Saturday, March 19, 2011
Wall Art using ancestry.com
This is a fabulous project. I was able to make 6 framed pieces for less than $25!! Plus the subject has special meaning for our family. Using ancestry.com I was able to find some old advertisements that were done by our great, great grandparents and some from our town.
The one above is from the Cherry Blossoms Bottling Works. Don't you just love that name. Their slogan says "A Blooming Good Drink". I love it.
Here's the rest of the set...
The first one is a milk bottle company from town - love the old milk bottle. The second is a gumball company - our town used to have a gum ball company that my mother (she lived here as a kid and my husband and I moved to the area about 7 years ago) remembers walking by and the workers sometimes giving kids the rejected gum balls. The 3rd one is the cherry blossoms again.
Here are the other 3. The first one has an ad from my family - my great grandfather was a general contractor in the 1920's. The second picture is of an awning company and the last one is from my husband's great great grandfather who made granite, wood and slate mantles in the Syracuse, NY area at the turn of the century.
Here's the HOW TO part:
1. Log on to ancestry.com. They give a free 2-week trial for those that are interested. Go to the Search tab. Then depending on what type of images you are looking for you can either search by a person's name or by a type of record. In my case I had already built a tree and found these city directories for a few of the cities where my relatives had lived. These city directories are books where each city/town listed their citizens before phone books. They usually have a section giving data about the city during that year, pictures of prominent citizens, and a street by street listing of each home and who lived in the town along with advertising by the local companies.
The ancestry.com search engine actually will drive you to anything that matches the name that you are searching for so without much effort I was able to find some old ads that my great, great grandfather had put in one of these directories. Once I had found that original ad, I looked for more and was able to find one from my husband's great, great grandfather in a different city. Since these were so cool I knew I wanted to be able to display them somehow, but I could only find 2 that were specific to our families. I then decided to use some for the town we live in now. In all I was able to find 2 ads specific to our families and 4 from our current town.
2. Once you find an image that you like all you do is click on the print button.
3. That will bring up a box that gives you a couple of choices...
Click on the Customized print button.
4. This will bring up ancestry's My Canvas tool. This allows you to resize, change the background, and clean up the image. This was really a user friendly tool. I am not a designer or particularly computer savvy but I was able to adjust my images in just minutes.
5. Once you are satisfied with your image you can click print. I printed my images onto card stock so they would be a little more substantial. Walmart sells a basic cardstock package for less than $5 that has 5 different colors; white, off-white, vanilla, paper-bag, and brown. I ended up choosing the paper bag color because it gave a nice aged feeling and it stood out best from the white mats.
The frames were a steal. I got them at Michaels on clearance for $3 each including the mats. They were originally a light oak color. I painted them black using craft paint. I had a happy mistake that even though I had done a light sanding the paint was not sticking in some spots. It ended up giving the frames an unintended but lovely distressed look.
I spent the most time trying to pick the images I wanted. Once you start looking at these old books it can be very easy to lose track of the time. I love that we have a piece of personal history on our walls. Plus visitors love seeing the old ads from our town.
Here are some more views...
Ancestry.com has lots of other collections such as old maps, photos, censuses, wills, etc that could all make for interesting art for your family not to mention the obvious family tree print. Use the free 2 week trial and check it out.
Gold Shoe Girl
I decided to link up to a party - we'll see what happens.