DIY Vintage Dictionary Print

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap  —  August 21, 2012 — 11 Comments

I picked up this 1975 dictionary at Goodwill a few months ago and listed it in my shop, but it never sold. I got it out last week to take a look at it and think about what I wanted to do with it, but while it was out Pistachio did a number on the cover. I definitely can’t sell it now.

I still felt like it had potential, though, so I didn’t toss it right away. Then I remembered seeing some dictionary art on Pinterest and even at a local art shop. I decided to try printing a favorite quote on one of the pages and popping it into a frame. First I downloaded this font to keep with the vintage feel. I have only recently figured out how to find fonts online and download them for free, but it’s a pretty handy trick for projects like this. It makes it look a little more fancy and professional and less like I whipped it up in Microsoft Word. Then all I had to do was choose a quote. That part was easy as I’ve always got quotes and phrases rattling around in my head.

It took a couple of tries to get it to print right. I found I had to adjust the page size in Word to be the same size as the page I was printing on and run it through the printer with the straight edge (as in, the side that hadn’t been ripped out of a book) toward the outside. But once I got it aligned right and the paper wasn’t jamming I loved the way it came out!

Then there was the issue of framing. It’s about 7×10, so my first thought was to put it into a matted frame with a cutout for an 8×10 print (the frame was on same for $6 at Michael’s). It was a little too small for the hole so I put a piece of white paper behind it, but it just looked kind of tacky. Maybe if I’d had a piece of ivory cardstock to mount it on it would have looked alright, but I didn’t so I moved on.

Next idea: mount it on top of the mat in a smaller frame. This Ikea frame has a 5×7 cutout but is a little bigger than 8×10 overall. I centered the dictionary page on the front of the mat and secured it with some double-sided tape.


At first I hung it on the wall near my desk, but when I stepped back it just didn’t feel right. So I took it down and decided to lean it on the mantel instead.

I love it there, and I love the way it looks in general. Plus the quote is a nice reminder to view everything in life as a learning experience. I’m glad to have found some use for this old dictionary rather than sending it to a landfill (okay, recycling plant, but that doesn’t have the same ring to it). Of course there are like 500 more pages left to do something with so I’m thinking of making more prints to sell in my shop. Waste not, want not, right? Maybe I’ll print that on a page, haha.

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap


11 responses to DIY Vintage Dictionary Print

  1. Do you have a color printer? I think the right color could really pop on the black and white. I want one!

    • Or what about a picture? Something simple.

      • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap August 21, 2012 at 8:54 am

        A picture was actually my original idea but I couldn’t decide which one I wanted so I went with a quote instead, but I think if I print them for my shop then I’ll definitely do some pictures, and adding color is a great idea!

  2. You could also use some of the pages to make some of those flowers for the wedding :)

  3. Ok, the teacher in me hates to see a dictionary torn up, but I also realize that it probably wouldn’t even be opened and used since it is so out of date. It is good to see it put to use. I like the quote idea and I think pictures would work as well. It would make a great gift for a teacher or any book lover.

  4. Loving this idea and the home for your new print! And definitely agree that downloaded fonts are awesome!

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