Old book illustrations become collaged notecards

In my last post, I described different ways to repurpose pages from old books. My favorite idea so far is to make notecards with pages of text as background. As foreground, I experimented with stamped text. 

But I've found something better. To each card, I add a cropped illustration, like this one from an old Donna Parker hardback.
Notecard made from Donna Parker book page
By zeroing in on the characters' faces, I had no trouble deciding how to crop each image. What took more time was finding a quote from the book to "match." I say "match" because I really want something ironic and retro-sounding. My favorite is this one:
Notecard made from Donna Parker book page
" 'Pooh,' she said bravely." It doesn't get more kitsch.

I made a set of cards for my mother-in-law, an avid horse-woman. They featured images from several Western-themed books, including Shadow of Robber's Roost. 
Notecards made from old Western books
She loved them, especially the horses. I noticed that she tried to read the words behind each image. I hadn't expected that. Now I pay attention to the text I include as background. If possible, I use a page near the illustration in the book, so the passage is relevant. Am I making this too complicated, I wonder?

Besides line drawings, I also have pages with full-color art. These cards come from a middle-school science textbook. 
Notecards repurposed from science textbook
Putting text behind the image made the card too busy, I thought, so instead I used full-page photos. For vertically oriented images, a strip of colored paper works better than a photo background.
Notecards repurposed from science textbook
On the inside of each card, I pasted a blank book page to create space to write on. Luckily, most of the old books I upcycle contain at least 5-6 blank pages each.
Notecards made from old Western books
Remembering the words of an art teacher, I tore all the book pages and card stock with a metal ruler instead of cutting them with scissors. I love the handmade look that the torn edges give the cards.

I've started selling the card sets in my Etsy shop. I include upcycled envelopes as well. To seal the envelopes, I stumbled upon a fun idea -- I make silver stickers out of the inside of tea bag packages!
To punch circles into the bag, I rely on my fabulous Fiskar paper punch.
Each bag produces 8 circles -- more than enough for a single card set! (And I "produce" at least 1 bag every morning.)
To make the circles stick, I run them through my small Xyron sticker-maker.
I've tried making seals out of other packages, but not all of the papers work. For instance, the paper on Whisker Licken's bags stick in the paper punch. My husband guessed that the paper contains too much plastic. (My poor cats!)


  1. Love the cards! Ok, that sticker maker looks like way too much fun! I might have to get myself one of those because I like to use stickers to close up tissue I wrap my scarves in.

  2. So glad you like the cards. And the paper punches that you can see through are so much easier to use than the ones that you have to use "blind."


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