Make Your Own Beverage Tags: A Ballard Designs Knock-Off

Recently, I received an “End of Season” Ballard Designs catalog in the mail.  Excuse me, but would someone please tell Ballard Designs to not rush my summer.  It’s just mid July and here in the south summer lasts at least until the end of September, sometimes well into October.

Max and I curled up in the green and white chair here in the office and had fun oohing and ahhing from one page to the next.  So many pretties!  These caught my eye.  In the catalog, they are called “Southern Living Beverage Tags.”   The little blurb inside the catalog says Ballard Designs has “teamed up with the entertaining experts at Southern Living to create an exclusive new line of serving accessories designed to serve up classic Southern style with an extra helping of can-do-versatility.”    The beverage tags pictured below (next 2 photos are from Ballard Designs online) are part of their new line of serving accessories.

Beverage Tags, Ballard Designs Knock-off


The tags were $15 in the catalog for a set of six.  I filed this little project away in my head, making a mental note to look for some small wood tags next time I was in Michaels.

Beverage Tags, Ballard Designs Knock-off


Recently, I purchased these Chocolate Fudge bars.  After eating one, a little light bulb went off.  The wood stick inside the icecream looked like it just might work for beverage tags.  So, for you, I sacrificed and forced myself to eat several more.  The research that ensued was extensive, requiring the purchase of at least one more box, but I persevered for your sake. 😉


I made several beverage tags and couldn’t resist giving one of the tags a touch of  Halloween, just to see how they might look with a bit of added whimsy.

Ballard Designs Knockoff Beverage Tags


Tutorial: Make Your Own Beverage Tags: A Ballard Designs Knock-off:
Here are the supplies you’ll need to make your own beverage tags.  I already had everything but the paint marker which was just $1.97 at Walmart.  You’ll need: ice cream sticks, spray polyurethane, hair spray, a sharpie pen or paint marker, jute yarn and a drill.

Beverage Tags, Ballard Designs Knock-off Beverage Tags


To start with, drill a tiny hole in the end of your icecream stick.  I used a 1/8 inch drill bit and I rigged up this little drilling station by using the cut-out section of this old plastic cutting board.  It worked well for drilling the holes and not my kitchen counter. 🙂

Drill Small Hole in Tags


Here they are with a tiny hole drilled in one end.  I later used an ice pick to widen the hole a bit for the jute yarn…it worked great.

Tags with Drilled Holes, Ready to be Sealed


To prevent marker bleed:
Next, and this is very important, give your ice cream sticks a good coating (on both sides) with hair spray.  I didn’t do this at first and the markers/paint pens I tried to write with, bled like crazy on the raw wood.  Also, drill the little hole before spraying the sticks with hair spray.  I didn’t do that on a couple and they seemed harder to drill at first.  It could have just been those sticks and not the spray, though.

In my experimenting around stage, I tried lightly staining a couple of the tags with a “neutral” stain, just to give them a bit more umph.  Bad move.  The stain just added to the “moisture” content of the wood and the marker bled even more.  You could try staining them, letting them dry for several days and then using hairspray to seal them.  I was too impatient to do that, just wanted to get ’em made.

Once your tags are nice and dry, you’re ready to write on them.  I wrote on the tags in cursive, copying the Ballard Designs tag, but it was kind of tricky to write fluidly on these rough tags.  You may find it a bit easier to “print” on the rough wood tags since you can lift the pen occasionally when printing.    Or, you could try sanding the little sticks a bit before you spray them with hairspray to see if that would make writing on them a little easier.   I didn’t try that but it might help.  You may be able to find wood tags in your local craft store, but where’s the fun in that?  It was more fun “having” to eat  ice cream! 😉

Seal Tags with Hairspray


To get the actual Ballard Designs look, tie your new tag around a pitcher using jute yarn/thread.

Ballard Designs Knockoff Beverage Tags


Oh, one thing I didn’t mention, once I was finished writing on my beverage tags, I gave them a good spraying with Minwax’s Fast Drying Polyurethane.  That helps keep them protected from splashes and moisture.

Beverage Tags, Ballard Designs Knock-off Beverage Tags


Just for fun, I wrote “Hummingbird Cake” on one tag and tied it to the handle of one of my cake pedestals.  I used red, white and blue ribbon, imagining how the tag would look if it was being used for a 4th of July celebration.  You see that huge yummy cake under the dome there, right?  😉  Sorry, no time for baking yesterday.  Paula Deen has a great recipe for Hummingbird Cake.  I’ll have to make one and share the recipe here sometime.  It’s one of my faves.

