Tag Archives: collage

Using Old Book Pages as Backgrounds


I often use pieces or parts of old books as the backgrounds for my ATCs. Some people don’t like the idea of tearing up perfectly good books, but the books I use are hardly perfect! I like to go to yard sales and thrift stores and find books that are falling apart. The oldest books with pages torn are perfect for my artwork. One of my greatest finds was an old, old nursing, manual. I got it for $3 at an estate sale. The cover was falling off and the pages were so crisp they would crumble, but the content is so great and the faded color so rich that I loved it.

Sometimes I find children’s books that have been scribbled in or pages torn out. They are no longer fit for a child’s library, but I can still salvage some great illustrations from them for ATCs.
When swapping internationally, I have received some fantastic pages from books printed in a language other than English. I have no idea what they have written on them, but I love the look of it nonetheless.

I recently joined a swap in which we were asked to draw or paint a bird onto a book page. When drawing on pages, the medium you choose will determine how much text shows. In this first ATC, I drew a black stork using Copic markers. The text is not visible behind the bird.


Since this text appears to be Arabic, I decided I wanted to paint a bird that would be present in the Middle East. That is why I chose to draw the stork. I like to let the book page dictate the art that goes on it.

In the other ATC, I used Copic multi liners to draw most of the picture, and just used some lighter Copic markers to color the birds. Most of the text is still visible on this one. Since this is obviously Asian text, I tried to create the style of traditional art of the Orient.


On both ATCs, I used watercolor paints to just add color and highlights to the backgrounds. The watercolors allow the text of the book page to show through.

Before tossing those old books, decide if there are parts that can be reclaimed from them to use in your art. You may be surprised at the direction the book pages take you!


Using Cancelled Postage Stamps


You may have noticed that I enjoy using cancelled postage stamps in my ATCs. One reason is because I always enjoy Upcycling and reusing old items, especially those things that most people just toss into the trash.

The second reason is because some postage stamps are tiny pieces of art themselves, and it is such a waste for them to be tossed away and forgotten. I swap with many international swappers, and the postage I receive from other countries is phenomenal! I especially love to use foreign postage in my artwork.

When using cancelled postage, it obviously calls for some type of collage technique. I often use colorful scrapbook paper as part of the background on a postage stamp ATC.


I also like to include pages from old, beat up books I find at yard sales. Vintage medical books and dictionaries are some of my favorites…


…As well as using foreign language text that international swappers generously share with me.


Pieces of maps are also a favorite background, especially when they represent the same country as the stamp. In this ATC below, I titled it “Planes, Trains and Automobiles;” therefore, I used three different stamps from different places. Since the theme was transportation, I thought a map was the most fitting background.


However, do not feel limited to just using paper. There are many other items and embellishments that can be added to the ATC for added interest.


One of my favorite things to do is actually draw part of the ATC along with a postage stamp. Sometimes I attempt to complete the picture that the stamp is a part of, such as in the first one below. Other times, I just draw a complimentary background, such as with Dr. Seuss.

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Overall, I think that using old postage in my ATCs is a fun, environmentally friendly way to to create ATCs, and the beautiful stamps are a great inspiration to me in my artwork.

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