This personalized ABC photo book is the perfect gift for small children.
I am pretty thrilled with the gift I have to share with you today. Little Griffin’s first birthday is quickly approaching and I have been looking forward to making this gift for months.
For his birthday this year, Griffin is getting his own personalized ABC photo book.
This post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more. Click here to see my full disclosure policy.
He loves books – which makes this book-loving mama’s heart happy – and I love making photo books. So this present is an extra joy for both the giving and the getting.
I created this little photo book using Shutterfly. I’ve made quite a few photo books with Shutterfly over the years and I love that there are lots of layouts and designs to choose from and they have great sales pretty regularly.
Update – I’ve now made these cute little ABC photo books for all three of my boys’ first birthdays and it was a hit every time! I’m updating this post with photos from each of the book along with tips I’ve learned along the way.
How to make an ABC Photo Book
I decided classic ABC blocks would make the perfect cover for an ABC book. Luckily, we had plenty of vintage ABC blocks on hand.
I piled them up with the letters A, B, and C front and center and took a photo to use as the cover of my book.
And because I realize not everyone has the perfect ABC blocks on hand, I’m happy to share my photo if you want to use it for your own book. You can download my ABC block photo right here.
Planning the book
For the inside of the book, I wanted to use one letter of the alphabet on each page with an accompanying photo of something that begins with that letter. Just like a regular abc book.
I started by looking through all of my photos and copying the ones I thought I might want to use in a separate folder on my computer. I changed the title of each photo to the alphabet word it would go with.
I found it easiest to start by looking for photos, but you could also start by making a list of alphabet words and then looking for photos to match.
Sometimes I used a photo that was literally of the word like pacifier or brother. Sometimes I used an adjective like quick for a photo of the baby crawling away or noisy for a photo of a crying baby. And sometimes I used a family member’s photo with their first name as the word.
Once I had looked through my photos, there were still several letters that needed a photo. Certain letters like K and Q and X are just tough because there aren’t a whole lot of nouns that start with those letters.
For the letters that were blank, I brainstormed a list of possible words and then went through my photos again looking for possible photos that could match.
I had to get a bit creative with some letters, particularly x, but in the end I found a picture that would work for every letter.
Ideas for Each Letter
I know thinking of ideas for each letter can be tough, so I thought I would share a list of some of the ideas I used. This is nowhere close to an exhaustive list but hopefully it will help if you get stuck on a letter.
- A – alligator, animals
- B – bear, beach, books, brother, blocks, birthday, balloons, blanket
- C- Christmas, costume, cat
- D- daddy, dinosaurs, dog
- E- eat, Easter
- F- feet, family, farm, frown, fast, friends
- G- giraffe, giggles, grumpy, Grandma, Grandpa
- H- Halloween, hiking
- I- icky (yucky face), ice (snow), independent
- J- joy, jumping
- K- keys (toy keys), kids
- L- lake, laughs
- M-mommy, monster. mittens
- N- nap, newborn
- O- ocean, outside
- P- play, playground, pumpkin patch, pet, party, pacifier
- Q- quack (duck), quick, quilt
- R- read, roar (toy dinos), rocks
- S- superman (costume), sandcastle, snow, snowman, sister, Santa, swing
- T- tongue, train, tunnel
- U- upside down, umbrella
- V- vest, very ____, vacation, voice (crying, yelling)
- W- water, wagon, waterfall
- X- xylophone, explore (I know, this isn’t technically correct but x is hard)
- Y- yawn, yuck (messy face)
- Z- zzzzzz (sleeping), zebra, zoo
I kept the layout of these ABC books super simple.
The very first one I made had a full page photo and then the letter and word at the bottom of the page in white. I liked this design but it made things more tricky. I couldn’t use any really light photos because the letters wouldn’t show up well. I also had to double check that the words didn’t cover up anything important in the photo.
So for the next abc book I made, I used a layout with a white stripe across the bottom and dark letters. I also used a simpler font and I think this one is all-around nicer and easier to read.
All in all, I am so happy that I made these little books. To be honest I have no idea what other gifts my kids got for their first birthdays, but they still love to pull these out and look at them. (Because we all know kids love to see photos of themselves!)
In fact I love them so much, if photo books are still a thing when I have grandchildren one day, this is what I’m making for their first birthday gifts!
More great photo book ideas I think you’ll like: