Abigail Cahill O'Brien

Ex Libris: Modern Uses for Vintage Bookplates

In Feathering the Nest on June 10, 2010 at 5:30 am

I recently bought two batches of vintage bookplates from Two Art Directors and a Photographer, an Etsy shop worth checking out if you’re a fan of vintage curiosities.

The question is, how to use these?


1. As bookplates. Likelihood: Slim.  I only loan out books to family and friends who I can hound without compunction should the loan turn onerously long.  Better yet, I only loan to people who won’t mind if I waltz into their house and take it back while they’re out for a walk, book bounty hunter style.  So, there’s really no need for a bookplate.  They know when they have one of my books.  Lord, do they know.

2. As place cards for a seated dinner. Practical and lovely, plus the guests could take them home and use them for their intended purpose.  Likelihood:  Slim.  The last time I hosted a dinner with assigned seating was . . . October 7th, 2007.  Our wedding.  It just doesn’t happen very often.

3. As food labels on a buffet, or tied around the necks of drink decanters. Hole-punched and tied with twine.  Likelihood: Exceedingly high, though the drawback would be one-time use as opposed to frequent viewing.  Still, this will probably happen.

4. As wallpaper in a small bathroom, or on a randomly-shaped slice of wall somewhere.  Likelihood: Hmmm.  I’d better start collecting now.  The inside of a drawer or the back of shelves might be a better place to start. I could also see topping a dresser or desk with them in a guest room, and then covering with a layer of protective glass.

5. As a gift tag. Likelihood: High.  Plenty of people to whom I give gifts would dig these, and might re-use them if I wrote their names attractively enough.

What else, dear readers?  I sense other good uses right under my nose.

Bonus for the crafty set: Design*Sponge offers free bookplate templates for download and printing here.

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