Ballard Designs Knock-off Beverage Tags


I have lots of cute holiday motif necklaces from years ago when I worked as a Media Parapro in my son’s elementary school.  I took apart one of the Halloween necklaces to see how a tag would look decorated for a Halloween gathering or party.  You could add a little decoration for any event or holiday…whatever suits your fancy.  You could even draw/paint on the end of the stick or decorate it with glitter or beads.  The possibilities are truly endless.

The tag for the pitcher on the right says “sweet” while the tag on the left says, unsweet.


Ballard Designs Knockoff Beverage Tags


Have fun making beverage tags for your next gathering!

Ballard Designs Knockoff Beverage Tags

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  1. Now you see….THAT is what I call SACRIFICE! You are a real DIYer……dutifully saving those sticks for another use! I have these little tags in my shop….as soon as I saw them I thought “are you kidding me? $14??”…..I can make those half asleep…..(I try not to let the ice cream drip on the pillow)….slurp…..

  2. that was mighty kind of you to go thru all this for us lol

    very pretty and great idea

  3. Sheila Hagler says

    Thanks for the cute idea. I will have to force myself to eat some fudge sickles just so I can make some of these. Love the cute Halloween ones you did. Have a great day! Sheila

  4. Hello Susan!
    Very cute idea and doable. Think I will try this one. Neat to see. Thx for sharing!
    Have a very merry and enjoyable Summer. When we lived in Houston umpteen years ago, I remember the HOT Summers and thinking when is it going to cool off with October approaching??? I lived to tell about it….grins.
    God bless,
    d on the prairie

  5. Glenda/MidSouth says

    Wow – What a sacrifice you made to make sure you had enough wooden sticks. 😀
    They turned out great. Thanks for the tutorial.
    Enjoy your day.

  6. I saw those tags in Ballard and just had to smile….you came up with a great solution! I love having to prepare the wood for the project…taking apart the old holiday necklaces is a great idea, too!

  7. Tombstone Livestock says

    Love the recycling idea instead of buying special tags. And you get to eat ice cream ………….

  8. Fantastic idea. I may have to try this some time. Carol

  9. Super cute! Yea I got that catalog too and from Ballard Designs and stacked them in my “future” file to look at -can’t think about fall yet!

  10. This is such a clever and nifty idea! I would absolutely love for you to stop by and link this up at our Naturally-Nifty Party!

  11. Linda Totten says

    You are so cleaver, Susan. You are right about summer just beginning.. Hobby Lobby is full of Christmas already. I think that retail makes up speed thru life to quickly. Slow down and enjoy the not so lazy days of summer.

  12. Sounds like my kind of sacrifice!!! I love this idea, and I have to say I don’t mind eating all those fudge bars for the sake of DIY. 🙂

  13. Cute cute idea!

  14. Great knockoff and it tasted good too!!

  15. HI Susan,
    You did a great job on those, so cute!
    Hope you are doing well hon,
    Blessings, nellie

  16. I got that catalog too! I keep meaning to get some tongue depressor from my sil, the nurse, the make some. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Cute! Love it when one can come up with something just as, if not more, wonderful than the original!

  18. Adorable! But I have to say you’re much more disciplined that I am…those ice pops would have had Hagan Daz written on them instead of Weight Watchers :).

  19. LOVE these!!!!!

  20. Susan,
    I love this idea and I love the pitcher with the hole for the handle could you tell me where you got it from would love to try and get one..
    Thanks, so much

    • Thanks, Sandy! I bought that pitcher so many years ago, I can’t remember now where it came from. I did see one just like it recently though and remembering thinking how it looked like mine. I’m trying to remember where that was. It had to have been either Marshalls, HomeGoods or Tuesday Morning. I’m leaning toward Tuesday Morning because that’s where I last shopped…where I found the lamp. If I come across one again, I’ll say something in a post about it since several folks are emailing/asking about that pitcher.

    • Crate and Barrel has them

      I thought it was one of their signature pitchers. Then I saw a similar one at Walmart or Target, but the glass wasn’t as clear and it was chunkier, not as elegant.

      Susan, thanks for all the sacrifice you made, it is appreciated : ) To ensure it was appreciated, I will have to buy a box of ice cream pops and follow suit, for the good of the family.

  21. very sweet project! Laura

  22. Is that not the best ice cream??? Oh my, I must make some tags…. need ice cream.

  23. Susan, I love how you come up with DIY decorating solutions that are inexpensive yet so cute! And I appreciate all your sacrifices that you make for us!

