A Handmade Holiday: Hand Printed Gift Tags

This Christmas I am doing mostly handmade gifts, so I thought I would share some of the projects I do. This one is an easy but really lovely finishing touch for packages, and you can get the kids involved (if you want).

Hand Printed Gift Tags


  • Printing foam (or styrofoam plates or meat trays)
  • Printing ink or paint (I use Speedball water-soluble block printing ink)
  • Brayer or rolling pin
  • Plate or piece of plexi (this is just something you can roll the ink out on for applying it, aka a palette)
  • Paper
  • Twine, string, or ribbon
  • Ballpoint pen or stylus

First, cut your foam into whatever shape you want. We did hearts.

Then, using a stylus or ballpoint pen, draw a design on your print foam. You want to press firmly so you have a nice impression in the foam, but not so firm that you go through the foam and make a hole.

Remember if you are doing words you need to write them in reverse so they print correctly.

Then, when you are satisfied with your drawing, squeeze some ink out onto your palette and roll it out with the brayer. If using printing ink, you will hear a satisfying thwick, thwick sticky sound and the ink will be evenly applied to your brayer.

Roll the ink out onto your foam, making sure you have even coverage.

Then press your inked foam ink side down onto your paper and rub (or burnish) all over the back of the foam so the inked design transfers to your paper. (I use a baren when doing lino prints, but the foam is so thin your hand really does work well enough.)

You can use your hand, a wooden spoon, or whatever you want so long as there is even pressure and you go all over the foam so none of the design is missed.

Then pull your foam off and admire the beautiful print! Let dry, then cut your paper to match the shape of your design.

Punch a hole in the top & add some string or ribbon, then attach to your present (or use as an ornament). Since the other side is blank, you can write the to/from message on the back.

I think anyone would be happy to get a present with a handprinted tag attached!

5 thoughts on “A Handmade Holiday: Hand Printed Gift Tags

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  4. This looks very easy to do with young children. it has enough detail that you can put into any gift but it is just enough time for a child to be focused on. I might try it with mine but it looks like fun. I think that any project that will engage kids to be creative is worth it. This would be great for Christmas and Valentines Day. Thank you so much for the post. I loved the pictures by the way.

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