It bothers me when a photograph doesn't turn out well. I hate to throw
them away. But I hadn't figured out what to do with either the bad
pictures or the bits of photographs that are left over when you trim
them down. I discovered a solution while at a bookstore, thumbing through
Susie Johns Photo Craft. Johns comes up with 50 creative ideas for using
photographs. One of them--colorful mirror frames from mosaic "photo
tiles"--uses useless photographs and remnants. Using this technique, you
could also cover wood box lids or create greeting cards.
The book publisher, Watson-Guptill, has given us permission to use the
directions and photographs (we've adapted the directions) from Susie Johns
50 Creative Ideas for Using Photographs (1997).
What You Need
- One 4" x 6" un-mounted mirror
- A 8" x 10" piece of mounting board
- Lightweight cardboard
- For mounting the mirror: either an inexpensive 8" x 10" frame (without glass) --flea market finds are perfect for this -- or two adhesive-backed picture hooks
- White glue
- Xacto, or crafts knife
- Steel ruler
- Piece of Kraft wrapping paper larger than 8" x 10" or the overall size of your design (optional)
What You Do
Your finished mirror will be surrounded by a mosaic "picture tile" border. You
may double frame the mirror by inserting the finished mosaic mirror into a
Paste your unused photographs or photo snippets on lightweight cardboard and then
cut the cardboard into small pieces (about 1/2"-3/4" large), using a
craft knife and a steel ruler. The pieces should be more or less the
same size. It doesn't matter if they differ slightly in shape as it
adds to the overall effect.
You now have your own mosaic tiles, which can be arranged in a similar
way to the traditional glass, marble and tile mosaic designs. Before
starting, sort mosaics into groups of similar patterns and colors.
If you want to experiment with your design before gluing it down, draw your
mirror's dimensions on the wrapping paper and use the paper to plan your
layout. The mirror shown in these photos has borders on the inside and
outside of the mirror and a random pattern in-between. But you might want to experiment--perhaps use initials, a pattern of squares and rectangles, or a checkerboard design.
Creating A Mosaic Tile Design
1. Stick the mirror in the center of the
mounting board, using white glue. Work with one-half of the border at a
time. Cover a long side and a short side, including the mirror edge, with a
thick layer of white glue, spreading it evenly with a scrap of cardboard.
2. Create your mosaic border by sticking tiles
in place, working quickly, before the glue dries. If the glue dries out, add
another layer of glue on top. Position pieces on the glued portion, including
the edge of the mirror. Do the same to the remaining sections of the border.
3. Fill in any spaces with the remaining
tiles, trimming them where necessary for a good fit. Let dry.
4. Insert the finished mosaic mirror in a ready-made frame or glue two adhesive-backed picture hooks onto the back of the mirror.
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