The short answer to the question, “What can you do with found and vintage paper?” is, use it EXACTLY the same way you use commercial patterned paper… just maybe handle it a tiny bit more carefully, but more on that in a minute. Paper Anthology currently has eight themed varieties of Deluxe Collage Assortments from Just Enough Stuff: Christmas, Sheet Music, Nature, Foreign Text, World Traveler, Crafty Lady, Text & Pattern, and Architecture. Each contains a curated mix of 20+ different sheets, and each is, of course unique. They’re listed in the online store under Stamping Surfaces and Specialty Papers; and each link has a photo which gives an idea of the sorts of items included, as well as an additional inspiration project. In the brick-and-mortar shop, they’re in the front room near the Dina Wakley Media.
Vintage and found papers are wonderful in collage, but “collage” can be used in all the crafty projects that you currently enjoy making: cards, ATC’s, art journal pages, junk journals and more.
Use just a little sheet music as a background with modern journal cards, washi and embellishments in a holiday card; or go all out and use LOTS of different text papers to cover all the surfaces of a larger wood or papier mache item.
The “handle with care” factor is lower than you may think, and mostly applies to being cautious with adhesives and inks; you will always want to test them on a corner of your paper. And while using a tape runner directly on vintage paper is never going to end well, there are great alternatives, like Scotch Gluestick, Distress Collage Medium and Nuvo Deluxe Adhesive.
If you need to make your vintage paper sturdier, apply the adhesive of your choice all over plain white cardstock, then carefully add the more fragile piece on top, taking care to avoid bubbles and wrinkles. Once your vintage paper is “backed” it’s sturdy enough to diecut, layer, stamp and stencil upon, or do pretty much anything else you’d do with cardstock!