Wednesday, February 9, 2011

DIY - Alphabet Photography! Great way to add art to any room on a budget!

 Have you ever seen these awesome words created out of random photography pictures and thought - I want that!!?? Well I did. So I made them! It was really pretty simple and saved me a ton from ordering them online! Here's how I did it -

First off I knew I wanted to add some art to my newly re-designed master bedroom but I was working on a budget. I'd seen these done online and on tv and loved them. So I decided to make some for my room. They are traditionally framed together in one frame and I LOVE that look - but for my purpose I needed them to basically take up a whole wall so I knew I would need them large.

I wanted the word LOVE since it's in our bedroom. And I knew I wanted Black and White because my room design is all black and white with hints of silver. The only color is on the walls and it's DARK purple. I had big ideas (like I always do! lol) in my head about going into the city and finding stop lights (when looked at from the side it looks like a capital E!! So cool!) shadows from railings, graffiti, tree trunks etc...however life/reality kicked in about 3 days later when I was still unable to pack up the kids and get into the city to do this. Yes - my hubby is still deployed so I'm all alone in the kid department. If you are lucky enough to have some help and someone to watch the kids I highly suggest thinking big and going out in the world to find the best options. But like I said before it wasn't working out for me and I wanted to get it done so I thought you know - I bet I can find things around the house that would work just as good! And that's how I got my letters!!

My first letter was L. My son has two guitar vinyl's on his wall in his room and when I saw the handles that are criss crossed I instantly saw the L. This is a photo of the guitars.

This is the original picture I took to crop and turn to get the L you see in the final look. I took this photo and brought it into photoshop. I had some fixing to do because if you look closely my artist son has colored with a crayon on the wall and I didn't clean it off before I took the picture. You DO NOT need to have photoshop to do this project. Any free photo editing program you can find online will work just fine. The only techniques you'll need are changing the color to B&W if you choose being able to crop and being able to turn/transform the photo. You might even be able to do all of those things in Microsoft Paint. Not sure as I don't use that program.

So anyway I cropped this photo in tight around the tops of the two handles leaving enough of the neck of the handles to make the L. I then turned my photo clockwise and changed it B&W. Whalla! An L!!

Next was the O. I knew instantly what I would use for the O. It was actually what inspired me to look around the house for all the letters. I saw my new candle holder in the bathroom and loved the iron look. Near the bottom it looked like an O to me.
As you can see this would be a great S as well! This is the exact photo I took to crop and make the O. I loved that the bottom swirly (the part I was using for the O) reflected a shadow. I thought it would add a little more detail to the picture.

As with the L all I did to this photo was crop it in tight and turn B&W.

Next is the V. This one was a little more difficult for me but I love the final I got. I used this photo hanging in my living room of christmas poppies. The bottom of the flower and the stem together looked like a V to me. However it was upside down. No problem!

Using this exact photo. I brought it into photoshop and turned it almost completely upside down. I then cropped it in tight near the base of the red and white flower on the right side you see here. Turned it B&W and ended up with this.

And finally the E. I had a few options. But I like the way this one turned out. I wasn't sure when I first took the picture since it was an actual E but it ended up being my favorite. I took a picture of this wooden word I have on my mantel.
This is the actual picture I used. I brought the wood word outside onto my patio. I wanted a nice background and as you can see it has the patio, then the grass (yellow as grass gets in Louisiana in the winter - weird) and then the fence. I knew it would blur when I focused the lens on the E and I wanted that. In the end you barely see the background at all so I probably didn't need to make it that difficult. I took this photo and cropped it in tight to the E and turned it B&W. That's it!

Okay so now I have all my photos! Here are a few things you'll need to consider when doing your own.

  • What size do you need them? I wanted mine 8x10 so when cropping I set my aspect ratio (size of the  crop box) to 8x10 so I knew when I had them printed they would print exactly as they showed on the computer.
  • How do you want yours framed? As mentioned above I love the whole word framed together but since my word was small and my wall was big I decided to frame them singley. If I had more money I would have printed them at 10x13 and framed them that size. But frames can get pricey so I stuck with 8x10. I purchased my frames during a 50% off sale at Hobby Lobby (local craft store) so I got all 4 for about $30.
  • Where will you print your photos. You can print them anywhere!! For me I'm pretty addicted to professional photography printing places like H&H or Millers Lab or MPix Pro. I sometimes use MPix if I want a cheaper price that's better than walmart or rite-aid etc. Getting them printed somewhere like walmart is absolutely fine. Since my hubby is a photographer and we do a lot of editing in photoshop I know the colors that should come out. All those fast places seem to print really dark and it just urks me when I have a great photo that comes back from the printer too dark to see everything. So you can take your chances and save money or you can print professionally. I decided to spend the little extra and print professionally since this was going to be wall ART. I think I spent $18 for the 4 prints printed on True B&W photo paper and that includes the shipping.

Some tips and ideas -
  • Ideas for words - your last name (great for an entryway) - your kids names for their rooms - The word Family for a photo collage of your very own lovies - a favorite short quote - a year such as the year you were married. (2003 etc.) 
  • If you like the whole word in one frame print them out on 4x6 then take them to Michaels and have it professionally framed. It will cost a little more sure - but you'll still save over buying the whole letters and frame online. Michaels almost always has coupons you can print online for 50% off your custom framing order. They'll matte and frame your pics and it will look great! I'm thinking of doing this with our last name for our living room...??? not sure yet.
  • Use Chalk on a sidewalk and draw one of your letters. Such a cool idea!
  • Take a picture of an object such as a graffiti heart or red rose or flower you like and add it to the beginning or end of your word. I had a pic of a purple lotus flower my hubby took in Japan I was going to use. But I still haven't made up my mind if I want it up or not. My whole room has no color but the walls and that's kind of the I'm still undecided. I can always add it later if I want though.
  • If you live near a beach make one of your letters out of seashells in the sand. Or draw it in the sand with a stick!
As you can see the possiblities are endless! Use your new found love of Photography - trust me it will happen ;) - to take other photos for your house. Bring your significant other to the beach - draw a heart in the sand with your initials - lay a rose near it and take that pic. Or better yet stand far away from the heart in the sand on opposite sides extend your arms holding hands. You'll cast a shadow of you two holding hands on your heart in the sand. Have a friend take a pic of the heart with your two shadows. Blow it up poster size - frame it and hang it above your bed. Such a cute way to add art to your room that not only should save you money - but you MADE it yourself and YOU'RE in it so it means so much more than just buying a picture from IKEA. (although I do love me some Ikea!!)

Have fun and let me know how you do!!


Jenna said...

love love love this post!

LaRae said...

Thanks Jenna! Try it! You just moved right?? Spice that place up girl! ;)

Anonymous said...

Love this! Ive seen this company at our Bazzars do this. They ask a TON for their pictures. I wanted our last name done. I think I may scout around and do it myself. Esp if i can do it in my Pj's :P You are truly inspiring! :)

Anonymous said...

This is awesome... my best friends b-day is soon and i'm gonna do this for her. Also i am a gymnast so i can probably make some letters out of gymnastics posses. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post!!!!!!!!!

Kyle & LaRae said...

Gymnastic posses would be soooo cool!! What a great idea!

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