Old film rolls

I really look forward to the day when I can tell my daughter about cameras. Real cameras – film cameras! I can’t wait to tell her that if you wanted to take pictures you had to go to the store and buy a roll of film that could only hold 24 grainy photographs at a time. That you only got one try at a good picture, because otherwise you’d risk wasting film, and that you had to wait days – sometimes weeks– before you used up the entire roll and could take it to get developed to see what your pictures looked like.

I imagine her listening with her hands clasped under her chin, “Tell me more about your horrific childhood!” she’ll say in awe. Then friends, then I will tell her that when I was her age there was no Internet, and by the time she finally regains consciousness, I will have gathered all of the supplies necessary to make the following delightful crafts out of the discarded remnants of my analog childhood!

You’re welcome, Olive.

Lamp shade cover using old film
Image source

Lights, Camera, Action!
Combining the retro feel of film strips with candles or lights brings a cozy sense of history to any space. Use undeveloped film strips to cover a lampshade, or encircle a votive candle holder. The light from within allows you to see the images on the roll, creating a cool upcycled alternative to a photo album.

Slide this way.
This window shade made out of old slides is basically the coolest thing I’ve seen all week, and I live with an incredibly entertaining two-year-old so that’s really saying something.  Free your parents’ slides from that box in the attic and use them to create a fantastic stained-glass effect while also blocking out the prying eyes of neighbors and peeping toms (Are peeping toms still a thing? Irrelevent, I suppose, because not in YOUR house they’re not, with this fantastic privacy screen!)

Yes we can!(ister)
This is where I was going to suggest some basic ideas for reusing old film canisters – you know, tiny planters and tooth fairy boxes, but I decided instead to go out with a bang. You’ve been warned – this next project is not for amateurs. If you, for some strange reason, are hoarding hundreds of old film canisters, now you can put them to good use! Be like Tiffany here, and construct an entire room divider out of the dang things! It might take you the better part of a week, but upcycling bragging rights will be yours forever and that’s what it’s all about, no?

I know I’m not the only one who has some deranged nostalgia for photos, done old-school style. The patience, the overexposures,  the complete and utter lack of selfies – what’s not to love? Go ahead and tackle some of these projects to bring back those loving feelings… then smile and say, “cheese!”

Feature image courtesy of Bernard Rose

By Madeleine Somerville

Madeleine Somerville is the author of All You Need Is Less: An Eco-Friendly Guide to Guilt-Free Green Living and Stress-Free Simplicity. She is a writer, wannabe hippie and lover of soft cheeses. She lives in Edmonton, Canada, with her daughter. You can also find Madeleine at her blog, Sweet Madeleine.