I'm always on the look out for projects that involve using printed photos because I firmly believe that if we take the time to capture the moment, it deserves to be shared somewhere outside of our hard drive.
I recently found a company selling photo block ornaments where they would print your photo ON to the wooden block. They were cute, but I figured it would be a super easy craft I could do myself. Honestly now that I've tried it, I think my version is better because the photo colors are more vivid using an actual paper photo print.
See?? Look how adorable this DIY photo ornament is on our tree:
I started by selecting some of my favorite holiday photos from the last couple of years. You could choose vacation photos, graduations, wedding celebrations, or anything at all.
I dragged the photos into PicMonkey for sizing and cropping. You could try to size them in Photoshop or whatever program you prefer, but PicMonkey makes it super easy.
At the PicMonkey home page, choose the "Collage" setting. Then click the "Layout" tab on the left column and chose "Cards". Select the 5x7 size in the drop down menu. If you add 6 photos to the template in this format they will make nearly perfect squares.
I saved the file as a .jpg and printed it on 5x7 photo paper on my HP Envy 5660. Then I went back and created an additional collage with caption graphics I designed in PicMonkey using their holiday design elements. I love that I was able to personalize the ornaments with dates, names, places we've visited, and holiday greetings. I printed that on photo paper on the HP Envy as well.
Then I dug out my Mod Podge and glued the images down onto the blocks.
I put one layer of Mod Podge under the image to secure it and another layer OVER the image to protect it. Be light handed with your top coat but be sure it has a nice even application. I used a simple sponge brush and just made sure to have a nice even swipe across the surface.
The Mod Podge will dry mostly clear, but will give a slightly textured finish to the block. The colors still come through beautifully and I feel it makes it look a little more rustic/distressed.
I lined up the wet blocks on wax paper to dry thoroughly overnight.
To hang the blocks, I found these simple metal screws with a loop on the end at our hardware store. I used a pencil and ruler to mark the center of the top of the block and then just screwed them into the wood.
To finish it off, I took one last piece of decorative paper trimmed to the right 2x2 size and then simply took my scissors and cut a slit from one edge to the middle of the paper. I slipped the paper over the screw and wiggled it gently into place.
I secured the top paper with some more ModPodge and once the whole thing was dry, I slipped a festive ribbon through the loop on the screw and tied it in a knot.
You could use photo prints on all sides of the blocks or decorate the sides with stamps, cut-outs, or decorative papers of any kind.
I made some adorable paper holly berries just to have an excuse to experiment with the brand new Silhouette Cameo I snagged during Black Friday. I love the texture it gave to the ornament.
Here's the final batch, didn't they turn out cute? This would be such an easy gift to make with the kids as gifts for family members or as an annual tradition for your own tree.
Shop this Supply List for DIY Photo Ornaments:
- 2 inch wood blocks
- Photo prints (cropped to square and sized in PicMonkey)
- Decorative papers or caption squares
- paper trimmer
- Mod Podge
- sponge brush
- screws with loops for hanging