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Crafting With a Vintage Look #054 - Victorian Peep Show in our Valentine Card #8
February 06, 2010

Yes - I accidentally mailed an incomplete version of this newsletter last Monday. So sorry! Scott

Issue #054 - The design of books has taken many unusual twists and turns over the centuries. Etruscan papyrus scrolls. Egyptian clay tablets. Folded strips of bark in ancient Mexico. Medieval illuminated manuscripts. The Encyclopedia Britannica.

One of the more curious book structures is the tunnel book. The basic engineering began in 1437, with Leon Battista's design for a box with a peep hole that revealed perspective scenes. By the 1600s, traveling showmen in Europe could gather large crowds to peer through a box at layers of cardboard cutouts depicting a variety of religious, historical and mythical scenes. These "peep shows" became more complex, with multiple viewing holes for different perspectives, moving panels, and lighting effects. Printing technology improvements in the 1700s enabled smaller versions called "theaters of perspective," and they became affordable enough for the well-appointed parlour.

The Victorian adoration of all things novel brought many improvements to the "peep show" concept. The box structure gave way to concertina-folded paper side panels connecting the telescoping scenes, which mimicked layered stage sets. In 1851, a book of this design was published to visually commemorate the opening of London's Thames Tunnel, spawning the name "tunnel book." You can see one of the three original views in this photo.

"Tunnel cards" were quick to follow. And we were quick to pursue the idea for our Valentine Card of the Moment #8, Victorian Peep Show.

So take a peep at this Special Edition of Crafting With a Vintage Look:

  • Our Valentine Card of the Moment #8, Victorian Peep Show.
  • In about one month you'll be wishing you saved those empty heart-shaped Valentine candy boxes!

Let's get crafting...

Valentine Card of the Moment #8
Victorian Peep Show

This "tunnel card" looks like a treasured Victorian keepsake. It consists of three panels; an elaborate front of cherubs surrounding a heart-shaped window, a center panel with a flower-framed heart window, and a back panel of a demure Cupid. They are attached on the right and left sides by expanding concertina-folded paper panels. When the side panels are fully extended, you can gaze through the cover opening for a three-dimesional romantic tableau.

Making a tunnel card is relatively easy. You need a series of illustrated panels that lend themselves to large "windows" cut in the center, and a back panel with a central subject. The accordion-folded side panels can be about 6" long, folded every 1/2". Glue the sides of the center panels to corresponding folds on each side, and glue on the front and back panels. You'll add depth to your Valentine emotions.

This Card of the Moment is the eighth in our new e-book, Ten Vintage Valentine Greetings to Make. It is published in a convenient, high-quality PDF file format. You download it to your computer for reading or printing. There are complete instructions for making ten cards, and the vintage images and templates included are high-resolution, in pre-sized format, ready to print at a copy center or on your home ink-jet printer!

As a subscriber to Crafting with a Vintage Look, if you purchase now you can get

$2.00 off the regular price.

The catch? You have to promise to tell us what you think of the book, so we can make a really fantastic edition for our Birthday Book. And if you are not satisfied - we have a Money Back Guarantee!

Just go to:


Click on the "Add to Cart" button, and in the shopping cart window, type in the secret subscriber discount code:


That's all there is to it -- 1-2-3 -- click on the e-book link above, scroll down and click on "Add to Cart," and then enter the $2.00 discount code of "subscriber."

You'll quickly receive an email with the download link, and you are one click away from creating some of the most unique vintage-look Valentine cards!

If the e-book link above doesn't work for you, type into your browser:

Save those Heart-Shaped
Valentine Candy Boxes!

We've told you about our pack-rat mentalities, and how we save EVERYTHING. We hold a special place in our hearts, though, for hearts. The cardboard ones that come filled with chocolates every Valentine's Day. We want to encourage, no, entreat you now to snag every heart-shaped box that you can during this Valentine season. We have several crafts during the year that require an empty heart or two. And emptying them can be the best part.

St. Patrick's Day is Wednesday, March 17. It is traditional to become very Irish, drink green beer, kiss and pinch. Of course, you want to announce just how pseudo-Irish you are, so you wear green, dye your hair red, talk like the Lucky Charms leprechaun, and decorate your front door with a St. Patrick's Day Shamrock.

So we're alerting you now - carefully and methodically eat ALL of the chocolates you receive this Valentine's Day, and SAVE THE BOXES. You can turn them into a dandy vintage-look shamrock with some green paint, fabric trim, and vintage images. You'll thank us later. Your thighs may be less enthusiastic.

Next issue:

We're in the home-stretch of our ten-issue Valentine Card of the Moment series. In a couple of days, we'll reveal Card #9, The Meaning of Love. This is a vintage-look collage of paper and ribbon that will define what a Victorian Valentine is all about.

We'll also talk about the famous "deckle-edge" and describe some of the ways you can get that hand-made paper look.

Maybe it is all of these Valentine cards, but we are feeling sloppy, sentimental, and very fond of you these days. Thank you for your notes about Crafting With a Vintage Look. Connie wrote, Love... love your newsletters! Patricia wrote, "Yo vivo en Buenos Aires, Argentina, amo este mundo vintage que ustedes me acercan, adoro recibir sus noticias,gracias." And Patrice, "By the way, I LOVE your site! Thank you all.

Countdown to Valentine's Day!

Scott & Martin

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