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Tips on decorating with Vintage Fruit Crate Labels and Old Advertisements

SELECTING AN ITEM:

This website is not only focused on collectors, but also home decorators. We offer an extensive selection of antique paper, in a wide variety of sizes. Smaller items to fill in that special empty area, or larger items and grouping for open walls. I think the special part about the original fruit crate labels, vintage magazine ads and antique seed packets we offer is that there is something for every room in the house. You can't beat antique seed packets for the kitchen wall, or vintage fruit crate labels for the kitchen, dining area or breakfast nook. Also a grouping of antique crate labels can be a focal point of any living area.

For the tougher areas like a laundry room original, vintage magazine ads offer that special touch. For example, a 1920 magazine advertisement for soap would brighten up any laundry room, or a color 1920 magazine advertisement for perfume showing a beautiful young lady elegantly dressed in clothes from that period would brighten up any bathroom. Vintage Coca Cola ads for the game room or antique car ads for the boy's room, magazine covers or under garment ads for the bedroom. Magazine ads offer an endless selection of choices.

One other special part about decorating with these items is that they are the real thing. For example a 1920 magazine advertisement for a Ford Model A car was originally printed to sell that car to the person reading the ad. At the time Ford Motor Company did extensive customer research, hired professional artists, went to the best magazines and developed marketing plans to fit this giant corporation. Not only are the graphics and coloring special, this magazine ad is a piece of history. Basically the background behind the items we offer are much more thought out than a simple mass produced item focused on a decorating trend.

FRAMING TIPS

I want to cover a few general tips about working with the items on this site and also hopefully give some ideas. First off these should be treated as antique prints. The two major factors to beware of are direct sunlight and exposure to moisture. Also, using acid free products is advised. I'd like to address each of the three product areas separately

DECORATING WITH ANTIQUE FRUIT CRATE LABELS

First off, when selecting crate labels people often chose a theme, such as animals, scenic views of orchards, labels of a certain color, or from a certain location. If you are like me, just pick the ones you like. Here's a dining area with framed crate labels mixed in; note there is a subtle bird theme

     
 
 
     

If you decide to take the labels to your custom framer I would recommend spending some time to pick out matt colors. A properly chosen matt color will bring out different effects. For example if you have a quail in the label you may want to pick a matt color similar to the quail, this helps draw attention to the quail. My advice is to try 4-5 colors which are in the label, or similar, to see what effect you like best. If undecided, a black or neutral background will work.

By using a matt you are able to use standard size frames to cut down on cost. Often we will find a frame to fit a label, and then have a matt cut. You have the option of cutting a window in the matt or just floating the label on top of the matt. If you have the matt cut you will lose part of your border, also it's a bit more expense to have the matt cut, but if done well it is very nice. Keep in mind many of these labels have their own ornate border and a cut matt may take that away. If you do have some frames and just have matt cut to fit the frame then do the rest yourself, you can use stamp hinges to hold the label in place. We've also used a touch of glue but you have to take care in not using too much.

Cooper tape is popular and very inexpensive. I've never actually done this but I've been told you can find the products at a cut glass shop or craft shop. Along the same line you can have a piece of glass cut to the size of the label, then use a backing and metal clips to hold everything together.

Another option is a black frame, or barn wood around the label with no matt. People also paste labels on wood, I wouldn't recommend doing that to a rarer label. For pasting labels on wood people often ask what to use. In the past we used a water based paste; I'd check in with a local craft store. If you do plan on pasting labels on wood or something similar let me know and I'll throw in some damaged ones you can experiment with.

Lastly, on the longer, narrow labels such as can or grape labels, you can fit two labels in a standard 11 x 14 frame. Even large poster-type frames with a group of labels is nice. Below is standard frame painted blue with two can labels.

       
 
   
       
We've also taken can labels into our local supermarket to find a can the same size and to glue the label to. A stack of vintage can labels glued back on to cans, makes a nice display
 
 
 
 

DECORATING WITH ANTIQUE SEED PACKETS

Antique vegetable seed packets seem like the natural kitchen décor. We also have antique flower seed packets in one bedroom and one flower packet in a bathroom. In the past I've set up at antique shows and often watched people go through the process of elimination to determine which seed packets to use. Packets would be spread all over the place. You probably want to pick a company or seed packets from a certain time period that match well. You are going to want to pick your favorite vegetables or flowers and then decide how many you need and what sequence you want them in. Color is important, you may want all green vegetables, or mix in a radish or two.

A vertical or horizontal row of vegetable seed packets for the kitchen is not only very nice décor, they are very easy to coordinate into a certain area. For the side of a long kitchen cabinet you can use 5 packets in a row, or for a smaller cabinet you can use 3.

Below is an example of some 1910's Burt's Flower seed packets in a white frame with lace over a blue backing. The blue backing pulls out some of the blues in the seed packets. Next is a vertical grouping of 4 Card Seed Company vegetable seed packets. We had someone frame these for us and they bent the flaps on the packets. The paper on these old packets is brittle and cracked, may have been better to leave the flaps open

     

DECORATING WITH VINTAGE MAGAZINE ADS

Vintage magazine ads are probably the easiest to frame, as their sizes are a bit more uniform. Many magazines came in an 11 x 14 format. The example below is a 1920's magazine advertisement from Ladies Home Journal. The frame was from Costco, we spray painted it green, the ad fit in perfectly, and all we had to do is pop it in. Be sure to check the sizes I have put in each item description when you are ordering in our store.
 
 
     

A key point with magazine ads is the thickness of the paper. These are from magazines and there is print on both sides. If the paper used was thin you will be able to see print from the other side. To help correct this you can use a black backing. I avoid offering ads that do have problems with reverse side images showing through, my scanner has a black background so basically what you see is what you are going to get.

Below are a couple examples of vintage magazine ads framed and on the wall. The framed Kellogg's ads are from the 1900's. The ads are around 11 x 16 in size, a large 22 x 28 frame was used, the background is gingham, with two doilies. The next photo shows a 1920's magazine advertisement for Jell-O used in a wall display. The ad fit into a 11x14 black metal frame nicely.

 
   
     
Hopefully this was some help. There are a lot of options and quite a bit depends on what effect you are looking for and also price what price range you are interested in. Some of the more collectible labels and advertisements are more expensive, but there are also many selections of beautiful fruit crate labels and advertisements that are very inexpensive. For just a few dollars, plus the cost of a frame, you can have a truly unique and interesting piece of art for you home.
     
 
 
     
I included this Tom Cat image, may want to use it someplace.