If you’re looking for DIY photo collage ideas, this farmhouse chic window collage from Stefanie of Brooklyn Limestone is perfect for displaying your favorite memories. From drawing your own embellishments to choosing a creative layout, you can use a photo collage to get the most out of your photo prints. Find step by step directions from Stefanie below on how to turn an old window into the perfect photo display project.
As an old home lover, I cannot walk past architectural salvage without wanting to find it a new home. There are certain elements of old homes that have such charm but just aren’t practical to use in their original function anymore and that includes wooden framed single paned windows. These type of old windows are easy enough to find and make the perfect canvas for an easy and affordable DIY photo collage.
- 1 old window
- Double sided tape
- Photo prints
- 2 screw eye hooks
- Printed frame guidelines (optional)
- White chalk marker (optional)
Step 1: Prep Your Window
Once you have located the perfect window for your project, you’ll need to do some simple preparation to ready it for use. If the window is quite old, I would suggest you take it outside, spray it well with water and use a scraper (as well as goggles and a respirator) to remove any loose or chipping paint. Lead in paint is especially common for exterior uses before the 1970s so you can never be too careful. If you would like to go a step further, you can encapsulate any remaining lead by using a polyacrylic top coat (which can be located at any hardware store) over the entire window. I didn’t bother with that step as I wasn’t going to be putting this anywhere where little hands could get to it but its an easy enough thing to do if you are concerned. Finally wash the glass well and allow to completely dry before proceeding.
Step 2: Choose a Layout
With your window ready, continue by selecting the images you want to display. I like to use various snapshots taken at the same time to create a montage but you can just as easily use favorite photos from a variety of days. You can opt to use a series in all the same size or vary the print size for more visual interest. Then measure your window frame to help you decide how many photos can fit and what size prints you will need. I like to play around with the layout a bit so I ordered a few more prints than I knew I would need so I had some options. The key to creating a arrangement with multiple sized prints that also look cohesive is to line up the edges as much as possible. It creates a gallery effect despite using 3 different print sizes.
Step 3: Embellish Your Layout
Once I had decided my layout, I decided to do one further (and completely optional) step to draw the eye with a white chalk marker and give the collage a little bit of a hand made touch. I found various images of frames online and printed those in the correct sizes. Using scotch tape, I adhered those print outs to the back of the window to use as a template to loosely trace directly onto the window. The intention here was to keep the frames quite organic and hand drawn but you could just as easily be more precise. You can use the same technique to add a monogram or a meaningful quote to the collage as well. Don’t worry about making a mistake, you can just wipe it off and try again if you aren’t happy with some of your strokes. Once the paper is removed from the back no one will ever guess it wasn’t drawn by hand.
Step 4: Add Your Photographs
With your frame prepared, it’s time to add the main event – your photographs. Simply add several pieces of double sided tape to the back of the photographs and carefully place directly onto the glass. A little pressure applied to the photos ensure good adhesion and should last for years. Should you want to swap the photos at any time, carefully peel away the print and scrap off any remaining double sided tape before adhering new prints.
Step 5: Hang Your DIY Photo Collage
Hang in your favorite spot or prop up on a great piece of furniture and you are done. The result is a personalized DIY photo collage with a touch of farmhouse chic at a bargain price.
Old window frames are remarkably easy to find in just about anyplace where you might stumble upon old discarded junk. I found this one and several others like it for $5 at a yard sale but my guess is that if I had just waited until the day was over, I would have been able to get them for even less. If you happen to see an old house being renovated, simply politely asking the owners if they had plans for their old windows might score you a lot! Or make friends with a contractor who will keep an eye out for you. If all else fails, craigslist and local classified are sure to have at least a window or two for sale.