Hand-Colored Photo Jewelry (Tutorial)
by Rena Klingenberg. © 2003-Present Rena Klingenberg. All Rights Reserved
This tutorial involves playing with images, then coloring them by hand for an old-fashioned look, and turning them into jewelry.
This is a fun project for people of all ages, and it makes wonderful gifts!
- A photo – it can be either a digital image that’s on your camera or computer, or a printed photo.
Important: The photo should have some white or very light-colored areas that you can color.
- A simple photo editing program – to crop and size your image.
I used the “Preview” program on my Mac computer.
If your computer doesn’t have a photo editor, do an internet search for “free photo editor online” for a list of easy photo editing programs you can use online.
- A sheet of regular plain white paper – for printing your photo onto.
- A computer printer – for printing the photo onto paper.
- Scissors or paper cutter – for trimming your printed photo.
- Colored pencils – for coloring your photo.
- Photo jewelry pendant frame.
Mine are Ranger Inkssentials Memory Frames.
I used a 1″x3″ photo frame for the rectangular pendant.
I used a 1″x1″ photo frame for the square pendant.
- Glass that’s made to fit in your photo jewelry pendant frame.
Mine are Ranger Inkssentials Memory Glass.
- Chain or cord – for wearing your jewelry photo pendant.
Using a Photo
That’s NOT a Digital Image?
If your photo isn’t already on your computer, take a picture of the photo with your camera or a scanner, and download the image to your computer.
I have an ancient, yellowing photograph of me as a baby – so I used my camera to take a picture of that photo:
Then I downloaded this new digital image of my old baby photo from my camera to my computer.
That enabled me to crop and edit the image on my computer – and then print it at just the right size for this project.
Here’s the new, edited image I made from my old baby photo (before re-sizing it to print):
After coloring, resizing, and printing this image (which we’ll do in the tutorial below), I put it in the photo jewelry frame.
Then I added a heart locket and a cord – and I have a lovely gift to give my Mom on Mother’s Day:
It’s been decades since I looked like that – so I have a feeling my Mom will enjoy this photo pendant. 🙂
Now that your regular photo is a digital image, let’s go ahead with the rest of this tutorial:
How to Make
Hand-Colored Photo Jewelry:
First, we’ll have to make our image fit our photo frame.
I’m going to use a 1″x3″ jewelry photo frame pendant.
It has glass on both sides, so I can put 2 images on this pendant – one on each side.
For the first side, I’m going to use this vintage photo of a little girl:
There are a lot of light-colored areas in this photo, so it’s a good one for coloring.
Once you have your image on your computer, use your photo editing program to:
- Crop the image.If your photo frame is square, crop your image to a square.
If your photo frame is a rectangle, crop your image to the rectangle’s proportions; my frame is 1″x3″, so I’m cropping my image to a rectangle that’s 1 unit wide by 3 units high.
- Make your image black and white.(You’ll get the best results with your colored pencils if your image is only black, white, and gray tones; no other colors or sepia tones.)
In your photo editor, this tool is usually called “desaturate”.
Or your editor may have a slider arrow for the color saturation level – which you should slide to the minimum amount of saturation.
- Adjust brightness and contrast.If your image seems too dark or too light, use the “brightness” and “contrast” (or “light and dark”) tools to adjust your image.
- Re-size the image for printing.In your photo editor, use the “image size” tool to choose:
- 300 dpi (or 300 pixels per inch) resolution
- the width of your photo frame in inches (for my frame it’s 1 inch)
- the height of your photo frame in inches (for my frame it’s 3 inches).
Now my image of the old-fashioned little girl looks like this:
Now use your computer printer to print the image onto a regular sheet of white paper.
(If your printer prints out a full page image instead of your intended small size, you may need to un-check your printer’s option for “scale to fit” – and instead, enter “100%” in the “scale” field.)
When your image is printed, cut it out with scissors or a paper cutter.
Now for some fun – it’s time to color the image!
Use your colored pencils to fill in some of the white or light areas in the image:
Here are the pencils I used to color the girl’s dress, skin, and hair:
Now it’s time to prepare the image that will go on the other side of the photo pendant.
I’m using a vintage photo of an interesting-looking lady:
Once you have your second image on your computer, crop and edit it as you did with the first image.
I used my photo editing program to crop out all of that fascinating background, leaving just a 1″x3″ area of the photo that shows the lady from the waist up:
Now print this image on plain white paper and cut it out with scissors.
Then give it some color with your colored pencils:
Now it’s time to put these two colored photos in the frame, back to back, so there’s a picture on each side of the pendant.
Open the latch on the side of the pendant photo frame:
Now place one of the clear glass pieces in the frame:
Place one of your colored photos face down on top of the glass:
Now lay your other colored photo face up on top of the first photo, and place the second glass over the top of this second photo:
Now your two colored photos should be back-to-back, sandwiched between the two pieces of glass.
Put the metal frame back together, and latch it shut with the built-in latch tab:
Add a jump ring and chain or cord to the top of your pendant – and it’s ready to wear:
The other side of the pendant looks like this:
This would be a great way to make family history jewelry, using digital images of old family photos.
Or to give your mom or grandma a necklace with a photo from your childhood: