Monday, April 9, 2012

Grandma's Postcards

This plain oak tray has been asking for a makeover for sometime, but I hadn’t decided on how to redo it.  I was searching around on The Graphics Fairy, looking for an image to transfer on to it to speak to me.  That’s when I saw her vintage post card images and my idea was formed.
My  husband and I started a postcard collection on our honeymoon.  Everywhere we travel, we purchase a postcard for ourselves.  We don’t mail it, but when we get home we write the highlights of the trip and place it into our collection.  Someday I hope to have these cards displayed in a unique way, but for now with three young kids, they sit in a bucket where they are safe out of reach. 

So I decided to create a faux postcard collection on the tray, safe from the kids spills. 

First I gave a facelift to tray itself.  I wanted it to have an aged plank like feel.  I added brown stripes using craft paint.  Then I added some Vaseline on those lines, so next layer of paint would easily distress right off.

I added a pale sage green over the whole tray then distressed with a sanding sponge to reveal the brown paint and light wood underneath. I didn't spend lots of time on the tray middle, knowing that would pretty much all be covered up.

Once I was sure all the Vaseline was off the piece, I stained the whole tray with 2 coats of dark antique walnut stain. 

Time to create my vintage postcard collection.  I decided I wanted it to be from locations that had family meaning and look like it was cards sent to our relatives.  I used a few images of postcard fronts from the towns where our parents, grandparents and ourselves grew up.  I also did one from where we met, and the cottage area I spent much time in as a child. 

I then downloaded the Graphic Fairy’s blank postcard images.  Here and Here.  I modified these images in Photoshop Elements to personalize them with names and addresses of our grandparents and great grandparents.   I ended up using  Signerica Fat and Everett Steele's Hand as fonts from  They were the closest I could find to match the scripts on the Graphic Fairy’s images.

I printed all these images and layered them onto the tray and decoupaged them down to look like a postcard collection thrown on the tray.

I added a few coats of poly on top for protection.  Instant family heritage “postcard collection”.  


Anyone else have a postcard collection?  How do you display them?  I would love to hear about it or leave me a link!

shared on:  Graphics Fairy
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                 Knick of Time Vintage Style


Sweet Pea said...

I've been collecting postcards for around 35 years. I've got them filed under 'Postcards' in my filing cabinet - until I figure out what to do with them! Dropping by from the Graphics Fairy. Love your tray.

Danni Baird @ Silo Hill Farm said...

There are so many things I want to say about this post! This is an awesome project! I love that you made up your own old postcards from your personal past! How clever! I love the board design and I am really interested in the use of vaseline. Does it gunk up your brush? I also love the colors. What a great project and what a great job you did! Thanks for sharing it!

Kristin@ A Vintage Fairy said...

after 35years I bet your collection is AWESOME!!

Laurel Stephens said...

I love this project!! What a great idea for displaying memorabilia.

Denise @ secondtimearoundfinds said...

Great project. Family history on a tray.

srpprcrftr said...

What a great use and transformation of an old tray. The tutorial was wonderful and very helpful. Who wouldn't enjoy having something like that on their coffee table? I would love it. I'll be back to see what else you're up to. Just found your blog tonight.

Kristin@ A Vintage Fairy said...

thanks Laurel!

Kristin@ A Vintage Fairy said...

Thanks Denise!

Kristin@ A Vintage Fairy said...

Thanks, let me know if you give it a try!

rkramadh said...

Found you via GF. What a beautiful tray!

Kristin@ A Vintage Fairy said...


Tisha said...

love, love, love! The color is great, and I like how you sort of scattered the cards. I think a postcard collection is so fun! I pinned this idea for Christmas cards -
- maybe it would work for your postcards too. Thanks for linking up!

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