How to Make Photographic Image Cards

How would you like to be the hit of the neighborhood? Learn how to make these very unusual greeting cards, using plants from your garden. You will be taking photos without a camera! Your family and friends will wonder how you managed to do it. And hey, ‘Napoleon’ you’ll have a new skill!

say cheese!

What You Will Need:

  • a packet of light sensitive photographic paper (a packet of 25 small sheets costs around $8 at photographic shops or some chemists)
  • leaves and flowers
  • a piece of glass (the glass from an old photo frame is perfect)
  • a black whiteboard marker
  • envelopes

What to Do:

  1. Do not open the packet of photographic paper until everything else is ready. This paper is sensitive to light so you have to be organized and work quickly.
  2. First cut a piece of scrap paper slightly smaller that the packet of photo paper. You will use this to plan out your card.
  3. Collect small leaves and flowers that have interesting shapes from the garden. You will be creating a silhouette of these so the shapes are very important. Seed heads of grasses turn out really well. If you don’t have any in your garden, you’ll most probably find some in a local park.
  4. Using your scrap paper card, place the leaves, grass and flowers on the card. Keep the design simple and leave space in the middle for a message.
  5. Place something solid like a large hard-cover book on the table ready to rest the photographic paper on.
  6. Open the photographic paper in a fairly dark room. Take out one piece and seal the packet up again immediately.
  7. Working quickly, place the photographic paper, shiny-side up on the book. Transfer your leaves and flowers from your scrap paper to the photographic paper. Place the piece of glass over the top to squish it down and to keep it all in place.
  8. Use the whiteboard marker to write your message on to the glass above the space you left for it. Make it simple and use big, clear letters eg LOVE FROM ME!
  9. Carefully carry the whole thing outside and place it in the sun. The best time to do it is around midday. The more light there is the quicker it works. You will have to leave it in the bright light for a couple of hours. It will take longer if it’s cloudy, but it will still work.
  10. When the paper around the leaves and flowers has turned a dark pinkish brown your card is ready.
  11. Have an envelope the right size ready to put it in.
  12. Remove the glass and the flowers and leaves. You will see their lovely shapes “photographed” in white on the card and your message also.
  13. Place the card into the envelope immediately or the light will make the white parts of the card change colour too.
  14. Your special cards will not last in the light. Like a flower they are just a temporary thing – but very unusual and great fun to make!
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homemade photographic image cards

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