For the love of handmade: Making personalized bag tags

Handmade bag tags (2015)

Recently, I started making personalized bag tags or key chains, depending on how you use them, using cord, beads, and metal charms. While there are now a good number of kiosks in malls that make such items, I designed my own for a good reason. I wanted to make something for a friend, and I wanted to give her something she cannot readily buy: a pretty, handmade gift made especially for her. Thankfully, handmade items are popular again, so the bag tag didn’t sound ‘kitsch’ when I gave it to her.

It feels great to receive personalized items like these, and it’s tempting to order and have one – or a few – made for your friend or friends.

Admittedly, a tag using these materials ‘can’ be costly. The clasp . . . cord . . . beads . . . the number of letters . . . they can all add up. Take also into consideration the fact that it’s handmade. It’s tightly woven; no high-speed sewing machine can do that.

On the bright side, bag tags like these last longer than those made of cloth, which also has its own appeal. These look better when the recipient is a young professional or is looking for a ‘more’ polished-looking bag tag or key adornment. (The first prototype I made for my own use now hangs in my workout bag.)

Lastly, and I think this is the best part, almost all the components can be re-used, especially the letter charms. Want a different color for the cord or want to use a different set of beads? Go right ahead. It’s yours anyway.

Personally, if someone gave me an item with a backstory like “this is handmade just for you,” I’d use it till the very end. Aside from being sentimental, it’s to show appreciation for the person who put a lot of thought and care into making it.

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