Sunday, June 28, 2009

Faux Cabinet Cards, A Digital Journey into Fairyland!Lilly, The Fairy Queen!I am addicted to cabinet cards, they are beyond timeless and have such a magical quality to them, whether its a victorian gentleman in a top hat and suit, a victorian lady getting ready for a soiree, a civil war family posing for a portrait, a child in communion or confirmation gown, a costumed actress or fave opera heroine, a halloween or holiday portrait event, no matter the image, these old photos are beautiful.

During the 1870's photographs were usually mounted on cards measuring 4 1/4 x 6 1/2 inches or 5 1/4 by 7 1/2 inches. They had ornate letering on the front bottom of the image card and on the reverse side. The cards were mounted on a stiffer board backing due to the thinness of the photograph, which also acted as a photographer's calling and advertising card. The more ornate and elaborate the cabinet card backing, the more more expensive and high end the photographer.

Now finding the elaborate cabinet cards, the opera, costume and soiree styles are hard to come by and can fetch a handsome amount of money. That's when I thought why not make my own using a variety of images I already have.
How To Make a Faux Cabinet Card Image:
1.Simply scan into your computer a photo cabinet card
2. Next Scan in a main image and a few images you like with fun elements in them such as butterflies, flowers, etc.(copyright free of course)
3. If you are photo program savvy color in your images using paint tools in the program, for my faux cabinet cards I used Corel Paint Shop Pro, but you can use Photoshop as well.
4. On the main image layer some cool butterflies, flowers or add digital sparkle to it by cropping, copy and paste.
5. Next copy the finished main image and layer over the cabinet card image, save as a new image, boom instant faux cabinet card.
This is an image from one of my collage cd's which I hand colored in on the computerQueen Bee! Hancolored! Now here it is with added elements such as butterflies and digital glitter.Esmeralda The Butterfly Queen!Now here it is layered on a cabinet card photo I had, leaving just the frame of the card showing. I call this collaged piece: Esmeralda The Butterfly Queen!
Esmeralda The Butterfly Queen! 2 Here is a wonderful vintage image of Miss Marie Doro, from the 1900's. I love this image, there are a few versions of this too! This is from around 1907 per the copyright and is in the public domain.

I have 2 other versions in postcard form, in black and white, hand colored, the other versions are available on the Victorian/Teatime CD, and the Fairytale CD!. Fairy Queen!I used one of the other versions as the main image for one of my faux cabinet cards! Below is the other version I have colored in, collaged and layered onto a cabinet card, I call this new collaged piece:Lilly, The Fairy Queen!Lilly, The Fairy Queen! Here is a vintage image I have of Ethel Barrymore which I again digitally hand colored, collaged, and layered onto a cabinet card, I call this collaged piece: The Rose Queen!The Rose Queen!Below is another version I made called: The Butterfly Keepers!
The Butterfly Keepers!
Now if you aren't computer or photo program savvy, here is another way for you to do this project:
1. Gather up a few cabinet cards you like, paying attention to the beautiful and elaborate lettering and design details on it.
2. Now look for some images you love that can fit the photo frame of the cabinet card.
3. Take your perfectly matched cabinet cards and images to your local photo copy or office supply shop. Next using double sided acid free tape (so you don't ruin the original photo's, tape the main image of your choice onto the cabinet card. This will replace the original image that's on it.
4. Then photocopy, boom a faux cabinet card w/ new image.

Directions on how to make your new faux cabinet card print as sturdy as the original:
1. Find Black matte or chip board, using a glue stick, glue your print onto the matte board. Cut out with sharp scissors, I use industrial scissors for this.( Be careful these scissors are sharp, not recommended for small children).
2. Next using scrapbook paper rounders or rounder punch, round the edges of the layered matte board.
4. Now cover the back of your matte board with a photocopy of the back of the original cabinet card or with a victorian style rubber stamp, using gold embossing ink and gold embossing powder for a more ornate look.

For those of you who work with originals, color right onto the cabinet card using dabbers, q-tips or make up eye applicators rubbed into Ink pads, I use Ranger Inks such as Tim Holtz Distress Ink Pads for coloring in photos.

For images to use in your artworks visit my flickr set of vintage images at:

You must be an approved friend of mine on flickr to use the images, I will approve your friend request, just email me who you are.

Or you can get various images in different collections on my collage cds as well available in my web store, etsy and ebay stores.


Elaine A said...

Lisa -

Such wonderful ideas, thank you so much for sharing. I will have to try this idea out. I went out yesterday to the dollar store and bought some wine glasses, so I can try the technique Linda showed you. Will send photos if I get around to finishing it - LOL. Enjoy the rest of the soggy weekend!

Elaine Allen

Elaine A said...

Hi Lisa -

I just put in an order via PayPal for your Piddlestixs:Teatime Tiaras and Vintage Whimsy CD, as well as your Fairie Zine Vintage Collection CD. They look fabulous and looking forward to getting them.

Thanks - Elaine Allen

My Journey to Hope said...

Great idea, I loved how yours turned out. How did you color the flowers on the computer?

:) Michelle

*SHeRRy B* said...

I love cabinet cards too and have recently been acquiring them!

faerie enchantment said...

Elaine: I just saw the order, I'll get it ready asap! I'd love to see the pictures of how it turns out. I'm on a wine glass kick now, LOL!
Instead of the wine glasses being used for wine, they have become dolls, LOL!

Michelle: I used a paint brush tool in corel paint shop pro, then picked a color, and shadowed it in, making sure the paint brush strength was at 25 percent, hope that helps.

Sherry: Cabinet Cards are so addicting to collect. On really faded ones you can paint right on them.