Practicing Creativity

How to print your sentiment directly onto vintage paper ephemera—some tips—and some challenges

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This is a hybrid belated birthday card. I am using this term hybrid to describe a type of crafting I find myself doing more and morecombining new technology with old paper and images. I'm not making a totally digital card, but I'm not making a totally traditional card either. I like this type of crafting. It's easier, cheaper, more versatile, and a good way to use my extensive collection of vintage ephemera.

The image on this card comes from an ad in a 1955 woman's magazine. It is the original; it is not a copy. When I saw this image I thought she was so cute, she looks just a bit mischievous, doesn't she? And with those big eyes you just couldn't be mad at her for forgetting your birthday (it's only afterwards that I realized I also like her taste in hats). In addition to the sentiment I've printed directly on the front, I printed a sentiment for the inside as well and a personal note to my friend. Personalization is another plus to this type of crafting.

Here are some tips and guidelines to follow if you want to print your sentiment directly on your vintage image paper.  Do feel free to try this at home.

1) Be on intimate terms with your printer. How does the single sheet feed work? Most of what you print will have to go through the single sheet feed. Know what it can print and what it can't. Test print on different kinds of vintage paper. Does your paper need to be placed printed side up? Or printed side down? The time to know all this is before you want to print. If you're printing on an original, it's a one time deal. You do not have a second chance, be sure what you're doing.

2) Before you cut your image, look on the back of the page. Is there another image there you'd like to save? I've learned the hard way to do this. With this very image I realized before I cut it out there was another image on the back I'd like to use later. I scanned that image. As a backup, or to use another time, scan the image you're using. It isn't exactly the same as the original, but can still be very nice.

3) Make sure that the vintage paper you're printing on has smooth even edges on all sides. I use a paper cutter to measure and cut my images. Write down the measurements of the paper. If you're going to use a die to cut the image later, keep that in mind too when first cutting your image.

4) In the photo editing software of your choice do your sentiment based on the paper measurements you took in step 3 and where you want it to appear. For this type of work I use the program Craft Artist 2 Professional. I have Photoshop and other programs I paid a lot of money for that are not as good as this one. The measurements are true on this program; what I see on the screen corresponds to how it prints. It is the only program I use now for digital scrapbooking.

5) Cut a plain white sheet of paper the same size as your image and do a test print. Pay special attention where it has printed on the test paper when the test paper comes out of the printer. You might even make marks on the paper first to help you with this. What you have when the paper prints may not be what you see in your print preview. My printer prints exactly the opposite of what it shows on the preview screen. In other words what is at the bottom right corner will print on the bottom left of the paper I put in the single feed. On this image for example, I had to put my little lady in the sheet feeder head first. Hold your vintage paper up to the light with the printed paper behind it to make sure the sentiment will print where you want on the vintage paper. Keep trying 'til you're happy with it. If you're using a die, hold the die up with your image too so you're certain your sentiment won't be cut off. You don't have to use a different test sheet every time, just mark off the wrong ones (so you can keep track) and reuse. I did this four times on the above 'til I had it just where I wanted it.

6) When you have the lettering where you want, insert your paper and print.

Your image is now ready to use!

I've used the sketch from Passion Cartes Créatives this week and am playing along with the following challenges:

Stamp-n-doodle theme "Anything Goes"
Everybody-Art-Challenge theme "We can't wait to see what you come up with!"

Here is the sketch from Passion Cartes Créatives:

PaperStudio Calico Memoir, cardstock
Topper imagefrom my collection
Punchfloral punch in two sizes
FontHoney Script


  1. That image is mesmerizing! Love the flower you added to the hat. Thanks for the tut.

  2. This is a great card, using a really cool image, Shani! I loved reading your tips, and will pin this article for future use. Right now I don't do much with my printer (card-wise) because it's a huge pain in the butt!

  3. This is a great card, and the image is wonderful.

    Thank you for sharing it with us at Stamp 'n' Doodle Challenge.

    Anne-Marie x x

  4. Im so impressed with your versatility! This is a great tutorial!

  5. I have shared your link on my FB page! Thank you for entering me!


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