Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Photo art

Is it possible there is a project/gift idea that is cheap AND meaningful?
Wonder of wonders yes it is possible! (That is your cue to shout for joy in an effusive manner)
I've mentioned a few times, and probably will a few more since it vexes me so, how difficult it is to make something for a guy. Maybe it's just me - if it is just me I wish someone would give me some ideas! *hint, hint* - but I simply cannot come up with something he would like that I can actually do. I'm sure he would love a project where I had to weld something together or fabricate something out of diamond plate, but I would not like to see what the end of that trial would look like. "Merry Christmas/Happy Birthday here is your blob if ill-fitting mess! I call it 'modern art'."
So what can I do? I like to be crafty and I like photography - that sounds like a plan to me! Some photos in themselves are enough art, but others might just be a snapshot and need a little help. I did a little digging and found an adorable photo of our parents sitting in a hot-rod little car about to go on a date (approx. 1963). I scanned the photo and uploaded it to picnik where I could clean up the image, add a border, add some words or even change the tint.
If you can't decide what you want your photo to say (if you want words at all) try a movie quote, historical quote or an old adage or proverb. The one I chose happened to be from the movie American Graffiti.

If you are lucky (and have a doctorate) you might have Photoshop and know how to use it. I, however, am satisfied with the free programs that don't make me feel like a monkey doing a math problem.

After editing the photo to my satisfaction I saved it to my computer and then a disk and took it to the print shop in town where I was able to tell them the size I wanted and have it printed on quality paper. You could probably have it printed on photo paper, but I needed something that was thin.

I measured the size of my new photo print and cut a 1/8 inch sheet of balsa wood to size and sanded the edges.

Using a paper cutter (not scissors, unless you have a nice, steady hand and the ability to eyeball straight lines) I removed the excess paper from my image. Using decoupage glue I started at one end of the image and glued as I went, making sure to keep it straight. If you try to do the whole image at once, your glue may dry out before you get to the end.

If you are not into power tools (I admit I had mine cut for me) you could even use a sturdy cardboard as long as you covered it before you applied the photo. We want the project affordable, not cheap looking.

Now for the hanging mechanism. Because the wood and paper are so lightweight, there's no need to drill holes for wire. What I did was cut a piece of leather cord to size and duct taped it to the back. You could use satin cord, jute string, or wire - whatever would look best with the image you've chosen. Now, please don't leave those strips of duct tape visible in the back! Cover the back with a piece of plain brown paper the size of the entire piece of wood. If you don't have package wrapping paper, use the blank side of a paper bag. This will cover your ugly duct tape and give you a canvas to write the occasion, year or "from" if you so desire.

It does take a few steps to complete, but is a relatively simple and inexpensive project with a wonderful personal touch that will certainly mean something to the person who receives it.

1 comment:

Megan said...

The picture alone is awesome, Molly! I'm sure it looks amazing finished, and I know he'll love it!!

By the way, if you want to borrow Hood and Scarlet, let me know. I can bring them down at the end of January.