Turn Photos of Your Kids Into Works of Art

With the rise of digital cameras, it's been easier than ever to get great photos of kids, family, and friends. Sadly, however, most of those snaps end up in a digital catalog on our PCs, never to be seen again.

But now, you can print out your favorite photos in all sorts of creative ways, turning a random picture of the wee ones running in the grass into something else entirely.

Here are some cool photo services parents can use to add a few great pieces of artwork to their hallways or keyfobs. 


For the traditionalist, there's CanvasPop. These guys will print your photos onto actual canvas; prices start at $30 for an 8 x 10 unframed piece and go up to a few hundred for a wooden frame. Images can be as big as 24 x 72 inches -- which is pretty huge. One thing to keep in mind when printing photos on canvas is that almost every deficiency in the original photo -- lack of focus, weird colors, etc. -- will be blown up considerably when printed to nearly poster size. 

CanvasPop also lets you print out photos onto multiple canvases for a certain West Elm effect, and you can add filters to make your pictures look like Pop Art and cartoons. Your best bet? Just take a nice, close portrait shot of your favorite kid and have it blown up. A huge photo of Junior's big, bright eyes is just the sort of thing grandparents -- and you -- will value over the next few years.

Another nice option is called Fracture. For $8 you can have your photos printed on a small, flat piece of shatter-proof glass that can hang on the wall or stand up on an end table. The glass adds a bit of shimmer and gloss to otherwise boring pictures, and the prices top out at $35 for the largest size.

Finally, for those who want something they can have and hold for a long while, there's Shapeways Image Popper. This service allows you to turn a 2-D illustration -- preferably a line drawing like a happy face or signature -- into a little 3-D object suitable for making into a piece of jewelry, a key chain, or another gizmo.

With a little effort, you can upload a scan of your baby's handprint or first drawing, or you can have your child write a special message for a family member. It's considerably more complex than the photo printing services, but quite fascinating.

You can also use Shapeways to create 3-D photos out of your standard 2-D images using a process that brings out the texture in your favorite snaps. It's a bit of a gimmick, but interesting nonetheless.

Do you need all this high-tech stuff when printing things out at home and hanging them on the fridge is good enough? Not really. But sometimes it's nice to have something a bit more special, and these services give you an excuse to finally sort through those thousands of photos you've been storing away since you got your first digital.


Images via Shapeways

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