Making Color Copies of Vintage Fabric

My parents have been helping me with a small kitchen remodeling project. I haven’t done much to assist, so I decided to do what I could to help. Namely, create new artwork for the wall. I know, big help.

Inspired by my 1950’s turquoise formica metal table & vinyl chairs, my kitchen is pale green with bright red cherry accents. I want to incorporate these colors along with a 1950’s vibe in a large collage on canvas.

I started by taking a few pieces of vintage fabric (tablecloths, napkins) to the local copy center, and making large 11 x 17″ color copies of the fabric. It looked pretty silly to have the large barkcloth tablecloth completely covering the copier, but the results were worth any embarrassment! The colors perfectly match the vibrant colors of the fabric–plus you don’t have to destroy the original source material to create something new.

Check out the results:

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Sewing Themed Collage – Part 2

I know you all have been anxiously awaiting the next steps in my sewing themed collage. I hope the Super Bowl was able to entertain you in my absence.

Without further ado, here is the continuing saga of the Sewing Themed Collage

After I placed the initial pieces, I through the collage needed a photographic element. I liked this image of a kid in a candy store, and thought it added an additional vintage element. I accented it with an old-fashioned photo mount. I wasn’t quite pleased with the result, so I attempted to fix it using the old favorite, “if you don’t like the way something looks, try to cover your mistake with velum.” I then followed that with the other old favorite, “if you don’t have the correct adhesive, just use a lot of what you do have, maybe that will work.” That just created a huge mess.

So now I have, a photo I dislike, and wavy bumpy velum because Modge Podge (MP from now on) and velum aggressively dislike each other.

So, once it had dried, I tore off that mistake, which left a nice little ragged look. Lemons, now you are lemonade!

I then used a vinyl number in the lower corner. The black stands out like a sore thumb, but don’t worry, it won’t last. This picture shows the cool paper scraps left where the photo/vellum once were.

I took an old ragged paint brush and dry brushed a little white paint over the six and the side of the collage.

To soften this harsh white color on an otherwise muted collage, I rubbed gel paint in raw umber all over the canvas. This especially looks cool on any raw paper that hasn’t been MP’ed yet.

I then removed the lovely vinyl 6 which left a slight outline of where it once was. See, I told you it would all be alright.

I still felt like the piece was missing something, so I looked in my drawer of scraps and found the perfect item. A couple of years ago, I made a mini album out of my canceled passport (future blog post), and I had printed mini photographs onto transparencies. I still have a couple lying around, and I thought it would be the vintage-y photographic element I was looking for. I love how you can still see the text behind the picture. Here is the final piece.

Sewing Themed Collage – Part 1

This is a little 8 1/2 x 10″ collage I created for my friend, D’s, birthday. Since D is a theatrical costume designer, I wanted to create a simple collage featuring ephemera relating to sewing & fabric. However, I wanted the colors to remain muted and neutral so it wouldn’t distract from the vibrant inspiration wall for the current theatrical production in D’s office.

I started with a stretched canvas on wood. I painted it a neutral brownish tan color roughly, showing brush strokes and some of the white underneath. I then decoupaged scrapbooking paper of a vintage fabric & millinery supply catalog. I do my painting & decoupaging while the canvas is sitting on an old text book, this acts as a drop cloth for paint & glue, and when the paper gets too gross, you can just turn the page to another brand new drop cloth.

To smooth the bubbles out, I use old gift cards. The small size is great, plus you can just toss it when it is too gluey.

I then started playing around with the layout of the other papers. I knew I wanted to incorporate pieces from a vintage sewing pattern, and for the other papers I chose them for their content, but also for their color. Since this piece would be muted, I wanted them all to be similar hue.

Once I was happy with the layout, I decopauged the pieces with Modge Podge. I waited for each piece to adhere before putting the next piece on.

The pattern piece was the most difficult to decoupage–it was so thin, it had a tendency to tear, but also developed bubbles. This is when the gift card smoother came in handy!

