Terry and Tony in South Africa. Two South Africans working from home in East London in South Africa since early 2008.

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Turning Old Photographs Into a Form of Extra Income

If you’re one of the unfortunates who doesn’t have old photographs, don’t despair. Just mention to a few people that you’re looking for old photographs, and pretty soon all the oldies that get to hear of your need will be sorting through their shoe boxes, to give you the old photos they don’t need or want.

You can also browse for old photographs at second hand shops or bid on lots at auctions that have old photographs included in the lots.

Depending on your age or the age of your parents or other relatives, you may even already have some old photographs of your own, or access to some if you ask nicely :)

The type of photographs you don’t really want are photographs of people. Photos of scenery, buildings, vehicles etc are ideal.

Preparing the old photographs for sale is really simple.

Most old photographs are post-card size, which is ideal. You will want to present the old photos individually, so, for starters, get as much A4 or A3 size card as you can. Get a lightweight card, and a heavier card.

If you can find them, photo corners are next. Using photo corners will speed up your work quite a lot, so do make some effort to find them. Most specialist photographic outlets do stock them.

Before putting the old photos onto the card, age the lightweight card. Take a few sheets and bang them on their ends and edges. Give them a bit of a fold near one or two corners.

Now make some tea. Fairly strong tea. 2, or even 3 tea-bags to a cup. When the tea has drawn, pour it into a baking tray, and then lay the card in it. Leave it for five to ten minutes, take the card out the tea, and leave it somewhere to dry. If it’s not too windy, hanging the card on the wash line is good.

Now. If you have photo corners, put one photo onto a sheet of the aged card, and glue the aged card to the heavy card. Weight it down if you want to.

If you don’t have photo corners, use strips of tear ribbon. Go for plain colours such as cream, ivory, brown or black. Position the old photo on the card, and make two little slits right next to the old photo, near each corner, about a centimetre from the corner. Each corner will have two slits. The slits are there to pass the ribbon through, to create a corner.

Turn the card over, and glue the ribbon down onto the back of the aged card. Now glue the aged card to the heavy card.

When all photos are done, wrap the entire presentation in plastic, with adhesive tape on the back. Do not use clingwrap, as it can damage the photograph.

A number of old photographs prepared in this way and stacked on a table are sure to draw some people looking for that “perfect photo” for a particular decor idea or plan of theirs, scrapbooking project or other craft project.

The costs are minimal, and the returns may be great.

Just remember, to be a success you need to be persistent. Many people may not buy the first time they see you and you old photographs, but they may come looking for you again in a few months’ time.

© Copyright Tony Flanigan 2014

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