Vintage Card Tutorial
by Linda Coughlin for Sugar Creek Hollow
What is Vintage? The term vintage was originally a wine-making term, referring to the batch of wine
produced in a certain year or by a certain vineyard. Over the years, it has been broadened to refer to
automobiles, clothing and numerous other items. More recently, it has been used to describe second-
hand merchandise originating from an earlier era, i.e., vintage clothing.
What do we mean when we refer to a card-making style as vintage? It’s a loosely used term to
describe a card/project that looks old. The aged appearance can be for a variety of reasons. The
be distressed (ink sponged or scuffed/torn edges or folded/crumpled)
include products that look old
use an image of an old object
use rustic looking image
use paper of a pattern, color or design from yesteryear
include embellishments that are old or made to look old
Vintage is my favorite style of crafting. I get a lot of comments from people saying that they love the
style and look but they are hopeless at doing vintage work. Since the strength of our project line here
at Sugar Creek Hollow is vintage and primitive, we thought a little tutorial might help those vintagely-
challenged crafters out there.
Step 1: Where to start? Start by selecting an image.
SCH offers a wide variety of lovely vintage and
primitive digital images that will make up into beautiful
vintage projects. For this project, I have selected the
Tiffany Lamp and Berry Frame. I changed the image
color from black to brown. For the lamp print size I
selected 3.15” and 4” for the frame This allowed the
lamp to fit inside the frame. I printed it on my home
computer and heat-set the ink using my embossing heat
Step 2: Paper selection. Give a little thought to the era
that the image is depicting. I look for a design and
color that looks antique to me. I like flour-de-lis,
flourishes, botanical-type drawings, brocade, damask,
For this piece, I selected the image of a Tiffany lamp.
Tiffany began making his handmade stained glass lamps
in the late 1800’s and they became popular in the early
1900’s. So I want my vintage card to evoke a feeling of
an era around 1900.
Select colors and textures that will compliment your
image and evoke the period you are trying to replicate.
For a sepia toned Tiffany lamp, thinking about the
early1900’s era brought to mind images of stamped
metal and floral patterns. So I selected two brown-toned
K&Co. papers as well as a piece of textured brown card
Step 3: Layout. There is nothing definitive about your
layout. Any layout that works with your image will
work for a vintage card.
Step 4: Creating your main image. Let’s start the
actual crafting work by creating our main image. I
decided to make my entire card to resemble a sepia
toned photograph. I used two SCH images – the Tiffany
Lamp and the Berry Frame. I changed the color of the
images in PSE7 to brown, layered the lamp over the
frame using Publisher, printed and heat set the main
image. Then I closely trimmed it out around the frame.
Next I ink distress the image. Because the distress ink I
am using is very dark (Vintage Photo), I sponge off
some of the ink by tapping the sponge on my paper
blotter a time or two before I move the sponge onto my
craft sheet. Starting about two inches from the edge of
the image panel, I sponge in circles on the craft sheet,
moving slowly toward the edge of the image panel.
I work around the outer edge bringing the color in
gradually. I work all the way around once, then repeat
around the outer edge several more times, each time
bringing the color a bit closer to the center. You decide
how far into the panel you want to bring the distress ink.
Usually I make a mask to cover my image, but with this
I didn’t get too close to the image because I wanted to
show some bright light close to the lamp.
Once I am satisfied with the amount of ink distressing
on the panel, I sponge ink directly onto the edge of the
panel to darken edge.
I also printed a second copy of the lamp and trimmed
out the lamp shade. After coloring the glass in my
Copic marker, I applied Crystal Effects to give the shade
a glassy look. When dry, I adhered this lampshade over
the original with a small glue dot, which gave it a very
slight 3-D effect.
Step 5: Create your background layers. I like to use
multiple layers on a card. For me, visually, the more
layering, the richer looking the card (that’s not to say
that CAS cards can’t look very striking too).
The brown card stock was embossed using the Cuttlebug
Textile embossing folder, which I think has a vintage
look to it. It was sanded to review the white core.
After revealing the white core, the entire panel was
sponged with Vintage Photo distress ink. Since ink was
being applied to a dark colored panel, I inked the sponge
and applied it directly to the paper without sponging off
on a paper first.
If I had been sponging a lighter color paper or just at the
edges, I would have started on the craft sheet, sponging
in small circles and working toward the edge of the
paper, continuing in small circles along the edge of the
paper. Each time I re-ink the sponge, I start sponging on
the craft sheet and work toward the panel.
The edges were then scissor distressed. This is done by
opening the scissors about half an inch and dragging the
opening along the edge of the paper.
Don’t be concerned if the paper rips. That adds extra
distressing and character to your vintage piece.
After scissor distressing the edges, they were sponged
well with vintage photo.
Step 6 – Assemble – Now that all the layers are finished,
it is time to assemble them. Before I glued the first two
layers together, I punched the corners of the upper layer
with a corner punch that I thought added to the vintage
feel. Then I machine stitched a straight stitch around the
parameter. Next I glued the die cut K&Co. layer on,
then wrapped a piece of wide brown lace around and
tied it in a knot. Craft foam was glued to the back of the
main image panel which was then layered over the lace.
I added a sentiment tag that I had also ink distressed.
The sentiment was printed on my computer in the same
brown ink as the main image and likewise distressed as
the main panel. I added a brass jewelry spacer and brad.