vintage style greeting cards with paper butterflies

The Butterfly experiment

An article in the Tattered Nest Designs blog  inspired me to experiment and to make my own Butterfly project. The amazing colours and the great idea absolutely captured me. At that moment I had to make a bunch of greeting cards, so decided to combine the pleasure of trying something new with the duties of my business.

greeting card with a vintage brown-sepia background and a paper butterfly in orange, blue and brown

First, I started with coffee staining pieces of paper. I didn’t have any real vintage paper at home to use, so tried to make it old looking by mixing instant coffee and espresso. The big difference is that the espresso gives the paper a softer nuance, but the instant makes, what I think are very attractive stains. The darkest spots I made by pressing half melted granules of instant coffee with a paper serviette onto the paper. The serviette works like a stamp and you can make multiple spots with different nuances. The straight lines you see are from drying the pieces of paper together in the microwave. It gives the image of paper which hasn’t been touched for many, loong years and the time and the light have put their stamp on it.

big brown coffee spots on white paper

Second, I decorated and stamped the paper pieces. I was very strongly tempted to put the same red lines like in the original project, especially as they very much reminded me of my school notebooks. But decided not to and instead of this used some “letter”, “love”, “cage” and “butterfly” stamps, hoping the result would look like the back of an old greeting card. After that I scratched the sides and twisted the corners to give more of the “old” feeling.

I also tried to make the background look as different as possible from the original. So put this musical score stamp – to give my work a different “melody”.

the brown coffee coloured background with "love", letter, cage and butterfly stamps in black

The next step was to cut some silk and paper butterflies – with my faithful Sizzix Big shot machine and my also old Sizzix butterfly shape. (Not the new Tim Holtz one, which is wonderful, but I don’t have it yet. I am sure my willpower will fail soon and I will buy it!)

Sizzix cutting machine and silk butterfly in blue

The butterflies – silk or paper ones were coloured with markers in the Watercolour maker technique which I really love. It is easy – draw with the markers and water with the brush.

paper butterfly coloured in blue and brown and blue and brow watercolour markers and water container brush

After the watercolours dried, and following the idea of Tattered Nest Designs blog article I drew with a black marker some lines and shapes on the butterfly wings. I also blended the edges with some brown ink.

paper butterflies watercoloured in purple, blue turquoise, orange and black

The next step was to glue the butterflies onto the “vintage” paper sheets.

paper butterfly in orange, blue and brown, glued on brown vintage paper piece with stamps

Interesting, but the silk butterflies had more of a “vintage” look than the paper ones. The problem was that the silk was very soft, so I glued it onto paper butterfly shapes to keep the wings from falling onto the background.

silk butterfly, coloured with brown, blue and black

And the greeting cards were ready. I am very thankful to Tattered Nest Designs for the inspiration and the great idea. I also realised how difficult is to make your own work your way and not copy the exact steps of someone else’s project, especially if you like it very much. The way is to use your own techniques and instruments…

vintage style greeting card with paper butterfly and stamps

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  1. These are so GORGEOUS!!! You took the butterfly idea and just ran with it and I love it!!!!! Thanks so much for tagging me and sharing your beautiful art. ♥️

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