How To Make Wooden Photo Ornaments Using A Simple Home Printer

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How to make wooden photo ornaments using a simple home printer. Easy follow along instructions with helpful tips and tricks.

It can be a bit difficult trying to figure out what to give grandparents, aunts, and other family members back home for Christmas. Chocolates and salty snacks are always a favorite, but since our children are still young we also like to include a craft.

They’ve gotten a bit big for a cute little footprint or handprint, so this year we decided to try something a bit different.

We decided to make wooden photo ornaments for the entire family. Ornaments that are not just glued onto a wood slice with Mod Podge, but ones that actually look like they are a part of the wood slice themselves.

And we were going to make them 13 times.

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This project actually started January of last year when I told my husband we weren’t allowed to put the Christmas tree on the curb. It was the first time having a real tree in our home and this puppy was going to get some more use.

After trimming off the branches, we took the base of the tree and sliced it into about 25 wooden slices using our miter saw and kept the best looking ones to save for the projects.

Christmas tree being repurposed into wooden Christmas ornaments.
stacked wooden slices

This is our own personal experience. Be sure to practice tool safety and seek professional advice.

They were stored on a shelf in the garage and reminded me every month that I should really get this project started so that I wasn’t rushing during the holiday season. Per usual, they were still sitting there on December 1st and the “better get it done” countdown began.

The countdown sounded more like our youngest looking at the calendar every morning while at breakfast table and announcing the remaining days until Christmas. Just like the jolly man with a long beard from How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

“11 Days until Christmas!”

HOW TO MAKE WOODEN PHOTO ORNAMENTS

Materials

  • Wooden slices
  • Mod Podge
  • Paintbrush + Newspaper
  • Ribbon
  • Photo printed with an inkjet printer on regular paper

Tools

  • Scissors
  • Printer + printer paper + Ink
silhouette photo on a wooden ornament with a red ribbon.

PRINT THE PHOTOS

Using a simple home inkjet printer, print your photos on regular white copy paper.

*tip 1- Since we’ll be gluing the photo on the wood ornament face down, your image will be reversed. If you know how to flip your image before printing, now is the time to do so. Otherwise just note that the finished image will be reversed.

*tip 2- For this project I decided to go with a sunset silhouette. On my first ornament I tried a photo of the girls in the snow wearing colorful jackets. The pink jacket smeared in with the snow as I was removing the paper back and it was a mess. Going with a silhouette with the sunset was much easier to work with.

HOW CAN I REVERSE MY PHOTO

On the computer bring up your photo in the program Preview. On the top menu go to tools and select flip horizontal. From there you can click file and print.

PRINT SCALE

Once the print menu pops up go down to the preview drop menu and select scale. Change the scale of the photo to the correct size between 10%- 25 % depending on your wood slice measurement.

Print. Allow to fully dry and cut out.

HOW TO TRANSFER PHOTOS TO WOOD

Once the paper photo is fully dry, paint a layer of Mod Podge over the front of the photo. Paint another layer of Mod Podge onto the wooden slice.

Press the photo firmly facedown onto the wooden ornament. Be sure to remove any air bubbles by taking your finger or card from the center of the wood slice out towards the sides.

Allow to dry 24-36 hours.

Applying Mod Podge to the front of the photo.
Applying the photo facedown to the wooden ornament.

REMOVE PAPER BACKIN

After allowing them to dry between 24-36 hours, take a few drops of water and begin rubbing the back of the photo with your fingertip. As you continue this motion the paper will begin rolling and peeling back. Remove as much as possible taking take not to rub too hard.

Allow to dry.

Applying water to the back of the photo.
Gently rubbing of the paper backing.

Once dry you’ll may see a white haze has come back over the photo. Take a few more drops of water and gently rub the back with your fingertip a second time.

Allow to dry.

*Tip- Rubbing one color at a time helps keep the photo from bleeding colors into other sections.

Tip- You can very lightly use and eraser to remove paper from difficult areas.

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COVER WITH MOD PODGE

Allow photo and wood to dry completely. Once the wooden ornament is completely dry, paint over the photo with Mod Podge to give it a nice gloss finish with more vibrant colors.

Repeat this step once first coat of Mod Podge dries, if desired.

Dry for several hours.

Applying a coat of Mod Podge to the wooden photo ornament.
Vibrant sunset silhouette on a wooden ornament.

ADD A RIBBON OR BOW

Some wood ornaments that are available for purchase online come with a pre drilled hole or you may need to drill your own. Once your hole is in place, add a string or ribbon that is approximately 6-8 inches. You can use a skewer to help push through the hole or you may not need to do that if your string is thin enough.

To add a bow to the top of the ornament tie a bow with ribbon. Flip the bow over and push the two pieces of string through the back of the bow on each side. Secure it in place by tying a double knot along with another knot at the top to form a loop.

Using a wooden skewer to poke the ribbon though the hole to hang the ornament.
Adding a red bow and attaching it to the top.

TIPS & TRICKS

Remember to print your photo in reverse if possible.

The longer you can wait to allow the photo to dry to the back of the wood ornament before removing the paper, the better.

When removing the paper back remember to use your finger gently or you may end up removing the photo itself.

Doing one section of color at a time can help prevent color bleed.

An eraser can help remove paper with better detail.

You can also paint the wooden slice white before applying the photograph for a more vibrant photo and ornament.

Wooden photo ornament with a red bow hanging from a Christmas tree.

And that’s it! Using a home inkjet printer and a few craft supplies, we now have a beautiful gift for the grandparents and extended family.

Keep in mind that this project can take a few days with all of the drying, so be sure to plan accordingly.

The holiday countdown at the breakfast table can resume without all the added stress, now that these DIY wooden photo ornaments have been packed and shipped back home to family and friends.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season filled with peace, joy and lots of laughter. ~Sara

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2 thoughts on “How To Make Wooden Photo Ornaments Using A Simple Home Printer”

    1. I’m so glad you love your ornament! The girls and I really enjoyed this crafty holiday project and they were wonderful little helpers. 🙂

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