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Crafting With a Vintage Look #055 - The Meaning of Love, Valentine Card #9
February 08, 2010

Issue #055 - The Second Industrial Revolution in the mid-19th century forever changed how we valued hand-made items. Mass-production and standardization resulted in lower prices on most household goods. In time, the hand-made versions became scarcer - and therefore more exclusive. Take paper, for example.

When machines began producing endless rolls of perfect paper and uniform cut sheets, the rough surface and edges of hand-made paper became, at first, an embarrassment. In time, however, when practically anyone could buy machine-made paper, it became a symbol of wealth to use hand-made paper. A rough, uncut edge on the paper verified that you were using the real thing and it must have cost you a bundle.

In manual paper-making, the wood-framed screen that is used to drain the wet paper pulp is called a deckle, and that rough, feathery edge on the finished paper is called a deckle edge. It still symbolizes quality and craftsmanship - although it is hard to tell today if it is natural or simulated.

Our Valentine Card of the Moment #9 is called The Meaning of Love, and it is decorated with a fragment of paper that looks like it was torn from the pages of a dictionary. How do you get that look? Read on in this Special Edition of Crafting With a Vintage Look:

  • Our Valentine Card of the Moment #9, The Meaning of Love.
  • Creating a convincing deckle edge on paper.
  • A template tip from expert, Nancy Ward.

Let's get crafting...

Valentine Card of the Moment #9
The Meaning of Love

We have always loved the translucent quality of chiffon and organdy ribbon. We used that quality to make this collage-style card. We began with 2 1/2" wide red chiffon ribbon with a gold edging.

We scanned and enlarged the "Love" entry from our dictionary and aged the background color by tinting it sepia with our graphics program, Corel PaintShopPro. Since we printed it on rough, white construction paper, we were able to tear the edges easily by hand. With a better grade of paper, we would have used one of the "deckle edge" techniques described in the article below - but construction paper usually tears in nice, straight lines. We wrapped the ribbon around the remnant, taping it onto the back. We then attached the definition to the front of the card. The vintage heart was edged with gold glitter-glue, cut out, and layered onto the ribbon. The glue on the back of the heart adhered the ribbon to the card as well, for a secure construction.

This Card of the Moment is the ninth 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:

Paper Crafting Tips

Imitating a Rough Deckle Edge on Paper

Artist and crafters often try to simulate deckle edges by hand tearing the edges of paper. Since tears usually follow the natural grain or imperfections in the paper, you really have little control over the result. We surveyed some of the leading paper-crafters for their favorite methods of imitating deckle-edges on paper and found some clever ideas:

  • Tear paper along the edge of a steel ruler to guide the ripping. Accuracy is improved, but the torn edges are usually too uniform to imitate a true deckle edge. One crafter said she rips paper against the blade of an old saw, with dull, flat teeth, with good results.
  • Purchase a Deckle Edge Ripper. This metal or Lucite straight-edge has small, varying teeth which rip a jagged edge when paper is torn (usually upwards) against them.
  • Fold the paper on the line you want deckled. With a serrated knife, cut through the fold with small sawing motions, from the inside out.
  • Cut the paper apart with a fine-toothed saw, like a coping or jewelry saw.
  • Soften the paper fibers first by brushing a thin line of water along the desired tear line and waiting a minute. One artist recommended a portable watercolor brush, which is like a fountain pen filled with water. The paper should be torn by laying it flat and pulling the paper away from the water line, not up or down. The water helps to constrain the tearing, however it can also stain or cause inkjet printer inks to run.

Every type of paper will respond differently to these methods, and may even be affected by humidity. We heard most success stories from those who regularly used a Deckle Edge Ripper or a fine-toothed saw. For you, the best method is the one that works on your specific paper, so try out each of these on some scrap before you leap into your project.

Tips from the Experts

Nancy Ward Talks Templates

Nancy Ward is author of several renowned crafting books as well as the wonderful blog PaperFriendly. I think she noticed one of our references to making a template from cardstock. She took a moment to write a few days ago, with some very helpful template wisdom...

If I could offer a suggestion...rather than making templates from cardstock (or any weight of paper), use acetate sheets. They're clear, so positioning a template over either images or patterned paper is a snap. Another advantage...they last and last and last.

Printing the template on inkjet transparency is one option. You can also create your template by printing the design on plain paper (allowing the ink to dry completely). With the print side up, lightly spray a repositionable adhesive over the paper, ensuring all areas have a coating of the adhesive. Allow the adhesive to dry to a tacky state. Place a sheet of acetate on the adhesive and gently press in place. Cut out the template along marked lines; use a bone folder to score fold lines. Remove the paper from the acetate. Here's another option: Print the template on plain paper and position the acetate over the template. Trace the outer lines of the template with a permanent marker and cut along the marked lines. Add necessary info concerning the template to the acetate with a permanent marker.

After cutting out the template, I write pertinent info (source, tips for use, etc.) with a permanent marker on it, punch a hole for a key ring (the small, round kind that pops open), place the ring through the hole, and store the template on embroidery hoops. In my case, each embroidery hoop has templates of a specific type (boxes, envelopes, etc.).

Thank you, Nancy, for great advice. A little organization can help us craft smarter and get the most our of our supplies! Very "re-WARD-ing," Nancy!

Next issue:

In a couple of days, we'll be sending you the final Special Edition in our ten-issue Valentine Card of the Moment series. Valentine Card #10 is called Love's in Fashion, and it is perhaps the most sophisticated of the series. The secret ingredient is...shhhh...fusible web! Never used it in card-making?? Witness the miraculous Valentine joining of paper and fabric!

We have other fabric wizardry to share, from the woman with the embossed-velvet touch, Mary O'Neill.

And - a final FREE Valentine image to wish you a wonderful, romantic day.

Countdown to Valentine's Day!

Scott & Martin

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