How To Turn Your Favourite Photo Into Modern Art

Pictures - but make them art! Add a personal touch to any wall with this fun DIY.

Family photos, but make it art. Christian Dare shows you how to give your favourite pics an added element of interest, and make them pop.


Family photo or headshot
Coloured cellophane sheets or coloured paper (available via Amazon)
Sharpie or other fine point marker
Empty picture frame with mat (with glass or acrylic front)
Scissors or cutting blade and ruler.
Tape or glue


  1. Remove the sheet of glass (or acrylic) from your picture frame. Give it a good clean.
  2. Now place a headshot underneath the sheet of glass (facing up).
  3. Using a sharpie (or other marker) begin drawing the portrait. You want to focus just on the outline and features. Trace out the jawline, eyes, lips, nose, and hair…. It should feel abstract; like a line drawing.  Go slowly, And if you make a mistake, you can wipe it clean with glass cleaner (or nail polish remover) and start over.
  4. Now cut strips of cellophane different widths and colours (you can use scissors or a sharp edge and knife). You want to make sure you have a variety of sizes and colours. You can mix it up and make it really colourful or even consider colour blocking it – use all cool colours or warm shades.  

NB: If you don’t have cellophane at home, you can use newspaper or an old map or even some old fabric. You just want to cut it into strips to create a collage.

  1. Grab your picture mat (from your frame) and flip it over.  Play with the placement of the coloured cello strips and create a design.  
  2. When you are happy with it, place the line drawing portrait glass on top of your collage. And check how it looks. If it looks great, then it’s time to secure the coloured strips.
  3. Attach/fix your strips to your matte using double sided tape, or  tape, or glue or glue dots. This is so the coloured cello doesn’t slip and move around when you place the frame back together.
  4. Finally you can put your frame back together. First the glass, then the matte, and finally the backing to your frame. *NB: You’ll want to flip the glass so the image you sketched is on the inside of the frame – this is so you don’t wipe it off by accident when cleaning your glass at a later date.
  5. Hang your new art work in a place of honour in your home.

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