Retro Style Embroidered Photo DIY

Retro Style Embroidered Photo DIYHello, friends! Today I am here to share a project that I had SO much fun making! I have been a longtime fan of retro hand colored photos as well as embroidering or collaging photos. It’s been something I’ve loved every since high school, so it has a special place in my heart.

For today’s project, I partnered with our friends at Canon USA and am combining these two techniques to make some really fun art for my home from an old and a new family photo. I hope you enjoy it!

Retro Style Embroidered Photo DIY While I was going  though my (gigantic) photo stash, narrowing down options for this project, I stumbled upon a new and an old photo that are almost identical in composition. The first one is a photo of my husband from a vacation a couple years ago. The second one is a photo of my dad, working in his garden when I was a little kid in the 80s.

As soon as I saw them side by side, I knew I had to use these for my project!

If you like this project, I challenge you to find an old photo and recreate it. I did this by accident, but it’s super easy to do on purpose as well. I think it’s a great way to show a mother and daughter, or other set of family members. In this case it’s extra special to me because it’s the two men who mean the most to me in the whole world.

I love photo projects that mix old and new photos. Old photos tend to remind me that while life is constantly changing, it is repeating itself as well. This is very comforting to me, and I like to be reminded of what was as much as possible.

Retro Style Embroidered Photo DIY To transfer my two photos to digital, I took photos with my phone, emailed them to myself, and then photoshopped them to the correct size and matching tones. You can also scan them or take a photo with your DSLR. I wasn’t all that concerned about quality since the photo of my dad was already a bit blurry. I firmly, FIRMLY believe that blurry photos can still be meaningful, sometimes even more so than perfect photos.

Retro Style Embroidered Photo DIY I used my Canon PIXMA iP8720 printer to print them both to size 11×14 on 13×19 Luster photo paper… my favorite! I love how this printer can handle the larger sized format for custom projects like this and this photo paper is definitely my go to choice. When I had them in Photoshop, I made sure the crops and tones were as similar as possible.

Retro Style Embroidered Photo DIY Supplies:
-photos printed to the size of your frames
-embroidery thread
-embroidery needles
-pens (I used my mildliner highlighter set)

Retro Style Embroidered Photo DIY Use your markers to color in sections of the photo. Go slowly and be careful to not do too much. I think a sparse use of hand coloring is so much prettier than fully coloring the entire photo.

Retro Style Embroidered Photo DIY Next, add some hand embroidery. I used several different colors and techniques to add stitches and kept the look pretty random. Unlike with the markers, I think the more embroidery you do the better. I just kept going until my hands hurt. Haha!

Retro Style Embroidered Photo DIY Here are some closeup photos of my finished pieces!

Retro Style Embroidered Photo DIY Retro Style Embroidered Photo DIY Retro Style Embroidered Photo DIY I had the best time working on this. This is one of those projects that is somewhat therapeutic just because it takes forever yet it’s super simple.

I am obsessed with old family photos right now. I have another project in the works that uses dozens of them, and I can’t wait to share it with you later this summer. It’s crazy.

If you have old family photos sitting in boxes, I encourage you to pull them out, make a stack of your favorites and let your imagination run wild on how you can display them in your home!

Oh! And if you’re curious about my gold cactus wallpaper, it’s a DIY here.

Have a great day. xx -Elsie

Credits//Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

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