Photo & Quote Paper Bag Wedding Luminaries

Since I have an upcoming wedding in October, I’ve been playing around with some different ideas for simple, yet striking accents.  I absolutely love both photography and making my own quote art, so I think I’ve found a super cool way to incorporate them!  All it takes is some paper bags, Photoshop, an inkjet printer, some rice, and candles to get this look!  So here’s how you can make your own custom luminaries in minutes using your photos and favorite words!

The first step in making these luminaries was to measure my bag.  My bag’s dimensions were 6″ x 12″.  I knew I wouldn’t be printing on the entire bag, so I actually shortened my page layout to 6″ x 10″.  The bottom of the bag is actually kinda hard to print on (trust me, I did it).  It’s actually easier if you position your images and text higher on the page rather than lower.

I did my art in black and white, but you could easily do this using color too for additional results!  Make sure that your artwork has high contrast and is very dark for optimal results.

Also make sure that you create a new print size setting for your printer to be 6″ x 10″.  How to do thiw will vary by inkjet printer.

Next flatten back the bottom of the bag so that will run through the printer easier and won’t get stuck!  Again, I know this from my testing for this project.

Feed your bag into your printer, opening side face down. Notice that I also adjusted my tray to fit the dimensions of the bag.

Now this is the slightly tricky part.  Send your image to print. I had a couple feed errors, but I kind of expected that using an inkjet printer and a thicker material.  Once you get the hang of it, it it will be easy to navigate.

Lightly guide your print out of the printer with your hand.  I had a couple small feeding hangups as you see below.

The printer got stuck on the bottom part of these phrases.  This is another reason it’s good to position your image/phrase more toward the top!  Because the bag folds at the bottom, the printer had more trouble feeding it.

And please, oh please, don’t try this with a laserjet printer or copier!  I can only imagine the problems you would have and paper jams you would get doing that. I don’t want to especially be liable if you do it at work or a friends’ house and ruin their printer.  It’s not my fault if you do this! Haha (joking, but serious).

Next open up your bag and spill a couple cups of rice inside.  Light a tea light and carefully nestle it into the rice to give it a strong base/foundation.  If you are worried about the candle becoming a fire hazard (this could especially be the case if you are at a windy outdoor event), you could use an LED candle or tealight.  I still recommend weighing it down with the rice to make it more sturdy.

There you have it!  I think they turned out so cool. I’m super pleased with how rad they ended up being! Here’s some more fun images of what they look like lit!



Hop on over to my FontCrafts site for the free printable quote art download file of my Let Your Love Shine Bright quote to make your own quote luminary!

What do you think?  Is this a project you want to give a go?

Until next time Swellions!


Make your own Photo Box Purse!


I love taking photos and I love making crafts, so why not combine the two, I say! Here’s a project that is a lot of fun to make and garners me compliments everytime I show it to people. And it’s fairly easy to make! Here’s how…

Photo Box Purse

– Cigar box purse (mine was about 6.5″ side x 6.5″ wide and purchased at Michaels)
– Computer with Adobe Photoshop or other Photo Processing Software
– Laserjet printer
– High res image of your choice
– red and black paint
– Staining/Antiquing Medium by DecoArt
– 1″ and 2″ foam brushes
– Paper towels or soft cloth
– White card stock
– Spray Adhesive like Aleene’s Tacky Spray
– Black Ink Pad
– Scissors/Exacto Knife with Cutting Blade/Ruler/Mat
– Envirotex Resin kit
– mask for ventilation
– wax paper
– masking tape
– chopsticks

1. Open your image in Adobe Photoshop or other image editing software. Crop your image to be 6.25″ x 6.25″ and print your image onto cardstock according to printer specifications.

2. Using scissors or paper cutter, cut out image and set aside.

3. Mix one part red acrylic paint with one part Staining/Antiquing medium. Using paint mixture, paint entire box with foam brush, being careful not to get paint on handle (only unless you want you handle painted the same color too). Paint the handle black and let dry. Paint inside of purse if desired and also let dry.

4. Spray back of photo lightly according to directions with Tacky Spray (in a well-ventilated area). Adhere image to front of purse, pressing firmly to release any air bubbles. Use stamp pad to go around adhered image to get ride of white edge. Let dry.

5. Use fine-grit sandpaper to sand the wooden purse (except for the lid) and handle in the direction of the grain to create a distressed appearance. Wipe with a damp paper towel to remove dust.

6. Ink all edges of the purse (including the lid) with the black ink pad to age. You can even distress areas of the photo with the ink pad if you are brave. Let dry thoroughly.

