Handmade and Personalized Photo Presents (Kodak Blog, December 2007)

NOTE: This is a “reprint” of my blog post to Kodak’s previous “A Thousand Words” blog.

Latest fashion trends and hip new gadgets come and go, but photos can last forever.  Even if a photo is not the central part of a present, you can use photos to personalize cards, gift tags, and even the gift box!  Last year, Diedra (another Kodak blogger) provided a great example of decorating gift boxes with photos.  The Kodak Tips & Projects Center is also a great resource for photo gift tags and other photo ideas related to holidays and events.

Although I do order pre-made photo gifts directly from Kodak Gallery, I also really enjoy personalizing gifts with a little handmade love.  Here are three examples of photo gifts I’ve made:

ornaments ornaments

Handmade photo ornaments are fun, easy to create, and add lots of personal charm to the tree.   Last year, I blogged about making these handmade photo ornaments here.  As an added bonus, you can use such a photo ornament to dress up a package when giving it to someone.  For a little nostalgia, scan in an old photo to use – it can definitely add to the entertainment value of the ornament!

shadow box frame

A shadow box frame with partially frosted glass adds depth and interest to your photo subject.  In this example, I used one of my digital action shots as the focal picture.  The shadow frame that I purchased came in unfinished wood, so I painted the frame to match a color from the picture.  In this case, I used the color of the bike — a light metallic blue — to paint the inside and outside of the shadow box.  I also used a little silver paint to highlight around the edge of the frame.  By using a color from the photo, the color of the frame complements the photo.  If you have a color in your photo that you’d like to use to paint your frame, you can create the custom color by mixing different basic colors together.  I used craft paints available from the local craft store, to mix colors and paint my shadow box frame.  The frosted glass effect was achieved by using some paint-on frost for glass, which is also available at your local craft store.  Before frosting the glass, use a sheet of tracing paper or white copy paper to make a practice cutout; reserve the cutouts to use when doing the actual glass frosting.  Assemble your frame, placing your photo inside and the glass in its proper place.  Lay your practice cutout on top of the glass to get an idea of how the finished frame will look.  Adjust the cutout(s) as necessary.  Note that you can use more than one cutout – and that the cutouts can be embellishments such as hearts or stars, as well as cutouts to highlight different portions of the underlying photo, such as different faces in a photo – be creative!  If you didn’t have to adjust any of your cutouts, then you can use the original cutout pieces to place on top of your glass when frosting the glass.  If you did adjust your cutouts, then you can use your practice cutout as your template for tracing out and creating new cutout shapes.

Classic board games like Monopoly, Clue, and Chutes and Ladders are inexpensive and easy to find at your local toy store.  Why not personalize that classic game into a charming gift?  I just started personalizing a Chutes and Ladders game with photos.  So far, I have created new player pieces from photo cutouts that look like this:

photo cutouts game pieces

These were very easy to do – just print 2×3 inch sized copies of your photos, cut them out, slip them into the piece holder, then add a little folded piece of paper at the bottom to help keep the cutouts in place.  Voila!  You have personalized player pieces!  I have to admit, I find the stand-up little cutouts so charming that I’m tempted to keep the pieces for myself as additional office decor!

Do you have handmade photo presents to share? Tell us about them in the comments section and include a link to a picture, if you have one!  We hope your holidays are filled with great memories – both new and old alike!

Posted in diy, kodak_blog, photography.