Back in the day (circa 2012), when you got a new phone, it wasn’t like it is today where you could plug in your Apple ID and have everything from your old phone show up on your new phone. You lost everything (contacts, pictures, messages) on your old phone unless you saved it off and then added them to your new phone.
In 2012, I was going to get a new phone and felt sentimental about losing the text messages from my then new fiancé (now old husband).
The first text he ever sent me.
The text he sent after our first date.
ALL THE FIRSTS that were captured through hundreds of texts we sent back-and-forth when we started dating.
The text messages were all so sweet. So, I screenshot them all and emailed them to myself… just so I could keep them. Months later, I got a free book offer from a photo book company and I had the idea to create a book of all those text messages… a “text book,” if you will 🙂
I love this book! It’s like having all the little digital love notes we sent each other, together in a book.
If you’d like to create one for yourself, I have some tips for you! And this doesn’t just need to be for romantic relationships… it would be a wonderful way to collect meaningful text messages from a loved one who passed away. My next project will be a book of text messages my husband and I sent each other during the nine days my daughter was in the NICU.
Table of Contents
Screenshotting Your Text Messages
When you screen shot, be sure to capture the date.
Try to get the first part of the exchange at the top of the screen, like this:
Not like this:
Crop out any part of the conversation that you don’t need. If you can’t fit the exchange in one shot, screen shot the first part and then scroll up so that part of the first shot is at the top of the second shot.
If you want to capture early messages without having to scroll back years and years, search for a term that might make those come up faster (an example might be the name of the place where you met). Also, you can jump up to earlier text messages by clicking the current time at the top of your phone (this works on iPhones).
I think it’s incredibly helpful to take the time to rename the image files with the date of the text message. That way, you can quickly put them in order by sorting “by name” (since the files would have the date you screenshot them, not the date of the text message). You can use YYYY.MM.DD or YYYYMMDD or YYYY_MM_DD (“YYYY” for the year, “MM” for the month, etc.). If you have messages that need to be stitched together, add “-1” and “-2” to the end to keep them in order.
If you want to save some time during editing, temporarily change the name of your love to both your names (and the picture to a pic of the two of you) so that when you do the screenshot it looks something like this:
Editing Your Text Messages
When I made my text book (back in 2012), screen captures looked different than they do now. I opted to put “Daniel & Jeannie” at the top (instead of just “Daniel” as it would have actually appeared). For some messages, I kept the Verizon bar at the top which I think is kinda cool to have because it looks like it did when I originally got the message. For formats now, it would be cute to put a picture of the two of you and both names – just be sure to have the sender on the left and the receiver on the right in the picture so it makes sense (because the messages from the sender are on the left and your messages on are the right). In this example, my husband’s texts are on the left and mine are on the right so that’s how I put our picture:
I used Photoshop to edit my images. I made one header (with “Daniel & Jeannie”) and put each text message under the header. I cropped each message so that only that “conversation” was showing (if this wasn’t done when you were screenshotting) and then saved each message/conversation.
For the cover, I wanted an of a message on an iPhone, so I used a stock image of the phone I had (it looks sooooo old now!) and put the text message so it looked like it was on the screen.
I also used Photoshop to stitch together text messages that couldn’t fit on one screen.
Using a Professional to Edit
If you don’t have photo editing software or skills, you can hire somebody on Fiverr to edit your text messages. I suggest searching for “photo editing” and then message them with these specs for an estimate:
- Number of image files
- Description of work (if they need to add the header, crop, stitch images together)
- You can send a link to this page as an example!
- You might consider stating that the file names should be kept so you can sort them upon final receipt.
I use Fiverr all the time for things just like this! With only a couple of exceptions, I’ve always had a great experience with the professionals on Fiverr.
Creating Your Book
I used InDesign to lay out my book, then exported pages to .jpgs and then uploaded them to the printer to make my book. You definitely don’t need to do that though! You can use one of the beautiful designs already on Mixbook and just add your text message screenshots. I liked to add backstories and captions for more context.
Here are some examples of a few of my pages, if you’d like to see:
You can also use professionals on Fiverr to create your book! I suggest searching for “photo book” or “wedding album” to find a seller. Let them know what you’d like to do (you can send them a link to this page!), how many images you have and about how many pages you’d like (in the specs, you’ll need to provide nitty gritty details like page size). You can storybook it for them, or see what they come up with. Please note that they are just creating the pages for you, you’ll still need to pay to have your book printed.
Here are two sellers that look good (I have not used these sellers; I just like their profiles):
Ordering Your Book
If you create pages yourself or have a Fiverr professional make them for you, you’ll need get your book printed! You’ll upload entire pages and place them in the book. Features such as lay-flat pages, glossy pages, etc. all depend on what you want.
After you receive your book, I’d really love to see it! Please tag me on Instagram @MakeItBlog
Other Ideas for Text Messages
Maybe you don’t want to create a whole book, you can still create something sweet with text messages! Here are some ideas:
- Greeting Cards
- Framed Prints
- Calendars – how sweet would a desk calendar be with sweet text messages?