Specimen Tag Book with Grungy Tag Pages by Lynne Moncrieff



In my eyes, That's Crafty's MDF is an essential surface to have to hand, in particular the panels or tags. The MDF tags (or the white/greyboard tags are another great surface) are fabulous for making tag books.

For this tag book, the focus is on the covers for the book and I also step out the way I like to stain shipping tags for a grungy tag effect. The plan, to later on, work on a few of the tag pages.


That's Crafty! Clear Stamp Set Lynne's Carved Leaves Set 1
That's Crafty! Surfaces MDF Tags #8 Pack of 6
That's Crafty! Walnut Ink Crystals
That's Crafty! White Gesso
That's Crafty! Liquid Acrylic Wax
That's Crafty! Flat Matte Spray: Redwood, Walnut, Sage, Basil, Raspberry
13Arts Ayeeda White Pastel Mist
Ranger Manila Shipping Tags
Archival Ink Jet Black
Distress Ink Aged Mahogany 
Extras: Calico, Brown Cotton Sewing Thread, Sari Ribbon


I had some Deli paper which had previously been in use as under-paper. A combination of Flat Matte Sprays and touches of PaperArtsy Fresco were on the deli paper, along with Walnut Ink and Gesso.

I am getting ahead of myself because step one for this project, applying white Gesso to both sides of two MDF tags. Once dry, Gel Medium was applied and the Deli paper layered on top. I was able to tear around the edges of the MDF tag, pulling away the excess Deli Paper. Both sides of each tag were prepared in this way.

I  was about to randomly apply white Gesso to some areas until I realised that I had just received 13Arts White Pastel Mist. This was exactly what was needed to lighten up some areas.

Selecting a stamp from a Carved Leaves set, I first lightly inked the edges of the stamp with Distress Ink, stamping onto watercolour paper. With Flat Matte Spray Redwood, I painted the leaf, allowing some areas of the watercolour paper to peek through.

The fussy cut leaf needed something to rest upon. I managed to dig out from my box of scrappy pieces of stained elements: calico which had been stained with coffee and walnut ink crystals, eco dyed tea bag paper coated with Liquid Acrylic Wax and more tea bag paper which had been lightly stained with black beans and also had been coated with Liquid Acrylic Wax.  This wee collection would come together, eventually, to decorate the cover.

The word Specimen was stamped onto a walnut ink stained piece of cardstock.

Those pieces, along with the leaf, were layered to the front of a prepared tag, with three primitive cross stitches added to the stained calico.

The prepared MDF tags were laid aside, turning attention to preparing shipping tags.

Grungy Tags - a simple method I like to use to achieve a very grungy effect
(I am happy to get messy but sometimes I force myself to remember to wear gloves when knowing I will be having a very hands on, staining session otherwise my dry skin will be stained for days!)

Tip - open a pack of tea bag paper, unravel the full length or fold in half, then lay the stained tags onto the tea bag paper to dry flat - end result, beautifully stained tea bag paper with zero effort!

Step 1

Generously mist water onto tags - both sides.

Step 2

Scrunch the wet tag in your hands - a great way to vent any pent up frustration!

Step 3

Walnut ink crystals dissolved and decanted into a spray bottle. This solution is a stronger strength to the That's Crafty! Flat Matte Spray Walnut Ink - I often use both products side by side. Spray onto each tag.

If you allow the walnut ink to settle into the tag but not completely dry, it creates a lovely effect to layer on more of the spray.

Step 4

A batch of tags can be prepared, a great time saver as you then have them to hand. I don't wait for one side to dry before staining the rear, I simply stain both sides at the same time.

The dry tags were sandwiched between the prepared MDF covers - the stained tags could be ironed before assembling the tag book.

A simply binding, a piece of silk sari ribbon which was amongst my previously prepared items. It had been lightly stained with PaperArtsy Infusions (I often use pieces of this and that for mopping up excess stain) but I decided to intensify the colour with a spray of Flat Matte Spray Sage, Basil and Raspberry.

Apologies for the length of this post but I wanted to share with you my way of staining with walnut ink to achieve grungy tags although I am sure you will have a favourite way to achieve this effect yourself.

Thank you always for your time.

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  1. So beautiful Lynne, the colours and textures are really lovely and the simplicity of design is stunning.
    Fliss xx

  2. How lovely... those gentle muted colour tones and gorgeous leaf images work beautifully together.
    Alison x

  3. Love this idea of a tag book with tags all ready and waiting to use as and when . Gorgeous muted tones and texture realy compliment and enhance your beautiful leaf


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