the string, it's a bit slick instead of catchy.

  3. thanks for the post, i am about to make some hang tags of my own, and have toyed with using Moo cards. [bit pricey, though, you're right!] glad for the link to overnight prints + your tips will come in handy. i'll let you know when i get to making some!

  4. Interesting fun to read, and the photos are beautiful.

  5. Makes me want to create something that needs a hang tag. Any ideas?

  6. Are you rounding all the corners by hand with scissors? Or using a corner rounder punch? Hopefully the latter! I can't imagine having to round all those corners!

  7. Hey,neat idea,thanks for sharing:)
    found you in the etsy forums...

  8. Your product pics look great. I just designed som tags through Vista Print. I put 3 products on a business card size with my website and a blank circle where I will write the price. The tags are for my upcoming craft shows. I am excited to get them and hope they turn out. I hardly paid anything because I had a credit.

  9. I like the look of your tags! Way more appealing looking than just a name and numbers.

  10. Your tags look beautiful. Thanks for sharing your ideas. I am still starting out and so probably the way I make my tags won't scale... but works for now.

    I use recycled brown paper bags and a tag-shaped punch. I carved a stamp out of my avatar and put him on the front, and hand write my website URL on the back.

    Works pretty well, although the stamp is a bit rough around the edges -- may have to try making it again and hope it comes out better.

    ...or maybe I'll try the photographic/printed route. Thanks again!

  11. lesley, yes, let me know how yours turn out!

    Thanks mom :)

    Dell, no, I have no ideas :)

    Carolyn, yes I'm using a punch, I have a picture of it in the post and a link to where people can purchase one :)

    Thanks andrea! Love the forums :)

    Sewlutions, great idea! I hope you liked how they came out, any pics?

    Cindy, thanks kindly!!

    robot, Oh I love hand printed tags on upcycled materials! That's a great look, even when it's rough, lots of character and very distinctive/modern

  12. What a fantastic tag idea! I love it.