Sunday 14 April 2013

3 Creative Rescues for Photo-printing Fails: UKScrappers Spring Blog Hop

Hello, hello.

We had some sunshine this week [albe it in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it kind of way] and so I guess spring is going to make an appearance after all! Which is useful ... because today I'm joining in with the spring blog-hop on the UKScrappers forum:

If you landed on me after hopping over from 'Mole's Creations' then ouch! that's going to leave a bruise, but also ... welcome!

If you lose your way at any point in the hop [like when I leave a shop in a big mall, get confused, and head back the exact way I just came] or have dropped in on me directly and want to follow the hop, you can see the full list with all the stops on the hop here.

Now let's stop rabbiting on [get it? Hop? Rabbits? Oh never mind] and have look at a few ways of you can claw-back something creative from a photo-printing fail!

I don't know about you but I find home-photo printing wonderfully convenient ... but also, something of a dark art!

Just when you think you know: what settings to use or how the colours on screen actually appear on paper or what paper gives you which depth of colour etc ... it goes and spits out an image that's either ridiculously luminous or one that's super-gloomy! Or other times the ink soaks into the paper leaving a ghostly chalky finish ... and not to mention when it runs out of a colour halfway through!

When this happens what I should do [after taking a few deep breaths and putting the hammer down] ... is throw them away... and move on. But I don't!

Ink is so expensive that I hang on to them, storing them in a folder of their own ... and occasionally, when I'm feeling experimental ... I rescue one ... and get messy without worrying about spoiling anything!

Rescue 1. [the messiest]
Bleaching photos is an idea I picked up from Alisa Burke's 'Anti-Scrapbooking' class a few years ago [it's still available here] and while it's a little bit messy ... and hit & miss ... it's also a little bit magical too!

Personally I don't have follow any specific technique for this ... I literally just add bleach to my photos using a paintbrush, a cloth or a toothbrush [or a mix of all 3]. I like to run my finger along the toothbrush bristles to get little spots and dots or to drip splodges on from a height.

Here are my latest experiments ...

Images home-printed on regular, cheap, matte photo paper:
The bleach was left to work on these for around 10 minutes but, as you can see, it didn't remove much of the original colour.

Which is a surprise really isn't it?

 Just think if you accidentally splashed bleach on to a perfect photo ... you'd panic and expect the worst wouldn't you? But then here's me trying to get a fab bleachy effect, with mounds of neat bleach ... and very little happens!

That said, there are some nice subtle colour changes and markings on these ... and I can definitely see these ending up on a nice messy art journal page. Maybe with some stencilling, ink splats and pen work on top.

However ... professionally printed images offer different results altogether:
These were a couple of family photos from the 80s which were living out their days in a box, rather than being appreciated or celebrated in an album, so I didn't mind experimenting with precious originals.
Unlike the previous experiments with home-printed images - these need hardly any time in contact with the bleach. If you leave it for any longer it removes ALL the colour, right back to the white ... so be careful!
Tips for bleaching photos:
  • cover up any faces / areas you want to remain untouched
  • dab / splatter / flick the bleach on to the image
  • leave for a few moments [you can poke the surface to see what's happening beneath!]
  • then wipe off with a damp cloth to reveal some lovely, arty, textures
These are by no means perfect examples ... but I do like the colours and shapes it's added to the image and I can imagine making lovely pastel-shaded, painty scrapbook pages with them.

OK then ... if drastic chemicals aren't your thing ... how about knives and punches? [I bet you didn't expect this post to be so dangerous did you?]

Rescue 2.
I printed out this photo of me, reading in the garden, for a feature in Papercraft Inspirations magazine but the colours came out ... odd. Hyper coloured. Slightly unrealistic. And, in my mind, just not good enough for publication!

So I chopped it up with a craft knife and ruler, rounded the corners, and used it as a focal point on an art journal page:

I doodled around it in white pen and stencilled over the edges to help nestle it down into the page. And here it is in context:
There are many ways you could use imperfect photos on journal pages eg. cutting around figures / faces / combining them with stamped elements or magazine clippings ... but that's possibly material for another 5 blog posts ...

... so I'll leave that one there for now and move on to the final 'rescue' for today:

Rescue 3.
This particular photo is not actually a photo-printing fail... it's a photo-trimming fail.

A Julie-fail.

I'm not ashamed to admit it but ... paper-trimmers are my crafty Kryptonite. I'm hopeless with them.

Years ago, I attended a workshop where we made a mini book with all different flaps and lift-y bits and we had to use a paper-trimmer to get the correct sizes. The demonstrator spent most of her time explaining to me how to use the trimmer and where to cut. To little success. [In case you lose any sleep over the matter .. she later recruited me to her Design Team so I must have done something right ... despite my feeble trimming skills!!].

