Make Memories that Last: Unique Ways to Display Photos
We all want to keep our family photos and portraits and see how we’ve changed over the years, but what is the best way to keep them out of the storage box in the attic? It’s a familiar tale that I’m sure you know all too well. We have many great family photographs, but we can’t display them all. Here are a few Do It Yourself projects that will keep these candid memories out in the open in unique and different ways.
Vintage Photo Pillows
A keepsake that can be passed down for years to come, these black and white images will add style to your couch, sitting area, bedrooms or anywhere throughout your home. It sounds complicated but it’s very, very easy. Shhh, don’t tell your friends! They’ll be amazed at how creative your decorations can be.
- Cut two pieces of fabric and a piece of freezer paper to 8 1/2 x 11 in.
- Next , iron the freezer paper to the fabric. The shiny side of the freezer paper will be down and you will be ironing the dull side. You won’t need to iron that long. Check to make sure the freezer paper is attached.
- Once the paper is attached, put the fabric and freezer paper in your printer. Turn the paper/fabric in the printer so that you will print on the fabric side. The freezer paper is just there so that your printer has something to grab onto. We’re actually tricking our printers to think they’re printing on paper! How sneaky!
- Next, make the pillow. Put the two right sides of the fabric together and sew around the outside, leaving about a 3 in. gap so you will be able to turn the pillow right sides out.
- Stuff your pillow with polyfill and sew the pillow shut.
- Place the pillow in a fun location for everyone to see and enjoy!
Wood Transferred Photos (images for DIY located at: http://wendysheafferphotos.com/2012/08/30/photo-wood-transfer-tutorial/)
This is a great way to display your photos and fill up a little wall or mantel space with a creative touch. With this method you can use black and white or color images.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Photo(s) to transfer
- Wood, cut to same size as photo, or larger
- Scissors or x-acto knife
- Straight edge
- Laser printer
- Foam Brush
- Matte Gel Medium (I used Liquitex)
- Credit Card or flat piece of plastic
- Towel, dishcloth
- Mod Podge
Step 1. Choose your photo(s) and crop or size them to desired dimensions. Note that it’s important to reverse the image in your photo editing software, especially if your design contains lettering or anything that is not exactly symmetrical. Next, print your photo on a laser printer. This transfer will ONLY work with laser printers, not ink-jet printers. The thinner the paper the better.
Step 2. Trim out your photo. I used my x-acto knife and T-square to cut off the white around the photo edge, but you could also leave a white edge if you choose to have a natural wood border around your photo.
Step 3. Wood preparation: You can choose any kind, but a fine grain works best. Cut the wood down to the size you prefer. I bought a 4′ x 2′ of birch plywood at Home Depot and our example shows two 11″ x 16″ pieces. Be sure to avoid wood with very large, dark knots since the grain will show through and may be distracting. Before the gel step, you’ll need to sand the surface as smooth as possible, including any rough corners or edges.
Step 4. Using your foam brush, apply a layer of matte gel medium to the wood surface, coating it evenly all the way to the edges.
Step 5. Slowly place your laser print photo face down on top of your wood block. Be careful, because once it’s down it will be hard to remove without damaging the image. Once in place, use a flat, hard object (credit card or, in my case, a cake decorating tool) to flatten the paper and remove any air bubbles that may be trapped.
Step 6. Let it dry for at least 10 hours in a safe place. Overnight is great.
Step 7. Soak a cloth with water and dab all over the surface of the paper. Your image should begin to show through. Keep dabbing with water for 2-3 minutes until the paper is fully soaked.
Step 8. Here comes the fun (and messy) part! Once the paper is good and damp, use your fingers to rub away the paper fiber. It should come off pretty easily in tiny little rolls, as shown. Be sure to lay a towel under your project to collect the paper bits to make for easier clean up. You’ll be left with your laser transfer underneath!
Step 9. Keep rubbing until your fingers get tired! Take a break, then get back at it again. It took me about 20 minutes to get all of the paper off each of my boards. The picture shows my progress about 3/4 of the way done. If you can still see some spots, go back and continue rubbing to remove all of the paper fiber.
Step 10. Once the paper is rubbed entirely off the wood block, it’s time to seal the transfer. I used the same foam brush (after washing it completely clean) to apply a thin layer of Mod Podge on the top surface.
Glass Photo Box
Make a picture pop with a little added design. Here’s what you’ll need for this mantel show stopper.
- A glass block that allows the inside to be accessed. You can find these at a craft store. Make sure the glass block has a large enough hole or opening to add all of the elements you want to include inside.
- Inside decorations like beads, rocks, sand, Legos or any other small items for the foundation.
- Photo and frame to fit photo.
- Ribbon, bow or outside block decoration.
- Insert the photo into a frame of your choice and set aside.
- Add foundation elements to the bottom of the glass block. Adding sand for summer pictures, Legos for kid pics or rocks for family portraits are just a few suggestions.
- Once the foundation elements have been added, put the image in the frame inside the glass block. Make sure to set the photo and frame in a secure spot as you’ll have to move the glass block to its display location.
- Close the glass block and it’s time to decorate the outside. Add a cute bow or simple ribbon over the top to hide the block opening and tah-dah! You’re done!
Who doesn’t love the soft glow of candlelight during the holidays or on a cold winter night? Here’s a way to jazz up your candles with the warm love of family and friends.
- Blank sheets of vellum (available at craft stores)
- Photo printer
- Double sided tape
- Round glass hurricanes, mason jars, etc.
- Tea lights or battery powered candles
Use a photo printer to print a variety of photos onto vellum. You can use color or black and white images. Cut images to fit the dimensions of your glass jars. Cut just a hair short on the bottom and top to insure the photo fits the glass correctly. Use double stick tape to secure the photos onto the glass. Place tea lights inside the containers and light the candles to make your images glow.
Trying to figure out which images you want to print and use each year can be a task, and then keeping up with them is even more difficult. Try making a family yearbook each year and hold onto them for years to come. Here’s how:
Create a folder on your computer called “Yearbook.” Each month go to your favorite social website or photo file and pull over images that you want to keep and add to your Yearbook. Pull 8-10 different images that are your favorites.
There are several sites available that you can use to build your own photo book. At the end of the year, upload your favorite pictures from your Yearbook file and it will make the process super easy.
Design your book, place your order, and your yearbook will arrive at your doorstep.