Saturday, December 12, 2009

easy photo blocks & tiles


SPOILER ALERT! If you're the grandparent of the children in this photo, turn away from your computer screen now! If it's too late, will you please e-mail me what size you'd like? Yes, this is what the grandparents are getting for Christmas this year. And you won't believe how cheap and easy (and fun) they were to make!

Photo Block Tutorial

What you'll need:

*Block of wood--ours measure about 5.5"x5.5"
*Acrylic paint or spray paint
*Acrylic gel stain (optional)
*Fine sandpaper
*Distressing file (optional--can use sandpaper instead)
*Foam brushes (at least one wide brush)
*Mod Podge
*Photo that will fit on your block (IMPORTANT-ink jet printed photos will not work. Get a professional print with a matte or lustre finish-not glossy!)
*Patterned paper
*Ribbon
*Ribbon slide or other embellishment (optional)

1. Cut and route your blocks. Stacy bought a board at Home Depot and they graciously cut it for her for free (although she thinks they weren't supposed to). Then her husband routed the edges, but this isn't necessary if you don't have access to a router. You could also check craft stores for pre-cut and sanded wood blocks. Paint your blocks--do a nice job on the sides and back. The front doesn't matter much. Sand the edges for a shabby look. I applied a gel stain on top of the sanded edges to finish them.


2. Cut your photo to fit on top. I started with a 5" wide photo. Using a foam brush, apply a layer of Mod Podge to the back of the photo. Place on block and smooth down with the side of your hand. Allow to dry about 10 minutes.


3. Using a distressing file or fine sandpaper, lightly sand the edges in a downward motion to make the photo become one with your block. Be careful not to rip the edges!


4. With a wide foam brush, apply a thick line of Mod Podge.


Brush across in a horizontal direction to cover photo with Mod Podge.


Then, WITHOUT applying more Mod Podge, brush in a vertical motion. This will give your photo some texture, like it's printed on a canvas.


Allow to dry about 15 minutes.


5. Measure and cut a piece of patterned paper for the bottom of your block. Using more Mod Podge, adhere it to the block. I didn't apply Mod Podge to the top of the paper, but you could if you wanted.


6. Attach coordinating ribbon, ric rac, or other trim around middle where photo and paper meet. This will hide the line. I used Glue Dots to stick my ribbon on, but a double-sided tape like Tacky Tape would work as well. I also used ribbon slides from Stampin' Up!'s Hodge Podge Hardware set to dress mine up. Making Memories used to make these, too, but they're getting harder to find!






That's it--you're done! The great thing about these blocks is that they stand up on their own. Instant home decor, and cheaper than a photo frame!


An alternative to the wood block is a tile, as in the ceramic tiles you find in home improvement stores. Thanks to our friend Andrea Sorensen for this great idea! Use the same technique used in the photo block tutorial (minus the painting and sanding). These range in size, but we like the 6"x6" tile, the 8"x10" tile, and the 12"x12" tile. You will need a small easel to hold your tile.

This is the 6x6 tile.


This is an 8x10 tile.



Here are a few that Stacy made on 6x6 tiles. I love the embellishments she used in place of the ribbon slides. You could use anything in place of them--buttons, flowers, bows, metal embellishments, monogram letters, chipboard accents. . .



Merry Christmas, Mom & Dad!

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63 Comments

63 Responses to “easy photo blocks & tiles”

deadweight on velveteen said...

these are fantastic :) great idea!!

The Allen Family said...

That is awesome! I didn't realize you could Mod Podge over a regular picture!

Tess said...

Oh my God, Thease are absolutley precious. I am a grandma and I would be so thrilled and delighted to receive these. I actually think I have some tiles laying around here. OMG, yes I do and I have the granddaughters newest scholl pic that other family members have not seen yet. Thank you for the wonderful idea. :)

Jessabells said...

This one is a great one. I think this would be great for an extra gift for grandma! Now to find the pics! Thanks ladies.

