Vintage Embossed Cards and Scrapbook backgrounds-DIY Tutorial

blog pictures 068 blog pictures 075Ever wanted to make something new look like it come from another era?  Want an appropriate backing for a family history photo? This faux finish idea for a vintage embossed cards is a fun way to make greeting cards, bookmarks, and gift tags and individualised scrapbook paper.

Supplies needed

Cardstock in black, white or chosen shade. Try to find 2 shades that contrast well to use together.

Embellishments ( optional and as desired)


Embossing machine and templates

Cards or cardstock


To make the vintage look, I aged the white and grey paper or cardstock, with cold teabags. Please note that you need to use medium thickness card or paper. If it is too thin, it will tear when soaking in the cold tea.

Add one or two teabags to boiling water about 1/2 litre or enough to cover the dish in which your cards are to soak. I used a large plastic tray. Let the tea cool to tepid.

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Place cards and paper that is going to be embossed in the tea and let soak for up  to 2 hours. You can even place the tea bag directly on it for a “aged” spot stain. This can look really effective. If you don’t place the teabag directly on the paper,  you will still get a creamy sepia kind of colour, which is a softer effect.

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Dry the card on a flat surface in the sun. Some minor curling may take place, but this is no problem unless you leave it in the sun for hours and hours.

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Run the card through an embossing machine in your usual way, with your chosen embossing template.

N.B. Don’t do the embossing before soaking, otherwise the moisture will lift the embossed imprinted design and the raised impression will be lost.

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Now you can decorate the printed card or paper with some extra tints and highlights of paint. I used an olive green and a mid colour yellow acrylic gouache and a round brush, softly stroking across the raised embossed pattern. Make the paint pretty watery, akin to a “wash” consistency. This means that the colour must been translucent, not solid when tested on a scrap piece of card. Try to balance the colour a little, over the entire surface, so that there is a little bit of say, green on one side and a larger amount to balance it out on the other. Dobs of yellow match well with the sepia look.

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Trim as needed and attach with glue or double-sided tape to backing cardstock, or a greeting card. I used black backing card as a contrast to the light coloured card.

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Now you can decorate and embellish as you wish, as much, or as little as you like.

I made a bookmark for Valentines day, and a few blank greeting cards suitable for all occasions. I think these cards look quite elegant on their own, with very little decoration, but that may be just me.

This idea is fantastic with an old family photo for Family reunion invitations or 80th birthday, and to scrapbook old-time photos.

How much to decorate them is something you have to ponder about yourself. Please email if you have questions or link if you would like to share your own project with me.

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