Wednesday 10 October 2012

Cardmaking with Plundered Pages: Tips for personalising projects using vintage images

Hello, hello.

Stamped images are great ... but kind of predictable. You buy the stamp because you like the image. You use the stamp because you like the image. It looks how you expected and while it may be lovely ... there was never an element of surprise, of delight, of uniqueness. And the same goes for images you choose in die-cuts, decoupage, chipboard and stickers etc  etc.

Which is one of the reasons I so often turn to my vintage books, my plundered pages, when I want to find a special focal point for a card, or any project. Like I did here:
And often, as was the case here, I don't actually turn to the collection of books or pages and sift through for an appropriate image right then and there, right when I need to make a card because .... more often than not images leap out at me at other times, times when I'm just browsing or when I've just got a new/old book to get to know.

All of a sudden I'll turn a page and suddenly cry "Oh look! It's Effie and Alice!":
Granted .. it's not always an image which looks exactly like my friend her cat! But you get the general idea.

I turn a page and, without me having to search for it, I instantly recognise someone or something and it feels like such a treat: a bespoke, one-of-a-kind, beautifully drawn and coloured, perfect-for-a-personalised-card treat!

And you can guess what comes next can't you?


I snip out the serendipitous find when I see it ... regardless of when the recipient's birthday is [or whatever the occasion .. if there's an occasion at all!] and I keep them safe ... for future reference. And gradually I end up with a file of perfect images which look tailor-made for friends and family.
I get asked if I sit for hours looking for just the right word or image to use on my scrapbook pages, art journals etc and the answer is no, not really.

I occasionally seek out something specific but, as I hope this post shows, there's more fun, more pleasure, more surprises to be had when you just let the old books show you what they can offer! And go with what's there, make it work, interpret it your way.

Make it yours. Or your friend and her cat's!
But, if this all sounds too free and easy for you here's some more 'graspable' advice:
Tips for collecting vintage pages:
  • try out the idea of keeping a file filled with suitable images for future reference
  • snip out and save pages, sentences, titles etc which chime with you, which remind you of something or someone ... whenever you spot them
  • treat vintage pages in the same way as you would any other stash: build up a supply over time.
  • you'd never turn to the first sheet of patterned paper you could find and expect it to suit every project you had planned: be patient and collect pages together from various sources at various times
And you could even:
  • visit the Vintage Paper Packs section of my shop and browse through the specific themed packs to see if there's anything to suit a project or a person you've got in mind. [Recent additions include Christmas packs, horses and anatomy!] But if there isn't anything which fits you perfectly off-the-peg then ...
  • you can commission your own bespoke Plundered Pages pack filled with as many themes, styles, ideas as [a] you can think of and [b] I can find amid my collection!
  • you could test the waters of vintage papers with a Serendipity Pack: a 50g envelope filled with mystery pages which , once you start looking, are bound to feature something which strikes a chord. [These are now even better value at £3.50]
  • or try a pack of general text pages. At £4.00 these are great starter / stash-booster packs which currently come in 3 variations:
  •  Foreign Language text,
  • Numbers + Diagrams and
  • General mixed text.
If you're a vintage-novice then I hope some of the ideas here get you interested in introducing some lovely, old, surprisingly suitable, pages into your work. And if you're a collector of them already ... I hope this helps you use some of that hoard!

If you have any questions, comments or collections to share ... please do. Us book-cutters ought to stick together ...

Julie :-)


  1. I've just started collecting vintage books because of you Julie. My MIL gave me a couple that she was going to charity, an old childrens animal encyclopaedia (with hand drawn illustrations rather than photos) and a 'Wonderland of Knowledge' book with such diverse and gorgeous plates and illustrations inside. I think they were both Craigs when he was little and he told her we didn't want them. Soon stepped in there and nabbed them I did - now it's just getting up the guts to take scissors to them...

  2. Great post, Julie :) Please may I ask a follow-up question? How do you store your snipped out words and phrases? How do you ever find again the one you want?! x

  3. I was wondering about storage as well, especially with small snippets. I have a few books (a dictionery, a Bible, a kids story book, a poetry book and 2 gardening books) that I use to take paper from, but am never sure what to do with small pieces so they will stay neat but I can actually find them again.

  4. It's even better in real life......I'll let you into a secret.... I'm a little older than the picture!

  5. Hi,

    I really enjoy reading your blog- thanks for writing it!

    I think you should do a post on your filing system- I'd love to see those files!

    Please can you tell me what notepaper punch you use?

  6. Lovely post and a great reminder that organisation helps! I have put the contents of my plundered pages kits with other bits I find into an A5 ring binder with clear pockets and store them according to general theme. I need to use them now!

  7. I'll make a note to blog my filing system sometime ... but I might have to invent one first!

    @Doki Doki the punch I used is the EK Success - Round Binding Edge



Thanks for leaving me a comment, asking me a question, sharing your own story or just randomly saying hello.