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Making a Polaroid Picture in Gimp: How to Turn a Regular Photo Into a Realistic Polaroid

  1. Open up an empty canvas in the size you want your Polaroid to be. For this tutorial, it was 400-pixel width to 500-pixel height. Then create a new layer and fill it white.
  2. Create a new square shaped layer in the size you want your photo to be. For this tutorial, it was 360 by 360. Using the ruler around your canvas, center it on the background layer so that its distance from the top, left and right are the same. (If you don’t have this, go to View option and pick Show Rulers.) Then go to the Layer option and merge down the black layer to the white layer.
  3. Using the “Select contiguous regions” tool, select the whole black area and delete it, so that there’s a whole in the white layer.
  4. Now from the File option, choose “Open as layer” and open your photo, and place it between the white layer and the background. From Layer, “Scale Layer”, you can scale it down if necessary to the size you want, and then move it around as you see fit (it may be useful to pick “move the current layer” option of the move layer tool so that you don’t move the white layer by mistake).
  5. After this you can play with the hue, contrast and etc as you wish. If you would like to add a more dramatic effect, from the Script-Fu option, you can go to Décor and add a Coffee Stain on the photo. From the text option, you can also add a text on your Polaroid. You can find different fonts from websites like DaFont. You can also rotate the text from the “Rotate the layer” tool to make it look more like your handwriting.
  6. You can also go to the Filter option and add a Drop-Shadow to your picture. This will enlarge your image and give it a transparent background, so you might want to add a new layer and color with whatever color you find necessary. You can also rotate your whole picture and make it look even funkier. And you’re done!

There are different ways to go about doing this, as it is always the case with photo editing. If you are confident with your square drawing skills, you could just cut out a square from the white layer instead of adding an extra layer first.

You could also use the Lighten mode of the layer for your photo to show through the Polaroid instead of creating a hole in the white layer. If you are more familiar with photo editing, you could search for tape brushes and place them on your picture to make it look super old and worn-out. And obviously instead of creating your own Polaroid, you could also make a Google search for ready-made Polaroid frames, but where is the fun in that, right?


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