Fun Ways to Upcycle Old Photos | upcycleDZINE
Photos © Joanna Kosinska

In this day and age where everything is digital, many see printing photos as wasteful. Indeed, Amateur Photographer points out that, while there are some aspects of photographic printing that can be tweaked to reduce its environmental impact, it’s still going to use up energy. As such, printing photos is still seen as largely unsustainable in the long-run.

This is why it is best to stick to digital photos and keep them in your external hard drive for long-term storage and future viewing. But if you’ve got your hands on a ton of printed photos, and you don’t know what to do with them, why not use them in a creative upcycling project? With that said, we’ve compiled the best DIY home projects to upcycle old photos [printed ones] that you may have.

Photo Calendar

If there’s one thing that can certainly brighten up a room, it’s photographs. True enough, a guide to home improvement ideas by HomeServe Living notes that gallery walls have become very popular as they can easily add personality to a home. You can even mix up family photographs with artwork. However, if you’re not so keen on putting up photos on your walls, you can make it more interactive by creating a photo calendar instead. Use 31 photos that you have no use for anymore and number them with a label maker. If you want to keep your walls pristine, you can stick your photo calendar on your walls with removable stickers. You can also craft a pocket on the back of each photo using card stock for any notes and reminders you might have.

Fun Ways to Upcycle Old Photos like this gallery wall | upcycleDZINE
Photos © Amy Humphries

Handmade Place Mats

If you want to bring a little character to your dinner table, why not personalize placemats using your old photos? All you need are a few pieces of wood, spare photos, and some wax transfer paper. Simply sand the wood, print a photo on wax transfer paper, and press the paper onto the piece of wood using an iron and a cloth. If you’ve got a lot of photos from a certain trip or event, feel free to select a theme for each set of placemats or coasters.

Fun Ways to Upcycle Old Photos like these placemats and coasters | upcycleDZINE
Photos © Radio Rental

Unique Jewelry

While lockets can be a great way to keep a photo of a loved one with you at all times, another option is to display the photo outright in the middle of a pendant. For this project, you’ll only need blank pendant bezels, a photo, resin, and a few materials that you can find in your craft drawer. The key to making these pendants are the bezel blanks that will essentially serve as the placeholder for your photo and resin. You can find various shapes of bezel blanks at your local craft supply store, but if you want fun and unusual shapes, be sure to check out sellers on craft websites like Etsy.

Fun Ways to Upcycle Old Photos like this jewelry | upcycleDZINE
Photos © verabel on Etsy

Ceramic Photo Coasters

Did you know that you can transfer any old photo onto a ceramic coaster? Aside from being a fun DIY project, ceramic photo coasters make for an inexpensive and memorable gift. A Felt Magnet article shares that making them is relatively easy, as the key materials you’ll need are just Mod Podge, some brushes, a paintbrush, sandpaper, and tiles.

Fun Ways to Upcycle Old Photos like these coasters | upcycleDZINE
Photos © The Plastic Potter on Etsy

Aside from helping to save the environment, upcycling your old photos can be a great way to unleash your creative skills. If you want to learn more about upcycling and how to do it, be sure to check our post ‘26 Upcycle Ideas Using Plastic‘.

Post in collaboration with Evelyn Davis

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