While smartphones have made capturing our favorite moments a breeze, easy phone photography can also enable the hoarding of thousands of digital memories. Sure, you may share them online, but wouldn’t it be great to bring those memories back into the real world? Check out the following apps and services that transform your pixels into tangible keepsakes.
Don’t consign your keepsake memories to that Black Hole under your bed. The rustic-chic wooden box by Artifact Uprising features a customizable printed lid for a picture or text. Rather than cut down healthy trees, the eco-conscious company sources its wood from already fallen mountain pine. Sustainable, elegant and practical, this handcrafted box is the perfect home for your favorite mementos. $95
Julie Chenevert is no stranger when it comes to preserving family legacy. Earlier this year the Evanston-native moved her business, Books of Life, from the city to the same Wilmette building where her family operated the upholstery shop Brandt Interiors for four generations. Now, Chenevert and her family are creating a different kind of priceless product — coffee-table-style books filled with personal histories, photographs and other memorabilia. The Dr. House of family history puzzles, Chenevert and her Books of Life team crawl under beds, uncover old photos and mementos and analyze artifacts both digital and tangible. Don’t fret if you have 40,000 pictures. The Books of Life team will select (with your approval) the best pictures to showcase in the book. Photograph restoration, archiving and retouching is available. Professionally bound with the highest quality stitching, these books are as elegant on the outside as the content within. $500, 50-400 pages each
Don’t you wish creating holiday cards was as easy as posting to Facebook or Instagram? Now it is. With the new Cardmento app, users can simply upload their family photo, choose a template and send to Walgreens for same-day pick-up. Cardmento offers a variety of festive templates, fonts and colors to give your holiday card an added personal touch. Personalized keepsakes like ornaments, mugs and magnets are also available. $20 for 20 (5 x 7) cards
A play on the words “frame” and “picture,” a Fracture is a unique take on a ready-to-hang picture. Printed directly on glass, the image is clear and crisp — almost surreal. The 100 percent opaque image is fastened against a foam-core back, making decorating a snap. Fractures come in both square cuts (perfect for Instagrams) and the more traditional rectangular cuts. Try the square cut, order multiple images and hang them in a tiled cluster for trendy, minimalist wall art.
Don’t feel like your novice images are art-quality? Browse Fracture’s Art Store for professional images handpicked for their vibrant colors. The best part: prices start at just $15.
From Instagram to the fridge, take your virtual memories into the real world with these stickers. Instagoodies, a small company run by brothers Alex and Dan Rubin, offers small booklets filled with one-inch stickers of your Instagrams. Decorate your laptop, cover your phone case or let your kids sticker themselves. With 90 stickers per book, the possibilities are endless. $14
Pictures rip, bubble and sometimes spontaneously combust. (Or your daughter really hates that eighth-grade graduation picture and burns it.) Mpix provides an alternative to flimsy photo paper — metal. Printing on aluminum transforms your image into a striking, high-definition piece of art. Lightweight and surprisingly thin, Mpix’s Modern Metals come with either a metal easel or float mount depending on the size. $25-155
Turn your favorite memories into decorative stackables with Photobarn Photoblocks. Handcrafted in Tennessee, the wooden photoblocks feature two customizable sides for your images. For the remaining four sides, choose from their library of classic patterns to complete the look. Normally priced at $20, these blocks are on sale for the holidays at $5 per block!
Did you acquire another crayon-on-construction-paper masterpiece today? You don’t want to throw it away but the home gallery is filling up. Shutterfly wants to help save your child’s art by transforming it into practical mementos. The company has recently created a guide, “Mini Monets: Turning Children’s Art into Keepsakes at Every Age,” that offers imaginative ideas on how to encourage childhood self-expression. From DIY to customizable projects like this pictogram serving tray, the Mini Monet guide helps you promote your child’s self-expression and feature it in an imaginative way. Check out the free online guide here.
Bringing back the tear-off calendar, Social Print Studio offers a 365 day book of your favorite Instagrams. The booklet is printed on 170gsm paper with a smooth matte finish — perfect for saving after tearing away. Simply upload your images to the site and choose from three different calendar layouts. Don’t have enough Instagrams to fill the book? No problem. You can have your pictures randomly duplicated throughout the calendar. $40
Sometimes a classic frame is all you need to display your favorite photo. With silver elegantly outlining a tortoise patterned border, this Addison Ross frame will give your photo a chic new home. Head over to Shop For Good now to find this one-of-a-kind piece. $90