How to Make DIY Photo Ornaments {Easy}

DIY photo ornaments are a wonderful way to celebrate the holiday season and commemorate cherished Christmas memories and milestones. With the ability to capture the essence of Christmases past through photographs, these ornaments add a personal touch to your holiday decor. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of creating these lovely DIY photo ornaments, offering you a chance to relive the warmth and joy of previous Christmases.

Why Photo Ornaments?

There’s something magical about revisiting old Christmas memories through photographs. The twinkling lights, festive decorations, and smiling faces capture the essence of the holiday season. DIY photo ornaments provide a unique opportunity to infuse your Christmas tree with these cherished memories and milestones.

The author previously shared a DIY photo transfer ornament project, but this time, they sought a simpler and more straightforward approach to creating photo ornaments. The results were outstanding, and they will guide you through the process step by step.

In this tutorial, we’ll focus on creating photo ornaments to celebrate the first Christmas of your children. Even if your little ones have grown older, it’s never too late to make these ornaments to honor their early holiday seasons. We’ll provide detailed instructions, along with a video tutorial for those who prefer visual guidance.

Materials for DIY Photo Ornaments

To embark on your DIY photo ornament journey, you’ll need the following materials:

  1. Wooden ornament shapes: You can find these in various materials such as wood, ceramic, or plastic. Look for ornament shapes that are around 3.5″ to 4″ in size, with a smooth texture. While the exact ornament shapes used in the example are not available online, you can find similar options at craft stores or purchase them in bulk from online retailers like Amazon.
  2. White paint: Acrylic craft paint or any other white paint you have on hand will work for this project.
  3. Paintbrush: A paintbrush is essential for applying the white paint to the wooden ornament shapes.
  4. 3.5″x5″ photos: Print your selected photos in this size on regular copy paper. There’s no need for special photo paper or high-quality laser printers. You can choose to print color or black and white photos, depending on your preference.
  5. Pencil: A pencil is used for tracing the ornament shape onto your photos and transferring designs for personalization.
  6. Scissors: You’ll need scissors to carefully cut out the photos to fit the ornament shapes.
  7. Matte Mod Podge: Mod Podge is essential for adhering the photos to the ornament and providing a protective coating.
  8. Black oil-based paint pen: This pen comes in handy for adding names, dates, or other personalization to the back of the ornament. Sharpie paint markers are recommended for writing on wood.
  9. Black and white baker’s twine: You’ll use baker’s twine for hanging the ornaments on your Christmas tree.

Creating Your DIY Photo Ornaments: Step by Step

Now that you have gathered the necessary materials let’s start crafting your DIY photo ornaments:

  1. Begin by painting both sides of your wooden ornament shapes with white paint. Whether you use acrylic craft paint or other white paint, the choice is yours. The white base will make your photos stand out beautifully.
  2. Print your chosen photos in 3.5″x5″ size on regular copy paper. You don’t need high-quality photo paper or professional laser printers for this project. Feel free to use color photos or opt for the timeless elegance of black and white images.
  3. Once the paint on your wooden ornaments has dried, it’s time to trace the ornament shape onto your photos. Ensure that the photo is centered to achieve the desired look on the finished ornament.
  4. Carefully cut out the photo along the traced circle. You can choose to cut the photos slightly smaller than the circles for a clean white border around your images.
  5. Before adhering the photos, lay them on your ornaments to ensure the cropping looks just right. Once you are satisfied, remove the photo and apply a thin layer of Mod Podge on the front of the painted ornament using a paintbrush.
  6. Carefully place the photo on top of the ornament, smoothing it down with your fingers to eliminate any air bubbles. Allow the Mod Podge to dry thoroughly.
  7. After the initial layer of Mod Podge is dry, apply a second thin coat over the top of the photo, ensuring that the edges are firmly adhered. This step not only protects the photo but also gives a polished finish to your ornament.

Personalizing Your Ornaments

While your DIY photo ornaments already carry the sentiment of your cherished memories, you can choose to personalize them further. The author decided to add a personal touch to the back of the ornaments by commemorating their children’s first Christmases.

To personalize your ornaments, follow these steps:

  1. Print the names and years you want to add to the ornaments in a font of your choice. This can include the first names of your loved ones and the year of the photo. You can also add names of those in the photo, the year it was taken, or any other significant information.
  2. To transfer the designs onto the back of the ornaments, do a simple pencil transfer. Place the printed text face down on the ornament and trace the outlines with a pencil. This will transfer the designs to the ornament’s surface.
  3. Use a black Sharpie oil-based paint pen to fill in the transferred names and years. This provides a beautifully “hand-lettered” appearance.
  4. Finish off your personalized ornaments by attaching black and white baker’s twine for hanging. This not only adds a decorative touch but also ensures they are ready to adorn your Christmas tree.


DIY photo ornaments offer a delightful way to celebrate your favorite Christmas memories and milestones, such as a baby’s first Christmas. By following the step-by-step instructions and using readily available materials, you can craft these sentimental ornaments to enhance your holiday decor.

Revisit the warmth, joy, and nostalgia of previous Christmases by adding these personal touches to your tree. Whether you choose to make ornaments to celebrate your children’s first Christmases or other significant moments, these DIY photo ornaments will become cherished keepsakes for years to come.

Feel free to personalize your ornaments with names, dates, or additional information, creating a unique and heartwarming holiday display. As you hang these ornaments on your Christmas tree, you’ll be reminded of the special moments that make the holiday season so magical.

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