Thursday, July 9, 2020

Staying Home 2020 Tag Book

Hello everyone,

I don't know about you but I've been doing even more recycling than usual over the last few months.  I have been setting myself a challenge to use as much as possible to avoid sending it all to the recycling centre, or having it pile up in the house, since the recycling centre was actually closed for a few months, but has now reopened with restrictions.  So this project is all about using some recycled elements and to make a record of life during lockdown.

Today I will be using elements from these two COVID-19 art sets to make a mini tag book.

And I will also be using some toilet paper tubes!

And part of this cereal box.

The first step is to flatten the toilet roll tubes using a bone folder.

To make the hinge that will hold the TP pages together, cut a piece of cardboard from the cereal box that is just a tiny bit shorter than the tube, so that it will be able to slide inside the tube.  The hinge I am making is an old technique which, from memory, I think is called stack the deck.  I can't really give any measurements because they are all based on the size of your toilet roll tubes and every brand is different.  My tube when flattened measures approximately 4 x 3 inches, but yours might be different so make sure to measure everything before cutting.

Pieces to cut:  

- Three pieces for the hinge, each one wider than the previous one as these will sit inside each other and "stack". The middle of the small one should be 1/4 inch, the middle one should be 3/4 inch and the larger one should be 1 3/4 inch.  Then allow 1/2 - 3/4 inch on either side of that for the flaps.
- One piece for the cover.  The size is up to you, depending on how you want your tag book to look.  I made my covers 4.5 inches square so I have a lot of space around my tube, top, bottom and sides, but you could make yours the same size as the tube if you like - just remember to account for the tags that will be sticking out of the tubes!

Making the cover

I covered both sides of my cover with black gesso.

Then I used a combination of brown metallic acrylic and brown fluid acrylic to paint around the edges of the outside of the cover.  This is because I plan to add my papers to the middle only as I wanted a border around the outside, but you could cut your paper to the same size as the cover and cover the whole thing.

Paper selection.  I decided to use the Tim Holtz Abandoned paper stash from my collection. I chose three papers for the tubes and one paper for the outside and inside covers.  

This is an 8 inch paper, so I cut my covers into 4 x 4 inch squares, so I could get both inside and outside covers from one piece of paper.  
I like to round the corners to make it neater and to stop them getting dog-eared.

Cut the papers to cover the tubes.  I cut them as one long piece so I could wrap it around both sides and fold it over the other side.

When they are all covered they look like this:

Now it's time to slide all the tubes on to the hinge.  This hinge has space for six tubes, but you can always make it larger and add more tubes.

A funny thing happened when it came time to glue the papers to the outside and inside covers.  I turned them over and decided I liked the reverse side better!  The colours really stand out against the brown acrylic so I decided to keep them that way up.  Edge all the papers with Archival ink to hide the white cut edges and then glue them in place.
Once all the papers are glued on to the covers, glue the hinge onto the spine.

Decoration time!

Choose your elements and cover them with white gesso.

Once the gesso is dry paint them with the color of your choice.  I painted mine this bright lime green using Paperartsy Limelight chalk paint.  As this is a tag book, I also cut some tags to fit inside my tubes and printed out some photos I took during lockdown - mostly shopping trips, queuing, social distancing, empty shelves etc.   I printed them on watercolour paper and then distressed the edges with my scissors.

For my cover I chose the Staying Home 2020 elements.

For the inside cover I used the lockdown and virus elements, and below is how it looks with the tag and photo included.

On another page I used the Wash your hands and hand sanitiser elements, and you can see another one of the tags and photos.

Here's another one of the tags and photos, this time showing the empty shelves in the supermarket.

Here's a look at the inside back cover which uses the COVID-19 element.

I used the biological hazard element on the spine of the book.

As a final touch I outlined all the letters on the cover using an Stabilo pencil, you can see the different it makes between the 20 on the left and the 20 on the right which has been outlined.

Finished Book

And that's the finished tag book!  

This could be used to record messages, journal entries, photos or just your thoughts of this time. I have added my photos to the tags but I still have some "empty" pages, so I could also add some photos or journaling on them.

Hope you enjoyed this eco-friendly, recycling tutorial.  Let me know in the comments!

Bye for now,


Project Recipe

GSL:  Covid-19 art
toilet paper tubes
cereal box
gesso - white, black
Paperartsy Fresco Chalk paint
metallic paint
fluid acrylic paint
Tim Holtz Abandoned paper stash
Archival ink
Corner rounder or corner punch (optional)
Tags to fit inside tubes (or make your own)
Photos to fit on tags or tubes
Bone folder to flatten tubes (optional)


  1. Really current and contemplative. I’m very impressed and love everything about it!!

  2. Thanks Jon David! Now you know what to do with all your excess cardboard :)