Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Polaroid Week - Day Two PLUS Ten Ways to Display Polaroids

Polaroid Week, or I should call it Fall Polaroid Week, since we already had one in May, kicked off yesterday. Yes, it is technically called 'Roid Week but the picture that brings to my mind isn't pretty... I look forward to trying new things during Polaroid Week and this time around I got out a Sears Special One Step Land Camera with it's retro rainbow striped goodness. This camera came out about 1977, for $39.95. I bought it at a thrift store in 2009 for $10. Not sure if it worked, but Oh Baby, it does. It takes SX-70 film, and I just happened to have 4 packs that expired late last year. Whoopie! Now if only I could do the impossible and photograph the lovely little camera with itself... oh wait, I just got am idea for tomorrow's photo...

Today I made some natural light photos of my youngest daughter on my bed beneath a series of Polaroids (on the wall) of her older sister kissing and hugging my belly when I was pregnant with her. This camera used a strip of flashbulbs for illumination (wow, how many of those are in landfills now?) so I am forced to use natural light. These exposures were long, and I didn't even check for a tripod mount. I like how the camera shake and colors of the SX-70 film makes this look like an impressionist painting...

Polaroid Images by Tiffany Teske

Read on for ten ways to display your Polaroids...

Wall Collage of Polaroid Spectra Images "Float Mounted" in Archival Mats

This is the second post in my three part series on Polaroids and how to care for and display them. You can access the first post here, which deals exclusively with how to store and care for your images. Now we will explore some of the way I like to display my original Polaroids, Polaroid transfers, and Polaroid emulsion lifts in my home.

Remember, it is always best to display Polaroids on a wall or in an area that does not receive direct sunlight. Putting your images in the sun can cause them to curl and they will fade quickly.

Number 1 - Photo Mobile

I picked this up in the gallery shop of the San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art. It is really cool, and I am sure that anyone who crafts with wire can whip one up. I like working with wire, but have pretty bad luck with trying to balance mobiles that are not hung on a pre-balanced round circle... anyway, whether you make it, buy one from someone who can, or pick one up where photo items are sold, it is a great way to display your Polaroids. The clips won't damage the images, and you can put them back to back, to display up to 20 at once. And the movement of the images on the breeze is a visual plus.

Number 2 - Horizontal or Vertical Ribbon Photo Holder Using Simple Silver Paper Clips or Wooden Clothespins

Horizontal Photo Holder Using Wide Wire Edged Ribbon and Wooden Clothespins

This is a very simple way to display your Polaroids. There are thousands of different patterns of wide wire edged ribbon out there, so you can find the perfect one to go with your decor and your photos. I used simple silver thumbtacks, one on each end of the ribbon, near the top, to attach this to the wall. I put the push pins near the top of the ribbon, so that it would hold the extra little bit of weight from the paper clips that are holding the images to the top of the ribbon. You can adjust the pressure of the clips so that they do not make indents on the photos. This simple display solution can be changed often, as it takes just minutes to put together and is not permanently fixed to the wall. To spice things up you can use fun colored paper clips, if color is your thing.

Horizontal Photo Holder Using Wide Wire Edged Ribbon and Simple Silver Paper Clips

Vertical Ribbon Photo Holder Using Wooden Clothespins

This is a different version of Number 2... there are really many, many possible versions of this idea. This one uses woven jute ribbon, which is nice and stiff. I have attached it to the wall with silver push pins, putting the pins in the middle of the ribbon. Then, using wooden clothespins, I have attached a series of images. I personally like the unfinished look of the ribbon at the bottom of the holder, but you could trim this straight across if you like.

Number 3 - Framing Your Image Using Archival Matboard

Polaroid Spectra Image "Float Mounted" in Archival Window Mat in Composite Frame

Polaroid Transfer in Archival Window Mat in Metal Frame

One purpose of a mat is to keep your image from touching the glass in a framed image. When an image touches the glass there is a risk of it permanently sticking if there is any moisture present. The best way to display your images in frames is to use an archival, acid free front window and backing mat. Your image can be attached to the backing mat using photo corners, low tack acid free tape (so you can remove it someday), or you can use photo glues if you don't mind having the image permanently mounted. You cannot mount Polaroids using a dry mount press, as this can melt and scorch them. There are some pressure rather than heat activated products on the market that can be explored for permanent mounting. No matter how you decided to mount the image on the backing board, you need to use quality mats. Cheap paper mats will eventually leave a ring around your image where the acid has eaten it. You could avoid this by not having the window of the mat touch your image, such as in the example image where there Polaroid is "float mounted" but your image will still be damaged if the backing mat is not acid free. You can find out more about matting images by Googling the subject on the web.

And a word about frames and glass... using wood frames will eventually damage all the contents inside of the frame because of the acid in the wood. Metal frames are really the best option for matted Polaroids. UV glass or Plexiglas are good for helping to minimize the fading caused by sunlight. Plexiglas is harder to clean as it scratches. Regular window glass does provide some UV protection but is not as good as UV glass.

