5 Clever Ways to Display Vintage Hankies

With help from 2 blogging friends, I’m showing you 5 clever ways to display vintage hankies. On Ebay a few years ago, I sold about 30+ lovely vintage hankies to a lady, who was a difficult buyer for reasons I can’t remember now. To my horror, she revealed how she intended using them. I shuddered. If you’re still reading, I will reveal the use further down. In any case, it was the last time I ever sold these pretties in a lot.


Vintage hankies are lovely works of art to be treasured, handed down, and enjoyed. But don’t just fold and put away in a drawer, or do what my buyer did. Display them! Use them, but please…not to blow your nose!!


Here are 5 clever ways to display vintage hankies!

Lois Behr Christensen from Walking on Sunshine, shows us how a handkerchief tenderly made by her grandmother, was treasured as part of her daughter’s bridal bouquet!


5 clever ways to display vintage hankies


Jennifer Zuri of Town and Country Living shows us a lovely hankie banner! Doesn’t this look sweet above her china cabinet? Check out her blog for other attractive displays!


5 clever ways to display vintage hankies


Use hankies as wearable art! I got this pretty idea from Jenny Brown at Shareably. My favorite ideas were these lovely bows and rosettes, which can be worn or displayed on packages, wreaths, and frames. And I love the fact that no gluing is involved, so you don’t ruin the hankies! (Easy tutorial on the web site.)



5 clever ways to display vintage hankies


Can you tell the bow in the middle was my first one?? It is a bit lopsided! I promise you it is an easy tutorial though…if I can do it, anybody can. I love to wear unusual boho things like this because it gives me a bit of a distinctive look!


Lastly…I am displaying a vintage hankie in an old metal frame. I found the frame on the floor of a dark dank wooden closet at the Tiny Estate Sale.


5 clever ways to display vintage hankies


Wish I had taken a before photo of how truly icky it was, but it was only $1, so I bought it, brushed off as much rust as I could, painted the metal parts of the frame with Annie Sloan Old White, and began working on the glass. My vision was to leave some of the silvering for a streaky look like this….


I soaked the glass in a vinegar bath for several hours. Then it is easy to remove the silvering. From what I’ve read, oven cleaner will work, but I haven’t tested the method.


5 clever ways to display vintage hankies



Turned out I hated the streaky look. It looked dirty to me, and it sure wasn’t going to do a beautiful vintage hankie any favors! So I decided to clean the rest of the old silvering off to reveal a clean glass slate.


Figuring out how to display the vintage hankie in the frame was the next hurdle. Wish I’d done a bit more investigating on Pinterest and youtube before I started because this took a bit of trial and error to get right. It’s still not perfect, but I’m happy with the end result.


Trial and Error Method of Displaying a Vintage Hankie in a Glass Frame:


I used the original cardboard backing as a guide to make a new backing, matching the dimensions of the frame.


I painted the cardboard white because tiny parts of it will show through.


I mod-podged a piece of crochet to the bottom half of the cardboard. Mistake…it was too thick and the finished piece wouldn’t go into the frame.


I mod-podged the hankie onto the cardboard and let it dry. Mistake! Shouldn’t have glued it & shouldn’t have let it dry. When all put together, the hankie hadn’t adhered well, and there were BIG wrinkles. 


Tried to pull it off after it was dry. Mistake! The hankie tore in several places. Should have wet it first, but didn’t want to ruin the painted cardboard, but I had to redo this anyway. 


THEN I looked at some youtube videos to figure out how to do this properly!


I cut another piece of cardboard and painted it.


I cut a piece of wide flat lace and glued it.


I put a few stitches with needle and thread into the 2 side points of the hankie and the top, sewing directly into the cardboard. A large needle makes this easier. Voila! Much better than mod-podging. I used the same hankie, hiding the holes underneath the cardboard.


Like I said, it isn’t perfect, but I’m pleased now with the result.




And as for what the lady did with all the hankies I sold her?? Used them for dust rags! Can you imagine?? Horrors! My beautiful vintage hankies!

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As an experienced online seller for 19 years, I've just begun to reveal some of my selling secrets. In my Vintage Finds posts, I show what I buy for resale, and sell for. Because many items are vintage and need TLC, I show these DIY's, and how I refurbish to sell. I love picking, junking, thrifting, and shabby chic style.

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28 comments on 5 Clever Ways to Display Vintage Hankies

  1. Dust rags!!!! That is horrible! I thought you were going to say she cut them up for doll clothes, which I’ve seen done. I actually have a few I inherited from my Mother, but they are in a box. As I am reorganizing my work room, I will get to them soon and then see what to do with them. Thanks for some good ideas.

  2. Hi Florence,

    Oh my gosh they are all so pretty! I especially love the rosette idea. They would be pretty on a frame or to decorate a wreath. I may be looking more closely at these pretties next time I go thrifting. Thanks for the great idea!

  3. Thank you for featuring my daughter’s bridal bouquet as part of your post on vintage handkerchiefs. I loved the other ideas here as well! I can’t believe that lady was using these beautiful pieces of art to dust her furniture!

  4. So many lovely display ideas, Florence. As for the dusting…I had to read that sentence several times over before it really sank it. Unbelievable.

    1. It is unbelievable! I was sorry I sold them to her, but too late then. I can’t imagine why anyone would buy dustrags off ebay when they could go get them at Wal-Mart of Home Depot, but maybe she lived in the boonies. Who knows? Thanks for your sweet comment though.

  5. Florennce your framed hankie turned out lovely. See, I made the same mistake of jumping into a project I thought would be easy without researching first. Love the lace behind the hankie! As for that buyer, she should be put in detention or something like that!

    1. Yeah!! You got that right Mary…straight into detention! Yeah, and I remembered the project you said you started without reading how…we probably all do it, or most of us anyway.

  6. Oh I’m so sorry the hanky tore Florence, that must have made you so sad knowing how much you love beautiful vintage finds. My gran left me a whole bunch of hankies and they’ve been stuck in a cupboard waiting for inspiration, ‘m so glad I saw this post. Now I have a ton of ideas to play with. Thank you

    1. Hey Michelle, I hope you can use some of the ideas, and get those hankies out so you can enjoy them! How special for you that you have some from your Gran. None of mine are from family…wish they were!

  7. Florence, I like how you’ve displayed the vintage handkerchief. I bought a basket of vintage hankies at an estate for 10 cents a piece! I had the notion to resell when I bought them but now I have them on display just dropped over some handles. Anyway I can’t believe someone would use them for rags.

    1. Wow, 10 cents each! I never see them that cheap around here! I’ve seen them as high as $1-2 each! Sounds like you lucked up. Yeah, well, I can’t believe she used them for that either. I think I’ve heard it all…LOL.

  8. Dust Rags!!!! I can’t believe that lady. What was she thinking? Anyway, I love all of your display suggestions. The hankie in the frame is very pretty. Lois’s daughter’s bridal bouquet is so special. And I love Jennifer’s banner. I really enjoyed this post. Dust rags! Can you see me shaking my head?

    1. Dust rags, oh yes. How did I react? By the time she told me, they had been shipped to her, so there wasn’t much I could say. They were hers, but truly I was horrified.

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