Displaying postcards and other paper ephemerata without any sticky stuff

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I’m writing because I have a decorating question I’d like to crowdsource to the creative readers of Offbeat Home. I have a lot of postcards that I want to use to decorate my new apartment, but I can’t quite figure out how. In my previous place, I tried that Blu-tack stuff (left faint stains on the walls and postcards, which often fell down) and tape (sticks permanently to the postcards, which I dislike). I don’t like the look of thumbtacks and while I’ve considered framing them, that would mean a LOT of frames, which could make the walls look cluttered as well as be potentially expensive.

How can I incorporate these postcards in my decor in an aesthetically-pleasing and durable way? -Ioana

Ooh ooh, I’ll go first! This is pretty low-design and done on a budget of zero, but here’s how I display stuff like that.

I call it “the discordant but dainty clothesline.”

Assembly takes about 30 seconds: I used two thumbtacks to anchor a couple old pieces of ribbon I found, combined with some mini-clothespins that were left behind at my baby shower. The result? A nice place to hang cards, snapshots, and other bits of paper ephemerata.

Homies, that’s just my beyond low-budget solution. Got any other ideas? Let’s rub our crowd sources together! (Just the tips!)

Comments on Displaying postcards and other paper ephemerata without any sticky stuff

    • Does the paper get stuck to the plastic or mouldy? I could see the steam causing the paper to warp or otherwise get yucky, which wouldn’t be ideal for paper things you don’t want getting ruined.

  1. I have two ways of doing this:

    1. A magnetic noticeboard. (And/or the fridge.)

    2. Using bigger frames and grouping them.

    Both far from ideal – I’d like to stick them in frames individually but I’m too broke and have almost always been too broke.


    • i’ve had really good luck finding little picture frames at flea markets and such. they still cost money, obviously, so it’s not *ideal* but they tend to be way cheaper (and nicer) than new.

  2. Sometimes you can find kind-of-curtains at creative stores, with many tiny see-through plastic pouches, where you can assemble 20 or 30 pictures/postcards and hang them on your wall. (And this might be even more helpful if I knew what they were called, in either German or English).

    I’ve got a loft bed with a metal frame and stick important memorabilia to that with magnets.

    You could also show off a collection of postcards on your coffee table, covered with plexiglass – not too expensive. (A friend does this with some of her favorite comics material.)

  3. I bought a massive cork notice board, took off the frame and pinned ribbons in a criss-cross across the board, then put the frame back on. This pulls the ribbons tight which means that you can pop postcards (and photos and gig tickets, etc) under the ribbon.

  4. i don’t have any great display ideas, but i have a note on using tape (this still gets tape on the cards, but it is purposeful, so a bit cleaner and less detrimental). this is how i hung all my posters in college, but the same concept would work on a smaller scale:
    put a strip of clear packing tape in each corner of the back side (or scotch tape, or just like you’re laminating the whole thing for a postcard size). this part is now a permanent part of your card/poster. then you use the same kind of tape to hang the piece by those “reinforced” corners. the tape will stick well to itself (no falling down), but comes off cleanly when you want to move it (no tearing!).

  5. I used to collect post cards too! I ended up getting a huge canvas, painting it one awesome solid color to match my decor and then used super glue dots to put the cards up. It became awesome art! and was super easy. Depending on the glue dots, well most do NOT come off so this should be something that once done will not be regretted! πŸ˜€ sorry I do not have a pic it’s gone now.

  6. Good thread! We live in rented accommodation and the tenancy agreement states that we can’t use blu-tac, tape or picture hooks/nails… which means the walls are pretty bare unless a previous tenant has been naughty and already put up picture hooks! πŸ™‚ I’d love some ideas of how to personalise our space without damaging the walls, however slightly.

    • I love some of these ideas! As far as alternatives to nails go, I have found that plain metal-head straight pins or dressmaker pins can hold a lot more than you’d think and make such a tiny hole it’s barely noticeable. You can use more than one to distribute the load a bit if necessary and be sure the load is placed as close to the wall as possible. I hardly ever use actual nails any more unless it’s a large framed glass-fronted object or a mirror. You could use pins to discreetly hang the ribbon and light clips for the cards or photos. I think I’ll try this myself!

