Monday, December 23, 2013

Photo Christmas Ornaments

Personalized gifts are always great for giving smiles.

This year I created a bunch of picture ornaments for friends and family using facebook pictures that they posted.  Of course, the pictures are not ones that are copyrighted, and most of them were profile pictures at one time or another during the year, so I figured they would be good choices.

I thought I would explain the process, in case somebody would like to make some themself,
even though there is only a day left to get em' done...
so sorry!

Plan ahead for next year, I guess. :)

I posted a video of it, because it is much easier to explain and understand that way.

I hope the video helps.  If it doesn't or you have any questions,
please let me know,

I printed up a bunch of pictures I wanted to use.

Let me just say right here that if you plan to create photo ornaments,
using photo paper is definitely the best choice.

Below I show what the images look like three different experiments.
The one furthest right is regular all purpose paper and I set the printer for fast print.
The image is obviously faint.
The middle image was done on photo paper, but the ink was still on fast print.
It is much better, but still not as clear as I wanted.
The one to the left is photo paper set to normal printer setting.
This image was great so I made the pictures using this.

As soon as the pictures are printed on photo paper, I take them to a well ventilated place and spray a good misting of aerosol hair spray on them.

I do this because I find that even the slightest touch on these images on the photo paper makes some of the ink rub off.

That misting of hair spray will not affect the picture at all,
but helps the ink be a bit more stable for handling.

Once the hair spray dries,
I prefer to mod podge the pages of images before proceeding with cutting them out.

I did not do this with my first few photos:
I actually glued them to the canning jar lids I was using first
and then Mod podged them.

This is perfectly fine to do, but I just find that Mod podging them first guarantees that the ink will not smear when cutting and gluing them to the ornament,
and it also is much easier to paint on a whole page than to paint a bunch of smaller ornaments.

When Mod podging, the secret is to be quick and smooth about applying it to the photo paper.
Mod podge dries quickly and if you happen to put mod podge over an area that is mostly dry but not completely, I have found it can make a slight haze on the image.  Paint the Mod podge on and then leave it alone to dry for a half hour. If you see any areas you have missed, do a second coat once you are sure the first coat is dry.  This will prevent any haze on the picture.

Because we can much of our garden foods and fruit,
we have lots of lids that are great for these ornaments.
Other jar lids work well also.  I made a few of them up as well to show you.

First though, we need to make a template to cut those photos out to fit the lids.

I found some plastic from some sticker pages we got and traced the jar lids on them
(I had base-coated the jar lids with some durable paint:
I use Martha Stewart's glass or all-purpose paint
and I also used some acrylic paint mixed with just a touch of Plaster-of-Paris.
Both of these worked well.)

After I traced the jar lids onto the plastic,

I cut them out, slightly smaller so as to fit on the lid with a small border around.
I then traced the outer edge of the plastic so I could better see the outer edge
(Also, I have a tendency to drop these plastic guides and then can't find them as they disappear from my eyesight.)

I then trace the circle size I want onto the photo I want for that ornament.
(Yes, this was the first circle template I made and DID NOT color the outside edge
which disappeared shortly thereafter somewhere in the unknown near vicinity).

After getting the image to the size I wanted,
I applied a good layer of tacky glue on the underside,
positioned it on the ornament,
and then placed a weight (a bottle or paint or nail polish works well) on top to help it adhere well while drying.

Once dried, I then added a glitter border or whatever I felt would help make it look more festive.

For some of these, I used ribbon to attach for hanging.
For most, I used a nail and hammer and carefully tapped a hole in one side,
then tapped the nail in carefully through the same hole from the back side.
(This helps make the hole evenly open and helps to dull the rough edges the first puncture makes of the metal on the back side.)

A string or wire can then be strung for hanging.

Here are some examples:

For our own family,
I printed up a few of my favorite pictures from the year
and glued one on each side of the ornament.

(These were all created from regular jar lids in this picture above).

It will be nice to have those memories remembered each year when we get the ornaments out to hang on the tree.

They look fun hanging from the tree.

(This one was also a regular jar lid).

I had some artwork that I sold that I had taken pictures of
and created an ornament from one of those pieces.

Printing up vintage or other fun images from sites that post free images is a great option, too.

(The vintage ice-skaters is an image from the Graphics Fairy.)

Because I have 12 nieces and nephews, buying gifts for all of them can be a pretty hefty effort,
so I try to find something little each year.
This year, I made them each a personalized ornament.

Because my 2 sisters and I don't live near each other,
using family pictures from facebook made creating ornaments for my parents much easier.

Of course, baby's first Christmas is always a good one to have:
friends and family always love these, and
it is nice that there are lots of great photos of that baby right there on facebook albums.

These ornaments are easy and very inexpensive to create
as well as a lot of fun.

(Make sure the images you use are not copyrighted, of course,
and that the person you use them from will not mind).

Thanks as always for taking the time to stop by
and may you have a Merry Christmas!

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  1. Great idea! I love handmade Christmas ornaments!

  2. I am going to do this for sure this year. What a wonderful keepsake ornament.


Thanks for your thoughts! If you have a question, I'll try to answer it.