7. Seal off all sides around photo edge with masking tape. This will help prevent resin runoff on the sides of your purse.

8. Now here comes the fun resin part! Go outdoors or in a well ventilated area and Mix up the two part Envirotex resin. Place the box flat with the photo side up on a piece of wax paper. Pour in small amounts a little at a time and use a chopstick to spread out to the edges to get even coverage. Believe me, a little resin goes a long way. It flattens out and can run down the edges if you use too much, so use sparingly! Blow out any air bubbles with a straw (Thanks Crafty Chica for the straw and chopstick tip!). Let cure over night. It will take a couple days to fully dry, so let it cure and dry in an area free from dust and debris.

9. Once resin is dry, remove masking tape from around box and touch up any needed areas.

Here’s another one of these purses I made for my friend using Photoshopped images of her cats on each side. I also made her a custom beaded handle. She loved it!



Enjoy and show off your new purse!

Until next time Swellions!


Journaled Photo Mat + tutorial

worded mat project

So, this was supposed to go in Creative Techniques this past year and I was REALLY disappointed when it folded, cause this project was crafted by both me and my mom.
The frame above features a picture of my grandma along with writing that she wrote in a journal before she passed away. My mom gave this as a gift last year to her siblings in remembrance of my Grandma. She was a really special lady. She was my step-grandma, but she treated me just like one of her own.

This project was actually my mom’s concept and idea, I just helped bring it to life with a little Photoshop magic. This is a great idea for anyone wanting an inexpensive personalized gift this year. You can buy a frame with a mat for less than $5 and get a photo printed for around 25¢. With some basic crafty supplies, you can easily create this mat design and I’m here to tell you how!

– Frame with mat
– Scanned in journal, type, or image of choice
– Self-adhesive label stock (mine was fabric label stock, but you can use both)
– Exacto knife
– cutting matte
– Photoshop or photo editing software
– Inkjet or laserjet printer
– ornate label (or make your own using the shapes in Photoshop, that’s what I did)
– foam mount squares

1. Take apart a photo frame. Measure your mat (include opening in your overall measurements). Make your Photoshop document 1/4″ wider on all sides for bleed.

2. Open up your scanned journal writing or image. In my case, I opened up several pages of journal pages, placed each page in its own layer in my document, then rotated them around the page. You may want to measuer and make guides where the opening will be. That way, you can get crucial information into the matted frame area that might be important. You don’t want to print out your image only to find that that crucial part gets cut out!

3. Save, then flatten document. Copy and paste into a 8.5″ x 11″ page. Print through your inkjet or laserjet printer onto your label stock. Let dry for a few minutes to make sure the ink sets.

4. Peel off the label stock, line up, and place on the good side of the mat. Start at one corner and smooth to the other corner so that you won’t get air bubbles. Smooth out any wrinkles or pockets of air.


5. Using Exacto knife, cut at corner of opening 4 slits in the shape of an X.


Wrap each corner to back of mat and smooth out as shown.

Print out a decorative label onto cardstock or use a similar scrapbook label or embellishment to adorn your photo as shown. I actually elevated mine and made it look 3-dimensional by using sticky foam mount squares.

Add in photo and put frame back together.

Get creative with this. Here’s some more options for this mat!

– Use children’s drawings or handwriting for a special mat for mom.

– Scan in love letters and frame a picture of a couple. This could also make a sweet anniversary gift!

– Document an era of time in someone’s life! For example, scan in newspaper pictures and articles about them during their childhood. Put a picture of them in that frame from that time period!

– Scan in family recipes and feature a favorite pic of you and a loved one cooking in the kitchen.

– If you want to do something extra special, make or have a a custom mat made and feature a unique item shadowbox-style. Here’s an example of another mat featuring both my grandma and grandpa (their wedding picture). When my grandpa was in the navy, he would send my grandma a $2 bill in the mail each week for her to save. She actually had kept 3 of the original ones and those were given last year as Christmas gifts to the eldest grandchildren. I still got a frame, it just didn’t feature one of the original $2 bills. My mom was going to help my grandma do this as a project before she passed away; however my grandma passed away before they could work on it. My mom ended up making all of the frames for all the grandkids as a final gift that my grandma wanted everyone to have.

$2 frame

If you end up doing this project, I’d love to see your results! Oh, and don’t forget, tomorrow, I’ll be on the Trivial Thursday morning show on WRFL with Mick Jeffries. Check it out starting at 7am. If you don’t get this station, you can listen to it live from Itunes! Just click on the WRFL link and it will show you what to do 🙂

Until next time Swellions!


Until next time Swellions!