/ / / / DIY Stained Wood Holiday Gift Tags

DIY Stained Wood Holiday Gift Tags

Christmas Cards and Gift Tags | Christmas Crafts | Cricut Design Space Projects | Vinyl, Foil & Stencil Material

12 Days of Holiday Crafts by Crafting Cheerfully

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Christmas packages stacked together with wood stained gift tags that read Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Hello Crafty Friends! Today is the 11th day of my series “12 Days of Holiday Crafts” and I am excited to share these fun stained wood gift tags with you! They are made using gel stains and a reverse stencil to create a fun holiday gift tag that can be reused each holiday season. I love the simple and natural beauty of these gift tags. I paired mine with kraft paper, buffalo check and black and white Baker’s twine. 

This past September I was looking for an easy way to stain embroidery hoops for my embroidery projects. I discovered  gel stains by DecoArt Americana on Amazon that I thought were easier to use than traditional wood stains. I thought it would be fun to create wooden gift tags using the same gel stains! 

These festive gift tags use a reverse stencil to create the fun holiday greeting on each tag. With a regular stencil you cover the background so the letters can be painted. With a reverse stencil, you are covering the letters and painting the background instead. This way when you remove the stencil, the letters reveal the original background – in this case the unfinished wooden gift tag.

A wooden gift tag is used on top of a present wrapped in brown kraft paper, wrapped in black and white Baker's twine.

The gel stains come in three different stains including Oak, Maple and Walnut. They are all so pretty I decided to make gift tags with all three stains. 

Three wooden gift tags stained different colors using gel paint.

I love creating handmade gift tags for Christmas! Earlier in my 12 Days of Christmas series, I shared these sweet embroidered tree gift tags. You’ll find other ideas by visiting my Christmas Crafts page.

Two wood-stained gift tags that read "Happy Holidays" and "Merry Christmas" lay on a stack of presents.

Stained Wood DIY Holiday Gift Tags

Supplies Needed

Creating the Reverse Stencils

Start by creating your own stencils using your cutting machine. I used my Cricut Explore and three designs I found in Cricut Design Space. You can use my Design Space file to help get you started. Just be sure to resize the images so they fit the size of your wooden gift tags.

Once the holiday messages have been cut, weed them so you leave the words while removing the background.

Three message cut from stencil vinyl and weeded lay on a cutting mat.

Use Transfer Tape to apply the stencils to the wooden gift tags.

The vinyl message is added to the top of a wooden gift tag using transfer tape.

The vinyl message is burnished on the wood gift tag using a scraper.

Staining the Wooden Gift Tags

Now the fun part! Staining the wooden gift tags. Use a paintbrush to stain the wooden gift tags with the gel stain of your choice. Wipe off the stain immediately after applying it using a paper towel. You can play around with how deep you want the stain. Repeat the process, applying another layer, for a darker color. I only applied one layer for my tags.

Wood gel stain is applied to the wooden gift tag over the vinyl message.

The gel stain is wiped off the wooden gift tag using a paper towel.

Apply stain to the back and sides of the wooden gift tags and wipe off using a paper towel. Make sure to lay the gift tag on a clean surface when applying the stain to the back. 

The back of the wooden gift tag is stained with the same gel stain and wiped off.

Let the wooden gift tags dry on a piece of parchment paper. 

Three wooden gift tags stained three different gel colors dry on a sheet of parchment paper.

Removing the Vinyl Message

Once the stain has completely dried, carefully remove the vinyl messages using a weeding tool. 

The vinyl message on the wooden gift tag is removed using a Cricut weeding tool.

Applying a layer of varnish or sealant is optional. If you do choose to seal them, I recommend caution and doing a test first. On my first set of tags, I applied a layer of Satin Varnish, but found that it spread my gel stain to the unstained letter areas. I didn’t have this problem with my embroidery hoops, since I was covering the entire hoop with stain. But since these tags have detailed areas where we don’t want stain, I opted to not seal my gift tags.

Messages on all three wood gift tags are removed revealing the plain wood underneath..

Below you can see the finished tags made using Oak, Maple and Walnut gel stains. 

Three gift tags are arranged on a wooden table with holiday messages.

Use the gift tags to add some natural and rustic charm to your holiday gifts this year! 

A wooden gift tag is used on top of a present wrapped in brown kraft paper, wrapped in black and white Baker's twine.

Happy Crafting! -Kim

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