DIY Photo Ornaments

    by Jenny Harrington

    About the Author

    Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.


    Give handcrafted photo ornaments as gifts or make them to decorate your own home for the holidays. Your favorite photographs easily become heirloom ornaments to pass down generation after generation. They are simple to make, requiring only a few supplies that are readily available at craft stores. Ornaments can be hung on trees, used as wreath decorations or hung from a hook on a mantle.

    Clear Ornaments

    Use clear ornament balls to make photo ornaments. These are simple enough for children to make as gifts. Cut out a picture so it is no wider than the diameter of the clear ornament. Remove the top from the ornament. Wrap the picture, photo side out, around a pencil. Slip the pencil into the ornament opening and carefully pull it out, leaving the photo inside. Straighten the photograph inside the ornament with the pencil or with toothpicks. For extra decoration, place colored confetti, ribbon or paper strips into the ornament. Move the filler so it is behind or beneath the photograph and not blocking the image. Replace the top of the ornament. Write your name and date or a holiday message on the back of the ornament with a paint pen as a personal touch.

    Traditional Ornaments

    Traditional photo ornaments are screen-printed onto glass or plastic ornament balls. You can make a similar version with decoupage. Print your photo on regular-weight paper. Cut it out so it fits on the surface of your ornament ball. Apply a thin coat of decoupage glue to the ornament and smooth the photo over it with your fingertips. Apply a second coat of decoupage glue over the photo to seal it and allow to dry. Use metallic paint markers or glue and glitter to paint a frame around the photo edges. Draw designs over the rest of the ornament with the marker or with glue and glitter. Write your name and date on the back or under the photo with a paint marker.

    Paper Ornament

    Paper ornaments mimic the shape of traditional ball ornaments. Choose a standard 4- by 6-inch horizontal photograph. Cut it into 1/2-inch wide vertical strips for a minimum of 10 strips. Stack the strips on top of each other and punch a hole at each end. Insert a metal brad fastener through all the strips in the top hole, and add a second fastener through the bottom hole. Pull open the brad backings on the back to secure. Bend the stack into a "C" shape to give them the proper curve for the ornament. Fan out the strips, spacing them evenly to form a ball. Tie a ribbon or string around the top brad to hang the ornament.