Anywhooo ... I digress ...

This poor photo was a casualty from when I bought my new trimmer ... and completely misjudged [i.e: had no clue about] where the blade was. Rather than trim around the edge to leave the thin white border I like ... I chopped the image in half!
This was also a photo I needed for a magazine feature [Creativity! magazine this time] so, after printing out a fresh copy for my article, I refused to throw this one away. As it's a photo of one of the views near to where I live I made a 'from us to you' general greeting card:
The rest of the card features other interestingly shaped edges and has a relaxed feel from using sticker-sheet left-over surrounds and torn washi tape ... so I think the poor imperfect photo looks perfectly at home there.


So there are your 3 creative rescues for photo-printing fails ...
  • any favourites?
  • any ones you want to try out?
  • any you're scared of?
Even if you bin your duff prints and think you've got nothing to experiment on ... I'll put good money on you having some less-than-incredible images in that packet of old photos you've got stuffed in the bottom of that drawer. Go check! Then show me the results of your experiments!

And finally ...
  • There's a prize draw as part of the UKScrappers Spring Blog Hop ... so make sure to read the full details on the blog hop forum thread here. [You will need to be a forum member to access this, but it's free to sign up].
  • If you are entering the UKS prize draw you need to a leave a comment on each blog of the hop - leaving your UKS forum name in the comment too!
  • I'm also offering a small crafty prize to any one eagle eyed to notice this low-key giveaway announcement! I don't know what to offer up so, this is only open to anyone who trusts me enough to send them something unseen!
  • To win my mystery prize, please leave a comment on this post making it clear you want adding to the draw and telling me where exactly you keep all those badly lit, blurry 'I can't scrap that' photographs!  Deadline: 9am [UK Time] Tuesday 16th April. Winner will be selected at random.  Please make sure you are logged into an account on which I can contact you / leave a Twitter name / blog link etc. If the winner does not respond within 2 days following notification, I'll pick another.
If you're new here and you'd like to keep in touch you can also catch-up with me through my Facebook page or Twitter.

Now then ... that's me done for today ... the next stop for you is towards Gill from Paper-Collector Anon

Off you hop ...

Julie :-)


  1. Great post Julie with great info and inspiration. I love your imperfect photos because of how you have used them so I will look at mine in new light!
    My photos sit in a clear record divider box on my desk and I keep the least imperfect ones at the front or ones that I wouldn't mind scrapping as a UKS weekly challenge to 'get them done and for points for my team'.

  2. I think the second two can work for those "extra" photos you get commercially printed but don't end up using, as well. Great ideas.

  3. Forgot to say - I want in on the drawing. And I keep all my unused extra prints in a plastic baggie.

  4. A great post... I wonder if the bleach effect would be the same on modern day professional prints as 1980s ones... have a whole batch that are too dark and one set with a white line across every one!

    I love a mystery prize so have to confess I keep my duds in with the other photos in a large box under my desk... I'm rubbish at remembering what I have already printed so often have duplicates for when I spill glue on the photo at the last minute usually right on someone's face)

    Thanks for the inspiration

    Wizbit (Liz)

  5. I'm afraid mine go in the bin. I'm not what you'd call a thrifty scrapper.:o( But I will look at them in a new light now - thank you. I love the tiled one especially. Yes please to an entry in your draw. :o)
    Sue x

  6. What a wonderful post. I hate throwing things away and keep all sorts of imperfect photos so I will have to try some of these.
    And trust you to send something unseen? Why of course my dear.

  7. Such clever ideas, I'll never throw a photo away ever again!!!

  8. What fab.ideas! Love the bleach technique.

    Trimmers are the work of the devil!

    I keep my photos in a RUB even the duds. Id trust you to pick an appropriate size.

    Ps im blaming you and your Push up.bra for my blogging woes getting my post up. Blog more, you said, join in blogging events, Pfft! Lol

    Suzy x

  9. Wheres me bleach! Love that effect and will be giving that one a go thanks for sharing

    Beanpie 11 aka Debbie

  10. Great ideas.. as I have many photo printing fails :)

  11. It's given me some great ideas to use some of those less than perfect shots! Mine are kept in a photo box waiting for some idea on how to use them- so your blog post was perfect for me! I would love to be entered into your draw.

