A Vintage Postage Stamp Table for Sharon

Earlier this year, while recovering from foot surgery, I spent some couch time sorting postage stamps. When my sister, Sharon, moved to her new condo, she asked if I would make her a vintage postage stamp table like mine. We’d both had one of my father’s stamp albums on the shelf for years. It was an emotional journey from album to table, but a healthy one. It was time we pulled our grief off the shelf and brought Dad’s gorgeous collection into the light of day.

A page from Dad’s vintage postage stamp album

As project planning goes, 2020 was a strange year. Just as I started to literally get on my feet, we entered a three-week lockdown. Casual trips to the hardware store became a thing of the past. When we eventually made it there, I waited in a long line, just to order a small quart of paint. Once home, the simple act of painting the circular wooden top alluded me. Mike eventually offered to paint it for me, and from there, I found some momentum.

I had hoped for more of a royal purple but I settled. Most of it will be covered anyway.

When I made my own table-top back in 2015 I had the benefit of four triangle-shaped stamps to use as a center. From there I worked my way outward, placing stamps in rainbow order and using multi-colored postage for the border.

Lacking any triangle-shaped stamps for Sharon’s table, I had to come up with a different approach. I sorted through dozens of stamps and eventually came up with this:

The red stamp is marked Nov, Sharon’s birth month. The next two stamps are 50c and 9c (Sharon’s 59th year), and the stamp below that is from Canada (our birthplace), and the year I made the table (2020).

The table’s center

I sorted the postage by color, setting aside the multi-colored stamps to use along the border. I divided the painted top into pie-shaped sections and filled each one with one color, moving from the center outward. I really enjoyed seeing it take shape.

Tabletop divided into sections
Each section filled with a single color
Center of table with rainbow of colors
Red vintage postage stamps
A mixture of reds, oranges and browns
Green vintage postage stamps
Blue vintage postage stamps
Purple vintage postage stamps
Finished table

I adhered the stamps as I moved from the center outward using Mod Podge decoupage glue. It’s easy to apply and it acts as both a glue and a varnish. I continued to build up layers of the water-resistant finish over several days, smoothing out any bubbles and allowing it to dry.

In the interim, I assembled this flat-pack black table purchased online. I originally planned on scouring some thrift stores for a table to use as a base, but it was a good alternative since that was out of the question. Mike helped me attach the postage stamp tabletop to the black table’s underside using wood screws.

The table sits between Sharon’s two velvet chairs. A slightly taller table would have been nice, but the colors are perfect. We’re both happy with the final result.

Vintage postage side table (sticky tape on chairs to discourage kitty)

Check out what these artists are doing with vintage postage:

Artist Juan Carlos uses postage stamps to beautiful effect.

Donna Boss creates gorgeous cards using vintage stamp art.

Philatelic fans, please note. These stamps are sentimental and are of no inherent value. I understand that for some of you, this amounts to destroying a piece of history. For us, it’s a way of valuing our father’s legacy and a way to celebrate and honor his beloved hobby. We were 8 and 9, respectively, when Dad died. These tables mean the world to us.

45 thoughts on “A Vintage Postage Stamp Table for Sharon

  1. Oh my, Alys! Your table is stunning piece of art from the heart!! Such a meaningful way for Sharon to enjoy this special part of your family history. You always have the most creative ideas… and you bring them to life beautifully. Your dad would be so happy to know that both of his daughters are admiring his stamp collection every day! Well done, dear heart!
    Thank you for beginning the new year with this heartwarming post! Be well! 💗

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  2. I love the idea of these tables as a way to both honor and hold on to your dad’s legacy. The execution of the idea amazes me. The center meaningful stamps and the rainbow show such thought and artistry. What lovely keepsakes for each of you.

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    • Mary, how nice to find your comment here. Thank you so much for your kind words. I was so pleased to find stamps that corresponded to meaningful months and dates. Once I had those in place, it was easier to move ahead.

