Postage stamp collage

I took a break from quilting to…quilt with paper.

Postage stamp collage, framed

Thanks to my mom and one of my best friends, I have a wonderful hoard of vintage stamps from around the world.  I’ve used some to make cards, but I wanted to do something at a larger scale to celebrate their detail and history.  I thought about a collage, but never hit on a structure that seemed very satisfying.

Stamps from the British CommonwealthIt finally hit me that stamps are a little like quilt blocks: regularly sized with related motifs.  (This possibly marks the point where I start to see everything as a potential quilt.)

To start, I separated out all the Queen Elizabeth stamps I could find from the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Canada—they all use the same basic cameo as their central motif.  And look at those colors!  Tangerine; a rose garden of pinks and peaches; spring and olive greens; buff and royal blue; milk chocolate; cognac; scarlet.  Best of all, they’re all the same size, so the process stayed simple.

I arranged them by value and color, just like I would a quilt.  I used a classic drunkard’s path design.  It was nice needing a design wall only a foot across.

I snipped off the corners of the stamps using a curved template I cut out of scrap card stock.  Only the fanciest tools for me!  I tried to work with the composition of the stamp and any postmarks as best I could, enhancing curves that were already there.

Starting the stamp collageAfter that I glued it all up.  I mounted the stamps on a sheet of smooth, white, acid-free paper using an acid-free glue stick, working from the center of the design out.  The grid of my self-healing mat underneath showed through just enough to help align the tiny rectangles.

I framed it and was finished!  It only took an evening, which was a refreshing change of pace in the midst of more involved projects.  It was fun to blur the lines a little between media.

Do you keep old stamps?  What do you do with them?

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3 thoughts on “Postage stamp collage

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