  12. I love your photo ideas am a recent folower of your blog and its wonderful ideas.
    I keep my dud photos in a drawer in the sideboard and really have too many to mention. I would love to receive a little surprise from you

    uks lelly

  13. What a brilliant idea- I have dozens of unusable photos. Thanks for sharing. Tigerlady

  14. That is a surprise re home printed and ordered. I have often found with photos in frame, exposed to sunlight that my home printed inkjet photo stood the test of time much better.

  15. Oh yes, please count me in for the draw!
    I love the tile idea, that looks so effective, I may give that one a go. However, me + bleach = disaster. I can see it now ... bleached jeans, bleached top, bleached dog ... and maybe a spot or two on a photo!
    I don't find it hard to throw away photos of scenes but it is impossible to throw away one that has a person in it. Which means I have loads of unflattering photos around the place!

  16. Great ideas Julie, love those. Michelle x

  17. love these techniques thanks for sharing..
    would love to be in the draw for a mystery prize ...m duff photos are in a box hidded in the back of a shelf in my wardrobe I can't bring myself to throw them away so thanks to you they may just may get a new please of life

    scrappybluecat uks

  18. Great post... Love the bleachy thing... May have to borrow that!

  19. Must admit I tend to throw away anything that prints"wrong" .. but your tips may well save them from oblivion!!

  20. Some great and very daring ideas here - love to be put into your draw too! I am scared of cutting photos but your 'mosaic' looks great - something to try with a not so precious photo! Keep all my 'photo atrocities' in a big box behind the settee!! PaulineD UKS xxx

  21. I will look at my photos in a new light now - although I think I still might be a bit scared of the bleach!

    Yes please to an entry into your prize draw:)

  22. Wow what fab ideas, have to say I have been a throw away gal if the prints don't come out right, as they quite generally do these days, time for upgrade on the printer me thinks lol But will have to give some of these ideas a go, may even stop the hubby's disapproval face when he sees me throw the crap photo out lol x Thanks for sharing
    From Boland :)

  23. Fab ideas - thanks for sharing!
    Of course I wouldn't mind winning a little something from you so please enter me in to your draw :D
    I keep all my photos (dud ones & all (can't throw anything away :O)) in a divided cropper hopper - it weighs a tonne!
    chrisrydal x

  24. Lovely ideas on how to use unscrapable photos. I like the bleach and tile idea. I never throw away photos they areusually mixed up with all the rest. I'd lie to be entered into the draw.

    Meg baby uks

  25. I don't know if I'm eligible for the draw (but please pop me in if I am) as not part of the hop. Just wanted to say - this couldn't have come at a better time. I finally succumbed and bought printer ink after needing it for about a year. My printer and I have a hate/hate relationship. What happens the first time I try and print? First 4 attempts the ink just sits on top of the paper and never dries - with those I do a kind of print into my sketchbook and get a ghost type effect of the photo which I do quite like but it's flipping expensive way to get a print! I then have the ghostly remains of the photo on the actual glossy paper as well which, again, I do quite like and it looks almost painted.

    Have all but given up trying to print on glossy paper now - bought a big batch of card at Ally Pally and will just print to that instead. Grr.

    Love that mosaic effect!

  26. what inspiration--must give it a go :)

    many thanks Leigh11 xx

  27. great ideas - I especially like the cutting into squares :-)
    *here be dragons*

  28. A funny and inspiring post Julie TFS. I am super intrigued by the bleach (I like the subtle effect on the home printed pics) and am now wondering what other differences the two have when brought into contact with ... tea, coke, water ...
    I'd be happy to be entered into your draw ... though up to now my dud photos go into the bin!

  29. Wow what brilliant ideas. Have usually thrown away photos that haven't printed properly but will give these ideas ago. I would love to be entered into your draw. I usually either throw away prints that have not worked at home but others just go into photo boxes.
    UKS sue1952

  30. Great, original ideas as always Julie. I'd love to have a go with my 'failed' photos but erm.... I stored them in the bin! Maybe I'll save them now :)

  31. I like the one cutting it into tiles, very clever. I would like to be in with a chance to win a mystery prize please? I have my 'can't scrap' photos in an envelope at the bottom of the photo box - so I may rescue one or two! Thank you - UKS - Sharon1973

  32. i utterly love these ideas and have lots of photos to practice on. This is a fab blog post and Ive saved your post (I hope). particularly like the cutting into tiles.(Maria in France on UKS)

  33. Some great 'arty' ideas - thanks :) Kitty Crafts UKS

  34. I admit it I haven't a clue where my unusable photos are. I have a feeling that I throw them-oops. Love the mosaic idea tho so will be having a go at that. Tanks Julie. KJJC. Uks bame

