Monday, October 16, 2006

Using Index Prints in your Crafts

By Christina VanGinkel

The first time I came across the option in a graphics program to print an index card of thumbnail sized pictures, I thought that was nice, but nothing I would ever have a use for. Sure, I backed up my photos and a digital index was occasionally a choice, but this was different, this was the option to print an index of thumbnail sized pictures from my printer. Considering how small an index sized print is, I just did not think I would ever have a use for such a size print. I knew there were manufactured bracelets and necklaces made especially for using such tiny pictures, but had never considered using them in typical craft or scrapbook projects, or in an altered project.


Not long after, I was working on a scrapbook layout of my son's undefeated football season and had a border my daughter had given me to use that looked like a filmstrip. It was not a purchased strip but one she had printed on a strip of vellum from a piece of computer clipart. I remembered the index prints and thought if I could print the filmstrip border just a bit smaller than she had printed it, it would be an ideal fit for several index-sized prints. It not only worked, it created a very interesting embellishment for the layout. I used a team photo from the year as the focus of the layout, and then included several index prints of the different fields they played on throughout the year, seven in total, and combined them with snapshots of the scoreboards throughout the year.

When choosing which photos to use, I learned that when choosing pictures to work with, look for those that offer up a close-up of the subject, or is such a typical view, as the football fields and scoreboards are, otherwise you risk losing so much detail in the tiny format that the picture will be unrecognizable.

Altered Compass Necklace

With several extra index sized prints leftover from my son's football layout, I pondered what else I could do with these portraits in miniature. I still have them in a small container on my scrapping table, yet undecided about their fate. However, as I pondered their destiny, I considered all the other photos that I could print a sheet of index prints of, and concluded how adorable a tiny index sized print of my grandson would look on an altered necklace. I had an old compass that though it no longer worked, I had been reluctant to toss, so it had joined my stash of things I might someday use in my crafting. I decided to make it into a necklace with my grandson as the focal point. It had a hinged cover, so I determined that I would alter the outside of it and leave the inside of it as is. The cover was altered by attaching the index sized print of my grandson and the words Love is the Compass of Life. I formatted the words in a graphics program so that they would wind around the print when I fit the index print on top of the printed words, on top of the compass cover. I took the printing one-step further and printed them on clear vellum. (I borrowed this idea from the filmstrips for the simple reason that I loved the way printing looked on the vellum). I then ran them through my X shaped sticker maker from Xyron, with a permanent adhesive fill, so that I would not have to fuss with glue that would show through the vellum. Note: Before attaching the text and picture, I first lightly sanded the cover so that they would adhere well. I also took apart another old compass that a friend contributed to the project when she found out what I was doing, and used the compass point on the exterior as an embellishment. I strung the finished piece on a gold cord and the finished piece is lovely. Someone else suggested I apply a clear lacquer over the entire cover, but I have been reluctant to do so, unsure how the lacquer would affect both the vellum I printed on and the metal cover. If I decide to try it, I will test it on as mall spot on the inside of the cover first, so as not to ruin what I have done so far.

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