Sue from Boston writes, “I'm
looking for a suggestion of what to do with lots and lots of old
slides that were my parents'.”
have a similar problem – many slides with remarkably similar images.
Once upon a time slides were the best way to share your pics with a
crowd and preserve high quality images, although many of the ones I
have are faded and degraded. In most of mine the slide frame itself
is cardboard rather than plastic, and I have a couple that are glass
encased in metal.
Nowadays of course we can keep and share our
images digitally. I learned recently that we should reburn our photo
CDs onto new ones every ten to fifteen years to maintain optimal
image quality. Rather than do that, I'm inclined to reduce the waste
and use an online photo storing service, and just print those images
I wish to use for scrapbooking.
Assuming any important images themselves have
been backed up digitally, the slides can be repurposed. Here are
One of the trends in Scrapbooking is a scrappy,
mixed media style incorporating found objects. The pages are very
textural, and often include vintage ephemera and items like bingo
cards that often have nothing to do with the content of the photos
or event being memorialized. They are of purely visual, aesthetic
Slides can be used in this type of page or in
mixed media collage as part of the texture. The shiny celluloid
might layer and peek out from amongst other pieces.
Another part of this trend is to use frames
around images or parts of images. Empty slide frames would be
perfect in this case, either painted first or left in their aged
glory. I've been pretty obsessed with “heritage” projects – using
photos of my childhood and family ancestors in layouts and
mini-albums, so distressed ephemera helps. (See photo above left and
Another use would be to take advantage of the
translucent quality of slides to make luminaires of different sizes.
Five frames glued together with white or hot glue, or taped, make a
nice shade for a battery powered votive “candle”. (I don't recommend
open flame for safety reasons.) (See photo #2, right)
Is it crazy to visualize whole miniature houses
and villages made from slides affixed together, reinforced with
dowels or extra cardboard, and lit from within? This would sure put
a new spin on the usual Christmas Village scene. Or perhaps some
card houses made from cereal boxes with windows cut and filled with
slides of people.– see downloadloadable templates
Strung together with craft wire jump rings, a
bunch of slides would make an intriguing drape or door curtain,
especially if light shone from outside. Slides wired to a lampshade
frame (recycled of course) would make a talking point and cast
colored light all over the room.
Placing holes in all four corners with a 1/16th
inch hole puncher does not damage the image at all, but you could
use another hole making method. I make my own jump rings by wrapping
craft wire around a dowel, then snipping the rings apart. Link
slides together in a column, then use another ring to bring the
joints together, so that you have a kind of web of slides.
Six affixed together in a cube would make a
shade for holiday string lights, as long as some corners are trimmed
to admit the bulb. LED lights are by far the most energy efficient,
and have the added advantage that they don't get hot. We purchase
one new string every year to add to our stash.
More timely paper crafting: reader
Ina M. asks, “I have kept last year's Christmas cards that were sent
to me. So many of them are too beautiful to toss, and there has to
be a way to recycle/upcycle all those lovely Christmas cards. Any
course! I'm so glad you asked.
I use images from cards in my seasonal
scrapbooking and decoupage. I make a strong solution of bicarbonate
of soda (baking soda) in water, then paint the back side of the cut
out image to remove the acid in the paper. The card tends to curl
while it is wet, but usually flattens perfectly well as it dries.
Then I glue it to my pages. Vintage style images, with muted colors
work well with black and white photos.
Decoupaged canvas frames or open
box dioramas (which you know are some of my favorite
projects) for your holiday decor can combine card images
with quotes, either from the cards or other sources.
Cards can also be cut and reused as
Still we can only make so many scrapbook
layouts and tags. I use pretty much all my received cards that
aren't suitable for scrapbooking for tree decorations.
Here's the method, illustrated step-by-step by
the photos to the right. (For a how to using a paper punch and
scoreboard please visit my
Iggy Jingles blog)
Cut circles from your cards, choosing fun parts
of the image – although in the end it really doesn't matter. You can
cut circles from the inside with the greeting too. I usually size
the circle at around three inches diameter because I have a punch
that size, but anywhere between two and three inches works very
well. Ideally you will have something to use as a template, like a
one blank circle for size, fold in half and again, to mark the
intersections for a square. Cut a square that fits exactly in the
circle as a template. With little more measuring and a protractor,
or good eye, you can make a similar equilateral triangle template.
Outline the square in all your cut circles, score with a bone
folder, stylus or blunt knife (like a butter knife) and fold up the
segments along the lines, towards the right side.
Glue the folded segments together with the
pattern facing out. Six circles with squares make a cube, while four
triangles make a pyramid, and eight a pretty oval ornament. I glue a
loop of colored cording for hanging poking from the inside at one
corner. I like to randomize my circles, rather than use many from
the same card in each ornament.
Too plain? Add some glitter glue, sparkly
shapes, buttons or photos to the centers of the squares or
By the way, Ina, this also works great with
wallpaper – but that's another column!
After a long career designing for theater and
independent films, Robyn Coburn finds her joy as an unschooling mother who also
writes and crafts. She has been a confirmed greenie since working for Greenpeace
during her college years in Australia. Robyn is currently working on two crafty
books, a fairy tale screenplay and a TV series about doll making and collecting.
A past speaker and funshop presenter at Live and Learn Unschooling conferences,
she contributes regularly to unschooling e-lists. She lives in Los Angeles,
California with her husband James and ever inspiring daughter Jayn. Contact
Robyn by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her at