Creating Wall Art From Vintage Photos

woman on a motorcycle in black and white photo
  • 1-50 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-400

Vintage photos of family members and scenes from times past are too precious to be stored away forgotten. Displaying your vintage photos can add interest and personality to the space and can be starting points for conversation with guests. Here are some creative ways of turning your photos into wall art that will be appreciated and admired by all.

Photo Collage

vintage photos in a collage

A photo collage is great for displaying photos of a similar theme. Use photocopies or make digital copies of your vintage photographs so you are free to cut and paste as you wish. If you have memorabilia from the same time period, like newspaper clippings or fabric scraps, consider using them in your collage as well.

Lay your photos out on a sheet of cardstock and decide how you want to arrange them. Generally, the pictures at the corners and sides will attract more attention. If you have gaps between the photos you want to fill, you may want to use a scrapbook page with vintage patterns as a background. Use an acid-free glue stick to secure the photos in place and let the collage dry. Alternatively, you can scan your vintage photos into your computer and create a collage using a program like Picasa, Photoshop, or AutoCollage. Print out the collage, frame it up, and display on the wall.

Photo Quilt

Create a one-of-a-kind quilt to hang on your wall to display your vintage photos. A large square of white cotton fabric, hemmed at the edges, will work for a basic design. The pictures you use should be trimmed to equal square size. You can either use several photos, or select one to be blown up at the photocopy store and cut into smaller squares.

Scan all the images into your computer and print them out on photo transfer paper, which you can find at craft or office supply stores. Iron the images onto the fabric, taking care to space them out evenly over the whole quilt. As a finishing touch, trim the edges and the spaces between the pictures with matching ribbons.

Vintage Window Display

photos clipped to wire inside a frame

An old window frame with or without glass panes can be obtained at a yard sale or from people you know who are remodeling their windows. By displaying your vintage photos through the panes, you can transform the window into an interesting art piece for your wall. You may want to slightly sand the paint on the window frame to create a distressed look. Select one photo to place in each window pane.

First cut a mat board or any other stiff framing paper of your choice to frame each photo. Tape the photo onto the back of the mat board and fit it into the window pane. Next cut a plywood backing board so it fits snugly into the pane, and hold it in place with metal photo frame clips you can attach to the window frame using a staple gun. Repeat the steps for each window pane and you will end up with a charming vintage wall art piece.