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DIY Vintage Postcard Save-the-Date

DIY Vintage Postcard Save-the-Date

Only one week left to enter our DIY Contest! Simply use an old/used item in a DIY project and send me 4-6 photos (600 pixels wide), instructions and a list of materials to amanda The first place winner will receive $500, and the second place winner a $100 gift certificate to Wendy Mink Jewelry, so get cracking!

Our next participant is Heather, who recycled vintage postcards and used them as save-the-date cards. She shares how she removed the ink on used postcards, but this can be a quick project if you have unused vintage postcards.

DIY Vintage Postcard Save-the-Date

– Vintage postcards – they can be found at most antique stores…some searching is required, but that’s part of the fun. Postcards that have never been used are most desirable, but those are pretty hard to find, so those written on with ball point pen or pencil are best as a second choice.
– Bleach
– Q-tips
– Rubber gloves
– Paper towels
– A pot used to boil water.
– Typewriter (optional).

The postcards before:
DIY Vintage Postcard Save-the-Date
and after:
DIY Vintage Postcard Save-the-Date

First, find your postcards. You may want to get a few more than you actually need. In doing this project I found that some of the postcards that looked like they would be the easiest to clean up were actually impossible to clean and were unusable. Save yourself a trip and just get a few extras at the beginning.

Secondly, the postcards need to be prepared. To remove the stamp: Boil water on the stove until it starts to steam. Hold the postcard over the steam to loosen stamp (this may take 5 minutes or so) and remove the stamp with tweezers. I suggest removing the stamps first so that you can avoid having the ink on your save the date message running!

Next, the postcards need to be cleaned of any old writing. Postcards that were written on with pencil are the easiest because they can usually just be erased. To remove ballpoint pen ink: put on rubber gloves, get out bleach, q-tips, and a paper towel which has been run under water and then rung out so that it is slightly damp. Dip one q-tip in bleach and run the q-tip along each line of text. The ink should start to disappear. After bleaching a few rows of text, wipe the postcard clean with the damp paper towel. Continue this process until the ink is gone. It may take a few swipes, and some ink may not come off at all. The postmark will not be removed, but I think having the old postmark is one of the best things about these save the date cards.

Finally, type out your message! You’ll need to keep it simple as there is not a lot of room on old postcards, but we were able to include all necessary information. The postcards don’t have to be typed out on a typewriter, although it does add to the authenticity of the postcards. I went out and bought a typewriter to do these save the dates because I knew I would use it in the future. Some libraries still provide usage of typewriters.

These save the date cards take time, but in my opinion, they’re worth it. Because most of them can be found for between 25 cents and 1 dollar they tend to be cheaper than normal save the dates, and they can be mailed for 28 cents instead of the usual 44 cents.

View Comments (22)
  • What a fun idea! This would be a great project to work on together as a couple… lots of opportunity for some quality time searching for and preparing the postcards!

  • love it! Alternatively, vintage postcards can be used as a guest book to send the new couple well wishes. And don’t forget vintage stamps too. I got enough for my save the dates and wedding invites for face-value at the most recent National Postage Stamp Show in Toronto, which is coming up again in April.

  • What a idea for the guest book! Approximately how long did it take you to remove the writing from each postcard? Did you let the postcards dry overnight?

    I did something similar, where I scanned an old postcard of the town where we are getting married and used some of the Martha Stewart tools to design the back. I used PrintsMadeEasy to print them and it came to around $50 (also paid to have the addresses on the back. Always worth the extra money!) I managed to get vintage stamps off ebay for less than face value and used some of the 10cent and 5 cent stamps from USPS to get to the correct postage.

    ps. thanks for giving props to libraries! (i’m a librarian!)

  • What a fun, unique, and affordable idea! Thanks for sharing.

  • @Maura It took a few minutes to remove the ink from each postcard, although some took longer than others depending on what kind of ink they were written in.

    The cards would usually curl a bit after steaming the stamps off so I’d put them under some books to flatten them out a bit before removing the ink. Sometimes I’d let them sit over night, but other times I’d only wait 5 to 10 minutes (and that really all just depended on whether or not I got sidetracked by putting stamps in an album).

    Ooh! I love the postcards you made! They look awesome!

    Yes, librarians rock! I’m starting grad school in the fall for library science!

  • oh this is amaaaaaazing! everything looks so intricately done and so much thought and time was put into this! love love!

  • Your finished postcard does not have the postmark on it. I thought you said those would remain?

  • @Jaci Most of the finished postcards did have the postmarks on them. Unfortunately, the only picture I had of a finished postcard was one that hadn’t ever been used before. However, the finish product of the used postcards looked very similar except with a postmark somewhere on the card and usually some of the squiggly lines that were left over after they stamped the stamp the first time. Sorry about that.

    Also, I had initially been worried that the post office might not ship my postcards since 75% of them had previous postmarks, but I encountered no problems.

  • I read the post, and got right to work! I had the postcards waiting to be worked on… I knew I would use them somewhere! I thought about scanning them into Photoshop, covering the text, and printing new ones-but then I would have wasted the vintage look of the actual postcards!
    SO, thanks for this post! I happened to stumble upon it, and got very excited!
    Mine look great!
    I had to “srub” a little with the q-tip, and had to go back and blend them a little bit. Some had streaks. For those cards that I wasn’t able to erase, I plan on cutting a decorative piece of paper the same size of the postcards and using spray adhesive to glue on a new side.
    Thanks again!

  • What a great idea, now I know what to do with those gorgeous vintage post cards I see at second hand stores!

  • Ahh this is perfect! My fiancee lives in England and I’ve been searching the internet for something cool like this!

    I want to incorporate the postcards into the guestbook. I was thinking about getting more vintage postcards OR Where he’s from (London/Devon Coast) + where I’m from (Philadelphia/Jersey Shore/etc) and have the guests fill out their well-wishes on the left hand side and their names on the right hand side. And then maybe have one of those little luggage containers to hold them for our living room or something.

  • I love anything that involves antique typewriters/typeset! and the postcard idea is not only awesome, but eco-friendly! recycling ftw!

  • Entry #4: DIY Vintage Postcard Save-the-Date is awesome. This is what i vote for.

  • #4 Has My Vote – I definitely would not have the tenacity to see this project through. I’m a fan of the typewriter – Props to you for this unique craft!

  • this is great – we’re doing a similar thing with vintage postcards, but are actually using a gouche paint to sort of create a white washed effect over the image and have created a custom stamp with the save the date image that we’re stamping over the front. i’m wondering what to do for the invites though. how do you top this save the date concept?

  • Hi! I was just wondering how you typed on the postcard… I’m finding it quite difficult! 🙁

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