Upcycling QSL Cards

QSL cards are ideal for upcycling into mixed media art, greetings cards and any other art or craft where you want an interesting selection of letters or words. Here’s a bit of background information for the curious amongst you.

QSL Cards

QSL cards are used by amateur radio enthusiasts. They send them to each other as confirmation of a two-way communication between themselves or as confirmation that they have received a signal from an AM or FM radio, television or shortwave broadcasting station. Sometimes a third party listening in might also confirm the reception of the two-way radio communication.

Each card contains details about one or more contacts, the station and its operator. Usually included is the call sign of both stations, the date and time the communication occurred, the radio frequency or Band used, mode of transmission and a signal report.

Most QSL cards are similar to a typical postcard both in size and construction and are sent through the postal system. In essence they are a ham radio operator’s personal calling card and are as varied and individual as the users sending them.

Designs range from shop bought ‘fill in the blanks’ type cards to those featuring original artwork, personal profile photos or images of the operator’s home town or famous country landmarks etc. This makes them an idea material for use in mixed media or typography compositions. There is a huge variation in colours, size of letters and types of fonts. Plus a wide range of backgrounds that might feature behind each letter.

QSL cards can be bought for a wide range of prices depending on how collectible they are. But for the purposes of upcycling you’re not interested in their collector’s value so much as their visual value. Consequently you’re likely to find better deals in places such as Ebay (which is where I bought most of mine) rather than shops that cater for the enthusiast. Buying in bulk, like most things, offers the most value.

If you decide to create something with QSL cards or you have already done so please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear about it!

To see how I’ve used QSL cards visit the upcycled products category in my shop.