Mercantile Bag Rack and Free Clip Art

I’m a sucker for old general store displays. I spend a shameless amount of time surfing the internet looking at such things. Sometimes it pays off. I’d come across an old wire paper bag rack counter display a few months ago for the first time on Ebay or somewhere. I was astonished at the asking price, so I went digging around online looking for similar items. No easy task as these appear to be quite rare. Of all four I found, the prices ranged from $250 to $450 each. Then over the summer I was shopping at one of my favorite spots, Harvest Barn Antiques, where I spied the same wire rack. Priced at $70, I could not pass it up. It’s made of heavy gauge wire and stands 32-inches tall. Why? You know, to hold bags. For what? I’ll think of something- (class What bags? I figured I’d find a seller on Etsy that had graduating sizes of paper bags in perfectly priced bundles. But no luck. I soon learned finding all the right sized bags to fit all 9 compartments would be tough and pricey. So I took on the task of making my own. Of course, they couldn’t be plain, what with all the fab graphics I have at my disposal like this old, musty, falling-apart McClure’s Magazine from 1896. It’s full of wonderfully illustrated advertising. I scanned in ads and graphics from the mag, and a few more from an old postal catalog and created my own clip art. Working in Adobe Illustrator, I designed digital artwort for each size bag I wanted to make, ganging up two or more per file when I could and included faint trim lines where necessary. I printed the designs to kraft stock paper. I collated each printed sheet with one blank sheet of kraft paper, for the backs of the bags, then trimmed out each size on my paper trimmer.I used an oval-shape paper punch on a few bag fronts.I then ran a front and back sheet through my sewing machine stitching around the sides and bottom.

Here’s all the bags placed into the rack. My large spool of baker’s twine fits perfectly atop. (Ok, maybe you can tell, I’m not really done sewing all the bags, I’ll do a few in the coming evenings, it’s a bit of a task. But you get the idea.)I placed my morning coffee next to the rack as a point of reference. This is a nice tall piece! It will also work great for holding various sizes of ephemera, class supplies, etc.

This entry was posted in Antiques, Free Clip Art, Free digital collage sheets, Free digital downloads, Free PDF files, free vintage art, organizing, Paper Crafts. Bookmark the permalink.
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27 Responses to Mercantile Bag Rack and Free Clip Art

  1. #1 - Michelle says:

    That is so creative, Cathe! Sewing up your own vintage bags? I can’t say I ever thought of that before:)

  2. #2 - celine says:

    You find and make the coolest stuff…

  3. #3 - Donna M. says:

    The rack is cool, the paper bags are cool, the graphics are cool, and YOU are cool for sharing it with us!

  4. #4 - Ginny Petitt says:

    Thank you for these awesome pages! I love this kind of stuff and you are the one that always seems to have the right thing!

  5. Pingback: CraftCrave | Blog | Freebies for Printable Scrapbooking or Cardmaking (large): Saturday, 08 Sep 2012

  6. #6 - Tee Ransone says:

    Kathe…I too loven all old store displays and am cheered at your good luck. As always I am grateful for your wonderful graphics! Thanks!

  7. #7 - Elizabeth Toel says:

    As always I am impressed! When you take on a project you are serious! I have a wonderful gum etc rack that I found years ago…something told me I had to have it. So much so that I argued with my hubby right in front of the dealer in the antique store! He could see no clear purpose for bringing that rack home…it now sits on top of the cedar hope chest that my grandfather made for my grandmother – I put all of my small bits and pieces of art supplies in mason jars and set them in it. I love your purchase and the fact that you got such a good deal.


  8. #8 - Kara Garber says:

    I have seen a bigger one of those racks and it was around $300.00! You have an unusual piece and love it. Almost wish I would’ve just bought the one I saw years ago!

  9. #9 - Mitzi Curi says:

    Wow, that’s a great find! I love any kind of display that gets things up vertically so customers can view the items easily.

  10. #10 - Julia D. says:

    What a wonderful bag rack find! Love the bags and the clip art is fabulous!
    Thanks for sharing.

  11. #11 - Melinda Walker says:

    I absolutely love it! Thanks for the clip art! I can think of a dozen things that I can use this on!!

  12. #12 - Silverbutterfly says:

    Love your bag rack & your bags. Your freebies will make really neat BG Paper for scraping or making cards. Thanks..


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  14. #13 - Elizabeth E. says:

    Thanks so much for your generosity in providing PDFs for us to download. I love reading your blog, and appreciate all the ephemera and ideas you have (and am looking forward to your book!).

  15. #14 - Coleen Franks says:

    Thanks for the fun clip art.

  16. #15 - Sarah says:

    So funny – this happens all the time…I read something new and then immediately run into it somewhere else! I picked up some gorgeous ruby red pears at the grocery and being curious as to what they were, looked up their label “Starkrimson”… turns out that they showed up in the 50’s as a “sport”, a spontaneous mutation of red pears on a green pear tree at the Stark Brothers nursery. Then, I see your ephemera with “Stark trees”!!! Always happens…

  17. #16 - Julie Bramman says:

    Your work always makes me so happy…and inspired!

  18. #17 - Naomi says:

    I just find your blog.
    I’m from Spain and I love all the things handmade and crafts things, and your blog is so inspiring. I follow you since NOW!! 🙂

  19. #18 - Paula V says:

    Love the bargain, love the art. Thanks for sharing!

  20. #19 - Tania says:

    so lovely- thank you for sharing. As always you have such great ideas!

  21. #20 - Dear says:

    Your work is very creative and thank you so much for your images

  22. #21 - Terry Hamilton says:

    I just discovered your site. I love your creativity, your positive attitude….reading about your adventures. I’m told by friends I need to start a blog & share my work with others. There are so many bloggers out there I tell myself, “who needs one mor.”But then I find someone as original as you and think, “I have something unique to offer too so why not?!”

    Love the freebies. I own tons of vintage postcards & ephemera & feel I should be sharing too.

    Happy Holidays,

  23. #22 - Ursula says:

    Thank you so much….

  24. #23 - Eileen says:

    Love it!

  25. #24 - mc says:

    Gracias por compartir cosas tan bellas y utiles ,cariños y toda mi admiracion para ti.

  26. #25 - Marian Malone says:

    I just found your site today and I absolutely love it. The graphics are awesome. I just discovered how to print on fabric last night and plan on using your graphics in some of my pillows, quilts and fabric wall art hangings. I am so excited. If I can figure out how to send you pics, I will do that. Thank you again. You are so talented and such an inspiration.