The cabinet card was first introduced in 1863 in
. It consisted of a photograph printed on cardstock and could often be found on display in parlors – usually in cabinets. These were all the rage for family photos back then and remained extremely popular until around 1895. London
In today’s day and age, it is not uncommon to see cabinet cards of lovely young women, children and families gracing the bins of antique stores. They are also readily available for purchase on EBay and other internet sites. They are relatively inexpensive and fun items to collect, but instead of stashing them away in a box somewhere, how about making these forgotten treasures into little pieces of wearable art? Be warned, though – these are fun to make and extremely addicting. Before you know it, you will have a whole collection of these little beauties!
Tools and Materials:
Photocopy of cabinet card (head and shoulder portraits work best for this project)
Illustration board – slightly larger than the cabinet card
Decorative scrapbook paper
White glue (I used Modge Podge)
Light to medium duty utility knife
Pen or pencil for tracing
Ink pad for shading edges (I used ColorBox Cat’s Eye in Yellow Citrus)
Krylon Workable Fixatif
Gel pen (white)
Dimensional adhesive (I used Diamond Glaze)
Small embellishments, such as buttons, rhinestones, narrow lace, charms, etc.
Strong glue, such as E-6000
Cut out image from photocopy with scissors. Using index finger spread white glue evenly on the back of the image. Place the image right side up on the illustration board. Gently smooth the image down with fingers. Allow this to dry for several minutes to an hour before taking the next step. (Failure to allow sufficient drying time may result in the image tearing when color is applied.)
With one hand, firmly hold the photo in place while using the utility knife to cut out the image with the other hand. The board is extremely stiff and it will be necessary to make several small cuts in an area before cutting all the way through the board. Once the cutting is completed, use scissors to trim around the photo to clean up the edges, if necessary.
Place the scrapbook paper right side down on a flat surface. Place the prepared photo right-side up on top of the paper. Trace around the photo with a pen or pencil. Cut the traced image out with scissors. Use index finger to apply white glue to the back of the scrapbook paper; glue the paper onto the back of the photo.
Now the fun begins! Use colored pencils and chalk to color the hair, skin, eyes, lips and clothing. Add “blush” to the cheeks, if desired. Place the colored photo on a piece of newspaper, and in a well-ventilated area, spray the Krylon Fixatif over the photo in a sweeping motion. Allow to dry.
Hold the photo in one hand and press the edges of it into the inkpad. The purpose of the inkpad is to conceal the outside rough edges of the photo while shading the front edges of the image. Use the white gel pen to add details to the photo.
Apply dimensional adhesive over the top of the photo with a small paintbrush. Let dry.
Use the dimensional adhesive to glue on charms, lace and other embellishments to the photo. Let dry.
Glue the pin finding on the back with strong glue, such as E-6000. Your beautiful cabinet card photo is ready to wear!
Tips and Resources:
For added dimension, color the photos with the pencils first, then repeat with chalk. This will significantly intensify the color.
Homesew.com is a great resource for hard-to-find narrow doll lace and mini buttons.
Use small pieces of broken vintage jewelry to embellish the pins. Mini Christmas tree trims, such as beaded garland make great “pearl” necklaces.
These make great Christmas tree ornaments, gift tags and embellishments for other projects. Use your imagination! The possibilities are endless!
NOTE: This is from my original article and project which was featured in the Spring, 2008 Belle Armoire Jewelry issue. Enjoy! :)
This article and accompanying pictures are ©Wanda Eash, 2007. Please do not reuse without permission.