Recently I was out shopping for Christmas. My sister called me in a panic because she needed a design for Christmas tags. I told her I’d help her as soon as I got home. 30 minutes later, she called again to say she had figured out how to design her own. I was so proud! In just a few steps, you can create them as well. I’m going to show you 4 variations you can make using the drawing tools. You can use the same general principles to make many more designs for tags.
Note: This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you click the link and purchase something, I may receive a small commission. This helps me to be able to keep my business going and provide more tutorials. All opinions expressed are my own and are not tied to any compensation.
Before you start…
Before we go any farther, let me remind you of a Preference setting that applies to the drawing tools. Go to Preferences>Tools>Action After Tool Use (the first section). In the line for After Creating a Shape , make sure you have it set to Choose Select. Hit OK to apply the changes and exit the Preferences.
If you don’t change it, the default Continue Drawing means that after you draw one shape, the software starts drawing another shape if you don’t exit the drawing mode. In other words, you get endless circles or rectangles and it’s really annoying. Notice that I also have my software set to do the same after I use freehand drawing tool, knife (although I never use that) and the zoom. But on that rare occasion when I’m erasing, I do want it to continue until I change to something else. So that one is set to Continue Using Eraser.
Now we’re ready to draw those tags. We’ll start with the easiest and build from there.
Christmas Tag #1: Rounded rectangle
Draw a simple shape
For all these Christmas tags, we’re going to start with a simple shape. Your drawing tools are in the left side icon bar. To draw a normal closed shape, hover over the 4th icon down. When you do, you’ll see that an extra menu pops out so that you can choose to draw a rectangle, rounded rectangle, ellipse or regular polygon.
Click on the rounded rectangle to tell the software that’s the type of shape you want to draw. Then move your cursor over to your mat area. You’ll see that the cursor has changed to a little plus sign. That indicates you are in shape creation mode. Hover that cursor over the area on your mat where you want to make your tag, left click and drag. As you drag, the software draws the rounded rectangle. When it’s the size and proportions you want, let go of the mouse button.
Do you see those red circles in the upper left corner of the shape? Those are there because rounded rectangles have a special property: you can change the amount of curve at the corners. Click and draw on either red dot to change the curve along on that side. It adjusts all 4 corners at once. If you want to change the curve along both sides equally, hold your SHIFT key as you do it.
Make a hole
Now go back to the drawing tools and this time, pick an ellipse (circle). Draw a small circle at the top of the rounded rectangle. Hold your SHIFT key as you do to get a perfect circle. This is for the hole.
Select both the circle and the rounded rectangle and use the alignment tools in the Quick Access Toolbar to align the centers of the shapes.
While they are still selected, right click or use the Object drop down menu and choose Make Compound Path.
NOTE: When you make the compound path, you no longer have the option to adjust the curves of the rounded rectangle because you are changing the type of shape it is. If you prefer, you can group instead to retain the special property.
That’s it — the first of your Christmas tags! If you choose, you could start with a regular rectangle, oval or circle instead and use the same concepts.
Christmas Tag #2: flat peaked top
Make the shapes
Go back to that left side icon bar and choose a rectangle this time.
Next, draw another rectangle. Use the green circle at the top to rotate this second rectangle to an angle you like the look of.
Move it over the upper left side of your rectangle. Make sure the corners of the copy are outside of the original. Adjust the size of your original rectangle and the angle of your copy until you’ve got the look you want. Here’s a trick: fill your original with a color and your copy with white. That helps to visualize the results easier.
Now select the copy and use the keyboard shortcut ALT+SHIFT+→ to make a mirrored copy to the right.
This is okay so far, but the original tag isn’t centered with the set of copies. So select both copies, group them, then use your alignment tools to center the original with the set of copies.
Focus in on your original tag to make sure you like the look. On mine, I don’t want the angles so far down. So I’ve moved the set of copies up some.
Subtract what you don’t need
We want to get rid of the portion of the original rectangle that’s hidden below the copies. That’s exactly what the Modify tools are for — using combinations of shapes to create new shapes. You’ll find the icon for Modify in the right side icon bar. To get rid of something, we’re going to use Subtract. So select both — the original and the set of copies — and then click Subtract in the Modify panel. The copies cut holes downward and only the portion of the lowest shape that’s showing remains. I recommend your ALWAYS work with filled shapes when using Modify tools so you can predict the outcome.
Add the circle for the hole as before, align both, and Make Compound Path. Notice you can do that in the Modify panel now that you’ve got it open. Tag #2 is done!
Here’s a look I could get by starting with a rounded rectangle instead.
I’m sure you can come up with lots of other shapes for tags, too.
Christmas tag #3: Sharp peaked top
This one is very similar to the previous one so I’m not going to repeat all the steps. Here’s the difference: to make a sharp peak at the top, you’re going to move that set of copies down until you see just a bit of the top of the original. You can get different looks based on how long your original is and how much you angle the copies. I rotated mine a bit more so the angle isn’t as steep. Overlap the copies just a tad.
Here’s a principle to know about the Modify tools. I told you that only the portions of the lowest shape that are showing remain after you Subtract. If those portions are split, you get 2 separate shapes. In other words, that little bit that’s showing at the top will be a separate piece than the rest of the original rectangle. That’s what we want so that we can get rid of it.
Add the hole and you’re done.
Experiment with doing this with a rounded rectangle as well.
Christmas tag #4: curved top
Are you feeling confident? I hope so, because we’re going to delve into the world of Point Editing just a bit. Don’t let that scare you — I’ll tell you exactly what to do to make these tags.
This time, start with a plain rectangle. Double click quickly on it to enter Point Edit mode, or right click and choose Edit Points. When you do, you’ll see little black boxes at the corners of the rectangle. Those are your points (nodes). You’ll also see the Point Edit options in the Quick Access Toolbar and the Point Edit panel opens at the right.
You can click on the second icon in the left side icon bar to enter Point Edit mode as well, but the panel doesn’t open. So don’t use that if you like to choose your options in panels. You do still have your options in the Quick Access Toolbar.
Hover over the black dot at the upper right of the rectangle and click on it to select that point. (I’ve changed my fill to yellow so you can see more easily). That also selects the line segment on the top of the rectangle.
If you look in the panel and at the options in the QAT, you’ll see that this is a corner point. You also know it’s a flat line segment because that’s what we learned about rectangles back in school. Those are 2 important things to know.
We just need to do 1 simple step to round the top. Click on Make Curve in the panel or on the icon in the QAT. That’s going to give us a slightly rounded top.
Add the hole and now you’ve learned how to make all kinds of tags.
To learn more about Point Editing, see this series.
Sample tags inspiration
Now that you know how to design various types of tags, cut some out of cardstock and get to wrapping your gifts. Here are some other ideas:
- Use the Offset feature to create slightly larger tag, then cut the 2 from coordinating papers. You may need to adjust your holes.
- Use sketch pens or your own pen in the pen holder to draw or write on the tags.
- Add fill patterns to make Print and Cut tags. You can do it on sticker paper and eliminate the hole.
- Add a solid Christmas shape onto the tag design. Once you cut it, you’ll have a tag with a Christmas-y hole in it. You can use the shape on a solid tag so that you have 2 tags with minimal waste. (I’ll be sharing in tomorrow’s post how I made the tree from scratch).
- Cut from solid papers and add just a strip of a patterned paper at the bottom, or vice versa.
- An embellishment or two is always fun.
Leave a Reply