Tea Party

Fancy Work
Fancy Girl
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Many of us like to keep a photo of our sweetheart tucked in our wallets, or saved on a cell phone. It's a modern method for an impulse that has been followed for centuries! .

Today those with a more old world sensibility or need for fanciness might find their pining needs poorly met by the Iphone snap. For these happy souls there is a fix!

With a bit of creative flare and a trip to the craft store, you can make your own carefully cased portraits to carry with you, so you can show off your beau in a true quaintrelle style!

Sticking with the photographic today and looking to the1840's daguerreotype print. This tutorial will help you give your photo the same treatment as those tiny Victorian "photos" in ornate cases.


.Pick a Size

First you need to take a photo, once you have an image you'd like to work with it's time to figure out the size! Early photography came in set sizes depending on the plate used...

Whole plate        6-1/2" x 8-1/2"
Half plate                4-1/4" x 5-1/2"
Quarter plate           3-1/4" x 4-1/4"
Sixth plate               2-3/4" x 3-1/4"
Ninth plate            2" x 2-1/2"
Sixteenth plate         1-3/8" x 1-5/8"

For this project I recommend 1/4 plate size or smaller

Brass Mats

Early daguerreotypes and similar processes were encased in glass under brass mats to protect the delicate images. Our photos are tough, but it never hurts to add something nice and shiny just to make them prettier!

To make the "brass mat" you will need some gold tone embossing metal, and embossing stick. To start trace out lightly the shape you want the opening to be
Then with a chisel tip, emboss the outline (this will be cut out later) Decorate the border of your frame, and add any decorations
Working on the wrong side (silver) of the metal with give a high relief, working on the right side (gold) will give indented designs Cut out the center of the frame, and excess from the side (leave about 1/8" around to fold over later)
Making the box
For the box cut 2 pieces of card the size of your frame, with 1/4" flaps to form box sides and 3 pieces of card 1/8" around smaller than your frame. Fold the flaps up on the 2 main box pieces and glue or tape in place. (it's best with heavy card to score a line with a knife where you want your folds to go for a cleaner bend)
Next with a glue gun cover your 2 boxes with leather or pleather. Again with the glue gun, glue a strip in the same p/leather across the middle of the 2 box halves to create a hinge.

On one of the smaller rectangles stick down your photo in line with where your frame opening will be.. (you can use a piece of transparency film over the top too to replicate the glass if you want)

Crimp the edges of the foil frame around the card with the photo stuck down

On the 2nd smaller rectangle cover it over with velvet (usually the Victorians used red) You should have 2 sides which look like this
Glue down the velvet card into the left side of your hinged box. and the 3rd piece of card followed by your frame in the right side (the 3rd piece of card raises and levels your photo) You can glue down some braid around the edges of the sides to make for a prettier border if you would like

After this your box is complete!

This tutorial shows a style based on the Victorian models, but you can use all kind of materials to create a totally different look and feel! For example one based the style on a 1940's vanity set box for a vintage pin up feel!


DagLab: Modern Daguerreotype studio

Cased Images

Daguerrian Society

Library of Congress collection

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