These DIY decoupage photo ornaments are super cute and easy to make, too! They’re made using a few simple supplies and don’t require a lot skill or effort, although you will need to allow for plenty of incremental drying time for glue and paint in this project.
Making DIY Decoupage Photo Ornaments or Gift Tags
Customising Your Styles
My pet photo ornaments were made with a chalkboard backing for optional messages. They were used as gift tags, and then transitioned into other use. If you choose a non-holiday specific shape (like our basic circle) and colour scheme (like our classic black-and-white), they can work for any occasion and transition into your everyday décor. They make great visual hang tag labels for storage baskets.
Supplies and Materials
To create your own DIY decoupage photo ornaments or gift tags like those shown, you will a pre-fab wooden base shape (or suitable substitute), chalkboard paint, painting supplies, pre-printed photos or access to a printer, Mod Podge (or suitable substitute), a pin, a skewer or similar, a utility knife, and a bit of sandpaper. If your base doesn’t come with a hole, you’ll also need a drill and (of course) safety glasses.
- Base shapes for painting
- Chalkboard paint or preferred alternative and painting supplies
- Photos or photo-capable printer and supplies
- Mod Podge or suitable substitute for decoupage
- Small pin
- Utility knife
- Drill and safety glasses (if a hole needs to be made in the base shapes)
Preparing the Ornament Base
- Before you start, ensure that your ornament base is clean and free of any little edge defects. Give it a quick sand and wipe, if needed.
- If your shape doesn’t come with a pre-fab hole, use a drill to add a small hole before you begin the project.
- Paint the back and sides of your ornament (and the top too, if you wish). If you want the ornament to be a chalkboard label, like mine, you will need to use chalkboard paint; however, you can use any paint you wish. If you’d prefer to decoupage both sides, that’s cool too.
- Allow your paint to dry thoroughly before proceeding with your paper work.
Applying a Photo Using Decoupage
- Carefully measure the dimensions of your shape.
- If you don’t have a pre-printed photo, pick your project photo(s) and print so that your featured part of the image works for the dimensions of your ornament base. Personally, I like self-printing. Standard paper works very nicely for this project, especially if you’re working in classic black and white, and it’s easy to decoupage. Win win!
- Carefully cut your photos so that they cover the top of your ornament to the edge. Check, check, and recheck before you start to glue anything into place. You can trim excess later, if needed, but you won’t be able to make them bigger or change a misalignment.
- Working outwards from the middle of your piece and then progressing to your sides so as not to trap air bubbles and wrinkles, carefully glue your photos into place with Mod Podge.
- Allow your Mod Podge to dry for 15-20 minutes, and then add a top coat and allow it to dry.
A basic brush and your hands work just fine for this little project, but there are all kind of Mod Podge tools available if you are keen to do more decoupage in the future. Check out the handy tips from Mod Podge Rocks for extra decoupage advice.
Finishing, Details, and Touch-Ups
- Using a pin, carefully press it through the hole from the back of your ornament to the front to prick a small guide hole. Using the pointed end of a skewer or similar, carefully press from front to back to open the hole. Push the paper inwards without tearing past the edges.
- Add another top coat, making sure that the hole is coated, but not filled (use your skewer to clear it if needed) and allow to dry. Repeat as many times as you wish until the decoupage has the look and feel you want for the finished ornament. Allow to dry thoroughly.
- If you have any little edges sticking out that could use a trim, carefully trim them with your cutter. Cut, don’t pull, else you may tear the decoupaged paper. It doesn’t need to be perfect, because next we’re going to sand those edges.
- Give the edges a very light sand, rubbing just the edge of the picture on the ornament, from the top down. This will scuff the edges of your decoupaged photo to help it blend into the ornament.
- Carefully retouch the edges with paint if/as needed. If you don’t mind getting your hands a little messy, a finger makes a great substitute for a paint brush for a little edge touch up rub.
- Allow touch-up paint to dry thoroughly
- Add a final top coat or sealer to the front of your ornament, making sure the edges are sealed.
- Allow to dry thoroughly before use.