Saturday, September 5, 2009

Modern Vintage - Tips For Scrabooking Old Photos

For a long time I didn't know how to approach scrapping heirloom photos because they look more natural in a vintage type layout, but I have a more contemporary, ad-hoc style pages. It wasn't until last year when I was required to create a vintage layout for a few challenges that I actually gave it a try. I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't as difficult as I imagined. I was still using my "improv" style but with a few little shortcuts the layouts took on an old-fashioned feel.
Vintage scrapbook layout, heritage scrapbook using antique cream from Creative Imaginations, black and white page


  • Paper:Antique Cream collection from Creative Imaginations, basic black 
  • Ink: Basic Black 
  • Accessories: Heidi Swapp chipboard clocks, pin, pearls and brads from StampinUp pretties kit, kraft taffeta ribbon

Shortcuts to a vintage look:
1) It's all about the paper!
Really. The paper is the main element on the page, so it has the biggest impact. Neutral tones are the easiest to work with, but rich, jewled tones such as navy, burgandy and dark purple work well too. Not to say that you can't use bright colors, but because of their vibrance it's harder to pull off an aged look.

Choose vintage or aged designer paper. I've seen some great examples in the travel section, with script writing or distressed florals. Can't find vintage paper? Read shortcut #2
Finally the photo itself. Print it in sepia or black and white. You can use photo editing software to "distress" the photo ahead of time or you can do it by hand.

2) Distressing
I could do several tutorials on this topic alone, so I'm just going to cover the ideas and if you have question on the details there are a ton of resources onilne or just post a comment and I'll be happy to answer.
What can be distressed? Well, just bout anything on your layout - the photos, paper, embelishments etc. Some of the popular techniques include: roughing up the edges (with a distressing tool or a pair of scissors), sponging, bending and crinkling the paper, using sandpaper to scrape the paper or photos.

The cracked glass technique is another great look for vintage layouts. Just emboss an image with thick, clear embossing powder and when it sets, bend the image to crack it in a few places. Use as is or finish it off by adding some ink to the cracks to emphasize them. Voila - the cracked glass technique.

Did you know that heavy duty cardstock like Stampin'Up can be distressed to look like worn leather if you're going for a western theme?! Crinkle and rub the paper (creamy caramel, close to cocoa or a similar color works well). For added emphasis sponge the edges and crinkles. You can leave it as is, or stamp an image on top.

3) Complement the era
Where you would normally use ribbon - tie a piece of lace. Add a jewel or a picture of one. Maybe feathers. Use stamps to help emphesize the time period or an "aged" look. If unsure about what fits, do some research on the style of the era you're trying to portray or use generic "timeless" items such as: pins, flowers, clock (not digital), old style postage, etc.

On the layout above I let the paper do most of the work for me. It was neutral with a script pattern that resembled an old handwritten letter, so it fit well. I still scattered the photos and added journaling blocks just like i would on a modern page, however, i added a few "timeless" embelishments such as a clock chipboard piece, neutral ribbon, pearls and pin. Added some journaling and the page was done.

The same concepts can be applied to a card. I used neutral DP that looked like old letters for the background, added pewter eyelets to keep with the aged look, distressed and slightly sponged the edges of the image and added a few other embelishments in the same color scheme.

Eiffel tower card, vintage distressed technique, pewter eyelets stamping on metal

  • Stamps: Eiffel Tower from Stampabilities
  • Paper: Heritage Postcard by Provo Craft
  • Ink:Going grey, sahara sand, StazOn (to stamp on metal)
  • Accessories: Stampin'Up! pewter jumbo eyelets, metal tag, twine, ribbon from Hobby Lobby
  • Tools: Crop-a-dile
Other things to keep in mind when scrapbooking old photos:
  • Do NOT use the originals. Scan them and then print at home or through a photo processing service. Some places even offer photo restoration services. 
  • If you're very conscientious about your albums lasting for decades, be careful to use acid-free items on the layout (including adhesives and inks) or spray the page with a product like "Make it Acid Free" by Krylon to neutralize the acidity and make the pages archival safe. 
  • Let the photos take center stage. 
  • Ask family members to help with the details of the story. If you or someone else wasn't there when the photo was taken, write down the memories of the the people or the place in the photo.

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