Decorating with Old Family Photos

by Antonia Betrus


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Decorating with Photos

Reusing Old Picture Frames

A few years ago, I went to visit some relatives on my mother's side of the family that I hadn't seen in years. One of the things I wanted was a copy of old photos that they had in their possession. Since we did not have access to the original negatives, computers or digital cameras, the next best thing was a trip to a copy store.

We figured out what pictures we wanted copied and arranged them to fit a standard 8 1/2" by 11" page. We were able to fit two to four pictures on one page. Since they charged by the sheet, we were able to make multiple copies for everyone.

When I returned home, I used the "printed color copies" in frames to decorate around the house. There are several advantages to this method. For one, unless someone is a photo expert, it's difficult to tell at a glance that they are made from a color copier. Second, photos are meant to be displayed, but since old photos are rare, it's better to have them stored in an acid free environment. Displaying the color copies is a perfect compromise. Finally, if disaster strikes, the hardest things to lose are family pictures. Think of how many people have risked their lives to retrieve photos because the ones on the wall were the only copies. Using copies eliminates that risk.

Since then, I have discovered a few other tricks as well. One room in my house is decorated with only old black and white photos. That worked well until I started adding the more recent generations. I took my favorite color photos back to the local copy shop and had them turned into black and white photos. They can even add tints of sepia, green or lavender. Picture copies can easily be enlarged or reduced depending on your needs. Although I haven't tried it, I imagine this could be done on a computer as well.

Given the cost of professional developing and the time waiting for them to come back, this was an inexpensive solution. Another cost saver is to get picture frames from the dollar store and save even more.


Take the Next Step

  • For more photo ideas check out Smilebox

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