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!
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.
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!
Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Spring of the Signature Collection.