Vera Lim Design

Using bingo cards as a creative platform

Bingo and Scrapbooking
Using bingo cards as a creative platform

Bingo – a humble game of numbers with a rich and expansive history, dating back to its earliest days in the 16th century as an Italian lottery called Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia (which is still played in a fair number of game rooms every Saturday in Italy). The game was then introduced to France in the late 18th century, where it was called Le Lotto, a leisurely amusement played amongst aristocratic Frenchmen. In the early 19th century, Germans had their own educational version of the game to help students learn arithmetic, spelling, and history. When the game eventually reached North American shores in 1929, it was initially known as “beano”. This was a humble country fair and traveling carnival game with certain similarities to modern-day bingo: a dealer would select numbered discs from a cigar box and players would mark their cards with beans, yelling “beano” if they won. After hearing a player accidentally yell “bingo” instead of “beano”, crafty New York toy salesman Edwin S. Lowe renamed and popularizes the game into what it’s known today.

The rustic simplicity and cross-pollination inherent in bingo’s history can still be seen in the 21st century. Enterprising folks have replaced the numbers in bingo cards and replaced them with words and images from a wide range of topics, including superheroes, restaurants, airport sightings, and fashion, just to name a few. Bingo has also entered the world of scrapbooking – multiple examples abound over at ranging from a bingo-styled mixed media background to paper collections that include bingo cards as one of the design elements. Craft-focused e-commerce website Etsy is virtually a treasure trove of bingo-themed designs for all sorts of scrapbooking ideas. Etsy’s close ties to social bookmarking site Pinterest allows the entire Etsy community to showcase their items in a more convenient and accessible manner. Indeed, the ubiquity of social media has also benefited online bingo websites; the FoxyBingo Twitter account easily provides updates on its latest promotions, bonuses and relevant events. The presence of online bingo websites on social media outlets can only help with brand recognition and developing immediate relationships with customers.

Clearly, the resurgence of bingo cards as craft items (along with the growing popularity of online bingo) reflects the enduring spirit of bingo throughout several decades and generations.

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