DIY Photo Gifts

I can’t believe it’s nearly time for Christmas. Where has the time gone? Perhaps it went by attending my first wedding or this exhausting election (and now preparing for the aftermath). Or my brother taking his cat that I’d been taking care of since he was a kitten but also getting a new cat! I still don’t feel like accomplished as much as I wanted this year, PLUS I am very, very fearful for the next few, but fucking fuck it.

If you’ve been as busy or otherwise had an unexpected addition to your gifting list, why not make something from the heart? One of my besties had her first baby this year and her birthday is right before the season, so I thought something from all their photos of the little one would be a great gift and decor!

Upcycled/DIY Photo Frame

diy upcycle photo supplies
Supplies: Popsicle or ice pop sticks, scissors, glue, paint, printed photos
Optional: Glitter, magnets, yarn, hemp, string, buttons, pom-poms, markers

Fortunately, my friend takes tons of photos of the babe and even had a professional shoot her family, so I was able to simply print 3 wallet sized pictures at Walmart. You get 2 copies for about $0.30!

Step 1: Planning

Before you print or as your choose your pictures, I would plan out how you want your frames to look. You can do a simple square or diamond, or you might want to go more arty. But also think about color. Are you giving them as Christmas gifts with matching colors or do you want them as a person’s favorite color? Are they going to clash with the photo’s colors?

Once you print the photos, you can get a better idea of how to “shape” the frames. I also practiced painting on a couple of sticks to figure out which colors I liked, how many coats, etc. I tried using some acrylic paints I had lying around, but they came out as more of a solid color whereas I liked the textured look I could achieve by “staining.”

Painted stick

I would paint a stick, then paint a little black or dark brown on, and wipe off excess with a towel. I just used a paper towel. Maybe you’ll have different results with spray paint or a cloth rag.

Step 2: Paint

Paint all your sticks. Though I went with kind of a rustic look, I did want a little sparkle. But I didn’t want to buy a whole big thing for this little project. So what’s sparkly? Nail polish! I tried a few chrome colors and designs but thought gold was best as an accent; the focus should be on the baby! I painted one stick that would be a top part a gold chrome, but painted all the sides a glittery gold. I love it, TBH.


Step 3: Assemble!

Before you start gluing sticks, figure out how you’re going to display these. Are you attaching a magnet? Or poking string around to hang on a branch? I didn’t have magnets, so I tried tying yarn and hemp in different ways. You can use a dab of glue to keep them in place because otherwise, they’ll go sideways. I also had a silver chain from a keychain. You might even be able to use pipe cleaners.

Got any spare beads or buttons? See if you like how they look on the sticks or if you like doodling designs or names with markers.

Wrap decor


My ornaments fit perfectly in this old Birchbox. I just wrapped the top in more seasonal wrapping paper and even took this contrasting black and gold “just for you” piece from a greeting card!

I think these came out really cute. I’m sure if you’re more of a crafter, you’ll have great ideas to put your own spin on the idea. Let me hear them! I’m just glad my pal also loved them. She said she hadn’t been able to print any pictures yet.

Hope you guys have a merry Christmas!


3 thoughts on “DIY Photo Gifts

  1. Tigritsa

    This is so cute! It’s funny because my son actually made a photo frame just like this in school for the Christmas tree! It was a great Christmas gift!

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