Turn old family photos into holiday decorations

  • By Holly Ramer Associated Press
  • Friday, December 13, 2013 2:14pm
  • Life

The holidays are a great time to pull out the old photos and reminisce, but there’s no need to huddle around a dusty album. There are a variety of ways to get them out in the open by making them part of your holiday decorations.

Once you’ve gone through the trouble of scanning and reprinting originals, it’s easy to make duplicates that can be turned into gifts for family members.

Make a modern statement by printing 4-inch-square photos, connecting them with small plastic clips in a grid shape and hanging it on the wall. A large square is striking, but the clips allow for endless possibilities. A Christmas tree shape, perhaps?

Keep things bright with a series of color photographs, or go for a more elegant look with black and white.

For a more traditional look, arrange the photographs in a circle and stick them on a cardboard ring to create a photo wreath. Leave it plain, or decorate with a few sprigs of faux holly tucked among the pictures.

Take the photos off the wall by having them printed on a sofa throw pillow. This project takes a bit more work because it involves printing on fabric, but the result is an unexpected way to showcase favorite family photos.

All three projects below are built around a snippet of the classic song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

Incorporating the phrase “through the years we all will be together” in each project adds a bit of color and ties together pictures that span many years.

Wall grid

  • 21 4-by-4-inch photos
  • Photo clips (mine were called “fotoclips,” purchased from photojojo.com)
  • 1 sheet of card stock

Use word processing or photo editing software to create an 8.25-inch square. Fill with red or the color of your choice. Add white text that reads “through the years we all will be together.” Print and trim to size.

Arrange photos in a 5-by-5 grid, with the text box positioned in the lower right-hand corner, one row and column in from the edge.

Use the clips to attach the pictures to each other.

Hang on wall, using double-stick tape or other adhesive.

Photo wreath

  • 12 4-by-4-inch photos (or more)
  • 1 large piece of cardboard, at least 16 inches square
  • Craft knife
  • Double-stick tape
  • Faux holly or other greenery (optional)

Use word processing or photo editing software to create a 4-by-4-inch square, filled with red. Add white text that reads “through the years we all will be together.” Print and trim to size.

Cut a 16-inch circle out of cardboard. Cut another circle in the middle to create a ring that is approximately 3 inches wide.

Arrange pictures around the ring, including the text box. Try to keep them in a circular shape, while avoiding overlapping key parts of any image.

Once the pictures are in position, carefully tape them to the ring and to each other.

Add decorations if desired.

Pillow

  • 15 scanned photos, each 3.5-by-3.5 inches
  • 4 sheets of printable fabric
  • 1 14-inch-square pillow insert
  • Fabric for pillow back

Use word processing or photo editing software to create a collage of photos in a 4-by-4 grid. Make one of the squares a solid box, filled with red, with the text “through the years we all will be together” in white. You can position the text box wherever you like; I put mine in the third row and third column.

Since the pillow front is larger than the sheets of printable fabric paper, you’ll need to divide your collage into four quadrants and print one per sheet of fabric. Follow the instructions on the fabric sheets to make sure you use the best settings for your printer.

Trim each printed quadrant, leaving a quarter-inch border around all four sides.

Leaving the paper backing on the fabric sheets will make it easier to cut and line up the fabric for sewing. Sew the top two quadrants together, carefully lining up the edges. Use a seam allowance that is just a hair wider than a quarter inch to make sure you are sewing right along the edge of the pictures and not on the white border. Repeat with bottom two quadrants.

Sew the top two quadrants to the bottom two quadrants to complete the square, and then peel off the paper backing from the fabric. Press seam allowances open.

Cut two rectangles of fabric for pillow back, each 14-by-9 inches. Fold over one of the long edges on each piece by 1/4 inch and then again by 1/2 inch to enclose the raw edge; sew along the long edge.

Lay the backing pieces flat, with the wrong side of the fabric facing down and the pieces overlapped to make a 14-inch square. Lay the pillow top over the backing, right side down, and pin around the edges.

Sew around the entire pillow with a quarter-inch seam. Turn right side out and insert pillow form.

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