Saturday, March 12, 2011

Easy Dictionary Art

Something I've been seeing quite a bit of lately is what I like to call Dictionary Art.  People are taking vintage pages from dictionaries, books and sheet music and then printing an image on the vintage paper.  I've even gone as far as buying some vintage French novel pages off Etsy.  I haven't actually printed anything on these yet because I knew it would take some practice to make sure the page would fit through the printer without damage to the paper and get the image aligned properly.

One day I was visiting the Graphics Fairy and found that Karen, being the generous and thoughtful blogger she is, had posted a link to an old dictionary page.  You can find it HERE.  Just scroll down towards the bottom and you will find the dictionary page and picture of the cow.

Dictionary art can't get any easier than this.  I just printed the dictionary page.

Before I put the printed page back in the printer, I made sure I had my image centered and sized appropriately.  If you just click on the link at the Graphics Fairy, often you will get something like the image in the upper right corner of this group.  I just copy the image and paste into word.  In this case, I got the very large Fleur-De-Lis on the left side of this group.  I then shrunk the image by playing with the outline box and centered it.  It was easier for me to print the image and hold it up against the dictionary print to make sure it would print where I wanted it.

Once I had my image ready, I put the dictionary page back in the printer, and printed my image.

I was very happy with the way it turned out.  It looks like a dictionary page and not a sheet of white paper printed to look like a dictionary page.  You could also try printing this on parchment paper, or some other paper that looks unique and old.  I may eventually get around to trying that, or at least using the French novel pages I have.

This  would also be great to do for a theme or holiday.  There is no real expense if you do it like I did.  I used the white copy paper I had, and some frames I've used for  years with various things on display.


  1. I haven't seen this before, Robin, but I love it! I just bought new black ink cartridges for my printer so I'll have to give this a try. Thanks for sharing and take care!


  2. I did something similar with the same image from Karen. It's fun to see so many different ideas using the same elements. Everyone puts their own creative stamp on it. Please stop by and visit. I am a follower.

  3. Ahh, new ink cartridges... the possibilities are endless! Have fun Erin :)

  4. Karen, on my way to visit your blog!

  5. Robin - maybe you could scan your lovely page and print it on a canvas style paper and that way you don't have to worry about ruining it?

  6. Great idea Ange. I'll definitely do that because I've used a couple of the pages for snother project and I only have a few left. Thanks for visiting our blog!

  7. These have a very nice look! Thanks for sharing!

  8. I was searching around for other people that were doing dictionary page prints for sale and I found the sweetest interview

    She's got a nice twist on these I'm going to have to try and copy but that cat drawing of hers is sooo cute

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  11. Hi,
    I'm so happy to talk to people who love dictionary art! Yes, printing a scanned old book page is a very good start. I use the same technique to check my printings to see how will look like before I print them with a laser printer. I found out - the hard way - that:
    1. laser print looks waayyy better than ink print
    2. printing on a real dictionary page can be very tricky. The older the book is, the more fragile the page is. I almost crack out the laser scanner of the printing shop I use to print my items; I was lucky that the guys from the shop managed to repair the printer and they did not refuse me as a costumer after that. The book pages have not standard dimensions (A4, A5 or Letter) and the printer has to be set in accordance. Another important thing is, in my opinion, that the old page can obturate an ink printing. This may happen because the old pages are not allways smooth enough, they may have a rough surface. So it's much easier to print a scanned book page and print the art image on it.
    But believe me, nothing compares to a print made on a real old page. It looks diffrent, it even smells diffrent.
    I just adore this new form of art, especially when it match an old page with an old image. A lot of these absolutely charming images have small points - due to the printing method, like lithography for example - but these small points are not so visible when printed on a book page. The result can be beautiful.
    I hope I wasn't too boring.
    If you like, please visit my Dictionary art shop on Etsy

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  14. How do you get art that is as transparent as yours? Most of the clip art I select is solid and the dictionary print doesn't show through.

  15. How do you get the images to be so see through? If I go to clip art, most of those images are solid!