I love photo ornaments. One of my favorite parts of Christmas is remembering all of the warm, happy memories of Christmases past and photos are such a fun way to do that.
I actually shared a diy photo transfer ornament several years ago but I just didn’t love the way it turned out. So I decided to make some new DIY photo ornaments.
This time I decided to skip the complicated transfer process I used last time and keep things clean and simple. And I love how these turned out so much better!
I chose to make photo ornaments to celebrate my babies’ first Christmases. Even though I love making handmade ornaments and my boys are now 2, 4, and 6, somehow I never made them first Christmas ornaments!
I figured it’s better late than never, so I chose my favorite photos from each of their first Christmases to use for my ornaments.
I have full step-by-step directions for you below as well as a video tutorial for those who prefer to watch.
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Materials for DIY Photo Ornaments
- wooden ornament shapes – white ornament shapes will also work, just look for ornaments with a smooth texture. The ones I used are from Michaels. You can also buy them in bulk on Amazon but they aren’t quite as thick.
- white paint
- 3.5″x5″ photos printed on regular copy paper
- matte Mod Podge
- black oil-based paint pen
- black and white baker’s twine
How to Make Easy DIY Photo Ornaments
Start by painting both sides of your wooden ornaments with white paint. Acrylic craft paint works well, but so does any other white paint you have on hand.
Print the photos you would like to use in 3.5″x5″ size. These should NOT be photo prints; just print them on regular paper using your home printer.
Once the paint has dried, trace the ornament shape onto your photos. Be sure to center the photo the way you want it to look on your finished ornament.
Cut out the circle you traced onto the photos. I chose to cut my photos slightly smaller than the circles I traced so there would be a white border on my ornaments for a cleaner look.
Lay your photos on your ornaments to make sure the cropping looks good. Remove the photo and use a paintbrush to spread a thin layer of Mod Podge all over the front of the painted ornament.
Place the photo in place on top of the ornament and smooth it down with your fingers, being careful to press out any air bubbles.
Allow the Mod-Podge to dry thoroughly and then use a paintbrush to spread another thin coat of Mod-Podge over the top of the photo, pressing down firmly on the edges to make sure they are adhered well.
Personalizing your Ornaments with Names
You may choose to stop there, but I wanted to personalize my ornaments on both sides.
I wanted to add a little something to the back to commemorate my babies’ first Christmases, but I also wanted to keep it simple. So I decided to simply add each of my little boys’ first and middle names and the year they were born.
For other types of photo ornaments, you could add the names of those in the photo, the year it was taken, or even the location if it is a special memory.
To add the words, I used my favorite DIY trick get absolute perfect lettering on my ornaments.
I printed the names and years out in a font I like and then did a simple pencil transfer to transfer the designs to the back of my ornaments.
Then I used a black Sharpie oil-based paint pen to fill in the names and years. It’s such an easy way to get beautiful, perfect ‘hand-lettering.’
I finished each ornament off with black and white bakers twine for hanging.
And here’s how the photo sides look.
All ready to hang on the tree! Next I think I’m going to make one of these for my husband’s and my first Christmas as a married couple – 15 years overdue, but it’s never too late to celebrate life’s best days!
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Want more ideas for using your favorite photos to celebrate the holidays? I shared three fun ideas for using photos in your gift wrap right here and these are still my favorite wrapping ideas ever.
And I also have plenty more awesome handmade ornament ideas if you’re looking for more ideas.
- small paintbrush
- Paint both sides of the wooden ornament white.
- While the paint dries, print your photos in 3.5"x5" size on regular copy paper.
- Once the paint is completely dry, trace the ornament onto the photo. Be sure to center the photo the way you want it to appear on your finished ornament.
- Cut out the circles you traced on your photos. I cut my photos slightly smaller than the circles I traced to leave room for a small white border around each photo ornament.
- Spread a thin layer of Mod Podge on the front of each ornament using a paintbrush. Place your photo on top of the Mod Podge and use your fingers to firmly press it into place. Smooth out any air bubbles.
- Allow the Mod Podge to dry thoroughly. Then spread another thin layer of Mod Podge on top of the photo. Press the edges of the photos down firmly to make sure they are adhered well.
- If you want to add words to the back of the ornament, print the wording out in the font of your choice.
- Cut out the words and lightly rub pencil all over the back of the printed words. Tape into place on the back of your ornament.
- Trace around each letter firmly with your pencil. When you remove the paper, a pencil outline will remain on the ornament.
- Color in the pencil outline with a black paint pen.
- Add bakers twine to hang the ornament.
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