  24. Only a true friend would ‘sacrifice’ and eat ice cream bars just to use the wooden sticks for a project!! heehee You’re the best.
    I need some sticks like these. Every time we have a family get together, I make pitchers of sweet and unsweet tea. Always using the same pitchers each and every time. In fact, one of them is a Koolaid style pitcher. Koolaid = sweet, right? Well, apparently, my grandkids don’t know who the Koolaid guy is. Seriously, what’s this world coming to?!?! But, it never fails. They always ask which is which! :/
    Hummingbird cake is one of my favorite cakes!! I even made it for my own birthday a couple of months ago and shared the recipe on my blog 🙂

    • I remember those Koolaid pitchers. I have one that’s in that style, except it’s green. Remember when you used to play outside allll day in the heat and drank ice cold sweet Koolaid to cool off. We never gained a pound despite drinking those sweet drinks because we ran it off playing outside all day. lol
      I need to check out your recipe! Send me the link, Velma.

  25. Susan,

    We are in your debt for the incredible sacrifice made in the name of crafting. Can’t you just see these little tags all over homes for every occasion? During the holidays I have two punch bowls. One is labeled “Merry Christmas” and the other “A VERY Merry Christmas”.

    It really bothers me to see each season brought out when the previous one has just kicked off. Our summer doesn’t end til late in the year here in Florida and my autumn/fall decor doesn’t go up til Labor Day even tho it’s still hot.

    • I’m with you on the seasons. I sometimes start earlier than I would just so I can share it early on the blog in case someone wants to make it or use the idea. But I do like to stretch my summer out as long as possible. I love that label…A VERY Merry Christmas. I am so using that on a label sometime! lol

  26. Miss Merry says

    I love this! I guess we will have the fudge bars for dinner so that I can get started. Adorable and you have made it so easy for us.

  27. This is awesome! what a nice idea! and I love your lovely glass wares, so pretty.

    Is that sweet ice tea? haha here in the deep south (Ga) we live for sweet ice tea. ha
    When my kids were little, we could go through a gallon a day! now 2 are gone, my baby girl is still with me, and she and I can go through a gal in 2 days flat((:
    I have changed a few things though … instead of sugar, switched to splenda… it took some getting use too.. but mm mmm good <3

    • Yep, good ole sweet iced tea…I love it. I don’t add quite as much sugar as a lot of southerners…probably about half as much. I do use sugar…just can’t quite develop a taste for any of the artificial sweeteners. Splenda is better than most, taste wise. Maybe I should do half and half…use half sugar and half splenda.

  28. My favorite part of your post is the weight watchers ice creme bars. Since Jane and I started a diet today, I’m going to have to sacrifice myself for the good of the project. I’m on my way to the store.

  29. Susan, could it be that there just may be a shortage of Weight Watchers Ice Cream Bars in the future?….They should be paying you!!!…You are so clever…right down to the “drill station”!…The markers are so gosh darn cute!!….

  30. I like your tags better! What a great idea. I’m going to copy for sure.


  31. So cute!

  32. Love Knock Off’s. So simple! I just knocked off a three tiered display of Pottery Barn.

  33. Oh, Susan!
    I love your idea of “recycling” the wooden sticks inside your ice cream!
    Your creation is not only very clever and cute, but also eco-friendly! And … it helps to serve our money… 😉
    Thank you for sharing!
    Hugs from Germany.

  34. Ooops… of course, I meant “to save” our money! lol

  35. Rita May says

    great project. can’t wait to use this one. Thanks!

  36. This is a fantastic idea–I like it!

  37. Hi Susan,
    Great Idea !
    Using the ice cream sticks was inspired…I love a ‘two for one’ idea.
    Your directions are clear and I will make some of these for our Christmas Party.
    Have a Good Week
    Barb from Australia

  38. “But Darling” I say to my hubby “I really, really, need to eat all those ice cream bars, because Susan said so! You know Susan, the one who always makes me buy those dishes!!” 🙂
    Thank you Susan for the sacrifice and yet another great idea.

  39. Sorry you had to suffer so in the line of duty- eating all those popsicles must’ve been awful! Way to save money on the tags- they’re absolutely just as cute as Ballard’s- plus you can say you made them yourself. Whose life fits into a set of six standard phrases, anyway!

  40. Cute & clever! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  41. Janette@The2Seasons says

    The little applicators I use with my home waxing system (for the body – not the floor) would work great, too. And they’re calorie free!!!! Thanks for the tip about using hair spray.

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