DIY Personalized Photo Gifts

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Framing photos as gifts is a timeless tradition, but if you are looking for a unique and creative use for your photos, consider making personalized photo gifts. Photographs add meaningful sentiment to any gift on any occasion, and family and friends are sure to cherish them for many years.

Finished personalized photo gifts.
(Kenzie Mastroe)

Things You'll Need:

  • 2-by-4-by-4-inch wooden blocks
  • Spray paint
  • Newspaper (optional)
  • Sandpaper, 60 or 80-grit
  • Photos
  • Decoupage glue/sealer
  • Foam brush
Supplies for wooden photo blocks
Kenzie Mastroe

You may want to lay down newspaper to protect your work area before you begin painting. Spray a thin coat of paint on your wooden blocks. Allow the paint to dry for at least 30 minutes and apply another layer of spray paint. Continue applying thin layers of paint (with 30 minutes of dry time between them) until your blocks are completely covered on all sides.

Note: Applying thin layers will prevent the paint from dripping and leaving unwanted paint drips on the blocks.

Paint wooden blocks in thin, light coats.
Kenzie Mastroe

To give the blocks an aged and distressed look, use a medium grit sand paper to sand the block. Focus your sanding on the edges of the block, as the center will be covered with the photograph.

Sand the blocks to give them a worn and distressed look.
Kenzie Mastroe

Give your photographs a distressed look by gently tearing the edges. Tear them into roughly 3 1/2-inch squares to fit the wooden blocks.

Tear the edges of photos by hand.
Kenzie Mastroe

Using your foam brush, apply a thin coat of decoupage glue to the back of the photograph.

Apply a thin layer of decoupage glue to the back of the photograph.
Kenzie Mastroe

Place your photo in the center of the block. You can slide the photograph to adjust its position once it is laid down. Wipe off any excess decoupage glue using a wet paper towel. Allow the glue to dry for at least 20 minutes before proceeding.

Glue the photo onto the wooden block.
Kenzie Mastroe

Apply a thin layer of decoupage glue to the top of the photo. Allow to dry for 30 minutes and then apply another thin layer. After two hours of drying, your wooden photo block will be ready to wrap or put on display.

Apply a final layer of decoupage glue.
Kenzie Mastroe

Things You'll Need:

  • Wooden letter
  • Spray paint
  • Newspaper (optional)
  • Photo or printer paper
  • Scissors
  • Decoupage glue/sealer
  • Foam Brush
Supplies for photo monogram.
Kenzie Mastroe

Spray paint your letter with a thin coat of spray paint. Allow the paint to dry for at least 30 minutes and apply another layer of spray paint. Continue applying thin layers (allowing 30 minutes of drying time between them) until the letter is fully covered. After you have applied your final layer of paint, your letter will need to dry for at least one hour.

Apply thin coats of paint to letter.
Kenzie Mastroe

While your paint dries, size your photos on the computer, print them out on either photo or printer paper and cut them out. The number of photos needed will depend on the size of your wooden block and how big you would like the pictures to be. For a 10-inch wooden letter, 35 small (1-by-2-inch) pictures were needed to cover the entire front surface. Print out extra pictures just in case.

Cut out photos.
Kenzie Mastroe

Apply a thin layer of decoupage glue to the back of your first photo. If you printed your photos out on printer paper, it is especially important to apply a very thin layer; applying too much will cause the photo to develop wrinkles, bulges and air pockets.

Apply a thin coat of decoupage glue to photos.
Kenzie Mastroe

Place your photo on your letter. You will need to trim the photos to fit as you go. Continue to glue the photos to the letter until the front of the letter is covered. Once you've placed the last photo, allow the glue to dry for at least 20 minutes.

Glue photos to letter using Mod Podge.
Kenzie Mastroe

Apply a thin layer of decoupage glue to the top of your photos. Pay special attention to the corners of photos to ensure they are glued down. Allow the glue to dry for 30 minutes and then apply a second thin layer to the top. Your photo monogram will be finished after the second layer of glue has dried for at least two hours.

Apply a thin coat of decoupage glue to the top of photos.
Kenzie Mastroe

Things You'll Need:

  • Terracotta flower pot
  • Spray paint
  • Newspaper (optional)
  • Photos
  • Scissors
  • Decoupage glue/sealer
  • Foam brush
  • Decorative ribbon
  • Glue gun
Supplies for memory photo flower pot.
Kenzie Mastroe

Paint your flower pot using a thin coat of spray paint. Allow 30 minutes of drying time and paint a second coat. Continue applying thin coats until the entire pot is covered inside and outside.

Apply thin coats of paint to the flower pot.
Kenzie Mastroe

Depending on the size of your flower pot, you may need to trim photos to fit. The measurement doesn't need to be exact; you can determine the size by simply holding the photos up to the flower pot. Once you have determined the size, cut all of your photos to the same size.

Trim photos to fit on the flower pot.
Kenzie Mastroe

Turn your flower pot upside down to allow easier access to the hard-to-reach area below the top rim of the flower pot. Apply a thin coat of decoupage glue to the back of your photo.

Apply decoupage glue to the trimmed photo.
Kenzie Mastroe

Place your photo on the flower pot -- make sure you place it upside down so it will be in the correct position when you turn the flower pot upright. Continue gluing your photos around the entire flower pot. Allow the photos to dry for at least 20 minutes.

Place photo upside down on pot.
Kenzie Mastroe

Turn your pot upright and apply a thin layer of decoupage glue to the top of the photos. Use a wet cloth to wipe off any excess glue. Allow the glue to dry for 30 minutes and apply a second thin layer to the top. Allow the glue to dry for two hours.

Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to flower pot.
Kenzie Mastroe

Use a glue gun to add decorative ribbon on the top and bottom edges of the photos, placing a dollop of hot glue every inch or so to secure the ribbon. The ribbon will cover up any unevenness along the edges of the photos.

Glue ribbon around the edges.
Kenzie Mastroe

Fill the flower pot with your favorite flowers. If you are shipping the flower pot as a gift, you can fill it with seed packets and gardening gloves instead of a live plant.

Plant flowers in the finished pot.
Kenzie Mastroe
  • Make sure the room you are painting in is well-ventilated. If possible, do the spray painting outdoors.
  • Decoupage glue comes in gloss and matte forms. If you plan on using a gloss paint, make sure you purchase the gloss decoupage glue; purchase the matte decoupage glue if you are using a flat paint.
  • If you cannot find 2-by-4-by-4-inch blocks at your craft store, purchase a two-by-four at a building supply store and ask an employee to cut it into squares for you. Most building supply stores offer this service for free.
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