Stuck inside due to the atmospheric rivers dumping rain for days — on top of still trying to avoid COVID and just general dark and dreary winter hibernation — I found myself looking around my home and feeling the need to freshen up the place. Since I love chocolate (and brown is my favorite color), that’s where I started with a few fuzzy chocolate brown throw pillows.
I also love old advertising posters and wanted to add some with a chocolate focus. Original vintage posters are scarce and can be super expensive, but there are lots of reproductions out there that are affordable.
AllPosters has a bunch of reproduction vintage chocolate advertising posters. Many are giclée prints (museum quality). They come in different sizes, ranging from 9″x12″ to 42″x56″, with options like framed prints, printed on canvas, or mounted on board and laminated. If you have the wall space for posters, this looks like a good choice for high quality, large reproduction posters.
Etsy has a more eclectic assortment of vintage chocolate advertising stretching into the 1960s and beyond (I saw one labeled “Vintage 2000 M&M’s candy renaming ad”). It’s not all poster reproductions, some are ads from magazines — like literally torn from old magazines.
Quality seems all over the place too with some complaints about print quality, so buyer beware. But I could get lost in just looking at and reading the selection here. There are definitely some treasures to enjoy.
Posters as coasters
Cacaopod and I scored a great vintage looking Scharffen Berger poster a few years back, and since he’s an artist, we don’t really have room on our walls for more posters. So after briefly fantasizing about chocolate posters, I thought I’d see if I could find some coasters with a vintage chocolate advertising theme.
It was easier than I thought. With the advent of on-demand custom printing, there are online shops where anyone can upload their artwork to be printed on a variety of materials. Each website operates a little differently, so that was the biggest factor for me trying to find exactly what I want when it seems like the options are endless but they are actually limited in all sorts of ways too.
For example, I found a bunch of vintage chocolate advertising coasters on RedBubble, some more carefully edited than others. (Fitting a rectangle on a square surface requires decisions to be made.) Prices are reasonable; my only complaint is that I have to buy 4 coasters of the same image. I want variety.
Zazzle, another on-demand custom printing service, has coaster options, like round or square and in different materials. They also had a lot of reproductions that look promising.
I had to search their site for vintage chocolate posters not coasters because a coaster search didn’t return many results. Selecting from posters is not a problem because they allow you to apply any images on their site to their other merchandise yourself. They have a glass coaster option that looks promising to me, although one coaster costs almost as much as a set of 4 particleboard ones from RedBubble. They have really cheap paper ones too, but I want something more permanent.
Another point about Zazzle is that their default application of posters to coasters crops the images weirdly to fit a square, so I will have to do some editing in their app to get the images as I want them.
The last on-demand custom printer I checked out, CafePress has some nice options for decorating with reproductions of vintage chocolate posters that go beyond just posters, but it took me a lot of different search words to find images. And not many of the images were available on coasters. I found only 3:
Their ceramic tile coasters were cheaper than Zazzle’s glass ones, but I couldn’t even make a set of 4 different images, so they are out of the running.
If coasters aren’t your thing — and you are wall space constrained like I am — I found lots of other merch using some of the same vintage chocolate advertisements.
Zazzle advertises that they have over 1000 products you can apply images to, from mugs to magnets to throw pillows, doormats to kitchen towels to shower curtains, lamps to lunch boxes to candles, and pages more options.
CafePress and RedBubble have a similar variety but are restricted to what the individual seller has ok-ed for applying their image to. If they have the image you want for the object you want (thong underwear anyone?), the price and quality will be similar to Zazzle’s.
On-demand vs. art prints
In addition to all variety of merch, RedBubble, Zazzle, and CafePress have posters too. They offer a variety of sizes — Zazzle especially. I saw one on Zazzle that was 8-1/2″x11″, hardly a poster to me — and at least one 40″x54″ poster. So you might be able to find more options that fit the space you have. The prices are generally cheaper than AllPosters.
Another consideration is environmental. On-demand printers claim they are better for the environment because they don’t manufacture any products until they are ordered. They don’t have stock or inventory like traditional printing which requires some minimum number of pieces to a run. So there is less waste with printing on demand.
Personally for poster reproductions I would go with AllPosters because the quality of their posters will be better due to the printing processes they use. RedBubble, Zazzle, and CafePress are more like a commercial version of color office printers which is fine for smaller pieces or clothing, but for larger images like posters, the lower quality will be more noticeable.
What do I choose
As for my now coasters project, I haven’t decided yet between the more expensive per piece glass coasters or buying the particleboard coasters, which would require I buy 4 sets of coasters to get myself 4 different coasters with 12 left over. Looks like somebody’s getting coasters as presents this year!
Or maybe it’s time to look into DIY-ing myself some coasters. Weather forecast is for more rain in the immediate future and I’ve got a color printer right here…