06 January 2011

Grungy Hang Tag Tutorial

I've gotten asked several times for my Grungy Sauce Mix recipe, the one that I use to create all my grungy hang tags and other grungy goods. Since I mention it on my Art Chick Studio blog as well, I get asked about it there too. So I thought I would write a Grungy Hang Tag Tutorial and share that primitive recipe here. I'm also linking this up at Tutorial Tuesday with Hope Studios.

First you'll need your Grungy Sauce Mix ingredients and supplies:
  • Instant Coffee (get the cheapest you can find...I always buy generic)
  • Vanilla or Imitation Vanilla Extract (again, go cheap if you want to; I use good vanilla for baking so I always have some on hand. But if you're not a baker just get cheap imitation vanilla!)
  • 2 Cups Hot Water (I just nuke it so it's hot enough to dissolve the coffee, but not hot enough to burn my fingers while I'm working.)
  • Ground Spices (this is totally optional and I only use it occasionally; I mostly use cinnamon)
  • A Bowl
  • A regular spoon or teaspoon
  • Plain Hang Tags

Step 1: Mix up your grungy sauce. Take the 2 cups of hot water and to that add twice as much as the directions tell you to. Mine says 1 TSP for each 8 oz cup, so I use 2 TSP for each cup. You want the grungy sauce good and dark, so really, you can add as much as you want. (My photo doesn't show all 2 cups of the mixture...just FYI.) Also add 1 TSP of vanilla, and your ground spices, if you're using them. Just a little sprinkling of spices will do.
Step 2: Dip your hang tags. Now you can do this one of two ways. 1) Dip the hang tag as it is, or, 2) crinkle and wrinkle up the tag first. Either way is fine. Wrinkling first just allows the sauce to get in all the cracks and crevices and gives it more texture and dimension. So do it however you like. Just dip them in and out of the sauce mix a few times, then let the excess liquid drip off into the bowl.

Step 3: Air Dry or Bake your hang tags. I always bake my hang tags to speed up the process, but this is not required. Baking can make the grungy effect a bit darker, which I prefer. Many people just lay them on a cookie sheet to air dry. Some people set them in the sun to bake that way. It's totally up to you. I bake mine at 200°, for just a few minutes on each side. Watch them closely. Nothing takes the fun out of this project quicker than seeing your hang tags on fire in the oven!

Once your hang tags are good and dry, you're ready to stamp them, create altered art, or whatever else you might like. The unwrinkled ones will look a little something like this:

And the wrinkled ones will look a little something like this:

I hope you find this primitive tutorial  helpful, and I hope there are lots of grungy goods in your future!

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