By Christina VanGinkel
Photographs are not just for framing, to stick in a scrapbook, or even to tuck into the photo sleeve of your wallet. They can be used for much, much more than that. Be creative and use a favorite photograph to embellish a t-shirt or sweatshirt. With just about any graphics program, you can customize a photo with text, or other embellishments, then print (Use reverse print if you have incorporated text into the project) onto an iron on transfer sheet. Follow the package directions to then apply the transfer to a shirt or sweatshirt of your choice and you will have a great, personalized gift to give, or keep it for yourself and wear with pride, knowing that you not only made it yourself, you took the photograph too! If a sweatshirt or t-shirt are not something you think you or a gift recipient would wear or use, place your photograph on a book bag or apron.
If you need a project to make with the kids for the upcoming holiday season, open up your favorite graphics program on the computer and create a collage of mini prints. Once you have chosen the best photos and printed the collage sheet out, cut it apart with a pair of scissors or for more even cuts, use a paper trimmer. Then cover each mini sized photo with sheets of clear laminate and apply a magnate to the back of each one. The kids can give these to grandparents and aunts and uncles as stocking stuffers.
Another great way to use lamination with photographs is to create a fingerprint-proof photo album for a toddler. Choose pictures of the grandparents, siblings, the family pet, or any photo that you think baby would love. Laminate each photograph with an oversize sheet of laminate, allowing room for a three-hole punch to be used. Stack the pictures together and tie through the punched holes with ribbon. Take a pair of scissors or a scrapbook punch designed for rounding corners, and round off each corner to make sure baby has fun with the book and does not poke him or her self on the corners.
Calendars are always a useful gift, and fun to make when you decorate each month and the cover with a photo you snapped yourself. On the other hand, make a desk calendar showing all twelve months at once, with a single photograph offset from the calendar in full saturation, or turn the saturation way down and use it like a watermark behind the text showing the months of the calendar.
You can print your favorite photographs on shrink plastic, made exclusively to run through your inkjet printer. Then, following the directions on the package, you shrink your favorite photographs down to use in pendants, earrings, necklaces, and more. I have seen the mini pictures applied to picture frames, as embellishments in scrapbooks, and with pin backs tacked onto a purse.
Photographs today should be much more than just one more snapshot landing in the bottom of a shoebox, to be tossed into the back of your closet, in hopes of landing in a photo album someday. Explore all of the fun things you can do with your photographs today!