Sunday, 13 April 2014

A Stylish Photo Collage

Photo collages or multi-photo frames are great for the purpose of displaying many photos, but they aren't usually the most stylish items. At their worst, multi frames are tacky and at their best they sort of give off a casual, I-belong-in-the-den vibe. 

On return from our honeymoon, I wanted to come up with a classic and fun way to display a handful of the photos from that trip. Since I was not interested in purchasing a five photo frame that showcased the word family in comic sans font, I tried to come up with something that would be more suited to  the style of our home. 

What I settled on turned into a fun one day project. This photo collage is easy to do and very inexpensive!

If you are interested in doing this project, here's what you'll need:

-Large Glass Frame
-Spray Paint (if frame needs painting)
-Matte Board, cut to size
-Rubber Cement
-Mini Print Photos

I recommend buying a frame from a second hand store, I purchased this beauty for $8 at Value Village. If you do buy a new frame, Ikea has good prices for larger sizes. Watch out for anything labeled 'poster frame' as these frames usually have a plastic window (as opposed to glass). They may be cheaper, but the plastic warps over time and the clear plastic just won't display your photos as well as a glass window will.

To get started I prepped the frame for painting. I took out the glass and photo backing. Then I cleaned the frame well with a damp cloth, let it dry, and then wiped it down with a tack cloth just before painting. (It's best to spray on multiple light coats of spray paint / Wait about 30 min between coats).

For the photos I recommend going to Black's, as they have the option to order mini prints. I ordered a variety of sizes: some 4x6 shots, some 2.5x3.5 shots (2 photos on a 4x6 sheet) and some tiny 2x3 shots (4 photos on a 4x6 sheet). Because you are getting as many as four photos on one 4x6 print, the picture order is fairly cheap. I spent just over $10 and got twice as many photos as I needed. 

To cut the little photos apart I got to work with my super amazing paper cutter (a Christmas gift from Chris). 
So cool to have a paper cutter in the house! 

Next I did a rough layout of where the photos would go. This was my initial layout (below), but then I decided there wasn't enough negative space; I wanted a larger border. So I scrapped this design and started over. Back to the drawing board...

Here's what my final design looked like before I got to work glueing the photos to the matte board.

To glue each photo in place I used rubber cement. I like to use this adhesive because it does not bond on contact. You can move the photos around while the cement is curing, and if you spill any, the cement will come right off with a bit of friction. (Just rub it off and watch it ball up and separate from the surface of the matte board). 

I also took a picture of my photo layout before I started glueing. When I began lifting up the photos and sticking them in place, the design quickly got messed up. I referred to my picture often to help me stick with my desired layout. 

All done! When the spray paint had finished drying completely (the next day) I put the frame back together. I think the result is really nice. However, I'm not sure I achieved exactly what I set out too. I wanted to come up with a smart and classic way to display a bunch of photos, but my finished product still sort of looks like something that belongs in a family room or basement (and not in a living room or bedroom). What do you think? Is this framing style dapper or just dorm room chic? Maybe there's just something about a multi-photo framing that always reads casual and homey. Any thoughts? Would you hang this in your home?

One thing that I know for sure is that I love seeing all these wonderful honeymoon memories in one place!


  1. I love this! Just wondering if you cut the photos where they appear to overlap or did you allow them to overlap on the corners?