Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Going Postal: Scrapbooking with postage stamps + punches

Hi, hi, hi.

I've been excited to hear how some of you are suddenly peeking into and saving security envelopes for theirlovely patterns since last week's post on scrapbooking with them.  I've been using them quite a bit since then too, this time on projects I'm making in preparation for my upcoming class [why, yes, I did just drop a big hint that I'm writing a class right now. Because I'm that subtle].

But for today's page I've returned to stamps. This layout features more original postage stamps and also one I created myself with the help of a postage-stamp punch:
The structure of the page is inspired by Shimelle's 'Sketch of the Week: 03.08.11'.

So, here's my bespoke postage stamp featuring the young thrush who spends a great deal of time in our back garden:
And it was made on a base of white cardstock punched from this X-Cut punch:
Then I printed off a photo small enough to fit inside. [James later pointed out that if I'd printed off the photo with enough white space around it I could have simply punched the whole thing in on e go - meaning I wouldn't need the white cardstock base. I hadn't thought of that ... !]. Or I could have simply trimmed down an existing photo to fit.

While I've had that punch for several months now, I think this is the first time I've used it to recreate a postage stamp. However, I've spent much more time using it the wrong way ... deliberately ... let me show you what I mean.

Rather than punch out serrated-edged squares with it I use it more as a border punch:
I like how clean and unfussy it is. It's what I used to add edge-detail to scraps of paper on the cards I made from stamps + snippets and my 'Saving for best' micro-mini book:
 To use any of your shaped punches as a border punch [I've done this with my scalloped circle punces too] you need to turn the punch upside down so you can see where you're positioning the edge of your paper:
Then simply punch as normal, 'nibbling' away the edge for as far as you need it:

For this particular page I used the technique on very thin strips, to create a frame around the page, but it works equally as well on large pieces which you just want to give a decorative edge to.

So that's my page for today. I hope there's something there to inspire you, whether it's the reverse punch technique, the 'create your own postage stamps idea or, once again just incorporating real postage stamps into your work:
Can I give you just one tip though before you start ? One small word to the wise? One 'do as I say not as I do' piece of advice?

It regards using original old stamps but which are, as yet, unused. OK then ... here is is ...

When you're using old stamps; stamps you can't remember buying; stamps which you probably bought in a big mixed-bag from ... who-knows-where; stamps wihch may have come from someone's collection, a carboot sale, donated to you by family members. Stamps which may have spent the past decade in a damp, foisty cardboard box before you excitedly rescued them and decided to let them fulfil their full artistic potential ...

.... try to remember NOT to stick them to your project by licking them!

Trust me. In fact, trust me, my tongue and my taste-buds [which have yet to forgive me] ... we know of what we speak.

You've been warned!

Julie :-)


  • I'm not sure what's coming next in Going Postal ... possibly something home-decor related! 
  • Here's the Going Postal Pinterest board which has expanded yet again since my last post.


  1. Tongue curling :)

    That's a really lovely interpretation of the sketch.

  2. Gorgeous page, the homemade birdie stamp is really cute. Don't tame the thrush though - my grandparents tamed a blackbird and then it got all nasty when they'd been away for a few days!

    I keep meaning to mention to you that I can't see the right hand side of images in your posts, I have to click on them to see them full size, and then click back to read the rest of your post. I don't know if it's just because I read blogs on my netbook, but I don't seem to have this problem with other blogs? Thought I should mention it in case other readers of your blog have the same problem, but I wouldn't worry about fixing it just for little old me! x

  3. Oh Oh- the left side is missing from my view as well. I'm using an older Mac and the blogger reader app.

    The page is GORGEOUS! Love the subtle tones and the photos- great design as well.

  4. I absolutely love this page and I didn't blog about it but thanks to this series I bought the Stamp border punch from Fiskars last week ;) I have used it twice already but for DT projects that I can't share yet :(

  5. re: the images - It's possibly because I have my images set to Extra Large as I like nice clear images in a post. The next size image down is quite a jump.

    I wonder if you viewed it with your screen set to less than 100% if your device allows that? My laptop has quite a wide screen so I see it fine - it's hard for me to judge.

    Thanks for letting me know.

  6. Eeeuuurrgghhh! Thank goodness stamps today come already sticky.

    The stamp you made with the photo is so sweet. I have some dies that are stamp shaped that have an embossed design. I'd never thought to stick something over that! Thank you

  7. Awww, what a beautiful, scruffy little bird! Love how you made a stamp with his photo in the middle. Some lovely ideas to take away here.. thank you as ever!

  8. Wonderful - that page is so pretty, and you're very creative with that punch!

  9. I've never seen a Thrush but read about one in the book The Hobbit!! LOL~ GREAT LO. I think I need one of those punches! :)

  10. Thanks for including me on the Pinterest Board - I hope you'll keep it going after this series ends.
    I have a pair of edging scissors which do postage stamp edges - I think I'll be using them a bit more now.

  11. Oh - forgot to say. Like the light airy look you got on the LO. (And I can't see the RHS either)

  12. hello, im new to your blog and i already love it :)

  13. That postage stamp punch is brilliant, I've not seen anything like that here! Love your going postal series :)

  14. Just popped over from Shimelle's. Your blog is gorgeous. I will definitely be back again :)


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