Sunday, December 16, 2012

Turn Family Memories into Art - Great as a gift! Easy to do!

Every Memorial Day, we go to the local Memorial Day parade.  My son gets so excited, and loves all of the cars and trucks that go by.  This year, I took pictures of all of his favorites.  Don't get me wrong, I love digital cameras.  They have turn me into a virtual paparazzi, but we almost never print out pictures.  If you take a picture and no one looks at it, does it exist??

After getting a free collage coupon code from Shutterfly, I decided to turn those pictures into something productive.  I made a collage, purchased a frame, painted it, and viola, instant art!!!!  It has been one of my son's FAVORITE presents, and he loves looking at it every day.  The thing that I really love about it is that it offers double the benefits - you get something pretty to look at, and it's meaningful because the pictures represent experiences you've actually had!

Here's how to do it!  It took me about 1 hour of hands-on time (with waiting time in addition to that), it cost me $15 total.

Make Your Own Memory Collage Art

-  Six to ten of your favorite photos
Tip:  Ideally, they'll all be of similar themed subjects, like honeymoon pictures, vacation pictures, beach pictures, holiday pictures, etc, and taken in decent resolution.
-  Inexpensive 11 x 14 frame
Tip:  If you're going to paint your frame a different color, make sure it's made out of wood or another paintable surface.  Shiny plastics are impossible to paint.
-  A Photo Site, such as Shutterfly, Snapfish, etc.

How to Make It
The Collage - 
- Select your photos and edited as needed.  Crop them, change the orientation (from vertical to horizontal, and vice versa, if necessary), etc.  Make them pretty!
- Google for "coupon codes" for Shutterfly, Snapfish, etc.  Right now there are tons of deals, so take advantage of them!
- Select which site you want to use, and create a new "Collage" product.  Select which way you want it (horizontal or vertical), upload your pictures and play around with it until you're happy.  Using Shutterly, I added lines between the pictures to make them stand out.  I knew I was going to paint the frame navy blue, so I used that color for the lines.
-  Order the collage.  Some sites offer the ability to pick the collage up at a store that day.  If you don't want to wait to receive it in the mail, give that a try.
The Frame - 
-  Go to a place like TJ Maxx, Michael's, or AC Moore.  If you're going to a craft store, make sure to bring your coupon with you!
-  Purchase an 11 x 14 frame.  I got one for $10 from TJ Maxx.  It was beige, but I knew I was going to paint it, so I didn't mind.
-  If you're going to paint the frame, make sure you have at least one or two containers of your favorite acrylic paint from a craft store.  They only cost about $1.50 each, so it's a steal!
-  Remove the glass and backing, and put the frame on newspaper.
-  Start painting!  My frame took three coats to completely cover.  The frame will only need about 30 minutes between coats, so you can get it done in one day!
-  Let the final coat dry for at least 4 hours, put in the collage, and enjoy the results :)

 Here's the $10.00 frame before I got to work.... From the exclusive "Valerie Bertinelli" collection, apparently!

  I took out the glass and the backing, squirted my paint on a paper plate.....

 And got to work....  Here it is after the first coat!  You'll notice that my favorite paintbrush for frames is a nubby little guy.

The finished product turned out great!