This post was originally published on DIY Network’s blog Made + Remade in December 2012.
I take a lot of family photos every year, and I’m always looking for new ways to produce and display our memories tastefully. I’m not one to rely heavily on small frames, because small frames are a total pain in the behind to dust around, and often I feel that they become too cluttery. Having adopted different ways of displaying our family’s photographs, I’m dropping by today with 5 of my latest efforts. Try them out for yourself (and share your own ideas in the comments)!
1. Scale it up.
If you’re looking for some large scale art but don’t want to spend a lot, consider engineer’s prints. A black and white printout will only run you between $5-7 at your local office supply store (I frequent Staples). Bring a favorite photo into the store on a USB drive, and ask them to scale it to whatever size you desire (they can usually go up to 4-feet wide!).
My chosen image was a photo from our own collection, a real-life four leaf clover and five leaf clover that we found one day. I asked the employee managing my print job to sacrificee a little bit of the image resolution to scale up from the original 28″ image to be 48″ wide, and I was happy to find that the image quality degradation was minimal and it was well worth it to have a print of this size. Very artsy fartsy. And very special, since it’s more significant than any poster we’d buy at a stock art shop. If you’re interested in making the engineer print more permanent, consider decoupaging it to a piece of plywood, paneling, or foam core board. Ours is tacked to the wall using push pins.
2. I still buy prints.
Not often, mind you, but printing my digital pictures has always been something I’ve kept up with. The big benefit of going digital is that you can carefully select the photos that you want to print so you’re guaranteed to have no bad shots in your family albums. Snapfish is a favorite resource of mine, but I usually wait for their Penny Print deals and buy hundreds of photos for just a few dollars. I don’t display all of them, of course, that would be crazy, and only two or three are displayed in tabletop frames, but they are nice to thumb through, and share with less tech-saavy family members.
3. I make my own gallery walls.
I really like a nice wall of well-organized frames. Said wall can be any shape and any size, and best of all, can be customized with any of your pictures. Consider it a rotating museum exhibition, and call yourself the curator. I’ve created displays like this on occassion in my own house, and a good way to start is by making templates from newspaper to match the size of the frames you have available.
Once you have it laid out the way you want it, install hooks and drop in the frames one by one.
4. I embrace the children’s art.
Of course you to want to remember all of those early masterpieces, but who has that much room on the fridge? Consider this alternative: make a unique picture frame mat that will display dozens of your child’s productions all at once. For this piece, I scanned the art using my basic home scanner, resized each image to be a consistent size and width, and carefully measured and trimmed a mat board (<$10 at most craft stores) to create openings. There’s a full tutorial of this project right here on my blog if you’re interested.
5. I spread the photo joy.
It’s hard to beat photo-customized gifts around the holidays, and consistently, my favorite of all of the photo gifts is a calendar. I’ve ordered them in the past from Apple/iPhoto and Shutterfly, but my most frequented source for the last few years has been Snapfish. Because I order all of my prints through Snapfish, so it ends up being very easy to customize a calendar for grandma and grandpa right through the same interface. Around this time of year, pricing deals are abundant too, so keep an eye out for 50% off or 2-for-1 deals that can bring your per-piece order into the $8-15 range.
One of my favorite calendar templates enables me to drop photos into the calendar grid itself, so you can highlight family birthdays with a picture of that person’s face, and holidays with related imagery.
What are your favorite out-of-the-ordinary ways to display photos in your own home?