Give Your Old Family Pics a Glitzy ‘Elvis’ Makeover


With his latest film, Elvis, coming this month, the movie-making style of Baz Luhrmann will once again be in the mainstream.

Luhrmann’s movies like Moulin Rouge, The Great Gatsby, Strictly Ballroom, and Romeo + Juliet have taken classic novels and plays, as well as different historical eras, and filtered them through a lens of sparkling exaggeration. There is always amazing music, over-the-top acting, well-crafted costuming, and beautifully constructed sets.

Whether you like Luhrmann’s films or not, there is no denying the artistic love poured into each one.

His distinct look is evident even before seeing the film if you look at some of the movie posters and publicity images. There is a sense of urban fairy tale to much of what he does, whether it has elements of bohemian Paris, art deco, mid-century glamour, or even the grittier eccentricities of California’s beachfront communities.

They are bright, bold, infused with color and light, and often give the illusion of three-dimensional gold and jeweled embellishments.

There is a distinct look to the promotional items and posters for Baz Luhrmann’s movies. Image collage: Lisa Tate

The three designs depicting the different looks and stages of Elvis Presley’s music and life are some of the most gorgeously gaudy examples, and they certainly inspire creativity in others.

In celebration of his glitzy style, here is an easy way to turn some favorite family images into a Baz Luhrmann movie poster-style collage.

First, print out the image you want on photo paper. We’re going to be cutting it up, so don’t use an original. Also, reduce or enlarge the image to fit the size of the collage you want. A simple letter-sized backdrop is an easy choice, so keep in mind how big you want your photos to be on the final collage.

Print out your photos and layer them with the background, then add some sparkly borders and edges.

Cut out the main subjects (people or any standout backdrop items like trees or buildings) you want to include, and set them aside for later.

Create a basic background you want to build on. A piece of cardboard or card stock is a good start, or you can find a thick sheet of scrapbook paper. You can even use a small flat art canvas if you really want it to be sturdy. It doesn’t have to start out white if you have a design pattern you want for the back. Some school supply areas have thick poster paper that has textures and colors, including some glittery paper.

Next, gather the materials. An inexpensive pack of jewel embellishments, aluminum foil, gold or silver paint, metallic ribbons or cord, glitter glue, or cool images from catalogs and magazines are among the items you can gather and use.

Now it’s time to put them all together.

First, get the photo and a border on the background. Luhrmann’s posters are sometimes framed with bright metallic edges or designs. You could cut tinfoil to create these edges, or find ribbon or scrapbook borders.

Place everything where you want it BEFORE gluing it down. You don’t want to have to rip something off the paper if you decide you don’t like it. Once the basic elements from your family photo and the borders are where you want, go ahead and use simple craft glue or double-sided scrapbook tape to paste them on the backdrop.

Baz Jewels
Gather embellishments from jewels to stickers and more, and add them to make the image stand out.

Now, give it that glitzy appeal and add the jewels, ribbons, or other embellishments as you see fit. Don’t worry about it being too extravagant. Luhrmann’s posters didn’t hold back.

Finally, if you want to, add some text. You can print out a word or two in a fancy font that sums up the spirit of your picture, or cut something out of a magazine or old cool bit of food packaging.

Now, a favorite family moment can be presented in a new light… and a crazy, fabulous, imaginative one at that.

A favorite memory with a new, fun, and glitzy Baz Luhrmann-inspired look. Images: Lisa Tate
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