Monday, September 22, 2008

Burned Tag Edges

A couple days ago I was making a grubby witch boot & crow. I wanted the hang tag to have burnt edges but had never attempted it before. Being cautious, I made sure I was standing over the kitchen sink filled with running water when I did this. I held one end of the hang tag a few inches over a lit match thinking it would 'brown' nicely and have nice looking burnt edges. Instead it just caught fire so I blew on the tag thinking the flame would go out and while it did, the edges smoldered and glowed with red smoking embers that smelled horribly so I dumped the tag in the sink of water and that took care of that!
My husband came running up from the basement and said he smelled smoke. "I know hon, that was me, I was trying something on a tag I'm working on".

The smoke alarm went off, so we know the batteries are still good - that was good to know. He was worried about me catching the kitchen curtains afire. I was worried about catching me on fire. I promised I wouldn't do that again unless he was standing beside me with the fire extinguisher.
Obviously I didn't know what I was doing so I posted in two craft forums that I belong to asking for tips and these are a few of the responses:

Maureen says she used a candle in a sturdy stand, held the paper above it to singe the edges. Blow on it quickly so it doesn't catch on fire. Rub off some of the ash to get irregular edges. After a little practice you get the hang of it.

Sarah says she was burning the edges of something that she was working on a few days ago. "I used the lighter that we use for the BBQ. I just blew the flame out each time. It took a lot of hot air on my part, because I had a bunch of them to do. I did notice after I while that I better not be too careless, because I noticed a couple times that a spark would land on me, and it didn't fizzle out right away".

Other crafters had some great tips for a faux burnt edge look.

Lucia's tip: You can do a faux burnt edge by tearing the edges and then painting them with a black 'wash' (paint mixed with water).

jollyquilter says: You can tear your edges and then stain with a walnut ink pad. This is gauranteed not to burn down the house.

Char says : I tear my edges and just run either a black ink pad or a very dark brown over the the same effects.

Cindy B says: I used to burn edges also..sometimes taking off too much! LOL My niece taught me in 'stampin up', to tear the edges and use a burnt umber colored ink pad and brush to darken the have lighter shades to the inside...looks very neat!

What I ended up doing because I'm stubborn and wanted to try the burning method just once more (with hubby & fire extinguisher by my side) was once again doing it over the kitchen sink. I had a wet sponge handy and lit a candle in a glass jar. I used tongs to hold the tag about 6 inches over the flame and moved the tag back and forth so it would 'brown' and eventually the edge would start to smolder. Once it did, I took the wet sponge and dabbed at the edge. It prevented the tag from catching fire and I got the look I wanted. I repeated this several more times and then called it quits.

Obviously the safest methods are the non-fire faux methods. Should you decide to try your hand at using real fire, please be careful and take precautions.


  1. Yes..I used to burn edges also..sometimes taking off too much! LOL My niece taught me in 'stampin up, to tear the edges and use an burnt umber colored ink pad and brush to darken the have lighter shades to the inside...looks very neat!

  2. Hi Denise! I think your blog is fabulous, so I have given you an award! Here it is, thanks for having such a great blog!

  3. Great tip Cindy - thankyou! I'll add that one! ;)

  4. Thank you so much for my award Amanda!! I'm tickled that you thought of me!! *Ü*


  5. Hi Denise- Glad to hear you did not burn yourself. Last few times I have visited your blog it would come up error. So I am glad it allowed me to visit your adorable blog. You always have wonderful things for everyone. Take care.