I sell quite a bit of vintage paper from my studio, from letterpress text to handwritten letters to just plain old antique book pages. Sometimes the happy new owner of these pages is off and running with using it her work but other times I get emails saying that it is beautiful but what do I do next? Can I really use it in my pages?

text and print pages

The answer is, you bet. Let me show you some of the ways you can incorporate old papers into your work. As usual, I am going to show most of these methods using my altered book but remember, you can do the same in your art journals, junk journals, collage, or any other mixed media project.

  • Full page coverage. Using handwritten documents or letters is one of my favourite go-to ways to start a layout. It is fun and atmospheric and allows your focal points to shine, all at the same time.
  • A variation on the full page cover is to mix and match it with the original underpage. I like to rough tear a letter in an irregular way and then glue it to the base so that you can see some layer. I often use the line where the papers contrast as an anchor for the focal points.
  • Use strip of text to pull a layout together.
  • Make it into a junk journal page. Or add it to your own journal and then draw into it.
  • You can use this as a base for a really unique card.
  • Sometimes there is great reluctance to glue a piece down, especially if both sides are really beautiful, as this letter is. When that feeling comes over me, I like to make the paper into something that can be put in a pocket, then be removed, admired, and replaced. A little handmade book. A tag. If pockets are not your thing, try clipping it in.