Ancestral Writings on Useful Items

print transfer Within a family there can be some unusual and even amazing keepsakes or handwritten memorabilia. Of course you scan the item and / or take photographs to help preserve what the family heirloom looked like for future generations. Many of these treasured items are displayed in cabinets and bookcases. Some have to be so protected, they need to be wrapped and put in a safe, clean, dry environment. That last method, the item is not seen as often. Having a digital image of the item on display is a good idea, but there are additional ways to display such a keepsake and make it useful.

One area which is important for a family heritage are any papers, letters, poems, documents or journals written by an ancestor. Having a collection of ancestor’s signatures can really be interesting, especially since most people didn’t even know how to sign their name, they just placed an ‘X’.

Gather what hand written papers you might have on just one ancestor at a time or if doing signatures, collect several. Find some written items that are interesting, fun or unusual. One area people forget about are the old family recipes that were carefully hand written out say by a great grandmother. Next you can make a copy that is digital by a photograph or scanning. On seeing the image on the computer, see if there are any folds or marks that you can use photo-touchup software to correct if needed.

Then decide how you would like those images displayed or used. One idea, especially for recipes, is as a hand towel or dish towel for use in the kitchen. Use the photo software to put several of those recipes as a collage. You could have all lined up straight or make them random. Do any lettering such as the great grandmother’s name and where she lived so it will be part of the towel.

There are several computer print to cloth programs available, such a Sunflower and First2Print which are online and also print and iron-on cloth kits (photo transfer paper) at art & crafts stores, which is actually very easy to do. Yes, you can design something using what an ancestor once wrote on paper, print it to special iron-on paper and make it a permanent design on cloth. Besides a towel, recipes could be on an apron, a tablecloth, place mats, or cloth napkins. The list is endless, use your imagination.

If you have other writings, say a poem your grandfather hand wrote, or an advertisement he designed, or even the envelopes of letters he sent to his sweetheart, that would look lovely on a cloth tote or a table runner. Another heirloom might be a hand switched sampler, that too would look good on cloth. How about on a t-shirt you could wear or an accent pillow for the living room? You’ve seen this with photos transferred onto cloth, but using your ancestor’s own handwriting, their creation is very unique.

A great gift idea which can be shared and treasured.

Photo: Two examples of print transfer onto cloth.

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