    • try command hooks- they are amazing! a little pricy (there are coupons on their website!), but they come in tons of sizes, they hold a good amount of weight and leave the wall totally clean.

    • That really stinks that you’re landlord is so tough about putting things on the wall. As a landlord myself, I must say that in my state (MA), small holes in the walls from pictures, etc. are considered normal wear and tear. No judge in our housing courts would enforce that part of a tenancy agreement.
      Have you tried offering to your landlord that you will re-paint if you ever leave? It might be worth a shot!

      • I’m in the UK, and it seems like a fairly standard clause as it’s been in all the tenancy agreements I’ve had in the past 10+ years. We’re also not allowed to repaint! πŸ™‚ I guess in case we paint the walls bright red or do a terrible job of it.

  7. when all the teeny tiny paper got too much to hang, i made a huge collage – cardboard covered and covered in all the little paper beauties that sum up. the thing is maybe 2×1 meters and has its place above our bed.

    also, i made a chair once – take a plain old wooden chair, the glue you use to put wall paper on the walls (lacking the english word here..) and soak your paper thouroughly. cover the chair, let it dry, add a coat of water-proof transparent stuff and voilΓ‘ – the -in my case – “blue-scrap chair” is born.

    using the same method, you can glue paper on canvas, that comes out nice and shiny, too. (without the water-proof paint finish though…)

  8. Oh man, I’ve been meaning to send a question very much like this one in for ages! I’m a member of Postcrossing which means I have a lot of awesome postcards that I want to display.

    Right now I have a corkboard from IKEA that I display my cards on, but right now I have wayyyy more postcards than room on the corkboard. ^_^;

    I have this grand vision of one day making a map + corkboard-type thing with space on the side to hang postcards (with a ribbon connecting to a pin on the map showing where it was from) but I haven’t quite figured out how to do that yet!

  9. I picked a few favorite postcards and got them blown up HUGE and framed them. Instant, cheapish art. I know it’s not exactly what you wanted to know, but it is a great way to make the most of a few treasured cards in a grownup way.

  10. I like yardsticks and rulers as unobtrusive shelves for tiny things. I got the idea from this post on craftster: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=77989.0

    I ended up using rulers and small L-brackets so I could display heavier things. I glued the L-bracket to the ruler and tacked the other side to the wall. Worked great for small knick knacks! And, ooh! I just found a picture from when they used to hold my rubber stamps: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2145/2167518510_8dd1430050.jpg?v=0

  11. I actually have tons of postcards with which I decorate, and I use the white sticky-tac (doesn’t leave any color on the walls or cards like the blue or yellow stuff does, and sticks relatively well if you roll each piece in your fingers sufficiently before sticking it on the card). I group the cards in 3s, 4s, or 5s, depending on the themes displayed. Another thing I’ve used to display full-sized posters are those 3M sticky strips – the same thing that they use with the hooks, only by themselves. They can’t be reused, but if you apply them correctly, they don’t mess up walls or your posters.

  12. Make your own frames from cardboard/stiff paper and decorate with whatever else takes your fancy, attach photo corners (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photo_corners) on the back, pop in the post card and hang with twine, ribbon, fishing wire or dental floss. Easy!
    ps. if you want the 3D frame look, invest in a staple gun/super glue and head out to your hardware store for offcuts.

  13. I live in Japan, and my old apartment had a lovely shoji screen sliding door in the bedroom. It’s basically thick paper underneath a wooden frame, which looked like the perfect place to put postcards. I taped them to the wood frame, so as to not tear the paper, and it looked really cool. (I just spent ages looking for a picture, but I can only find the before shots. Darn!)

    • We had a mounted version of one of these, but the pictures started to get kind of beat up, so I took it down. The next time we make one, we decided we’re going to make the heart with Velcro so that we can switch out pictures and rearrange more easily.

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