Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Starting from Scratch...literally.

In my last post I mentioned a little reproduction project I was beginning. My customer recently purchased a piece of property with the old house still standing and in fairly good condition. The property and house was not only chosen for the family to use for family get-togethers, but also for it's historical value. The first owners inhabited it in the 1800's and the Mr. was a coffin maker. It remained in the family down through the generations and much of it's history was recorded and passed down as well. The new owner was fortunate to be able to work with the local museum and dig out loads of information.

My job was to take copies of 3 open pages of Mr. Workman's ledger and reproduce these so they can be framed with other artifacts from the business and home...to be hung in the old homeplace.

I have worked with this customer's wife for more than 10 years making things look old, usually with paint. Paper was a challenge, but like most projects, "it" eventually came to me and it worked. Here's what I did...

I took his copy and scanned it to my computer.

My first thought was that I could get the old paper look with photo shop...

...and it really wasn't too far off printed onto beige cardstock that I already had. My first idea was to use watercolor to age it, but it wasn't as realistic as I'd imagined. I also thought I could use my caligraphy pens to trace over the original script. They too, couldn't give me the look I needed. So...that's when I headed out for parchment paper and a dip pen.

Learning to use the pen was fun. My son picked it up while I was cooking supper one night and scribbled his name as good or better than I was doing. Why didn't I think of this when we were homeschooling?

When I had decided my penmanship looked better than chicken scratch, I made many attempts to copy the documents. Just like the old days of Junior High term papers...if you make a mistake in ink, you must start over. But, all in all, the dip pen worked perfectly to duplicate the ink pattern of both thick and thin areas of ink in each word. It's much darker I'm sure than the original, but since it will be behind glass it will make reading easy for observers.

Finally, in the last few minutes of the inking "it" came to me from where ever it is that "it" always does, that I could use colored pencils to age the paper more and to mark the lines on the paper. It was the easiest part of the entire process...except for the ink spills, finger prints and misspelled words...hey, they were on the original.

page 1

 page 2
page 3
And finally, it was finished, and in the mail. I have already learned something new this year and have a little more experience in making something new look old.

Just my two cents....

What have you learned already this year?


  1. one thing I have learned is that you are very talented!!
    great job- liked your idea about the inspiration board. "Simple Abundance" sounds like a good read, is it? thanks...

  2. What a wonderful restoration project....you did such a great job! Best of luck with your new shop and grand opening!

  3. Boy howdy! Fantastic job! I will be following you!!!!
    smiles, alice


So glad you stopped by. I love reading your comments!