If you have old instant camera photos lying around, here's a fun way to repurpose them. In the above video, photographer Matt Day shows you how to do an emulsion lift so you can transfer those photos to paper for a vintage, distressed look.
Your instant photos don't have to be old, of course. This is a fun project for new photos, too, and it's easier than you might think. All you need is a tray of water, some paper (he uses watercolour paper in the video) and a brush. Remove the black backing from the photo, then submerge the remaining photo in water. After a while, the image separates from its plastic backing, and you can shape it and (carefully) transfer it onto the paper. To transfer it, Day actually slides the paper under the image while it's still submerged.
It's a simple but delicate process, so check out Day's video to see how he does it. He also uses a second tray of cold water to help set the picture once it's on the paper.
It should go without saying that, especially when trying this for the first time, that you probably don't want to use any sentimental photos you're afraid of losing. To see how it's done, watch the full video above or head to Day's channel at the link below.
Who knows better how to salvage, scan and otherwise preserve your family's treasured archives than the archivists at the Smithsonian Institution? A recent Q&A session revealed some great tips for un-sticking photos, scanning mouldy documents, converting old film and other restorations.