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  3. It’s beautiful, Alys! From a distance it looks as if it is a conventional mosaic table. What a lovely surprise it is to see all the beautiful stamps. As you say, each one is a little work of art. And another lovely way to remember your beloved father.

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    • Thank you, Anne! It does look like mosaic from a distance, which is another happy surprise in the making of this table. I’ve been enjoying your paper creations, as I’ve finally logged in to Instagram after a long absence. You amaze me at every turn.

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  4. Alys, what a joyful memorial to your father’s hobby, combined with your pleasure in creating it and the happiness it has given your sister. A cancelled stamp is (to me, at any rate) only of interest or worthy of preservation if it is rare. These are little pieces of art, and as such, they need to be celebrated in the light of day. Wonderful work!

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    • Oh, Kate, you’ve warmed my heart. Thank you. We love our respective tables, and their is joy, too now that we both have one. She always admired mine, but I was surprised when she asked me to make one for her, too. I’m not sure why. Who knew an old collection of stamps could bring so much light. xo

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  5. such a great way to have something of him with you in a practical and useful manner. Plus all that extra thought and love you put into the creation. Every time something is placed on, or removed from the table, there’s going to be a little warm hug.

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    • Thank you, Lynn. Dad was a creative guy with tons of hobbies: coin collecting, stamp collecting, oil painting, and of course gardening. He was a horticulturist by trade, but he spent his weekends turn a pile of dirt into a lovely garden. He died at 52 of lung cancer, a life cut short, leaving his wife and daughters bereft.

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  6. It turned out stunning! That was a lot of calculating to get just the right space for that amount of stamps. To put the important dates in the middle for her is extra special. I haven’t been in a thrift store in so long either. I drop off and then keep going. Hope you are doing well. Hugs, M

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    • Hugs back your way, Marlene. Thank you for our kind words.

      I miss browsing in shops. It has very little to do with buying, it’s just fun to look. That can certainly be said of bookstores too. That used to be quite the treat, though I’ll have to come see you again if I ever want to top the Powell’s experience.

      I’m so glad it all came together, close to a year in the making. I get to “visit” the table when I see my sister, too, so that’s a bonus. I’m so glad your sis is “bored” which means she is doing well. xo

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  7. I remember your original table. I marvelled then at your creativity and skill. I marvel now at this lovely table. What a wonderful way to use your father’s stamps.

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    • Thank you, Boomdee! The pie shaped rainbow really shows off the colors to good effect. It also made me realize, though, how few stamps they made at the time in yellow. I had to blend in several brown stamps to get that full color palette. I had piles of red, blue, and purple though. I miss you.

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  8. I love this project, Alys. What a wonderful and creative way to bring personality to the table, but more than the beauty, to have a meaningful way to honor your father’s hobby and personal passion, is just the very best. I am so impressed!

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    • Debra! How nice to see your smiling face here. Thanks for your kind words. I’m so pleased with the way it turned out, and relieved too since there is certainly no turning back. Sharon is so happy with it, and that’s a bonus. I’ve missed you here, and hope that you’ll be posting again. If there were a time to breathe lighter, it’s now. xo

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  9. Alys! Sharon’s table turned out so beautifully! You put so much thought into it (whereas I would have just slapped them on) and the result is fantastic. I remember when you made yours.
    You are just so talented and full of heart. I’m sure that Sharon is thrilled, and your father would be, too ❤

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    • Thank you, LB! It’s fun to be trading comments here in our fabulous blogging world. I’ve missed this.

      I’m pleased with he way the table eventually came together. I had more confidence with the second one, but since it was for Sharon, I really wanted it to be just right. That said, she’s an easy audience.

      You made me laugh with your “just slap them on” comment. LOL xo

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  10. Oh, I am so glad I stopped by here today! I have my father-in-law’s stamp collection from when he was about 9 — none of them are worth a thing, but I couldn’t just toss them. They would look so great on a table like this!

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