Pull out those boxes of old photos and create some clever accents and thoughtful gifts for family and friends while celebrating times past. Scan and print or photocopy images so that you’re not damaging original well-loved photos.

Photo lantern
Light up some memories by enhancing the glass in a lantern with photos printed on translucent vellum.

Gather your materials

Measure the surfaces to be covered. Print images on translucent plastic sheets to match the size of original glass in lantern.

With craft knife, trim the photos to size.

Insert photos behind glass. If your lantern has no clips to secure the glass and images, you can spray the photo with adhesive to attach it to the glass.

Illuminate with a battery-operated candle.


Photo transfer pillow
Print a favorite photo on canvas and sew your own custom pillow.

Gather your materials

  • Photo-printed canvas
  • Fabric for backing
  • 18-inch square pillow form
  • Sewing machine
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Decorative trim

Take the photo or a scan of the photo to an office supply store and have it printed on canvas. Image fabric should be trimmed to a 19-inch square.

For the back, cut two rectangles, 11 x 19 inches each. Hem one long edge of each of the two smaller pieces of fabric.

Lay the square piece of fabric right side up, start at the bottom and carefully pin your trim, making sure the banded edge is to the outside and the trim to show lays inside of the square. Place one of the rectangular pieces face down with hemmed edge to the center, lining up the corners and pin.

Place the second rectangle face down, on the other half of the project so that hemmed edges overlap. Pin in place. Sew all around the pillow, removing pins as you go, with a seam allowance that matches the banded edge on the trim.

Turn pillow cover inside out and press. Insert the pillow form.


Photo-covered drawers
Give your storage and organization solutions more personality with a friendly face or two.

Gather your materials

Photo-covered drawers detail
Using the craft paint and brush, paint the pieces of the storage unit and let dry thoroughly (don’t rush this step as you don’t want any parts or pieces to stick together after assembly). Following manufacturer’s instructions, assemble the unit using wood glue to secure.

Fold the chipboard drawers as directed. Place top drawer front face down onto the top of your photograph and trace the shape of the drawer onto the image with the pencil. Using the craft knife and cutting mat, cut out the shape.

Brush Mod Podge onto the back of the image and carefully place it on the drawer front, lining up all the edges. Let dry thoroughly. Follow the same steps for the rest of the drawers. If the dividing space between the drawers is small as pictured above, you can trace the drawer from the top of the remaining photograph. If the dividing space is larger, you may want to measure it, transfer that measurement to the photograph and remove it before tracing the next drawer. This will prevent any distortion of the image when the drawers are finished and placed in the unit.

When all drawers are completely dry, apply 2-3 coats of Mod Podge to each drawer front to seal and protect it. Allow to dry thoroughly. Place in the unit.


Plate portraits
Fashion dimensional wall decor while featuring favorite photos in black and white.

Gather your materials

Choose a plate that works with your color scheme and decorating style. Select a frame that fits within the size, shape, and design of the ceramic plate.

If necessary, scan and size the photograph to fit the chosen frame. Insert the photograph in the frame.

Dab epoxy on the back of the frame. Ensure that you’ve covered the points of contact between plate and frame. Lay plate and frame flat and top with a book to keep contact points firm as epoxy dries. Cure for 24 hours.

Insert the plate into the plate hanger and hang on the wall or place on a plate stand for a tabletop or shelf display.

Folded book pages photo display
Repurpose old manuals, textbooks, and out-of-date encyclopedias for photo displays. For the best effect, use books that have hard covers and attractive endpapers, or add your own as we did.

Gather your materials

Fold all the pages of an old book in half lengthwise toward the center binding.
Measure the book inside covers and cut two pieces of decorative scrapbook paper to the same size. Brush the back of the paper with Mod Podge and apply to the inside covers. Let dry.

Lay the book flat or stand upright and insert old photos inside the folds to display.


Photo-wrapped vintage case
Transfer images—in this case laser printed photos—to a fabric surface using gel medium.

Gather your materials

Photo-wrapped vintage case detail
Create a laser print of the image you want to reproduce in a size that will wrap around the case/object. Your image will transfer in reverse so if you want it to have the same orientation as the original, reverse the image before printing it.
Cover the laser-printed image with a heavy coat of gel medium.

Press it face down onto the fabric surface, smoothing out as much as possible, and let it dry for several hours or overnight.

After paper is completely dry, wet the paper with water from a spray bottle. Once saturated, rub the surface with fingers until paper starts peeling off. (Be careful not to rub too hard as this can remove your transfer as well.) Continue until all paper is removed and image is completely revealed.


Yarn wrapped initial photo display
Display photos and paper ephemera on a yarn-wrapped letter. You can find large initials at craft stores or, if you’re handy with power tools, you can cut one with a jigsaw from a piece of plywood or MDF.

Gather your materials

Using the glue gun, adhere one end of your yarn on the back of the letter near a straight edge. If your letter has open ends, wrap the letter several times and push the yarn to the edge. Wrap in an X pattern until open end is covered. Cut the yarn and glue the yarn to the back of the piece.

When any ends are covered, glue yarn to the back of the letter and wrap the rest of the letter. Overlap the yarn as you go around corners. The yarn will be more dense on inside corners than on the outside and you will want to push strands together as you go for complete coverage.

At the end, weave the yarn end through a few strands at the back and glue in place. Stand or hang the letter on a shelf or tabletop and insert photos and ephemera between strands of yarn.


Projects produced by Angie Packer
Photography by Kevin Netz

© Caruth Studio

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.