Friday, November 30, 2012

Color Tinting Glass Bottles and Jars

Some of my favorite photo displays are of vintage black and white pictures inside old-fashioned turquoise Ball jars. I have quite a collection of glass bottles, but they aren't all the pretty turquoise and green sea glass I admire. So I have been attempting to paint my own.

For this project I used Plaid Online's Gallery Glass window color from the Joann Fabric and Craft Stores website. It is meant to be a stained glass type of craft paint that dries on a flat surface, but it can be used to tint the inside of glass objects. The biggest problems are coating the inside of the entire object, keeping the paint from puddling and streaking, and the drying time.

Full strength Ruby Red paint brushed inside a clear glass vase, above, sticks to the glass walls better than diluted paint, but each brush stroke shows when dry. When a glass container has high shoulders, it is impossible to reach under the corners with a brush. 

If you want to dilute the paint, it is best to measure into a bowl and mix with water before pouring into the glass container. Diluting one part paint to one part water gives a pale tint, while a ratio of two or three parts paint to one part water runs more slowly and covers better, but tends to streak as it dries. 

When your paint/water mixture is completely smooth, pour into the clean glass jar and swirl it around.

You may need to help the paint along by using a brush to coat dry spots. Rinsing the jar in warm water before pouring in paint helps it cover the entire inside.

Drain the excess paint, which may be used for a second coat if needed. It takes about two or three teaspoons of paint or diluted paint to coat the inside of a canning jar.

Drain onto a paper towel over plastic, or the paint will puddle at the bottom of the jar. It may help to touch up throughout the drying process to prevent streaking. Drying time depends on the dilution of the paint, and how narrow the neck of the jar is. It can take up to two days to dry. Placing the opening of the jar in front of a fan can help.

Ivy Green in an equal parts dilution tints the two jars on the left; Turquoise in a 3:1 ratio of paint to water coats the inside of the two Ball canning jars on the back right; and Blue Diamond at full strength colors the vintage talcum powder jar and the glass ornament, front right. Since Gallery Glass is a white-glue based paint, it is water-resistant when dry but will eventually flake and peel off if soaked in water.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Square Frames

I've always loved square frames, but they aren't always easy to find. I've been collecting them lately. They lend themselves especially to the nine-square display or a vertical or horizontal row of pictures, often forming a border around larger pictures.

For some reason, square frames are often used with black and white photos--for example, in a series of vintage pictures. It could be that square frames are more of an artistic statement than simply a container to hold photographs in.

A sampling of square frame ideas:

Above, black and white photos in black and white (mostly) square frames with a few rectangles thrown in. The smaller square sizes outline the larger, central one. These look especially appealing above the white bench and against the sea-green wall.

An interesting collection of black and white photos in large-matted frames with a silver-gray branch accent on a white ledge. The size of the mats gives more emphasis to the frames and layouts than to the actual photos. Only one of these is square on square.

Square Lee Gallery frames from Pottery Barn. Hanging a number of large-matted photos together across the length of a wall gives more of an artistic effect, since the emphasis is less on the contents of the actual photos, but an overall collection, this time in closeup squares of pastel colors framed in silver.

Dramatic display of black and white family photos in white frames against a dark wall. Although the frames appear square, even if they are not, the effect is such that the nine-picture arrangement enhances squareness, and square frames and/or photos would be very effective this way.

Color outdoor photo in a rustic wood frame. The mitered three-dimensionality of this frame pulls you into the landscape.

Nine large square white frames become part of a room decor

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hanging Photos with Ribbon, String and Hooks

A recent trend in hanging photos is the use of ribbon, string and chains, often with rods or using small hooks.

White-framed black and white photos tied with ribbon bows to a decorative rod

via BHG

Above, black and white photos hung from decorative molding using string and small hooks

S-hooks hang wood backgrounds along a wire to display photos mounted using bulldog clips. Photos can be changed without having to reframe them. Curbly DIY instructions can be found HERE

via Etsy

Ribbon-connected frames would work well with a series of photos

Trapeze  rod for hanging family photos, above

Ribbon hung frames

via Squidoo

Decorative rod and photos using lengths of chains

Matted photos on a wall display using hook clips along a narrow rod

Interesting picture collage using lengths of string and a variety of sizes of frames

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pictures Above the Doorway

An often overlooked spot to place photos is over a doorway or entry way. A series of pictures, especially landscapes, do well here. 

Picture above the glass doors is part of a larger wall photo display

Landscapes above a doorway are enhanced by the green wall color. Further inside the doorway, beyond the  round table and chairs, the pantry doorway is decorated on both sides and above with framed pictures.

Black and white photos above glass doors in a gray, cream and aqua room

Family photos above an entry way into a dining room

Photos and accents on a display shelf over a recessed entryway make use of otherwise neglected wall space

Monday, November 19, 2012

Travel Photos in White Frames

Simple white frames are convenient to use with travel photos, since they do not call attention to themselves while allowing the colors and interest of the travel to come to the fore. They are easy to group on shelves and on walls without worrying about how frames of differing sizes and materials will mix. I have found white frames as inexpensively as $1 apiece in packages of three at discount department stores. Adding accent pieces from foreign lands gives context to the pictures and makes a natural display.

