Tag Archives: vintage ledger paper

DIY: Cosmetic Bags Turned Pen & Pencil Cases!

I recently transformed some clearance cosmetic bags I found at Michaels into customized pen and pencil cases, and thought I’d share them with you.  The bags, a steal at 50 cents each, were pretty enough as is – but I wanted to make them at bit more artsy and more durable.  I was inspired to use them to hold pens, pencils, and other art supplies, and just knew I’d come up with some fun looks.  They’re easy to make, and can be customized a million different ways!

The cosmetic bags – BEFORE..


My customized Pen & Pencil Cases – AFTER!


Basic Instructions:

The first step on each bag was to tape along the two sides (where the bag was stitched) and the bottom. This laid a base for my other tape, and adds extra strength.  Next, I taped along the top edge, by the zipper, and worked my way down.  In most cases I worked horizontally, but you can tape vertically (up and down) as well like I did on the Washi Tape Case.  This project is very loose and flexible, so just play and find what works for you.


Washi Tape Case


I made this case by using three different patterns of washi tape and clear packing tape.  I used the packing tape as a base layer on the whole bag, applied the washi tape in a repeating vertical pattern, and then “sealed” the case with another layer of clear packing tape.  I’ve put colored pens inside this case.

Silver & Black Duct Tape Cases



I made these cases by taping along the sides and bottom, and then taping along the top and down the bag.  The black pen case also has another layer of tape along each of the sides, to cover some of the edges of the tape strips I applied horizontally.  The silver case holds my Caran d’Ache water-soluble crayons, and the black case holds my black pens.

Vintage Ledger Paper & Masking Tape Case


I made this case by attaching pieces of vintage ledger paper to both sides of the case using a very strong double stick tape.  I covered the entire case with clear packing tape, and then accented the sides and bottom edge of the case with pieces of masking tape cut to assorted sizes.  This case holds assorted art tools like small tapes, my XActo knife, pencils, and an eraser.


Now, rather than having bunches of things loose in my “art supplies on the go” case, I’ve got these fun, sturdy, and budget-friendly cases keeping things tidier and more organzied.  Woo hoo!  Oh, and if you missed my post on how to repurpose a vintage train case into a travel case for your art supplies, please click here.  I love the way the case turned out, and it’s really handy – whether I’m just creating here at home or am out and about.


I picked up some extra cosmetic bags, in case some of you would like to customize a bag for yourself or someone you know.  If you’d like me to mail you one of the unaltered cosmetic bags, please leave a comment indicating as much – and use the CONTACT feature to email me your mailing address.  The first FIVE people to comment and email me their addresses will get one of the bags.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments, dear readers. And Happy Fall!

Warm regards,

Posted in art, art supplies, crafts, DIY, giveaway, inspiration | Also tagged , , , 6 Comments

Repurposed Vintage Train Case


Look – my new “art supplies on the go” case!  I used to have my art supply basics in a huge Ziplock bag, and would put that bag inside a larger tote when I attended art classes or creative gatherings, but I definitely needed an upgrade.  Sure, my old bag was easy to transport and functional, but it lacked style and charm.  I began thinking of a vintage train case as a potential candidate for my upgrade, and found the perfect case the weekend before last while antiquing with friends.  Originally $22.00, it was on sale and my total was $18.96 with tax.  This was more than I’d wanted to pay, but when I checked eBay I found it was reasonably priced when compared to similar pieces and I saved on shipping by buying locally.


Though the case could easily be decoupaged, I’ve opted to keep the blue exterior plain, and just dressed up the handle.  I DID decoupage the inside though.  The interior’s bottom and sides looked a bit “undesirable”, so I used vintage ledger paper to cover over the makeup stains.  This ledger paper was a fab choice because of the vintage feel and the tiny blue lines running across the pages.  These lines tie in to the case’s blue exterior without being super matchy-matchy.  An added bonus of the decoupaged interior is that the inside surfaces are now sealed and protected.  That said, if I happen to spill ink or some other art supply inside who cares?  After all, it IS an art case!


