Some people like to make up rules about what kind of art is acceptable in certain areas of a home. Family photos? They're usually banished to bedrooms or dens. I don't particularly like following silly design rules, but instead of blatantly breaking them this time around, I decided to just bend them a little. With a little inspiration and a lot of glue, I transformed this photo of my daughter Lucy into a piece of art perfectly compatible for any room of the house.
I have a soft spot in my heart for frilly mixed media art and collage work with a feminine feel, so of course I fell hard for the work of Ben Giles. I was especially inspired by the movement of paper flowers in combination with photography in his collaboration with Rebekah Campbell for Yen Magazine (seen here) and wanted to create a similar vibe in 3D with supplies I usually have lying about—family photos and artificial flowers. After running to the store for a shadow box frame, I whipped up this darling piece of art in a jiffy. I love it when I'm surprised by how easy a project turns out to be!
-shadow box frame
-photo sized to fit the frame (mine is 8" x 10")
-variety of small artificial flowers
-hot glue gun + glue sticks
I made sure this project remains a keepsake by printing the image onto acid-free paper and making sure the glue sticks I used were also acid free. This project was a gift for my sister-in-law, so hopefully she'll be able to treasure it for a long time.
I selected a few sprays of flowers that had tiny blooms that slightly varied in size. I wanted a fun, bright feel, so I chose these bright shades of colors in an analogous scheme, or colors that sit beside each other on the color wheel.
Step One: I trimmed the blooms from the artificial stems to create a pile to work with.
Step Two: I laid out the flowers without glue to make sure I had a rough arrangement that I liked. I decided to make stripes of colors, sort of like a floral rainbow flowing from Lucy's hand. You can arrange your flowers however you like, letting the white space and composition of the photo help you along. Let your creativity be your guide!
Step Three: Glue the flowers into place with a hot glue gun. When the glue dries, make sure you pull away all of the stray wisps of glue before putting the photo into your shadow box.
I love the way the bright colors pop against this light, desaturated photo. From far away it looks like an abstract piece, and up close the texture is surprising.
Helpful Tip: To make sure you like the arrangement of the flowers, it's helpful to look at it from far away, but that's hard to do when it's lying flat. Try taking a photo of the arrangement on your phone or camera and then viewing it at a smaller size before you commit to the arrangement.
I enjoyed working with this simple photo, but I keep thinking it would be fun to do a close-up shot of Lucy, too, perhaps covering her dress with lots of pretty flowers. There are so many creative options with this project!
P.S. You can see more photos from this mother-daughter fashion shoot right here on my personal blog! –Mandi
Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Spring of the Signature Collection.
I love this project, and the result looks really sweet! The colors you chose for the flowers really complement the black and white photo!
This actually reminded me of the project I’m working on, http://mindviagra.tumblr.com/post/98585692247/watering-tots – if you want to participate, send me an e-mail, it’s for a really good cause!
Yessss, this is a GREAT project idea!!! Thanks for sharing 🙂
I love this! Can’t wait to make it. Thanks for posting this craft.
I LOVE this! Such a great Banksy-meets-femme vibe.
What a great idea and love that it looks like she is carrying all of the flowers…adorable!
Definitely! You could even embroidered the photo too. You could use other glue, too, if you don’t want the work of hand stitching the flowers. -Mandi
This is such a cute project that I’m sure could easily be made kid-friendly! Added bonus! I am always in awe of how creative and awesome your blog is. Thank you for being an inspiration to us all! 🙂
A wonderful idea. The child picture is amazing and the white frame – perfect!
This is so sweet!
Such a cool idea to be creative and crafty with your photography! I’m going to have to try this!
love it! Do you think I could hand sew the flowers onto the photo if I printed on thick paper? The glue gun just decided its life span was over :/
Love this! I might want to try this on one of my wedding photos!
Oh my goodness, these are so cute!
Sparkles and Shoes
Believe me, I have already decorated photos with various techniques and this is one of the most beautiful and creative ones I have ever seen. Can’t wait to try it! Great work Mandi!
I absolutely LOVE this project! I can’t wait for my baby niece to start walking so I can use her as inspiration. 🙂
Wow, I love this idea! Thank you so much for sharing it…can’t wait to try it. It’s super pretty and brings a whole new dimension to the photograph (which was cute on it’s own, but now so much more). I also just clicked on the link to your site and read your story about cancer. You are a very brave woman for sharing that. Thank you for sharing something so personal.
Mandi, as always, your projects are amazing. I love this.
A really wonderful idea.
I love it so much.
Greetings & Love