Monday, 8 August 2011

Week 6 - Personalised gift tags

I offer a free personalised gift tag service with my items, so far not too many people have taken me up on this offer, maybe as it's not something I've promoted too much, just detailing it in the item's description where it could be easily overlooked. I've had great feedback from the ones I have made so I thought I'd share with you some pictures of the process of making the tags and an example of the finished item.

I didn't want to just do simple paper tags as I wanted something a bit more substantial so I use a special type of plastic that you shrinks when heated to give a nice, solid tag. You can draw or print on the plastic and as the material shrinks so does the applied design, the hard part is working out how large to make the original print so it gives you the right size when it's been shrunk down. I use this same material to make other things like name badges, zipper pulls for hoodies and bags and small charms. It's pretty versatile.

This particular order was for a lady who wanted a couple of sets of cufflinks to give as a gift to her husband and his brother as they were opening up a pizzeria. She wanted the gifts tags to have the new restaurant's logo on. After preparing the logo to make it suitable for the printing & shrinking it is printed out onto the plastic, then cut to size. I always round the corners when using this plastic as if they are left square then once shrunk they can be quite sharp. I also make sure to make any hole I need before shrinking as it's a pretty tough material to cut afterwards.

Once printed and trimmed the next part of the process is the shrinking, I usually do this in the oven but you can also use a heat gun. Watching the plastic shrink can be a bit nerve-wracking as it curls up and jumps around, as long as the pieces aren't to big them they will eventually even out and flatten themselves again. Below you can see the pieces before and after shrinking, note the difference in thickness and how the shrinking process makes the printed colours more vivid:

 The print on one of the larger tags ran a little, the smaller tags were better suited in size for this job anyway (I'd made two sizes to have a choice as you can't always predict how much the plastic will shrink).All that's left is packaging up the cufflinks and stringing the tags on the ribbon ready to send out. The completed packages can be seen below:

The great thing with the shrink plastic is you can also cut it to make simple shapes; for example, in the past I've done heart shaped tags for an anniversary present. Anyone who'd like personalised gift tags with an item simply add details in the comment to seller box when placing your order and if I need any further details I'll get in touch.

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