New life for vintage postcards

I used to be a maker of gifts. My gifts were typically the crocheted variety. Every year some lucky soul received an afghan from me. Over time I picked Halloween as my start date so that it could be guaranteed for Christmas. That practice, like many others, went extinct once I had children. I know that someday I will again wile away the hours watching TV while I churn out a new creation, stitch by stitch. In the meantime, I will lovingly purchase gifts like most other people.

Except for this one. Maybe it’s not so much handmade as it is hand-assembled, but it is a special gift for just the right person. A history lover on your list is sure to enjoy it.

The steps are:

1. Go to eBay.

2. Search for vintage postcards from your recipient’s hometown. (Here I used Pensacola, Florida postcards.)

3. Assemble them in a frame. I find that a floating frame works best, the kind where the picture is suspended between two panes of glass. I use small rolled up pieces of Scotch tape on the back to hold them in place.

4. Use a clean cloth to rid the panes of dust and lint before putting them together.

And that is all.

Obviously, this may not be the ideal gift for everyone. For instance, my father-in-law is from Mountain Home, Arkansas, and I can assure you that there are very few postcards from that town. And those that I did find were not especially frame-worthy. If, however your recipient, being from a small, non-photogenic town, has an attachment to a larger city, well then you’re in business. For instance, if he just loves New York City, or Hawaii, or Paris, then you should have no problem finding many frame-worthy postcards.

When you look at these postcards up close, you can see that they are tiny works of art. The watercolor designs are on beautifully textured heavy linen paper. These postcards seem most prolific from the 1920’s through the 1950’s, before they were replaced with the glossy versions we are familiar with today.

You can see my most recent project below. This one went to my uncle this year. last year a larger one went to my dad. I apologize in advance for my poor images. I had assembled the frame before I realized I should take some pictures, and, well, glass doesn’t photograph so well.




When looking at postcards, I think that the ones that have actually been mailed are most interesting, provided that the ink has not bled through to the image on the front. From the postcard above, I can deduce that a woman traveled with her husband and possibly their children as he attended flight training here at Saufley Field, as many service men who came to Saufley at one time were coming through for that purpose. The family stayed near the base and enjoyed the sights while he worked or attended classes. The postcard bears a 1951 postmark.

Here is the one I made for my dad last year…


Each time I acquire one of those postcards, I find it so beautiful I want to keep it for myself. One day I’ll get around to making a collage to keep.

Happy New Year, my friends!

About Joyce

40-year-old university advisor, 10-years married with two small children, trying to do it all and have it all and still manage the occasional social interaction through the wonderful world of blogging.
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8 Responses to New life for vintage postcards

  1. Karen says:

    I used to consider myself pretty artsy-craftsy (I’m convinced my husband decided to marry me only because I took on the ambitious project of crocheting chemo caps for his patients) but the obligations of adulthood (real adulthood, with kids and a mortgage and stuff) have taken up all the free time I used to spend making bird feeders out of peanut butter covered pine cones or beading intricate patterns onto old pairs of blue jeans.

    But there’s something more than just less time to do this stuff now. Maybe I’ve just gotten old and lazy and, let’s face it, cheap because I’ve learned over the years it’s always less aggravating and almost always less expensive to buy someone a sweater than to knit it. Same thing goes for those afghans you were crocheting (a project I once considered until I priced out how much the yarn would cost). And the cheesecakes I used to make. The return on investment (time as well as money) just doesn’t make these projects sensible.

    Regardless, I absolutely love, love, love the project in this post. It stirred up all those memories of scattered bit of paper and ribbon and glue and glitter strewn across the dining room table and the satisfaction of assembling it all into something that was maybe slightly off kilter and not quite what I imagined, but original and unique.

    I think this comment is longer than your post 🙂

    • Joyce says:

      I love long comments!

      I used to also make blankets or booties for everyone I knew who was having a baby. Crocheted a sweater and a doily, and many scarves. I’d bake about five kinds of cookies (and I don’t mean chocolate chip) and put them in beautiful baskets. I tried to hold on to the baking part but found that I was truly making myself miserable doing it. I still do that, but on a MUCH smaller scale. For instance I bought mini loaf pans and made loafs for people for several hectic years.

      I’m glad you like the project. I hope you give it a try! I found the picture of the one I made last year for my father. I’m going to update this post to include it.

  2. Sheryl says:

    What wonderful gifts! The old water color post cards are so lovely.

    • Joyce says:

      Thank you! They are unique and beautiful and I think it is a gift from the heart that is surprisingly inexpensive. The one I made for my uncle this year cost about $15 max. I think I want to find a little corner in my home and put up a few of my own.

  3. Vintage postcards are very cool. Well done. They look very nice in that frame.

    • Joyce says:

      Gbchchndndnnebfndndnembwnnnsnncnccnbndjdjnnffjfjfjfnfnfncksnsnjbsbzhbsn!!.!!.!!’snsmnakamainananJNnannnanabbanajnahbahhhhhhjjahahhahahbbsbnnxnnznhnzbdsbsnnnnsnnndndjkkwkkwmndjjdjdjdjjkdsjj cnfnfjnngncndndndnndnbdbnndbdndnncnnbbnxnbb

    • Joyce says:

      Good grief…I just saw my “reply” to your comment. My four-year-old has been playing on my phone and apparently got into my WordPress app. She sent a similar text to a friend that same day 🙂

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