DIY French Faux Enamel Tags

Before today’s post I just want to take a minute to thank you all for your kind words about our new bundle of joy!  He’s already filled our hearts with so much love and gratitude.  Since I’ve been busy with baby snuggles and dirty diapers, I’ve recruited some friends to share their projects here with you – today Lucy is teaching how to make a chic French decor accessory.

How to make DIY French faux enamel tags - Patina Paradise @

Hi there, I’m Lucy and I blog over at Patina Paradise.  I am a creative soul who loves to thrift and repurpose items.  I love patina and things with a time worn look.  I am so happy to be guest posting today for Jen.

Today I am sharing with you how to make Faux French Enamel Tags that look like the real deal.  But I will let you decide for yourself whether or not they do.  One of my favorite things are French enamel tags and signs, especially old, chipped ones.

How to make DIY French faux enamel tags - Patina Paradise @
After some trial and error, I came up with a technique that works really well and even got to use my trusty Silhouette Cameo!  With the Silhouette you have many fonts at your disposal and are not limited to one size.  I printed the file on paper first to make sure that I had gotten the right size for each of the tag shapes.  And then of course I tried to get as many on a sheet of 12 x 12 vinyl as I could.

How to make DIY French faux enamel tags - Patina Paradise @
I used Shadowed Serif for the shield shapes. And for the numbered tags, I used Gloucester MT Extra Condensed and Crashing Number Serif.  All fonts used in this project were free.

I found that ready made wood tags are really the most cost effective option out there.  These inexpensive precut wood tags can be found at your local craft store.  I found them at Walmart in the craft section. They come in a bag of 10 and cost around $1.50.  If your Walmart does not carry them, I have also seen them at Hobby Lobby which is where I found the wood shield shapes.  Those were around 25 cents each.

How to make DIY French faux enamel tags - Patina Paradise @
Although I used a homemade recipe for gesso, I believe store bought gesso, or even paint will give you a similar look.  But with the paint you just won’t get the dimensional effect that gesso gives objects- including the fact that the paint won’t chip off the way that the gesso does which only adds to make it look old and antique.


  • precut wooden tags
  • black acrylic paint
  • gesso
  • black vinyl
  • Mod Podge (sealant)
  • small and medium sized paint brushes
  • flat edge for scraping gesso (examples: putty/exacto knife, razor, etc.)


  • bamboo skewer/sharp pointed object (clearing clogged paint)
  • jute or ribbon to attach the tags

Here is an overview of the steps below…

How to make DIY French faux enamel tags - Patina Paradise @

Overview of Steps Involved:

Step 1 — Buy wood shapes that you like. If you would like to have holes in the tags for stringing, then make sure to drill one or two before doing anything else.

Step 2 — Paint with a base coat of black acrylic paint. I painted both sides to prevent warping of the wood and to give them a more finished look and make it easier and faster to paint. (But this is optional)

Step 3 — Once the base coat has dried, brush on the homemade or store bought gesso. Let the tags dry FIRST before applying another layer of gesso. I found that 3 coats gave me the desired effect.

Step 4 — Use a razor blade, exacto knife or putty knife at an angle to take off any excess gesso from the sides and edges of the holes to expose the black basecoat underneath. If you’ve got tags with holes in them, use a bamboo skewer or similarly narrow pointed object to poke through the holes to remove any gesso or paint that is clogging them.

Step 5 — Create your letters/numbers. I made mine out of black vinyl because that’s what I happened to have on hand, but there are lots of great alternatives out there. You could use either a small stencil or some ready made vinyl letters and numbers. I cut my numbers out of a piece of 12×12 vinyl with my Silhouette Cameo and then applied them onto each tag.

Step 6 — Finish with a Topcoat of Sealant Protect your tags with 1 or 2 coats of Mod Podge or a coat of acrylic sealer.

That’s it you’re done! If you want to take it a step further, you can add jute, twine, ribbon or other material to tie these tags anywhere you like.

How to make DIY French faux enamel tags - Patina Paradise @

How to make DIY French faux enamel tags - Patina Paradise @
They would look great added to just about anything don’t you think?  Hope I have inspired you to make some yourself!

If you would like to see more of my projects… click on the links below…
Patina Paradise

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4 Comments on DIY French Faux Enamel Tags

  1. Marie from The Interior Frugalista
    October 16, 2015 at 6:41 pm (3 years ago)

    Lucy, I would never guess these were made from wood. They look fabulous and I appreciate the tutorial you provided. Pinning to share.

  2. Judie
    October 16, 2015 at 9:58 pm (3 years ago)

    I really love these and can’t wait to try them. Thanks!

  3. suzanne
    October 16, 2015 at 10:19 pm (3 years ago)

    Hello, love these! Could you share your recipe for homemade Gesso please.
    Many thanks.

    • Lucy @ Patina Paradise
      October 21, 2015 at 11:31 pm (3 years ago)

      Suzanne, unfortunately it is a recipe that is part of an online course with Farragoz I learned it in this course and so cannot share it. You could get a similar look with just paint. I would paint it white and then just edge it in black. Hope you give it a try.


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