A 21-mer peptide that can be used to covalently introduce synthetic molecules into proteins has been developed. Phage-displayed peptide libraries were subjected to reaction-based selection with 1,3-diketones. The peptide was further evolved by addition of a randomized region and reselection for improved binding. The resulting 21-mer peptide had a reactive amino group that formed an enaminone with 1,3-diketone and was used as a tag for labeling of maltose binding protein. Using this peptide tag and 1,3-diketone derivatives, a variety of molecules such as reporter probes and functionalities may be covalently introduced into proteins of interest.