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What is Ephemera?

Have you come across the word Ephemera in your scrapbooking journey? What does it mean and how does it relate to scrapbooking? Ephemera society of America defines it as the following: “..ephemera are vintage printed or written items which originally served some specific purpose and were not expected to be retained or preserved, but which are now cherished.” An easy way to remember the definition is to think of ephemera as memorabilia. Memorabilia from businesses, organizations, and persons, usually of the past.

Ephemera can be collected from libraries, yard sales, estate sales, junk yards, thrift and antique stores or even in your home. It is a fun activity to visit a local antique store to see what treasure you can dig up to use in your albums. Ephemera can be manufactured as well. Companies offer vintage style die cuts and papers. 

Check out the list below to get an idea of examples of ephemera. This list is not comprehensive, so feel free to add or remove items to your liking.

  • stickers

  • string

  • ribbons

  • handmade paper

  • playing cards

  • tarot cards

  • paper money

  • event ticket stubs

  • Prayer cards

  • movie tickets

  • old ledgers

  • lottery tickets

  • children's books

  • office objects like post its, Rolodex cards

  • old maps

  • bookmarks

  • miniature items such as those found in doll houses 

  • packaging of all kinds

  • baseball cards

  • magazine ads

  • old book pages

  • old flyers

  • articles

  • photographs

  • old newspaper clippings

  • stamps

  • political cards

  • feathers, leaves etc.

  • textiles

  • catalogs

  • film strip materials

  • cookbooks

  • cards

  • old scrapbooks

  • postcards

  • Labels

  • menus

  • receipts, billheads, invoices

Next week we'll look at how to use ephemera in your scrapbooks and albums. What is the most interesting piece of ephemera you have in your collection?

March 07, 2022 — Tamra Merrill

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