DIY: Restoring Vintage Photos


OldPhotos2OldPhotos1OldPhotos4OldPhotos3OldPhotos6OldPhotos5A picture is worth a thousand words and I was sad to see these tiny, vintage photos of our grandparents stuffed into a folder and rarely looked at. These photos boast the history and character of our family’s past. That’s my grandfather, who we lost last year, sitting on the edge of a classic car, smoking a pipe. I cherish this photo, since he was and is so special to me. The other photo of the dapper men in front of a tailor shop is of Zan’s grandfather (in the suspenders) and his great uncles! As I decorate our house, I want to make it a place that tells a story. I want art and decor to have a meaning, things we pick up from traveling or heirlooms. That’s why I absolutely adore this inexpensive (yes, it’s true!) DIY project. I was going to take these little photos to a professional framer, but I decided to try my hand at framing and I’m beyond pleased with the results! I had them enlarged, laminated and posted on foam board, which only cost $10! The shadow box frames, were also $10 for both, crazy! I had some linen lying around to use for the backing too! You can read more details on this DIY below. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to walk by these photos. They’re really a daily reminder that life is short and to embrace what really matters. Seeing my grandpa’s smiling face everyday is comforting. Romeo reminds me of him so much and I think he resembles him too!

Old photos
Hot glue gun
Shadow box frames
Dig up charming old photos of your family.
Bring them to an office supply store to have them scanned and printed. You choose the size you want.
Have them mount the photo on foam board and laminate it.
Iron the linen to remove any wrinkles.
Take the back out of the shadow box and place face down on the linen.
Next, pull the linen tight and glue it to the back of the frame. Place the hot glue right on the edge, below the clasps.
Cut any extra fabric off the sides.
Position the photo on the linen and then using hot glue, glue it to secure it to the linen.
Just like framing a photo, put it back in the frame and secure the clasps.
I love this technique because it gives it a two dimensional look rather than just a plain frame. Now get framin’!

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9 responses to DIY: Restoring Vintage Photos

  1. Roxanne
    February 25, 2014

    Such a meaningful, amazing project – thanks for sharing! I have been scanning photos of my late grandfather, a World War II veteran, so that I can make a slideshow for my family. Some of the photos are from the early 1900s! I will definitely be making and framing some enlarged prints following the steps in the post. 🙂

    1. Eden
      February 25, 2014

      Thanks Rox! You’ll love having those photos framed in your house!! Let me know if you need any help or have any questions 🙂

  2. February 25, 2014

    These are an absolutely beautiful way to display family heirloom photos. I’ll have to rummage through my grandparents’ albums to do these for our family. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Eden
      February 25, 2014

      Thank you Diana!! I’m sure you’ll find some good photos in your grandparents’ albums!!

  3. February 26, 2014

    This is so cute, what a great idea! Much better than sitting in a closed photo book!


  4. February 26, 2014

    I love the addition of the linen! I have several old photos that I’ve always wanted to do something special with. This is perfect.

    1. Eden
      February 27, 2014

      We usually get things framed professionally and they always use linen for the backdrop!! I figured I could do that myself and I like it even more than matting 🙂

  5. Amanda
    February 27, 2014

    I’m so nostalgic, I LOVE this!! Also, could you tell me where your shelves are from!!? Soo cute!!

    1. Eden
      February 27, 2014

      Thanks Amanda! I am too 🙂 The shelves are from Restoration Hardware and I LOVE them!! Here’s the link:

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