Friday, 29 June 2012

Printing on old books

As I get older I spend less and less time on Facebook and a lot more time on Pinterest, searching for decoration ideas for the house, nice recipes and tips on crochet. I came across a very nice post the other day, by pinner Lisa Gill. It had a very pretty image with the following caption: "Print photos on old book pages".

I couldn't believe my luck! Only recently I had spent a good half an hour browsing charity shops for interesting old books. And by interesting I mean vintage covers, different fonts or the yellowest pages I could find! I managed to get two very good ones I have been using for scrap-booking.

Printing on old books
Photo Credit: Zaira Brilhante, with Pentax K-x


So I thought I should give it a go and try the printing technique. As I could not find a tutorial for it (there where no links on the pin), I decided to write my own to help those that are not that familiarised with Photoshop.  

How to:

1. First thing you will need to do is desaturate your image. If you prefer to use a sepia effect you can, but I wouldn't do it as the colours might go a bit funny depending on how yellow your old book page is.

2. Next step is to crop around it. I used the Polygonal Lasso Tool for it and step by step removed the background of my picture. First I did a very rough cut and then I zoomed in enough and started to go around it more carefully using cmd + x to delete my selection completely.

Printing on old books
Zoom in to make it easier to use the Lasso

3. With your image cropped and your background fully removed, it's time to play around with the brightness and contrast to get the watermark effect. I first reduced the contrast and then balanced it with the brightness to sharpen it a bit.


Note: Remember that whites will be hard to show, so you need to make them a shade greyer than you would want a normal photo to be. I hope the picture above gives you a good idea of what I mean. In this particular case, the bride was way too white, so I isolated her again using the Polygonal Lasso Tool and changed the contrast only on her. 

4. Once you're happy with your image, I advise you to save it as a png and open it on Word. It's just simpler to align it this way. Don't put your book page straight into your printer tray, use tape and stick it to an A4. Don't tape it on the very edge but about 2cm below, to make sure the printer won't damage it.

You can use these prints on portraits, for scrap-booking, to make nice cards and invitations for weddings, anniversaries and so many other things. It's simple and great.

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