Ephemera – What is it?

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Taking Time To - Ephemera definition download originalEphemera is one of those words you either know or not, and that is because you either like using the stuff, or don’t know what it is to use it. Make sense?

So… What is Ephemera

Ephemera is essentially old, generally paper items; letters, ticket stubs, bits of this and that. At some point they had value (for example, a ticket got you into a show) but once used/written they become something of no value. Except to the crafty person.

Someone ~ like me ~ who likes to make things from all sorts of stuff, loves ephemera. The project is often dictated by the ephemera I have collected. Inspiration can even come from one simple piece of paper.

Finding Ephemera

Ephemera is all around  you, but the best bit is that so often it is currently junk, scrap, something for the bin. So, generally free, and as you are re-using/recycling/upcycling, you can feel good about doing it, too. Win, win, win! And if you like my creations, say the image at the top of this page, you can download from this site (some free, some cost a wee bit).

I find my ephemera predominantly from magazines and old books, as they are my favourite mediums. I cut out the pictures, but also,  because I love the printed word, I even use the print from pages. I adore vintage in particular, so I am always on the search for old letters, receipts and anything that may give my projects a by-gone days feel to them.

No Limits! It’s for Everyone

A wonderful thing about creating with ephemera is anyone can do it. Age doesn’t matter, and especially money does not matter. As you can collect bits and pieces from anywhere (don’t forget to ask friends for magazines they don’t want anymore!) the only real costs are in the adhesives.

Of course if budget or obsession has no limit, one soon finds the quantity and quality of the pens, stamps, stickers, and embellishments increasing. But for me, I like to keep it simple, and not be tempted (too much) into purchasing (too much). The tricky bit, I find, is in balancing the creating with the collecting as both are such great fun.

Where to Start?

You will need at least a way to cut and a way to stick, say scissors and glue (I prefer glue sticks, less mess). Going beyond these two tools is up to you.

Let’s say you wish to make a Birthday card. Look around your place. That finished cereal box can become the base of the card or box. Have some magazines laying about? Look for pictures you like and cut them out. If you have an old birthday card, cut out the ‘Happy Birthday’ bit for re-use on your card.

Lay out your cut out bits on your cut out cardboard, putting them into a pattern you like and glue in place. Fill in any empty bits with pen or paint. Feel free to get creative with patterning over top, if you like. Use whatever you like, how you like. There are heaps of ideas and tutorials on YouTube, so the world is your oyster of ideas.

What to Make

Personally, as someone who loves writing letters, I love using my ephemera to make cards or embellish my letters. Some people go all out with their materials and create the most amazing happy mail I have ever seen!

There are no rules or even limits on what you can create. Junk Journals are very popular as they are a lovely way to use some of those particularly nice scraps you have been hoarding. Travellers Notebooks, are similar. but a little easier to make, and with less pages to fill. I particularly like Johanna Clough’s junk journals and notebooks, and her tutorials on YouTube are great!

Taking Time To - Ephemera definition shop

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Download my Ephemera Definition design, for free, from the shop for your own special card, junk journal or scrapbook.

    • on February 14, 2018 at 12:16

      Oh, I so agree!! And the wondrous scope of it as well. I particularly like old letters and lace.


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