Photos in white frames, a hostess fan, and Kokeshi dolls from Sendai and Aomori in Northern Japan make a nice display in white shelves

 Varying sizes of white frames set off seascapes on a white wall

Portraits of Ecuadorians and Mongolians and their ponies set off in white frames around a poster-size picture of a remote Chinese lake. The photographer for these photos, some taken 50 years ago, is the late Cleo Nelson (pictured in the red bandanna), intrepid world traveler and my husband's grandmother

A departure from white frames, this picture shelf, above, includes 3" x 3" openings for photos of scenes from Spain and the Middle East, and a shelf for travel treasures, in this case an African water buffalo

Friday, November 16, 2012

Evelyn's French Provincial Home

Evelyn Dame has exquisite artistic sense, and has decorated her 1928 home with French Provincial accents and warm, earthy colors. She and her husband Kelly raised five boys who are now grown and gone with families of their own.

Large family portraits benefit from warm light in a stairway gallery

The Dames' historical home was once reported to be haunted

Photos of grandchildren in a pretty desk corner with botanical print & flower accents

Glass-topped sideboard with armillary accent 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Five Photo Print Services

Using a photo printer at home is convenient and easy. However, as online print services have multiplied and improved their services, it is almost too easy to upload, pay online, and have  just the prints you want, in the sizes you want including poster sizes, collages cards, and books, sent to your mailbox at fair prices. Additionally, you don't have to worry about buying and wasting expensive archival papers and inks. If you watch for sales, you can get pretty good deals.

The photo collage, above, is one of several sent to us by our far-away children and grandchildren. They are easy to frame or post on a wall anywhere, and easy to send from anywhere--simply upload your photos and place where you want on a collage background, and send. This one is taped on the oak cabinet-side along the refrigerator. My husband loves to look at it, as do visiting grandchildren.

I have accounts with most of the online print services listed below, and have ordered products from them. One thing to pay attention to is resolution quality, so resulting prints will not be blurry or compromised. Snapfish and Shutterfly are two of the best of these services, with Smugmug geared more toward professional gallery uploads and less toward product lines.  

Print services vary in pricing and the types of products they offer, so you may want to see the comparison review site listed at the bottom of the post. I will be posting more of these types of online print services in later blogs.

Snapfish allows you to upload photos through Facebook and Flickr and share albums through social media sites. Print quality is excellent, features are easy to use, price per print is one of the lowest, and you can use your photos in the following ways: 
Mugs, glasses and water bottles
Key chains and jewelry
Home and office products
Clothing and accessories
Puzzles and games

Shutterfly is known for its online help community and personal website sharing. The quality of photos and ease of use is very good to excellent, with projects like the following: 
Photo books
Cards and stationery
Prints, including wall decals, posters, scrapbook pages and collage posters
Playing cards
Key chains and jewelry
Home and office products
Clothing and accessories
Puzzles and books

 Smugmug caters not only to amateurs but professionals as well, through a community photographer network and social media sharing. It allows in-application editing using Picnik. Print quality and ease of use are very good to excellent. 

Kodak Gallery has great customer service, and very good to excellent print quality and ease of use. While it does not have a great selection of print products, it does have some unique and customizable gift options. 

York Photo does not have some of the support options the other sites have, but it does have very good to excellent print quality with low prices, ease of use, and social sharing.
Photo printing options include:
Playing cards
Photo books
Clothing and jewelry
Home d├ęcor
Prints and posters

For more review information on these five print services, go to Digital Photo Printing Reviews Top Ten

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Well-Ordered Collages

Collages are a great way to display a large number of photos at once. While the definition of a collage in the art world might refer to a composition of different materials pasted on a single surface, when speaking of photo displays I prefer to think of a collage as "an assemblage of diverse elements."

Many of the wall displays on this website can be considered collages. However, to make a distinction from photo displays consisting of a collection of random elements artfully arranged, a well-ordered collage contains elements of pattern, repetition, and balance especially when it comes to colors, sizes and materials whether referring to the frames or the photos themselves.

Above, oatmeal linen mats with a black liner inside silver finished frames from Uttermost Massena display sepia-toned photos of sequential travel architecture

Nine square white matted frames with small square photos 

via Domino

A nice composition of seven frame sizes joined to a decorative ledge

Multi-photo frames can be especially useful in displays of sequential photos or photos containing similar design elements

Family wall display utilizing seven 10"x10" frames in a balanced display with four 10"x20" frames

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vintage Wedding Photo Displays

One of the requests I've received is for displays of old wedding photos that do not end up being a family shrine. One way this can be achieved is by making the photos part of a larger design scheme, by adding accent pieces and grouping frames that add their own touch of vintage, setting off black-and-white photos as points of interest among many.

Against a bright turquoise wall, a photo collection using oval and vintage-style frames on a white shelf above a framed antique map. Oval frames seem to lend themselves to vintage photos

via Flickr

Framed photos among fresh flowers for a corner wedding table display

Large oval and square white frames surrounding easily interchangeable snapshots against a white wall. The old radios, yellow flowers, and distressed white vintage shelf enhance the effect

Another display that could lend itself to old wedding photos--this time, an old arched window set up at an outdoor stair entrance, with framed photos hanging by ribbons