diy project: kat geiger’s modern family photos

today’s first diy project comes from kat geiger of design spunk and green under glass. having “always had a difficulty admiring family photos in general”, kat was longing for a way to showcase her family photos that would “capture the soul” of her family. “plastered smiles, perfect hair, they simply aren’t us” she explained.

for the past several years, kat has been working with mixed media collage, and thought it would be fun to incorporate real people she knew into her work. then it dawned on her- this would be a great way to solve her family photo dilemma. while cleaning out her grandmother’s house, kat found an old thesaurus she used during college and decided to incorporated it into her new ‘family photo’.

using glue, a paint brush, her old encyclopedia and some household crafting materials, kat created this updated spin on a family photo. i love the final result and think it’s such a fun and clever way to showcase your family photos without falling prey to the “plastered smiles and perfect hair” that sometimes plague traditional portraits.

CLICK HERE for kat’s full project instructions and to create your own modern family photo!

Kat Geiger’s Modern Family Photos
by Kat Geiger of design spunk and green under glass


-Wood or canvas of desired size
-white glue
-paint brush
-meaningful up-cycled book
-family photo
-x-acto knife.


1. Painstakingly cut each family member from a larger snapshot using x-acto knife and set aside.

2. Tear pages from book.

3. One at a time paint the backs of the pages with glue, adhering them to canvas or wood surface until entire surface is covered.

4.Allow to dry overnight.

5. Next, carefully paint backs of snapshot cut outs with white glue and place on top of book pages where desired.

6. Adding other paper cut-outs and shapes to these projects can be fun too. (Being a fan of negative space, I was inclined to leave the rest of the piece blank.)

  1. I am so going to do that and print them out as Christmas cards this year. Love it! :)

  2. Christina says:

    makes me ache for free time to play around with collage.

  3. shannon says:

    What a fantastic idea!!! Thank you!

  4. Que máximo!

  5. Jessica says:

    Wow!! Such a cool idea! I can’t wait to try it out.

  6. I think I’m going to try this TODAY. Thanks for the idea.

  7. This is totally charming!

  8. danielle says:

    as i read this, sitting on the table 6 inches away in a neat arrangement lies elmer’s glue, mod podge, 4 wide brushes and 4 canvases. i am not kidding.

  9. Allison says:

    I love this! Posed family photos are my thing either, but this family photo? Magnificent.

  10. manu says:

    ;) wunderschön!

  11. Adrienne says:

    that is brilliant and I will definitely be trying it out soon! I have 4 squares of canvas that have been lying around waiting for something awesome to come along..

  12. The Mudroom says:

    This is so fabulous! My in-laws are big into perfect hair and smiles…coordinated outfits…the whole bit…so NOT how I grew up (and luckily my hubs feels the same)…this is the real heart and soul of a family! Thank you!

  13. Jessie says:

    This is amazing and I’m starting my search for the right book immediately!

  14. Janelle says:

    I LOVE it! It seems like ALL our family pictures are the SAME, everyone just looks a little older than they did last year. This is a terribly creative idea :)

  15. Monique says:

    So Kat, white glue is all you used and it keeps well? Immediately, I’m concerned that I should decoupage to seal. Should I be?
    Fabulous, by the way!

  16. Jackie says:

    is mod podge the best glue to use for the book pages? is it best to paint glue over the front surface too?

  17. I love this! I always fantasize about putting all the newspaper that collects in my home into collages; this seems like a great way to do it.

  18. leni says:

    i love this idea! so cute an original … plus you get a piece of art as well!

  19. I love this! So original. I will definitely try this soon. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Eileen says:

    Thanks for this super idea! Am glad I didn’t toss the old Thesaurus making way for the attic studio. For our blended family, I will now have that family photo, without the formal, phony, tired-of-smiling-already poses! Might even add photos of cooks to the recipe scrapbooking album…

  21. claire Kramer says:

    LOVE THIS!!! thanks so much for sharing.

  22. Leslie Kingery says:

    Really fantastic project & very clever!

  23. kate mc says:

    love this project! inspired me to try it immediately. maybe will get me on the way out of my creative slump!
    Thank you!!

  24. Sharyn says:

    I’m definitely doing this one! thanks for sharing!

  25. I love those! What a great way to display family photos!

  26. Rebecca says:

    I do like family photos (though I’m more into creative,
    less posed ones), but this is fantastic! I share a house with
    several other people and was just thinking about making a family
    photo wall with all our photos. Maybe I’ll try something like this

  27. Good job! Do you all get well.


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