Embossed Gift Tags From Recycled Cards and Drink Cans

About: Making jewelry is my passion. Besides the innate beauty of metal, my creations are inspired by found objects and green materials. I love the challenge of of construction and design. I have had to turn to man...

RE-Use those great cards you received for your B-day and the can of tea you just drank while reading them to make new gift tags!

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Step 1: You Will Need (to Love Crafts and Recycling)

You will need:

cards ready to be recycled

empty tea can



ballpoint pen

fine marker

rubber cement


fine steel wool

hole punch or drill or screw to make a hole in finished tag

Step 2: Choose a Shape for Your Gift Tag and Get Your Aluminum Sheet Ready

I like large gift tags so I used my cell phone and placed it over the part of the card that I wanted to use. Next I traced it with the marking pen and cut it out. You can also make a free form shape tag. Outline the area you want and cut it out. (see the Snoopy on the beach tag shape).

Wash the tea can and stab the scissors near the top and cut the top and the bottom off the can and cut down the side leaving a sheet of aluminum for you to design and emboss. Caution this step can leave sharp edges.

Use the marking pen and draw the shape that you want to emboss with a design or a name. Cut it out.

Step 3: Now You Are Ready to Emboss...It Is So Easy!

Take a pad of newspaper or a magazine and place the aluminum on top.

Now use your ball point pen and write or draw on the aluminum. You should be pressing hard enough to leave an embossed dented line. Practice on some spare aluminum can first. Now you can accent the line by writing in the dented line with the fine marking pen. This will highlight your embossing by giving it a contrasting color to the aluminum.

If you want a raised surface like the coconut shell Snoopy card first place the metal on the pad of paper. Now use the smooth curved end of the back end of the pen or a spoon. Start in the middle and push around the center and spiral out. This will bow out the surface. You might want to flatten the edge by pressing on the opposite side around the edge (good for gluing down to have a bit more surface).

Step 4: Want to Try Some Freeform Embossing?

Cut a larger sheet of aluminum can. Try to cut without stopping and starting. Leave a smooth edge to prevent a possible sharp place on the metal.

Flatten on the edge of a table by rubbing in the opposite direction of the metal curve.

If you do not want the paint on the back side you can use some steel wool fine grade to rub off the paint. This takes a bit of muscle but it is not bad.

You have the option of adding color over the entire embossed area and gently using the steel wool to get to the metal color of the raised areas. This leaves the color in the background

Glue the Card to the metal. Make a hole for the ribbon or string.

Step 5: Add the Personalized Embossed Metal to Your Tag

You will want some metal glued down flat like the "Iris Tag" and the "Coconut Freeform Snoopy Tag".

Other embossed metal pieces you will want to wiggle freely on the card as on the "Happy Dog Tag". To do that make a small hole in the metal and the tag. Find a piece of fine wire or ribbon and tread it through to the back of the tag. Tape the back for extra security. Leave a small loop on the front side of the tag for movement.

Your friends will be thrilled with the personalized tag and your creative recycling. They might choose to recycle further and use the tag as a bookmark.

Make several at a time and have them ready. If your card has writing on the back, just glue another card to it and make it reversible. Have fun and make your friends happy.

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