#1 Best Way to Use Old Inherited Family Photos

3 Materials
$48
1 Day
Easy

WHEN FACED WITH BOXES AND BOXES OF OLD FAMILY PHOTO'S, THE TEMPTATION TO DISCARD THEM CAN BE OVERWHELMING. INSTEAD OF THROWING THEM AWAY OR STORING IN THE BACK OF A CLOSET, I CAME UP WITH A PERFECT SOLUTION THAT ALLOWS THESE VINTAGE PHOTO'S TO SHINE.

After cleaning out my mom's house, I came home with a few boxes of old, old photo's that I had no clue what to do with. But I knew we should keep them, but where???

It all began with a couple of panoramic photos of my dad, made during World War II. I decided I'd enjoy framing these two photo's to display in our loft. Once I had those two photo's framed, a couple more of the old military photo's caught my eye. That's when my idea began to take shape. Since the mat was a standard white, I found a creative way to age the mat so that it worked with the vintage photos. You can see that tutorial here.

I could create a gallery wall! We had several treasured black and white photo's that hadn't seen the light of day in many years. So I began to search the house for these almost forgotten treasures. 

Once I had a good stack of old photo's, I then started looking for more frames. I wanted to frame some of the other old photo's that I had inherited from my mom. She had a couple of framed photos of The Ponds made prior to our ownership. These photo's were in color, so I just quickly copied them in black and white and placed the original photo's behind the copies for safe keeping.

Because I wanted a consistent feel for my gallery wall, I began to paint some of the old frames black. About this time, I was wishing I'd saved some of the frames that we had donated. I also had a few metal frames and a couple of mirrors that I chose to use for a little creative interest. Keep in mind, I couldn't go out and buy frames or mats. With the exception of the panoramic frames, everything I used to create my gallery wall was something I had on hand. Although this limited what I could do, it also made for a more unique wall.

I now had a collection of re-purposed frames, old photo's and some other interesting pieces of family history I discovered along the way.By removing the easels from the back of the frames and adding some hangers, I was able to re-purpose many old frames. Check out how to hang pictures without ever making a mistake here.

NOW WHERE DO I HANG MY GALLERY?

Because we are limited in wall space, the loft powder room is where I decided to display my gallery wall.

What do you think? I feel that once our guest start to visit again, more than one will become lost in the history of this wall. Look for my future post with step by step instructions for hanging a gallery wall without making any mistakes. For more details and more photo's visit my blog here. Thank you for stopping by. Hopefully, you enjoyed seeing some of my families history and that you'll be inspired to use your old family photo's in more creative ways. We are certainly enjoying seeing these treasures on a regular basis. Please feel free to ask any questions and all comments are welcome. Rachel

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Rachel The Ponds Farmhouse

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Trina Davis Strong
    on May 3, 2020

    Great job! I would only suggest you get a UV glass to put in the frames. I had some fantastic photos of my grandmother and if you have ANY natural light they will fade and be ruined

    • Susan Miller
      on May 5, 2020

      I keep all my ancient photos safely in an acid free box, and scan them all into my computer, printing out the ones I want to use and I can improve some as they are too dark etc, and have even coloured others. The photos I put up on my walls are all copies to avoid damage and fading!

  • Jacqui
    on May 4, 2020

    Thank you. I just bought a home, have the perfect room, and TONS of pictures. This is grand!

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  • Laurie Good
    on May 7, 2020

    I absolutely love this idea!!! Now I know what to do in my home office wall!! All of this gorgeous history!! Great Job!!

  • I have been wanting to do this myself with the tons of family photos I've inherited and I have the perfect spot to turn into a gallery wall going up our stairs. Just have to put up scaffolding to get to the upper part which should be fun...lol. Right now there's just a few random things up there, some from my husband's parents and others that I didn't know what else to do with as we've moved in, but I want to plan it out by generations and branches of the family. As our kids are grown and live in different places, this home will likely eventually be a holiday gathering place for them or a vacation home, so I want to be able to preserve the family history.

    • Rachel The Ponds Farmhouse
      on May 10, 2020

      Lynn, that looks like the perfect spot and your family will certainly appreciate this down the road. I’m so glad my post gave you some inspiration! Be careful on that scaffolding! Lol.

      Rachel.

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