Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Turn an old Etch-a-Sketch into a frame!

So, my husband's stepmother's sister (or as I like to call her, my friend Kristy) bought me this amazing book called Photojojo for my birthday one year full of amazing ideas on what to do with your photos; along with photography tips!

Photo courtesy of Photojojo

So, I fell in love with all the projects in this book and decided to find them online and I immediately subscribed to their newsletter.  Then, I spent the next few hours looking through their archives where I found a couple of projects that I thought would be quick and easy!  The following is pasted directly from their website.  Click on the title to check it out on their page.


  • An Etch A Sketch
  • Some photo paper and a printer
  • Strong glue like Goop or Gorilla Glue
  • A picture frame hook or easel, stolen from an old frame
  • A photo-editing program (We’ll use Photoshop CS2, but you can use the photo editing program of your choice.)


You’ll want your image to be 7″ x 5″, keeping in mind that a little bit of the edge will be hidden under the red plastic frame.
For this technique, images with strong foreground elements and less background details / textures work best. Also, look for photos with high contrast and simple lines.
Photo Credit: Daniel Weisser


You’ll be using some Photoshop filters and techniques to turn your image into a line drawing that mimics the Etch-A-Sketch look.
The first step is to make your photo black and white. Click “Image” –> “Mode” –> “Greyscale” from the menubar to get rid of the color.
Now lets make it sketchy. Select “Filter” –> “Filter Gallery” from the menubar. In the window that pops up, select the “Sketch” filters and look for the one called “Photocopy”. For the settings, we used Detail: 4 and Darkness: 10.
Now you need to give the image a gray tint to mimic the aluminum powder. Create a new layer by selecting “Layer” –> “New” –> “Layer…” form the menubar. Fill that layer with a medium gray (we used #999999) using the Paint Bucket tool. In the layers window, change the Overlay setting for your new gray layer to “Multiply” and then adjust the Opacity until it looks Etch-A-Sketchy grey (we found 30% looked about right.)
The last step is to take away the shades of gray by applying a threshold to your photo. Click “Image” –> “Adjustments” –> “Threshold…” from the menubar. We used a Threshold value of 128.
That’s it! Now just print your image, cut it to 7″x5″, and you’re ready for the next step!


Now that your photo’s ready, it’s time to mount it in the Etch A Sketch. The red plastic frame can be pried up slightly to allow you to slide your photograph in. (Try a screwdriver or a dull knife.)
Work the image in a little bit at a time and be gentle so you don’t wrinkle your photo.


If you want to hang your new Etch A Sketch masterpiece, use a strong epoxy such as Goopor Gorilla Glue to attach a picture frame hook. You can purchase these clips, or do as we did and pry one off a tabletop frame that you aren’t hanging on the wall.
Alternatively, use the easel stand from a tabletop frame and attach it using glue or tape so that the Etch A Sketch can stand on its own as in the picture at right.
Wait for your glue to set, hang, stand, and enjoy!


Switch up the photo in the frame every so often, and let your friends think you create new Etch A Sketch masterpieces whenever you’re bored.
You can also try printing your final photo onto a transparency at a copy shop instead of photo paper. That way, you’ll still be able to use the etch a sketch to add real lines to your photo using, you know, the knobs.

Here is how mine turned out:

The photo was one of our engagement photos and the photographer, who was a family friend, actually did this in photoshop for us.

Side view of the frame

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