How to create memorial picture collages

Written by drea christopher
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When you want to pay homage to a recently deceased friend or family member, design a nostalgic picture collage featuring images that salute a life well lived. Fill the memorial collage with photographs to showcase the deceased's pastimes, family and accomplishments. Gather images from loved ones to complete the project that you can display at a memorial service or on the guest book table at a dinner event after the service. Present the project to the immediate family as a keepsake.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • 4-by-6-inch or 5-by-7-inch photos
  • Manila envelopes and pen
  • Photo lab or colour copy machine
  • Picture frame
  • Screwdriver
  • White or black poster board
  • Pencil
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Ruler
  • Double-stick tape

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  1. 1

    Gather 4-by-6-inch or 5-by-7-inch photos of the deceased for the memorial collage. Borrow images of the deceased from his childhood, school years, professional life, vacation adventures and special occasions from his family members and friends.

  2. 2

    Place each batch of photos in a manila envelope marked with the owner's name so you'll know where to return them. Make duplicates of the original photos through a photo lab or on a colour copy machine and return the pictures unless the owner says you can keep them.

  3. 3

    Position the picture frame face down on your work surface. Use a screwdriver to lift the metal tabs along the frame that secure the particle board backing to the frame. Lift the backing off the frame.

  4. 4

    Remove the sample paper from inside the frame and place the sheet onto a piece of white or black poster board. Using this paper as a template, trace around the piece of paper with a pencil. Cut the poster board out with scissors or a craft knife.

  5. 5

    If you want the collage to have a photo mat so the edges of the photos won't butt directly up to the frame, use a ruler and pencil to draw a faint line one to two inches in from the edge along each side and don't allow any photos to cross over the line. Then arrange the photos on the poster board, allowing the edges of the images to overlap slightly so the poster board doesn't show through.

  6. 6

    Affix the pictures to the poster board with double-stick tape once you're satisfied with the arrangement.

  7. 7

    Carefully nestle the collage on the poster board face down inside the frame. Reposition the particle board backing on the frame and use a screwdriver to push the metal tabs down to secure it.

Tips and warnings

  • Choose a frame for the memorial photo collage that coordinates with the home decorating style of the deceased's immediate family since they may display the project after the service. Opt for a classic wood frame with straight edges or a plain metal frame if you're unsure where they plan to exhibit the artwork.
  • Advise the family members not to display the memorial collage in direct sunlight to prevent the images from fading over time.
  • Never affix one-of-a-kind photos to a photo collage with permanent adhesive since you won't be able to remove it without damaging the image. If you don't have a film negative or digital file photo of the image on your computer, make a colour copy or reprint of the picture to use on the project.

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