Vintage Train Case interior – before.  The interior was intact but stained, and a vigorous cleaning didn’t help.


Vintage Train Case Interior – after.  So much better, don’t you think?


The front side of the tag…


The back side of the tag, which includes my business cards…

Curious about this case’s transformation process?  Here are the steps:

  1. Clean the case – inside and out.  I used 409, paper towels, and an old toothbrush to clean up the somewhat dingy case.  The old toothbrush worked really well in the nooks and crannies.
  2. Cut pieces of paper to line the case with.  I used vintage ledger paper, but you might use tissue paper, magazine pages, wrapping paper, or another thin decorative paper.
  3. Apply the paper to the interior using a decoupage medium like Mod Podge or water-soluble Minwax Polycrylic.  First, adhere the paper pieces to the case’s interior and let that dry completely. Next, apply two or three coats of sealer on top of your paper to protect the paper’s surface.  Be sure to allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next coat.
  4. Attach a custom luggage tag with your contact information on the handle.  This will make it easy to identify the piece as yours, and easier for the case to be returned to you should it become lost. I used a business card, watercolor paper, vintage ledger paper, glassine, a carved cork stamp, masking tape, and vintage buttons to make my custom tag.
  5. Enjoy!  I can hardly wait to take my new art supplies case on its first outing.  I won’t be taking the train on my trip, but I’ll be hitting the road on Sunday and am really looking forward to transporting my art supplies in style!

Please let me know if you have any questions, dear readers.  Oh, and please post a comment and share if you’ve converted an unconventional bag into something you carry on your artful outings.  I’d love to hear about it and am sure my other readers would, too!

Warm regards,

Posted in antiques, art, art supplies, crafts, DIY, vintage | Also tagged , , 10 Comments

A New Collage: BABY


Collage is one of my favorite art forms, and the recent birth of my newest niece, Bryn, inspired me to create a baby-themed collage.  Though I have yet to meet this new baby (I’ll be flying out to see her soon), she was on my mind as I sorted through my art supplies in search of the perfect elements to use.

I chose a vintage photo for my central image, but those of you who are artists and crafters could certainly re-create this project using a current photo.  This collage would make a lovely gift for new parents or grandparents, and the baby’s name could be spelled out instead of “baby”.

Similarly, you could create this collage using an heirloom family photo.  Perhaps a photo of an older relative when they were young?  This would be a lovely way to include an older generation in a new baby’s nursery.

Please read on for instructions on what materials I used, and to learn how I assembled my collage.


8” x 10” canvas panel
vintage ledger paper
vintage velvet ribbon in two widths (pink = 1/4’”, blue = 2”)
alphabet stamps
vintage photo
vintage photo frame
vintage buttons in two sizes
Terrifically Tacky Tape (TTT)

Assembling the collage:

Trim the ledger paper and vellum to 8” x 10”, and staple the two sheets together in each corner.  (Note: The vellum softens the look of the paper underneath it, so you may not need the vellum if your background paper is soft/subtle enough.)  Attach the ledger paper/vellum to the canvas panel with Terrifically Tacky Tape.


Cut a wide piece of velvet ribbon (blue) and affix the ribbon to the collage with TTT.  Then attach the hanging tags to the velvet ribbon using TTT.  The strings should then be stretched up and taped down.  (Note: Ensure the photo is large enough to cover the starting point of all the strings, or consider leaving the strings off of the tags.)  Attach the vintage photo to the collage using TTT, and attach vintage buttons to the four corners of the photo with needle and thread or an adhesive.


Finish the front of the collage by running narrow velvet ribbon (pink) along each edge of the collage, wrapping it around to the back, and taping it down.  If you aren’t going to frame your collage, attach an 8” x 10” piece of cardstock to the back to cover your ribbon ends and tape, and don’t forget to sign and date your creation.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this vintage baby collage and the related instructions.  Please post any questions you may have in the comments section – I’d be happy to respond to your queries.

Warm regards,

p.s. If you’re new to collage, or need a refresher, please click here to see my collage basics tutorial.

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