Monday, June 19, 2017

Using Postcards and Vintage Prints to Create Easy Custom Wall Art


We've been sharing some of the custom art and decorations from our new/old house over the pest few weeks (more to come!) and today's post is an easy take on traditional print and photo framing, using inexpensive postcards, vintage prints, and other simple bought/salvaged images to create your own simple and inexpensive custom DIY wall art.  

Larger or mixed images work well for a single, multi, or gallery arrangement.  Small images work well when grouped together in either a collage style frame (like my vintage New Zealand ads pictured above) or arranged into as a gallery wall using separate but well-coordinating frames and (if used) mats. You can buy collage frames pre-made or make your own collage frame from scratch or by joining together inexpensive single frames to customise your collage frame shape, size, and style. I've seen this done with adhesive/glue in some DIY posts, but personally I would recommend screwing them together (can use metal plate joiners on the back sides of the frames) for a secure and sturdy collage frame. 


The easiest way to frame the images is just popping them into a frame, with or without matting, as you would a photograph. Alternatively, if your images are expendable, you can use spray adhesive or adhesive squares/tape (acid free is best) to mount your image on the matt. Their edges were too pretty to cover and this technique allows me to display both sides of the cards in a single frame.  If you'd like to protect your images and perhaps remove and/or change their display in the future, consider using scrapbook corners or other removable or at least semi-removable form of attachment. This looks great when you want to showcase the edges or display multiple images within a single frame.  I've used this technique to mount and display different art over the years, including these souvenir vintage-style postcards  They were a gift with our touristy Singapore Slings at Raffles (but of course!) during a visit to Singapore years ago. 


The collage at the start of this post is an old DIY featuring old ads for cleaners, domestic servants, etc. and hangs (aptly) in our laundry. Most of the images were salvage (see sourcing tips below). There are plenty of interesting ways that you can buy, find, salvage and/or repurpose vintage-style images into custom wall art without breaking the bank.

You can obtain vintage digitals and/or reproduction prints and posters via historical groups, museums, as well as various online shops and suppliers. Some are free for general, personal, or conditional usage and some are for purchase or licence.  The museum method is a feel-good way to get a desirable print or image file while supporting the agencies who protect and promote history.  I have an awesome reproduction of an old British poster advertising for settlers to the part of Canada where I grew up (not currently on display, so no pics for this post) and we bought a personal-use digital copy of a local museum photo which show our current house back in 1901 as part of a local area panoramic of three of-style plate photos stitched together.  It hands over the kitchen and I love having that little slice of history. Money well invested. :)

Postcards are one of my favourite options for inexpensive art. You can often find vintage or retro style postcards (when travelling or at home) featuring landmarks, art reproductions, travel poster images, and other old advertisements. They mount well in either format and have the advantage of being well-suited for groupings of common sizes and styles.  Greeting cards and note cards work too if you can find ones you like.  Calendars (new or outdated) are another favourite.  They are inexpensive (especially if our of date!) and you can cut them up guilt-free to repurpose their images. In most cases, there are 12+ images in a similar style/genre and shape/size per calendar.  They are usually larger than suitable for a collage frame, but work wonderfully in a gallery wall or other multi-frame display!  I feel a little more guilty about slicing into an old book than a calendar, but this is also an option and can be a great source for interesting images, art, ads, and more. Old magazines are good ad sources as well, although paper quality can be an issue.  Sift through a rummage sale or used book shop for scrappy sources.


New artworks in a vintage-style (like my souvenir Singapore Sling postcards) may be often more readily available. These are commonly available on-line for download, purchase as prints/posters, or can be found/salvaged via similar sources to the vintage ideas above.  Try your favourite art site, Etsy, or check out a large-scale supplier like Amazon.  Another very affordable option for vintage artwork is to use vintage-style sheet wrapping paper. There are some awesome patterns/designs and they are very affordable.  Vintage-style creations blend well with real reproductions if you are trying to create a common-look or are having difficulty sourcing the style of image you're looking for as a vintage print or if the vintage prints are too pricey.  Be respectful of any applicable copyright or usage restrictions if self-printing for display.  

What are your favourite sources?  Your best salvage or fun find?  I'd love to hear about it!

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