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How to turn your Instagram shots into a 21st-century stained-glass window

timothy moore/the globe and mail

Home-improvement projects don't have to eat up all your time or empty your wallet. Nor do you necessarily need to call in experts. There's a long and growing list of ways to add a dash of design to whatever living space you call home all on your own.

Take, for example, creating a 21st-century version of a stained glass window made from Instagram photos. The smart-phone app that allows you to apply different filters to pics creates gorgeous photos, and this is a fantastic way of displaying them, as recently featured on Photojojo, a photography website. Sure, you could print and frame your Instagram pictures. But putting them in a window this way means you can get some really cool colour textures as sunlight streams through. Just be careful with the super glue.

What you'll need

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Plastic binder pockets

Super glue

Instagram photos, printed on transparency sheets


Tape measure

3M adhesive hooks

The cost

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About $60


The whole project should take less than two hours, not including going to get the photos printed.

What to do

Measure your window. Aim to cover a majority of the window for the best effect. You can do as much cutting and pasting as you like, but for simplicity's sake try to keep each 81/2-by-11 inch transparency whole.

Using Photoshop or a similar program, lay out your Instagram photos in a grid. Keep in mind that they will be printed on transparencies measuring 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches. I sized mine so that there were 12 images per transparency – four rows of three images. Pay attention to the overall colour scheme of the grid.

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Print your photos. Any place that prints transparencies should be able to do it, but you'll have to do the individual page layouts yourself. I printed mine at Staples.

Cut the white strip off the binder pocket. The holes on the strip will be used to hang the finished product on the window. Leave about one inch below the holes to glue the transparencies onto. Take your first transparency and glue it to the strip you cut from the binder pocket. Press and hold until the glue is dry.

Glue another white strip to the first one, making sure to keep it level. Add as many strips across as needed to fit the desired width of the finished product.

Line up the next transparency with the first. If it's printed with a blank border, trim appropriately. You want as little blank space as possible. Glue the second transparency to the white strip at the top and along the border of the first transparency.

Once the top row of transparencies has been glued to the white strips, continue to add rows of transparencies to the one above, always trimming any excess blank space.

After you have glued all your transparencies together, take the finished piece and hold it up to the window and mark the location of the holes along the top edge. That way you will know where to apply the adhesive hooks. You could apply the hooks as you hold up the piece, but it's way more awkward.

Hang the finished piece. Wait for sunlight to come streaming through the window. It's going to look extra amazing.


Pay close attention to lining up each transparency properly. The look of the finished product really hinges on having every edge straight. Also, let the glue dry before you start cutting new pieces (I super glued my scissors together).

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About the Author

Dave McGinn writes about fitness trends for the Life section and also reports for Globe Arts. Prior to joining the Globe, he was a freelance journalist, covering topics from trying to eat Michael Phelps' diet to why the Joker is the best villain in comics history. He's working on improving his 10k time. More


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