Bring Your Instagram Photos to Life With These Amazing Sites
Even if you don’t realize it, you are already familiar with the latest hotness in social sharing apps. Instagram is the photo sharing app that allows users to take, filter, post, share, like and follow photos and photo collections. It makes even the worst photographer seem like a shutterbug. But what else can it do?
Sharing photos is not news. The moment we could take pics with our smart phones and upload them to the internet, we were boring the world with photos of our food, pets and random poorly-dressed people around us. What Instagram has done is taken this need to post visual samples of our daily lives and made it social, because, even if we never knew it, we always want everything to be social. Now we can follow the photo streams of people we’re interested in and tell everyone how we feel about their pics.
The other addicting aspect of Instagram is that it’s more than just a photo sharing app. When you share a photo through Instagram, you can make it infinitely more artistic than just sharing a photo directly from your camera roll. You can choose to have certain areas out of focus. You can add filters. You can colorize your pics in different ways. That’s all great. But we want to create truly unique photos. And, now that we think we're photography geniuses, we want to make cool stuff out of our fabulous pics. That’s why there are so many other things you can do with Instagram to be more artistic than your 7th Grade art teacher ever thought you could be. At this point, you’re not even limited by your own creativity, because other people have already done the creative part for you. Here are 15 websites that can make you an instant Instagram artist.
How many times have you thought to yourself, “Wow. These pics on my phone are pretty great, I wish they would come to me in the mail in the form of good, old fashioned photo prints?” None? Well start thinking it, because if you’re an Instagramming fool, PostalPix is your new BFF. Through the PostalPix app, which you can download for iPhone or Android, you can have your pics printed in a variety of finishes and sent right to you. You can even get square prints for an even more retro feel. And for only $9.49, score a frame for your Insta-masterpiece.
Why shouldn’t your beautiful Instagram creations be in a calendar or a coffee table book? There’s really no reason, now that there’s Keepsy.com. All you have to do is choose which Instagram photos you want to use and then by some sort of magic, a book or a calendar will show up in the mail and you can tell everyone you’re a published photographer. With big, hardback books as low as $29.95, you can't go wrong.
If you are especially proud of one of your Instagram creations, BumbleJax will make wall art out of it. They will enlarge the photo, print it and then mount it on bamboo, plexiglass, aluminum or gatorfoam. Suddenly that quaintly filtered, fisheye-style pic of your cat sleeping on your roommate’s head becomes the focal point of your living room. With prices ranging from $39-$289, you're bound to find something to display photos in with pride without breaking your budget.
This is yet another way to take your Instagram photos from a mobile app to real life. Don’t leave them trapped in your little phone. Set them free by having ArtFlakes print them on stickers ($20.86 for 10) that you can stick all over town. Or, have prints made on canvas, posters and greeting cards. Save your phone finger and get pics you can look at while you hold them in your hands. Then share your pics with the world as your own, unique stickers. (Try Instagoodies if you want small stickers to share.)
If stickers seem too permanent for you (let’s face it, that’s a lot of commitment), perhaps magnets are the way to go. With StickyGram, you can make all your fancy Instagram creations into magnets ($14.99 for a pack of 9) and then stick them to your refrigerator or stove or file cabinet or car or anything that will hang onto a digital pic with a polarized backing. Your appliances won’t know what hit them.
Still like to communicate with people using the pre-historic system of snail mail? Start using Postagram. It’s the refreshingly retro way to share your Instagram photos. You can have them printed on postcards and sent to friends, family and penpals, all without leaving your phone. You don’t even have to touch the postcard. Little gnomes (or something) will send your grandpa mail with your pics on it for you for a dollar.
The only part of the nostalgic Polaroid picture experience Instagram can’t create is the physical act of holding (and shaking) that Polaroid in your hand. (Sometimes that was the best part.) But Instaprint can create it. You can print out event-specific pics by renting an Instaprint machine and having guests tag their pics. Tell the machine what tag to look for and then every time someone posts a pic with that tag, out comes a print. Ok, it’s $7,500 to rent the machine and two crew members for a day (not including travel and lodging outside NYC), but if you’ve got the dough, it seems like fun.
Not only can you stick and send your Instagram pics, you can also wear and drink out of them. Instamaker makes it possible to print your filtered photos on t-shirts, coffee mugs, postcards or necklaces. It’s really simple: You just log in with your Instagram account. Choose a medium, pick a pic, frame it just right and voila! You never have to wear another Affliction tee. And forget ever drinking out of that dirty old “I would mug you for some coffee” coffee mug again.
With Stitchtagram, you can make your Instagram photos into a soft, fluffy reality. Through the site, you can get a custom-made pillow with the photos of your choice printed on it. You can choose from your photo collection, or your friends’ collections after they give Stitchtagram permission to access their Instagram account. As they say on the site, “These are going to last longer than your iPhone, and are much more comfortable to take a nap on.” (Get cozy now with a pillow for only $64 as part of Stitchtagram's spring sale.
With Hatchcraft, you can turn your Instagram photos into sustainable art. All you do is upload an image and they’ll put in a custom bamboo shadow box frame in one of three colors, Lion, Tiger and Bear. (Prices start at $19.) And, even though you probably yellowed your photo in Instagram, the Hatchcraft mounting process is guaranteed not to cause yellowing or color degradation. They’ll also send you blank bamboo shadow boxes or even bamboo iPhone cases.
Another great way to make your artistic Instagram creations into physical art is to order ceramic tiles created by ImageSnap. Just like the other apps, you can log in with your Instagram account and then choose a photo you want printed on a ceramic tile. You can choose from a variety of tile sizes, right down to the two inch square Teeny-Tile, and get them in either glossy or matte finish. Imagine creating a mosaic plate of the kids’ pictures for grandma, or a mosaic stone path for your garden with pictures of your flowers.
Of course, Instagram is a mobile app you use while out in the world taking pics. But what if you want to display these pics for your friends, without having them printed on a coffee mug? Instagrid is a web gallery for your Instagram photos. You can invite people who don’t use Instragram to subscribe to your gallery, as well as subscribe to the galleries of people whose photos you like. You can also create a hashtag gallery if there’s a particular photo meme you’d like to follow. All you have to do is log in with your Instagram username.
The dog and cat lovers of the world have found their new escape. InstaPuppy! and InstaKitty! (along with Inustagram and Nekostagram) are sites that display only Instagram photos of dogs and cats. You can view them one at a time, or just relax while you watch a slideshow. You can share your favorites on your preferred social media site and pass along your “like” to the photographer. We had to put this one last because we always get stuck looking at these pics for the rest of the day.