Joyce recently left a comment about needing a sturdier base for her postcards next time. If you're new to postcard making, here are a few tips on materials to get you started. You don't need to go out and buy anything special or expensive to create the base of your handmade postcards. Below are 10 cheap or free things I frequently use for my postcards.
1. Cereal box (or cracker box, or pasta box...)
Any time I finish a box of cereal I immediately pull apart the glue, cut off all the unsightly flaps and trim to an appropriate postcard size. I can paint right over them, or glue on collage materials, or cover both sides in gesso before any other technique. This is probably my most used substrate.
|Wheat Chex, covered in gesso
2. Advertising postcard pulled from your junk mail.
During election season I was getting 3 or 4 big glossy campaign postcards every day. We already know these are sturdy enough to go through the mail - why not use them again?
|I'm decades away from a retirement community. No point in hanging onto this ad. It will make a great 6"x8" postcard.
3. Watercolor paper
I found pads of inexpensive watercolor paper at "job lot" (one of those fell-off-a-truck kinds of stores). It doesn't take watercolors very well, but it's a great sturdy base for postcards.
I realize how dumb this sounds; use a postcard to make a postcard. But perhaps you've got a bunch of tourist postcards laying around, sent by vacationing friends that you can't seem to throw away. Or maybe you bought a bunch of postcards on vacation one year and never got around to mailing them (not that I would know anything about that from firsthand experience). Or maybe you found a bundle of random cards at a flea market. Or maybe you raided one of those displays full of free advertising postcards in some lobby somewhere. Reuse them. Once I found a whole box of graduation invitations at the thrift store. Gesso is the single most used art supply I own. Cover those pictures up and start over!
|No really, please cover up this picture.
5. Corrugated cardboard
If you like a nice thick postcard, you can't go wrong. And it's abundant. If you never get anything shipped to your house, you can always raid your neighbor's recycling bin.
6. Book covers
I long ago got over my aversion to ripping up old books. Yard sales, library book sales, thrift stores, and flea markets are a great source of cheap old ratty books. I've used the covers of both paperbacks and hardcovers as postcards. Sometimes I gesso them first, other times I incorporate the features of the book cover into my art.
|Collage made on the cover of a Reader's Digest Condensed Book. Address and stamps were stuck on the other side and it was mailed just like this.
|collage made on the cover of a paperback book
7. File folders
If you work in an office, you can probably rescue bundles of these from the recycle bin. Kind of floppy, so not great for really heavy collage, but sturdy enough for many other purposes.
8. Magazine pages glued and stitched together
Cool technique I learned here.
|This is 6-8 magazine pages, stuck together with glue stick, run through the sewing machine in crazy patterns, and then covered in gesso.
|Here's a bit of a magazine canvas postcard after it had been painted.
Check your dollar store - I have found all kinds of educational flashcards or jumbo playing cards that can be turned into postcards. If they are super glossy you can use a little sandpaper to dull them down so that paint or glue adheres better.
|The dollar section at the entrance of Target is another great place to look for flashcards. These are 4"x6" and 5"x7"
okay - I'm out of ideas. Your turn. What else have you used to make postcards? Leave a comment.