  35. Fab ideas! I can't bear throwing okay failed photographs either! (UKS TinkerHamilton)

  36. Great AND useful tips - Particularly like the tiles with the added stamping. I have an Expedia box full of photos from my youth, which need a good sorting out - I'm sure I can attack some now with bleach and use more than I'll throw.
    UKS Name: AllycatD
    Yes, please add me to the draw, I trust you to send something fantabulous!!! :)

  37. My favourite stop on the hop so far - probably because it is so useful, and I really like useful! I'm ashamed to say my home print failures all live in file 13 ie the bin...but not anymore. You have inspired me to see if I can use them next time! Would love to be included in the draw for your unseen, low key prize too :) UKS - Julesaroony

  38. Really inspirational post - not unusual for this blog. I love those ideas for photos that you don't want to scrapbook. Love the page with the tiling on it's gorgeous. Thanks for sharing. I've bookmarked this. Sian aka Violaceous :)

  39. I, like most people, have prints not good enough to use on a layout but I love the bleach and chopping into squares ideas.
    A photo I printed last week for a UKS challenge and ran out of ink at the bottom would be perfect for the bleach technique, off to try it...
    Chris55 _UKS

  40. that is such an interesting post Julie thanks so much for sharing your ideas. I think I am most tempted to try the bleachy technique though slightly nervous but with digi pics I can always print off another one! So bearing that in mind I don't have so many unscrap worthy pics as I print out from digi but I have only been scrapping a short time so I have years and years of photos to go through and scrap from the pre digi days so i suspect there will be a few dodgy ones there... so I maybe trying a few more techniques xxx

  41. ps I would love to be intered in the draw xxx

  42. I love the bleach idea, I look forward to trying it!

    Yes please for the mystery prize! I chuck all my "rubbish" photos in a drawer, so I'll be able to have a rummage ad rescue a few now!

    UKS - Clairewill

  43. Ooooo never thought of playing with my bad print offs they normally go in the bin, or too my youngest to doodle on .... though I do keep the ones I get developed else where in a box with my other photos but in a bag to keep them separate. I shall have to get arty with them now :)
    (Please add me to your extra draw)
    K (aka Sylphraven)

  44. Great ideas - I have tried the bleach but didn't do that well with it so I'll have to give it another go, not done the tiling but love that and definitely have to try the using bits of photos on cards :)

  45. Really have to try this out, thanks for sharing. UKS - Scrappyyo

  46. What a great post! I am always failing ha ha - I am tight with my printer ink and often the last one before i really have to replace the cartage is odd colours. I will have a go at these ideas - I love the tiled photo.
    I keep my "failed" prints in a 12 x 12" poly back - can't throw them away - so they also get bent as well!!

  47. We spotted the secret draw bit, we have beady eyes, literally, being bears!! Sadly our badly composed photos usually end up shredded, but not now we've seen your tutorial, you've given us the inspiration to actually hunt out any not so great pics and see what we can do with them. We really like the half photo, it's something we would end up doing ourselves.

  48. What a great post with so many useful tips that I WILL be using

  49. LOVE IT!! am def going to give the bleach and the cutting up ones a try! :) the card one scares me a bit xx

    purplybunny (uks)

  50. I just love the effects that you have managed to create.

    I would love to be in the draw - my printing fails sometimes end up in the bin but most of the time they get added to an ever bulging folder. At least now I have some ideas to try out on them - TFS.

    Toni xx

  51. Some fab ideas and very unusual.I would be scared of trying the bleach but will have a go with some of my not so perfect photos.Thanks for the tips! uKS. Bubbleblitt

  52. what a brilliant post - wil definately be looking at my pics in a new light - thank you--alibi

  53. Hopping -rabbits - are you talking to me lol!

    I have trimmed photos but love the tiling and bleaching ideas especially. The bleaching looks lots of messy fun and that I'd end up with tie dyed clothes but hey that's no bad thing!

    I keep my not so great photos in an old 70s brown and orange coloured biscuit tin in my old desk - both of which have seen better days.

    You've inspired me - I must start a blog! Audrey uks poetcrafty. Xxx

  54. Oh and yes I would like entered into the draw xxx

  55. love it all. TFS. will have to have a go at bleaching.


  56. Great technique!
    I keep all mine in a bottom drawer in my craft room


  57. Great ideas. I'll have to try bleaching, I've seen it done to amke pictures before, but never on photos. UKS Tagsie

  58. I have a lot of imperfect photos I have kept hold of, you have inspired me to get them out and play! - Cassia

  59. What amazing ideas. Thank you for the tutorials. Love, UKS stillcrafting

  60. Beautiful...and thanks for the clear instructions, feeling very inspired now! Hugs Sarah (butterbee on UKS)

  61. What a fab post. I would love to be entered for a chance to win a mystery prize. I keep all my not so perfect pics for my daughter to stick/colour and cut into weird shapes. I can't wait to give the bleach a try I love that idea. Thanks for the inspiration :) (uks Jacqui200284)

  62. Mot sure what I'm doing right but not had a duff print!! However I've thousands of imperfect pictures on my PC and fancy using some in a LO having read this, thanks for the thoughts, JoPink
    Ps always up for a chance of a prize :)

  63. I love the bleach effect and will be trying it out on the (many) dodgy looking photos i have. I would love to be given a chance to win a mystery prize so in answer to your question my dodgy photos are kept in a box separate from the good photos.

    My UKS name is NIKIG

    My twitter name is:

  64. Who would have thought about using bleach an unusual but effective medium.

    Fran (Hedgie)

  65. Some radical ideas here I will have to bear in mind joanne

  66. This comment has been removed by the author.

  67. I particularly like the bleach effects on the photos. Never would have thought to try it :)

  68. What a great article, the bleaching looks fun and the tiling is perfect for your art journal, had to chuckle a bit at the half picture, but loving the fact that you kept them all and have used them, yay. Great ideas.

  69. Love the way you write your blog entries :)

    i have a love-hate relationship with my printer and love the tiling idea. I used to keep all my duff home prints in a file....but recently threw them all in the bin in a "I will never scrap those" moment! ARGH!

    Stacey Scrapred on UKS

  70. That is fabulous... now I am jumping around like a little bunny at the moment but I will be popping back here again to follow that through step by step! great inspiration! jenx uks wear crafts

  71. Some nice ideas, thanks for sharing Fifi-T

  72. great ideas, o have a fair few dodgy photos!

    uks - darm

  73. Great ideas Julie!
    Laura Godfrey


    That is the link to my latest layout, with very ordinary photos - but special memories. I've also made cards with some rejects too -

    What I tend to do is obscure the images with alcohol inks and embossing powder, so the paper is still used. I haven't been brave enough to use bleach yet! I really must get around to it - very interesting that the professionally processed photos don't take the bleach as well! I'd love to be entered into the draw - I love surprises!
    Ali (Alibri) x

  75. Great ideas, I particularly like the 'tiling' one, although I'm not sure I'm brave enough to attack a photo with bleach!

    I keep all my photos, even the ones where I printed out the wrong size for a layout, or got the wrong one printed, or cropped it unevenly, so this could just inspire me to use up some of my 'failures' too! Maybe a little mystery something would encourage me?!?
    (Eileen C)

  76. Excellent ideas, I love using crappy photos.

    I keep a separate envelope with mine in and often use then as additions to a layout with good pics on.
    Would love to be included for prize thank you!

    UKS Name Fizzydrink

  77. My home printed photos always come out a different colour to expected, so I love your different ideas. I keep them all in a photo envelope just waiting for that much needed inspiration.

    Would love to be included in your draw.

  78. Fabulous ideas there - I have just the photos to use too!

    UKS Meggie

  79. Great ideas, yes, I have photos like that too. I tend to keep mine in a photo wallet just because I hate to throw them away but to date don't think I've actually used many (any?). Would love to be in your draw.
    UKS - mumof4girls

  80. I don't know if I would ever be brave enough to use bleach on my pictures but I love the effect!

  81. Thanks for sharing, Must remember to give them a try next time rather than throw the photo out. UKS Jolene

  82. What a fabulous post - so different - great ideas and info - thank you. Gill x UKS name is Seaside Crafter.

  83. I have loads of photos 'living in a box' too - maybe they will be lucky, like yours, and get a chance at fame and fortune!!
    Lovely tutorial ~ thanks x
    UKS PinkSparklyScrapper

  84. I am a little late to the hop but really appreciating all your great suggestions - though I did gulp a little when you bleached those originals from the 1980s! I like the tiling ideas especially ... I have to say that I am a little ruthless with my not-OK photos. They go straight into the waste-paper basket and from there to the multi-fuel stove! And yes, please, do add me to your lovely draw :).

  85. WOW!!! this idea is awesome.. Now I know what to do this weekend.. i have a lot of failed printouts at a4 paper at the office.. :) nice and smooth..

  86. Nice Post ! Thanks for sharing . This blog is very informatics.
    Best Creative Printing

  87. One thing I noticed that you want to become a good professional photographer. If you keep at your work, you will soon finish with it. And, as I felt, you should also try to make custom posters once that will improve your quality work.


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