This post is taking forever for me to finish, so I will continue in a second post…

Decopauged Vintage Suitcases

I have collected vintage Samsonite suitcases for as long as I have been trolling antique and thrift stores. I don’t know why exactly, but I rarely pass one up if I can pick it up for under $10. They are o.k. for storage, but there are much more efficient options out there. But it must be the lingering sense of adventure that accompanies old luggage. The far off song of the train whistle in the distance, oceanic voyages that take days…pretty much any old movie with travel appeals to me.

Looking for a way to incorporate the luggage with a craft project, I decided to decopauge one with vintage sheet music. The paper was so delightfully aged, and crumbly, it soaked up the Modge Podge beautifully. Here is is mid-project:

I cut the paper in half so the sheets would be easier to work with.

The project went so quickly, and the results we so beautiful, I decided to tackle the other pieces I had. Michael’s was clearancing out their 8 1/2 x 11″ scrapbooking paper, so I purchased those for cheap. I selected coordinating pieces and then tore them into manageable shapes. I wanted the effect to look shabby and quilted, so I was more random with the layout than I was with the musical suitcase.

I then trudged them all to the beautiful vintage train depot in town and photographed them. Avoiding all the high school seniors and wedding couples also utilizing the sunset lighting, I did some quick location shots to try to capture the sense of traveling in the past.

I still haven’t found a ‘use’ for them, other than decoration. But decor can be useful, if only to brighten the day.

Paper Collage Mirror

I have been so busy cleaning up my studio, it hasn’t left me much time to actually create anything. However, my friend, G’s, birthday was a great opportunity to try something new. Using my mad decoupage skills, I created this fun collage mirror.

I started with my old favorite, the IKEA MALMA mirror, and then started cutting millions of 1″ squares from paper scraps, photos, ad scans–whatever matched the pink vibrant color scheme and images I thought G would like.


O.K., it wasn’t actually millions of squares, but it seemed like it at the time. I was trying to be square & true, but I am sure some of my angles were more like 89 or 90 degrees. If I do this project again, I will invest in a Marvy paper punch!

I then decoupaged all the squares onto the mirror, making sure to mix up the patterns & images so they would be spread out evenly. I did one top coat of Modge Podge and once that dried, I sprayed a couple of coats of high gloss clear sealer on it.

This is the finished project:

Apple Shadowbox

While cleaning out a cupboard, my mother found a collection of small apple and apple related items (you tend to receive such items when your last name is Applegate). She didn’t know what to do with them, so I volunteered to make a shadowbox for her. Since I have been working hard on my studio renovation, I didn’t want to spend too much time on it though, so I gave myself a 2 Hour limit on the project.

I had picked up this wooden shadow box a while ago at the dollar store. I wanted the final piece to resemble an old apple crate, so I didn’t even bother looking for the wood stain in the garage. I watered down some brown acrylic paint and washed the entire piece. That took about 10 minutes, and I left it to dry for a day or two…out of distraction, rather than necessity. When I came back to the project, I sanded the edges to simulate wear. I also heavily sanded the imperfection on the back to make it look more distressed and vintage.

I did a quick Google Image search for apple related illustration, and saved them to my hard drive, I scaled them way down and the largest image used is the apple crate label on the back–I then printed these.

I found some scrap-booking paper that had old map images and other ephemera, I measured the interior cubbies and decoupaged these squares into their space. I then decoupaged the apple images along with other tiny scraps into individual cubbies.

Once those dried, I hot glued the wooden apples into place. I then decoupaged dictionary scraps to the outside of the piece. I did this to tie the disparate elements together and to create dimension. I then decoupaged the apple crate label to the back and hot glued the Scrabble tiles to the top along with the last tiny apple crate. I cut out the word Applegate from my business card and attached that to the bottom as a kind of signature.

I don’t know if the entire project was exactly 2 hours, but I had time left over on whichever of the Thin Man movies I was watching to put away my craft supplies.

My mother was pleased with the result, and the apples got a new life in this small shadowbox.