Photo Ornaments

I believe in printing photos. I believe in giving photos as gifts. I believe in decorating your home with the photos you love. This project combines all three.

How to make a photo ornament:

Create a 5×7 (or you could do a 4×6) in photoshop (or whatever editing program you’re using) and use grid lines to divide it into quarters. Then choose your four images, open them, and drag them onto your 5×7. You can resize them first so they fit into one of the quarters, or you can resize them after dragging them onto your image by simply holding down your shift key and dragging the corners to resize. You can use the text tool to add the year, or you could hand-stamp that on later.


I printed my 5×7 already mounted on a board. If your lab doesn’t offer that option, you could try mounting it on styrene board with spray adhesive. Let me know how that goes.  (see update at end of post)


Cut the four images apart with kitchen scissors. It’s alright if the edges are rough.


Drill holes for hanging.


Take sandpaper and sand the edges, even taking some of the image itself off.


Put a ribbon through, and you have a beautiful keepsake. We love pulling out these ornaments every year and putting them on our tree!

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I try to make a couple of these every year with my favorite photos, and I also make an ornament for everyone whose picture I have taken during the year and send it to them at Christmas time.



Updated: I tried making these by mounting the picture myself, using a board from an old school binder my son had that was falling apart. The edges don’t sand the same way, so I cut them rounded to make it look a little more finished. And be careful not to get glue all over the picture. Other than that, it worked great and was super simple. I even made the holes by just pushing a ballpoint pen through the board because I was extra lazy.

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Simple Photo Display

If you’re anything like me, you have a million photos and a million intentions to display those photos in various ways around your house, and yet you never can find the time/energy/motivation/money to get it done.

Am I all alone? Please say I’m not alone.

So we just moved from a house that had maybe two walls we could hang pictures on to a house with wall space galore. I get giddy thinking about all the possibilities for photo displays. My pinterest folder spilleth over. And yet, most rooms remain undone, with pictures in boxes or empty frames perched against the wall. Alas, the time/energy/motivation/money dilemma strikes again.

But, this week I managed to get one small spot done! Hallelujah!

Probably the only reason I actually completed this project was because it was 1) simple, 2) fast, and 3) cheap. My favorite things combined in one!

To complete this project, I took some string, attached it to the wall with a couple old nails, and then clipped on some of our favorite photos along with some old cards, pages from books, music, postcards, etc.

Everything in the display has special meaning to us.



Next up: this room…

I might just leave the clearance stickers on the frames for a bit longer though. Because I figure, I get so happy in the store when I see those red stickers, so they should make me happy every time I see them, right?




Vintage Fork Place Card Holders

Genius.  I didn’t make these myself – I found them at one of my favorite stores: Sweet Salvage.  They were one of those items where I think: “I could make that” and then I think “OR – I could buy them already done.”

Here was my reasoning:

1. They are already done

2. I would have to search for vintage forks this cute – and that could take a while.

3.  I was feeling lazy.

My laziness won out and I bought them.  But – YOU could make them!!  Ha Ha.

I recommend making some kind of a form to make them uniform before you start.

Here is a picture of them all lined up pretty like:

Don’t they just make you happy?  They make me happy.  I couldn’t stop smiling when I found them.  That could be reason #4 for buying them ;0)

They could also be used to identify food in a buffet line, display photos, leave a sweet note for a loved one…what would you use them for?



Photo Friday: Printing a Book with Artwork and Photography

I believe in seeing photography through to the end… namely, getting your photos in print. There are so many different ways to show off your photos and enjoy them, and creating a photo book is one of my favorite ways.

This week, I printed a book for my son’s kindergarten teachers as a year-end present. The book combined some pictures of the kids in the class (that I took when I was in the class volunteering) and artwork/letters the students made for their teachers. It was really simple… just a few pages of pictures, and then one page for each kid in the class that combined their drawing, something they wrote, and a small picture of them in a polaroid frame.

I used Blurb, my go-to book company for books I don’t want to spend a fortune on but still want to see printed with good quality. They are simple and affordable.

