With passion for provenance, 2019 Artist-in-Residence Stephanie Monahan combines antique ephemera with designs from her Monahan Papers line to create tokens of affection meant to comprise the sweetest of sentiments. Secured with a wisp of silk ribbon, a box decorated in the style of a vintage French jewelry store package seems to sparkle in its own right, and an array of handcrafted cards convey the most charitable of feelings. Follow our instructions to fashion your own thoughtful Valentine treasures.
Stephanie Monahan’s atelier brims with the makings for romantic keepsakes. Lovely pages and other sundries from her studio, such as custom rubber stamps modeled after wood-cut patterns that she found in Europe, celebrate beauty wrought by the human hand. Place an assortment of papers, tools, and embellishments within easy reach, and let these pieces inspire pleasant hours of crafting.
A nod to bijouterie boxes—small pine containers used to post baubles during the nineteenth century—this contemporary interpretation evokes the charm of timeworn parcels bearing their original tax imprints and wax seals.
- Cover your workspace with newspaper, kraft paper, or a drop cloth.
- Paint a papier-mâché box black; let dry completely.
- Cut papers to fit the top of the lid and sides of the box, and determine the arrangement that you like best. Set aside.
- Coat the top of the lid and sides of the box with a découpage medium.
- Begin pressing papers, as previously arranged, into the découpage medium you just applied. Carefully smooth out any air pockets. To overlap pieces, work from the background to the forefront of the design, applying découpage medium between layers. Let dry completely.
- Add embellishments with a rubber stamp. Let dry completely.
- Apply découpage medium liberally over box and lid. Let dry completely before use.
Collecting ephemera blossomed into a cottage industry for Stephanie, who masterfully blends nostalgic images with fragments of typography to produce stationery imbued with heritage. Her Flourish Alphabet Aged Paper Sheet wraps the package above, and the exquisite script provides a pattern for making a coordinating gift tag that bears the recipient’s initial.
- Working in a well-lit area, place a thin paper over lettering that you wish to duplicate.
- Lightly trace the outline of the lettering with pencil.
- Using a metallic marker, fill in lettering. Let dry.
- Erase any visible pencil marks.
- Combine this hand-lettered paper with other motifs to create a one-of-a-kind card.
Text Melissa Lester
Photography Mac Jamieson
Styling Melissa Sturdivant Smith
To learn more about these sentimental gifts, see “Be My Valentine” in the January/February 2019 issue, available on newsstands and at Victoriamag.com. For supplies used to create the keepsakes in this post, visit Stephanie Monahan’s website.