Hand-Colored Photo Jewelry (Tutorial)

by Rena Klingenberg.
Hand-Colored Photo Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

This tutorial involves playing with images, then coloring them by hand for an old-fashioned look, and turning them into jewelry.

Hand-Colored Photo Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

This is a fun project for people of all ages, and it makes wonderful gifts!

Hand-Colored Photo Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Supplies:

  • 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:

Turning old photograph into digital image for Hand-Colored Photo Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

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):

Digital image made from old photograph for Hand-Colored Photo Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

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:

Hand-Colored Photo Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

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:
Image for Hand-Colored Photo Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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:

Cropped, edited image for Hand-Colored Photo Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

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:

Coloring the paper image with colored pencils, for Hand-Colored Photo Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Here are the pencils I used to color the girl’s dress, skin, and hair:

The colors I used her for the Hand-Colored Photo Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

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:
Digital image of vintage photo for Hand-Colored Photo Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

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:

Cropped, edited image for Hand-Colored Photo Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now print this image on plain white paper and cut it out with scissors.

Then give it some color with your colored pencils:

The colored pencils I used to color this image for Hand-Colored Photo Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

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:

Open the photo jewelry frame - Hand-Colored Photo Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now place one of the clear glass pieces in the frame:

Put the glass in the frame - Hand-Colored Photo Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Place one of your colored photos face down on top of the glass:

Put image face down on the glass - Hand-Colored Photo Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

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:

Place second image back to back with first image - Hand-Colored Photo Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

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:

Place glass on top of image and close the frame - Hand-Colored Photo Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Add a jump ring and chain or cord to the top of your pendant – and it’s ready to wear:

Add a chain to your pendant - Hand-Colored Photo Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

The other side of the pendant looks like this:

Hand-Colored Photo Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

This would be a great way to make family history jewelry, using digital images of old family photos.

Hand-Colored Photo Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Or to give your mom or grandma a necklace with a photo from your childhood:

Hand-Colored Photo Jewelry - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

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