Christmas Book Countdown & Reusable Gift Tags Made with Cricut

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Last week, I shared a post with some of our favorite family Christmas traditions, and at the top of the list is our Christmas Book Countdown. Each year, we create a calendar on the chalkboard wall in our kitchen, and the boys cross out a number each night to see how many days are left until Christmas.

Then they rush to the big pile of wrapped books in the living room to find the one with the matching number. This year the tradition got a major style upgrade, which will also be a huge time saver for mom, with the reusable number gift tags I made using my Cricut, who I'm excited to have sponsoring this post.




I think our Christmas book advent tradition is so dear to me because it makes me so happy to see my boys developing a love of books and reading that I know they will carry through life. I recently wrote a post with tips for encouraging a love of reading in young kids, including ways to incorporate books into holiday celebrations.


When I first read the idea of the "24 books of Christmas," it seemed a little overwhelming to me. That's a lot of books. But here's the thing - we use the same books year after year, so it's an investment that pays off each Christmas season. I usually buy a few new books each year, and retire a few that the kids have outgrown. This year, I pulled out some of the original board books and replaced them with some longer story books. These are a few of our current favorites:


Among other holiday traditions, we also do the Elf on the Shelf with out boys, but we like to keep things really simple. Our elf - Luke - just moves to a new place each night for the kids to search for him {no elaborate shenanigans}. But Luke does make a grand entrance each December when he delivers all of the books for our Christmas countdown!

Elf on the Shelf delivers Christmas books

Lucky for me, he's also a pretty good gift-wrap helper!


Wrapping all the books is definitely the most time consuming part of this tradition, and in the past, I've spent a bunch of extra time creating the number labels to add to the packages. Originally, it seemed like a fun idea to come up with a creative new way to label the books every year... but the novelty wore off by year two.

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This year, I came up with a plan that's going to save me a lot of time each year when I wrap the books {and who can't use more time during the holidays?!}. I used my Cricut electronic cutting machine to create reusable number gift tags!

Cricut Made Advent Reusable Gift Tags

Not only do I love the look of these new faux leather and foil number tags, I'm especially thrilled that they will be durable enough to be reused year after year, unlike any of the paper tags I've made in the past. At the end of this post, I've got the full tutorial to show you how you can create your own reusable gift tags with Cricut! And there's also a chance below for you to win the newest Cricut machine!

Reusable Gift Tags

The color-block style of the number tags - with the metallic foil overlapping the faux leather - looks especially perfect when paired with the red and white color-block alphabet ornaments on the thin Christmas tree in our living room!

Christmas Book Countdown with Elf on the Shelf

These new number tags look great with my current red and teal Christmas decor, but because I stuck to black, silver, and gold, the tags will be very versatile with any color scheme or wrapping paper that strikes my fance in the future.

24 Books of Christmas with Elf on the Shelf

These cute, reusable number tags would be great for any sort of Christmas countdown or advent you might do with your family. They could easily be sized down to be attached to smaller gifts, or hung on a cute advent display!

YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A CRICUT MAKER

What would you make this holiday season with Cricut? Gift tags, decorations, ornaments, DIY gifts for your friends and family, cute jewelry for all the festive parties? The options are endless - especially if you are the lucky winner of a new Cricut Maker! Enter to win, and I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!


Reusable Gift Tags for Christmas Books made with Cricut

HOW TO MAKE REUSABLE NUMBER GIFT TAGS
WITH THE CRICUT

SUPPLY LIST
Let's start with the supply list, and then I'll show you how to make these reusable number gift tags. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience (read more about that here).

I have the Cricut Explore Air™ but I'm wishing for Santa to bring me the fancy new Cricut Maker, which you have a chance to win! If you missed the giveaway above, scroll back up enter really quickly!

I'll walk you step by step through the design process, including teaching you how to use the weld and slice tools. But if you love these tags exactly the way I made them, then I'll save you some time - you can access my finished design file right here: Cricut Number Gift Tag Design File.

To start, open a new file in design space, and click "Text" on the left side. Then click "Font" on the top bar to browse the font options. I love that Cricut Design Space will allow you to use any font on your computer, but I always seem to find exactly what I'm looking for in the Cricut fonts. The fonts are very easy to browse thanks to the preview screen that shows you what every character looks like.


I wanted a thick font for my number tags, and ended up selecting a Cricut font called "Annoucement," and I used the bold option. I typed in my first number, and the set the size. Since these tags would be used on big children's books, I wanted them to be pretty large. I decided on a height of 4.25 inches, and input that number as the size on the top design bar.


Rather than creating a new text box for each number, I just typed 1 through 9 into the text box, and then used the ungroup tool.


Clicking the ungroup tool automatically turned each number into its own layer.


For the double digit numbers, I started by using the duplicate tool to duplicate the number 1, then added the second number to make each of the teens. The automatic "letter spacing" between characters is set to 1.2, but in order to cut these as gift tags, I needed the one and zero to be touching.


Setting the letter space to 0 made them touch - but barely. To make the tags more durable, I wanted a bigger connection point between the numbers, so I adjusted the letter space down to -.5. For the numbers in the 20's, I set the spacing between some numbers as low as -2.5, but I just tested each one until it looked right.


Here comes the most important step in the whole tutorial! In order to make these double digit numbers cut as one gift tag, the numbers must be welded together. Even though these numbers are overlapping, Design Space still sees them as two separate numbers. If I cut this file without welding the numbers, this is what would happen...


You can see on the cut preview that the one and zero would be cut separately. To fix this and cut the double digit numbers as one piece, use the weld tool at the bottom of the right panel. Select the text layer, and then click "Weld."


You can see that your weld was successful by looking at the layer list in the right panel. Repeat this action to weld each of the double digit numbers.


In order to use these numbers as gift tags, you'll want a hole or two in the top of each to string ribbon through. To create these holes, start by click on the shape tool on the left menu, and draw a circle. I made the circle for my hole .25" in diameter.


Drag the circle to position it in a good spot over the number one, then duplicate the circle and drag it on onto the number two. For the double digit numbers, I decided to do two holes, one at the top of each number.


To turn these circles into holes that will be cut out of the numbers, use the slice tool. Select both the number and circle layers, and then click "slice." Now delete the circle layers and you'll be left with this...


Repeat this step to create the holes in each number.


The number gift tags are now ready to be cut. Begin by cutting a full set of numbers from the faux leather, which sticks best to a StrongGrip cutting mat {the instructions on the leather recommend regular grip, but I found the leather to move around too much}. I also used a deep cut blade based on recommendations I had read, but it cut into my mat a bit. I didn't try it with a regular blade, so I can't say for sure if it would have cut through cleanly, but I'll test it next time to avoid cutting my mat.


My letters cut very nicely, but they were pretty curled, I think just because the leather was rolled up to start with. I was worried about how these would look on the wrapped books, but after putting the stack between some heavy books overnight, the flatted out really nicely.

To finish off the number tags, I decided to add some silver and gold foil to create a color-block look. Rather than editing the file to cut just the sections that I wanted to cover in foil, I just cut a second full set of numbers - half from silver adhesive foil, and the other half from gold.


I then used scissors to cut a rectangle around each number, then cut off the portion of each number that I wanted to apply on to of the black leather. I worked one number at a time, varying the positioning of each - covering a portion of the top or bottom, left or right of each number, or an angle across some.


I couldn't be happier with the way these number tags turned out. Not only were they easy to make, I'll be able to use them again year after year!

How to weld and slice in Cricut Design Space


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

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