Series of Polaroid Transfers "Float Mounted" on Archival Mat Without Window Mats

Series of Polaroid Transfers in Archival Window Mats in Composite Frames

Number 4 - Framing Your Polaroid Without a Mat

Polaroid Transfer Placed Directly in Wooden Frame with Glass

While this is not the best recommendation, some of you are probably like me, and you are ok with the fact that your image might not last for years and years. In this case, you can frame your image in whatever frame you like. There are so many unique and wonderful frames out there. Just keep in mind that if you don't use a quality mat, your image may stick to the glass. And that if the frame is wood, the acid will damage your photo over time.

Polaroid 669 Original in Vintage Frame with Convex Glass

Another option is for matless frames it to use vintage frames with convex glass so that the glass is not sitting directly on your image. This are available in a number of places. You can check antique shops, thrift stores, Etsy or Ebay for starters. Vintage frames look lovely with Polaroids.

Number 5 - Wire Photo Holder

Polaroid 669 Original in Wire Photo Holder

There are a number of cool wire photo holder options out there. You can buy them at decor or photo shops, but you can also make them. I hope to present a how-to for making your own wire photo holders within the next week or so (however I may give birth to my second child within that time, so rest assured if you don't see that craft tutorial here soon, it will show up eventually). You can also find wonderful handmade wire photo holders on Etsy, as well as vintage options. As a bit of a variation, I have used one of my metal business card holders that was handmade by an artist to display a Polaroid 600 image below.

Polaroid 600 Original in Metal Business Card Holder

Number 6 - Florist Pin Frogs

Series of Polaroid Spectra Originals Displayed Using Florist Pin Frogs

This is one of my favorite ways to display my Polaroids when I want to sprinkle them throughout my home for non permanent displays. They take seconds to put a photo into, so you can change them up often. And they work well for series of related photographs set either in a straight line or staggered. You can get these from a florist or they can tell you where to buy them. I happen to have scads left over from my wedding...

Series of Polaroid Spectra Originals Displayed Using Florist Pin Frogs

Number 7 - Stick Them To or Lean Them Against The Wall

Polaroid 600 Image Leaning Against the Wall On Top of a Painting

This is probably the most common, low tech way of displaying your Polaroids. It is quite non committal, and convenient. However, it doesn't protect images from fingerprints, dust, scratches, fading, or bending, but once again, if you are not into treating your Polaroids with kid gloves, then who cares, right? They are not ALL masterpieces...

Three Holgaroid and One Spectra Original Attached to the Wall Using Wall Tack

And as far as the best way to attach a Polaroid directly to the wall, I would never use tape. Use poster putty (or wall tack or adhesive putty, whatever YOU call it) which is reusable, doesn't dry out, and if you get a good kind won't stain the back of your image (the cheap stuff may). I use this all the time when I am just tacking up a photo on the wall, and it is easy to remove without hurting the wall or bending your image, and I have never had one fall off the wall.

Number 8 - Polaroid Pack Film Holder

Polaroid 669 Original in a 669 Film Pack Holder

If you have never thought of doing this, shame on you! Polaroid did have a recycling program where you could send these things back, but I have kept all of mine over the years so I actually have a few hundred. You can only frame one image for every ten you make, but it is a great way to upcycle these puppies, and you can find whatever creative means you like to hang them on a wall. You can also just lean them on the wall. I don't really have a step by step of how to get the back off, the photo in, and the back back on, but it is simple, just give it a shot.

Polaroid Spectra In Camera Double Exposure in Spectra Film Pack Holder

Polaroid 669 Original in a 669 Film Pack Holder

Number 9 - Photo Album

Vintage Photo Album That Holds 669 Images

Polaroids, like all photographs, can benefit from dark storage to keep the dyes from fading over time. You need to keep in mind that old, vintage photo albums may provide pockets that are the perfect size but they are probably not acid free, which means they will actually damage the images if used for long time storage. It is best to go with archival, acid free photo albums and scrapbooks. Or you can buy "Polaroid Specific" albums from China. I have purchased some via Ebay. I can't vouch for their long term success for storing images but they are inexpensive and the right sizes for your Polaroids.

"Polaroid Specific" Album From China For 669 Images

Vintage Photo Albums for 669 Images

Number 10 - Photo Cubes

Polaroid 669 Images and Transfers in Photo Cubes

When I was a kid, we always had photo cubes kicking around out house. So, when I saw these, I bought a bunch, and even used them in a gallery show I had. They hold 5 images each so they are great for displaying a bunch of images in a novel way. People like to touch things, so this display is tactile. I did have to cut the images to fit these cubes so keep the window dimensions in mind if you don't want to cut your images.

Now go, jump into displaying your Polaroids. I appreciate your comments, and would love to hear your ideas for displaying images. Stay tuned for tomorrow's how-to display craft. Cheers!

All images by Tiffany Teske


Anonymous said...

Here is a great place to purchase cardboard polaroid picture frames and polaroid holiday easel frames: http://www.pfile.com. They also have a Silhouettes 8x8 Photo Frame, which offers a very stylish, modern look for displaying polaroid photos.

Anonymous said...

great post and pics, Tiff
You're on a 'roid tear
way to go!
so informative!

Tiffany Teske said...

Thanks for the pfile tip, I have some of those, but couldn't find any on the internet... Thanks, Karina! It was sooo great to chat the other day. I miss you!