Another popular company is Shutterfly, and they actually have a set of templates already set up for doing a book like this that combines kids’ artwork and pictures. It’s called Mini Masterpieces.

I love how the book turned out. I’m giving it to the teachers tomorrow on the last day of school. I’m hoping for a few tears and a lot of smiles.


Next up: do a book like this of my own kids’ artwork. I would love to have them take already existing photographs of us and draw them, and then have the photographs and the drawings printed side by side in the book.



Planning a Photo Exhibit

Have you ever considered showing your photos in an exhibit? Don’t know where to start? Whether you’re considering planning a photo exhibit for your photos, or just displaying photos in your home, I hope some of what I’ve been working on lately will be helpful to you.

I teach photography at my kids’ school, and this past week we put on a photo exhibit as part of the school’s fine arts festival. One of the first steps in planning an exhibit, of course, is to procure your location for the show. That was easy for me since it would be at the school. I had also spent months helping the students work toward a portfolio that would have some photos worthy of the exhibit. So, the only issues for me were how and where to print and frame the photos in the cheapest way possible and still make them look good.

I went through several possibilities for displaying the photos, from printing on plain paper and attaching to a magnetic strip or just pinning to the wall, to attaching with photo corners to a piece of cardstock to look like a photo mat, or buying fancy low-tech framing options like these or these, or installing those ikea wire things with clips, or printing big and mounting on a board. All of these were good possibilities, but in the end I found what I thought was the perfect blend of unassuming, classy, and cheap. And I found it at Ikea of course. It’s part of this series of frames, but they don’t have it on the website. I got the NYTTJA frame in the 12×16 size for $4 (but it’s actually 11 3/4 by 15 3/4″ so I had to print photos at 12×16 and then trim them a tiny bit to fit in the frames). And to save money on matting, I printed the photos with a white border to look like a mat. I also added a thin border around the picture for the artist to sign their work, which the kids loved.

I printed the photos at Sams Club for $3. As most picky-photographers-who-are-also-cheapskates know, when ordering prints from these kinds of labs you can uncheck the box to auto-correct your prints, which means they won’t mess with your color after you’ve already messed with your color and got it the way you want it. I printed one trial photo and the colors were oversaturated, which is easy to do when your model is wearing a neon orange shirt. So I tried another printing with the box unchecked, and it honestly didn’t make a difference. So I wasn’t happy with the color, and as you can see in the close-up above, the prints had annoying lines through them (look at the arms). It wasn’t noticeable in the darker pictures, but on skin tone it was really noticeable (at least to me). But for the cost, I just had to shrug my shoulders and hope nobody else would notice.

In mapping out the area for the exhibit, I decided on a wall that was just the right size for the amount of photos we had to display. I mapped it out in photoshop first to make sure everything would fit. I’m no math wiz, so I just measured the wall (300 inches) and then created a document in photoshop that was 300 inches across, then created an image that was 16×20 inches (the size of our photos) and dragged that onto my 300 inch wall. That way I knew my dimensions were right and I didn’t have to do any math. Don’t judge me. Then I resized my image so it was smaller and easier for photoshop to deal with, and then I used that to map everything out on the wall and see how it would look. Here’s what that process looked like:

1) figuring dimensions; 2) creating a virtual wall; 3) the actual photo exhibit wall

The name plaques I made by printing white text on a black background. I got four nameplates on one 4×6, which I then cut and attached to foamboard. I then attached those to the wall with putty.

My daughter with one of her exhibit photos

It was a lot of work and a lot of preparation, but in the end I spent only $7 per picture and the best part was sitting back and overhearing all the wonderful comments people made as they looked at the photos.

And if you’re thinking of planning an exhibit for yourself, one of the best resources I found was at this website.

As I was putting this together, I also thought, how fun would this be to do an exhibit at home with your own kids, to display some of their favorite photographs they’ve taken. You could serve refreshments and play soft music as you stroll past the exhibit and make insightful comments on the photos. Then you could auction off the prints and hang them in the rooms of whoever bid the most. I know my kids would love that. So I’ll get right on that… as soon as I’ve rested from this one. But let me know how yours goes.