5 Cool DIY Crafts With Your Photos

Put a camera (okay, a phone!) in your kid’s hands, and let her go wild capturing the world around her. Make prints of her favorite photos and then use these techniques to transform them into new pieces of art. These are heirloom projects you’ll save for always!

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Make a Photo Illustration

Jeff Harris

Make a Photo Illustration

Have your kids create a bilateral portrait to learn about symmetry and mixing different media.

What You'll Need: 1 enlarged photograph (ours was 8"x10"), glue dots, 1 sheet heavyweight paper, crayons or colored pencils.

1. Cut the image in half and mount one half on the paper with glue dots.

2. Hand over a set of crayons or colored pencils and help your child draw the mirror image of the photo. 

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Make a Fabric Print

Jeff Harris

Make a Fabric Print

Kids can transfer a photo onto cloth. We made a wall hanging, but this will work for tote bags, T-shirts, and more. 

What You'll Need: 1" paintbrush, matte gel medium (we like Golden, available at craft stores), laser-copied image (highcontrast black-and-white works best), piece of cotton fabric (such as muslin or even a drop cloth), water, olive oil.

1. Brush a thick coat of gel medium onto the image.

2. Lay the image facedown on fabric. Lightly press from the center toward the edges to make sure the entire paper is in contact with the fabric. Let dry completely overnight. (If the back of the paper still feels cold, it’s not dry yet!)

3. When it’s ready, dip two fingers into a bowl of water and dampen the back of the image. Gently rub in a circular motion to begin removing the paper fibers. Continue to dampen and rub until the paper is gone. (You may have to let it dry and repeat this process a few times.)

4. Once all the paper is removed and the fabric is dry, dab a small amount of olive oil over the image to brighten.

5. For a wall hanging, fold over 1 inch of fabric at the top, and glue or sew down the edge to make a pocket. Insert a branch or dowel, and tie on a piece of string to hang.

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Create a Starburst Album

Jeff Harris

Create a Starburst Album

This special photo album has a mini origami twist that allows it to open with a surprise!

What You'll Need:  Heavyweight paper, photos, white glue, cardstock, decorative paper, ribbon.

1. First make the pages with heavyweight paper (see illustrated instructions.) Once they’re complete, add your photos with glue, trimming them to fit within the creased sections. Fill each spot or leave one or two blank for captions.

2. Refold the pages and stack them with the closed corners together. Glue each page to the one beneath it.

3. To make the covers, cut cardstock ¼ inch larger than the folded pages. Cover with decorative paper. Position them diagonally side by side; measure your stack of pages and make sure there’s an equal amount of space between the covers. Glue a ribbon across the center of both covers (it should be long enough to tie).

4. Glue the stack of pages to the back cover; pull the top cover over and glue down. Let dry. (See illustrated instructions.)

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Try a Lenticular

Jeff Harris

Try a Lenticular

This project makes flat prints 3-D and creates a super-cool illusion—the photos appear to change. 

What You'll Need: 2 different prints of the same size (ours were 8"x10"), heavyweight paper (watercolor paper works great); it should be 1 inch taller than the photos and 1 inch wider than the photos when placed side by side, ruler, acid-free glue stick (such as UHU), craft knife, bone folder or tongue depressor, cardstock (optional), glue dots (optional.)

1. Flip over the first photo. Starting on the left, draw vertical lines 1 inch apart across the back. Label each strip 1a, 1b, 1c, etc. Do the same on the back of the second photo, this time labeling 2a, 2b, 2c, etc.

2. Cut the first photo along the lines, keeping the strips in order. Do the same for the second photo. Keep each set separate.

3. Glue strip 1a onto the paper, lining up the edges. Glue strip 2a next to it, leaving a very slight space between the edges. Continue in this pattern with all the strips. Trim any excess paper. 4. Carefully score between the strips, using a ruler as a guide. 5. Fold along the strips, alternating front and back (fanfold); using a bone folder or tongue depressor helps make the creases crisp. Mount the lenticular on cardstock with glue dots or display as is!

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Build a Block Puzzle

Jeff Harris

Build a Block Puzzle

Cover each side or just a few—this is beautiful enough to display and sturdy enough to play with too.

What You'll Need:  6 unfinished 2" wood blocks (available at Michaels), rubber bands, six 4"x6" photographs (fewer is okay too), white glue, craft knife, acrylic paint (optional), fine sandpaper.

1. First, it’s important to number each face of the blocks. Set them up in a vertical rectangle. Lightly mark each block with a 1. To label the next side, flip each block toward you (it’s very important that you rotate all the blocks in the same direction). Label each one with a 2. Repeat two more times through side 4, always flipping toward you. Next flip all the blocks to the right, and label that side with a 5. Rotate them to the right again to the last blank side, and label each 6.

2. Flip all the blocks to side 1 (make sure each number is oriented up and down). Wrap rubber bands around the sides to hold them in place. Position the photo on top and trim.

3. Attach the first photo with glue. As it’s drying, run your thumbnail along the cracks to score the image. Once it’s dry, use a very sharp craft knife to cut the image along the cracks. Remove the rubber band and repeat.

4. You can put images on each face, or leave some sides natural or painted. When you’re done, lightly sand the edges to smooth any rough cuts.

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