weekend creative : photo type case


[ project featured in my book Life Artist ]

This project is right up there at the top of my all-time favorite projects list. It has photos + words + re-purposes something old giving it a new life. Lovely.

Here's the really simple how-to:


1. Find an old type case.

I purchased both of mine from antique stores/tag sales
for between $20 and $40 depending on quality and size. This one above
was $30. Both of the cases I have measure right around 32 inches x 16.5 inches. I would also recommend checking ebay or simply google "type drawers" or "type cases" (while looking up some sources I found that they are actually called cases rather than drawers).

I did a renegade cleaning of mine by spraying it with the hose on a hot summer day to loosen the dirt and grime that had accumulated. I am guessing it was probably not the best way to clean old wood, but it worked. After it dried I was ready to play.


2. Fill it with stuff.

The case above was filled with photos and embellishments. I measured the squares (this one had even sized squares vs. the empty one above has a variety of different sized rectangles) and they ended up being pretty much 2 inches x 2 inches. I re-sized a bunch of our favorite photos in Photoshop, printed them here at home, and trimmed them down to fit.

To adhere the photos and embellishments onto the wood I went with 3D foam squares. If you are wondering about the sticking power, this entire thing was wrapped + shipped to Utah to be photographed for the book and made it back in one piece and has been hanging on our wall ever since.

For variety and depth, I added more than one foam square behind some of the photos. This means that some of them stick out farther within the squares than others.


As for additional embellishments I pretty much went through my stash and grabbed elements that had a bit of meaning and were just waiting to be used in something (don't we all have those things that you are just waiting to use on the "perfect" project). I also tended towards circle embellishments for a nice break from all those square photos.

These Scenic Route chipboard circles would work great. As would these Love, Elsie Soft Charms or these stacked layer stickers from K&Company or those classic Making Memories metal charmed quotes.

The compartments are also a nice place to store personal mementos. My Mom has a drawer hanging in the house I grew up in that is filled not with photos but little bits and pieces of things she has collected along her journey. Many of those little things relate to this or that event and are significant to us as a family. It is a treasure.


3. Display.

Our case hangs on a wall in our dining room. I hung it with picture-hanging wire and screws screwed into the sides of the wood. They would also look great on a bureau or dresser.


The prompt for the weekend is this: What can you do to "live with" your photos other than having them inside your computer, in boxes under the bed, hidden away in photo albums, or placed among decorations in your scrapbooks? Maybe a type case or shadow box is in your future...

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132 thoughts

  1. mimihas5@comcast.net says…

    To think that I gave away all 4 of my printer trays!!! Your project is beautiful.

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. pressure washer hose says…

    Nice idea. Wonderful post/entry!
    Angelo H

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. Kim Shimer says…

    Do you have a photo of the one with narrower slots finished? I have one like that and am having trouble visualizing all those long and narrow pictures working? thanks

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…

      Hi Kim - I don't. It's still in my office empty right now :).

  4. Anthony says…

    As a time-served indentured apprenticeship Compositor I have to inform you that your picture of a typecase is upside-down.

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Bethany says…

    I am new to your blog and am loving it! I found you because of an article in Scrapbooks etc on your "week" project. I do have a question - do you print from home? Can I ask what printer makes you happy?

    Reply 0 Replies