Thursday, September 9, 2010

DIY Decor: Letters Within Photos

We've done this project several times in the past for gift-giving, and always receive lots of positive feedback from the recipients once our gift is opened. Originally inspired by a piece of Target art, I remembered thinking "We could do that - except cheaper and better!". From there the project evolved to spell out the name of the recipient, which made it oh-so-personal and unique. We love the gallery-esque style it portrays, and that at first glance the photos might seem random - but upon further inspection actually spell out something. How neat is that?

Want to make this yourself to give it to a lucky recipient or display in your own home? Read on for our step-by-step instructions!

1. Take Photos. To make it, first we went around town snapping photos of things that could resemble letters. A chair becomes the letter "A", a round circular piece of wood within the ceiling at Chipotle becomes an "O", a branch hides an "R" and our porch railing becomes a perfect "C". We even went through a bunch of older photos of vacations and photo projects to find more letters - it was actually pretty fun! Sort of like an intense treasure hunt, haha! We managed to even find a "U" shape once we flipped our photo of the St. Louis Arch upside down.

You could easily do this yourself - just take a look around you and try to find letters within the objects around you. Is there an "I" hidden in the cracks of a sidewalk? Does your desk form a "V"? Is your mailbox an "L"? Or if you are going for a different look, couldn't find all your letters (or just don't want to!), you can always search online. We felt that our personal photos added more to our project, but it is perfectly fine to use letters you found online - your project will still be unique with tons of personality.

2. Find a Frame. We found a perfect frame at Target for this project - for most names/places/words you'll want one that is a rectangle if you want all your letters on the same line, but if you don't mind them on separate lines you could just buy a regular (larger) type of frame. Below is the frame from Target that we used.

3. Black and White. Once we had our photos, we just went into Photoshop on the computer and converted them all to black and white (if you don't have Photoshop, there are other programs out there that can do the same, and many cameras also come with a black and white option). Or you could even leave the photos in color for a different look. It's all up to you, really!

4. Measure and Print. Then we measured our frame and counted out how many letters/photos we would insert, and decided that a 4x6 photo size would work perfectly. Then we printed out the photos (we have a borderless printer, but you could easily get them printed at Walgreen or print them yourself on larger paper and count them down if you don't have a borderless printer).

5. Place. Then we measured again, and laid out the photos on top of the frame where we wanted them. Then we simply put a little 2-sided tape on the backs of the photos.

6. Clean. Due to the fact that the frame is a floating frame (there's no matt, just glass), we cleaned all the smudges and fingerprints off the glass and put it together (and even wrote a little note to the recipient and dated the back of one photo).

And that's it!

Total cost? Besides the time spent taking the photos and buying the frame, this project took less than an hour and only ran us the cost of the frame ($30). That's not too bad for a personalized and unique project which makes for a perfect gift - think Christmas, weddings, birthdays, and even baby showers! You can further dress it up and inject a little color by spray painting the frame (we think lime green would be fun!), and you could even add some pretty gift wrap or scrapbooking paper behind the photos for even further personalization! We love that each photo tells a story, and love that it's easy, fun, unique, and light on the wallet - that's our sort of project right there.

What do you guys think? Would this be a project you'd tackle? Have you ever received a unique homemade gift that you absolutely love? Do you have a go-to gift for special occasions?

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  1. I love those pieces and have definitely wanted to try one. Yours looks quite cool.

  2. I have always wanted to do this! Now I am even more excited! And you are right, what a fantastic personal gift! IHeart this!


  3. Great idea... I might try that for a future gift. :)

  4. Thanks guys! It's alot of fun to make it, and is always a big hit. :)

    Thanks for stoppin' by!



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