Giving a gift can be costly. Then it needs to be wrapped and ready for presentation. The cost of wrapping paper and ribbons are bad enough, but then we add the price of a gift tag. In many cases, we have to buy either one expensive one, or a 100 of the same ones – and they all but go unnoticed. Instead of spending that extra money, why not make a handmade quilted gift tag?
A handmade quilted gift tag will definitely be noticed. It adds that special touch to the wrapping, acts as part of the gift, and is sure to bring a smile to any face. Even better, these gift tags are frugal, as we may already have many of the supplies in our craft rooms.
But – if we don’t have the supplies we need to make handmade quilted gift tags, keep in mind the initial purchase can make multiple tags. Some of the items can be used for other projects, such as the embroidery hoops, fabric marker and scissors. Others, such as the eyelets, usually come with 30 eyelets (depending on the size) and some packets include the press. This allows you to make 30 tags for one price!
The number of handmade quilted gift tags you can get from a cutter quilt will depend on the condition of the quilt itself. Some are in worse shape than others, and may only allow for five or six. One in a bit better condition will give you more.
Just so you know: This post contains affiliate links; if you click on a link and make a purchase I might make a small commission, but it does not affect the price you pay!
The Definition of a Cutter Quilt
Wait. What? Cut up a quilt??? Before you go cutting up just any quilt, know the definition of ‘cutter quilt’. These are quilts that are beyond repair, with much of the fabric torn or missing, and large portions of batting showing through. They are the quilts we let the dogs have for bedding, or the kids use to build forts. These are NOT quilts we use for show or to use – or a prized hand-me-down made by Grandma.
The image above shows two squares of a quilt. On the left, there is barely any fabric remaining, no batting, and the backing is showing through. On the right, the square is intact. For your handmade quilted gift tag, you would use the square on the right.
If you don’t have a quilt that is in ‘cutter quilt’ condition, start looking around at thrift stores, flea markets and ask your relatives and friends. Due to their condition, they are relatively cheap and affordable.
When looking at a cutter quilt, make sure it has enough areas that are in good condition to make your handmade quilted gift tags. You will need at least 6” of space with no tears or batting showing through for each tag – more if you are making large handmade quilted gift tags.
How to Make a Handmade Quilted Gift Tag
To make a handmade quilted gift tag you need the following:
- Cutter Quilt
- Fabric Marker
- Embroidery Hoops
- Embroidery Needle & Thread to Match (or fabric paint)
- Metal Eyelets / Press (I used Dritz 1/4″ 1-piece eyelets found at JoAnn’s Fabric Store)
- Template (for a simple heart shaped gift tag, download this FREE template!)
Note: Because a quilt is thick, you need embroidery hoops that will fit snuggly. The best hoops for this are the wooden hoops. They are non-slip and have an adjustable screw to allow for the thickness. Depending on the size of your tag will depend on the size of your hoop. You need to allow the hoop to completely cover your square and hold it securely in place, with at least 1” of quilt hanging out of your hoop.
Creating a Handmade Quilted Gift Tag
Choose the size template you want to use and cut it out. Find a spot on your cutter quilt that has little to no batting or tears showing. Place your template on the quilt and using a fabric marker, draw around the template.
If decorating your handmade quilted gift tag with fabric paint: Draw your design inside the marked template area. Allow to dry and then cut around the template lines.
If decorating your handmade quilted gift tag with embroidery: Place your embroidery hoop over the design and center it. Measure at least 3” (more, if necessary) from your embroidery hoop and make a small mark – my square was 12″ x 12″. Draw a straight line along these marks to make a square.
Cut out the square. Place the quilt on the embroidery hoops, centering the design. Do the inside stitching (name, decorations, etc.). Once all the embroidery is finished, remove from the hoops and cut around the template lines.
Whether you use fabric paint or embroidery, you will need to finish off the edges. I used a blanket stitch, but a satin stitch would work just as well. You can sew around the edges on a machine with straight or decorative stitching.
Once the stitching is completed, make a mark where you want your eyelet to be. Using a pair of embroidery scissors, make a tiny slit and insert your eyelet. Using the press, place the bottom of the press on the underneath side and line up your eyelet. With the top, place it over the eyelet. Using a hammer, tap the eyelet in place.
All that’s left is to thread ribbon or twine through the eyelet and add it to your gift!
Now that Your Gift Tags are Finished
When wrapping your package, you may want to consider simple paper that will highlight your handmade quilted gift tags. Here are some frugal suggestions:
Plain Brown Paper – use twine for the ribbon. You can leave the paper as is, or add stamp it using coordinating designs and colors.
Newsprint – Use the black and white them of standard newsprint combined with brightly colored ribbon and tag to help make your handmade quilted gift tag pop! (Just remember, newsprint does ‘wipe off’, so make sure you do not use a handmade quilted gift tag with a white or light colored back!
Feed Sacks – These would be perfect for any gift that uses a handmade quilted gift tag and tied with colored baling twine. Go bold and use a coordinating farm animal template!
Looking for More Handmade Home in April?
Did you miss the first in the Handmade Home series? All you have to do to catch up is click the links below. And be sure to stay tuned – there are more easy, fun and frugal ideas coming up!