Shana said...

I could SO do this...I have scrap wood, some fun paper, but I need ink for my photo printer!! AHHHHHH

Kristi said...

Darling!!!! What a great idea for a fun, personal gift. Thanks!

Lisita said...

These are amazing. I can't wait to try them. You must have an incredible photographer! :)

ElegantSnobbery said...

Oh wow, this will make the perfect gift for my family-orientated, hard to shop for friend! YAY!! You did such a beautiful job!

simplymodernmom.com said...

Here are some other ideas of how to make memory gifts using photos. http://www.simplymodernmom.com/2009/12/fridays-5-at-5-memory-gifts-using-photos/

Mom Taxi Julie said...

I think I just found my Christmas presents ;O)

Michelley! said...

These are amazing! Super cute!
Now I have a question for ya, where do you get your blocks and tiles from? I have looked at Hobby Lobby and Michaels and can't find blocks larger than 2 X 2inches!
Thanks!
buchristian09@yahoo.com
mountainsonshine.blogspot.com

inthehammockblog said...

Fantastic gifts! Thanks for sharing!

MissesStitches said...

Isn't it fun to make photo blocks!?! I made several for table decorations at our son's wedding rehearsal dinner. You can see the blog entry here: http://missesstitches.blogspot.com/2009/09/photo-blocks.html

I like the idea of doing these on tiles, too.

Little Birdie Secrets said...

Hi Michelley! you might have to go to the local hardware store. I just grabbed long piece of wood. I think it was 6 inches by 8 feet long and 2 inches wide. They cut it for me in the store. Ben Franklin has the blocks if you want more of a cube look. I am note sure about anywhere else. Anyone else out there know of something?

Lizzie said...

Wow, these are fantastic! What a super idea and affordable. :)

Hope you have a good weekend.

Francis Family said...

oh I wish I would have seen these sooner!! I would of loved to make them for all the grandparents, thanks so much. It's a definate future gift.

The Macchio Family said...

OKAY.... YOU are my new best friend! I have been so inspired and have gleaned SO many wonderful ideas... I can't wait to go to the craft store -- pronto!

Love you.... truly! ~ kim

Tina S said...

How great is this!?! I love the idea and can't wait to get some tiles and wood pieces to start on.

Devil Dog Momma said...

ADORABLE! I will be making one of each family member to put in the new babys room on a shelf. Thanks so much for yet another fantastic tutorial!

Atticelf said...

Great project! I wish I'd done this instead of frantically working on 2 12x12 scrapbooks for grandparents. :P

Kari @ Ucreate said...

I think this is such an AMAZING gift idea!! You gals rock!!

Katie said...

I LOVE these, saw you on UCreate and had to hop over and tell you☺ I did some too but didn't embellish mine and had been thinking something was missing. That's what really makes yours so amazing. I may have to go gussy mine up. Thanks for the inspiration. I think I'll do some tiles now too.

Mod Podge Amy said...

Great last minute gift idea!

Rachael Thomas said...

Awesome tutorial! Thanks so much!

The Domestic Contessa said...

What a great idea - they are so beautiful! With all the free photo print offers I've been coming across, I've been wondering how to use them all. This is perfect! I linked to you!

Trish said...

Wow. I have been searching for a unique gift for my parents and my in-laws. These are perfect!! Thanks for the tutorial!

Hanneke Nelson said...

Yep, that's going to be my grandparents project this year. About the ribbon slides: I know Patera makes them. You can find most of the Patera line at www.bellomodo.com. They're probably not online yet, but I know for a fact they have them - I worked there until recently when I moved from WA to WI. Call or email, and they can help you out!

Hanneke

arkie said...

Those are so cute! Great gift!

Jessica said...

Adorable! My project list keeps on growing - I can't wait to start this project...a perfect gift idea!!!

Jenn said...

OMG! THESE ARE FABULOUS!
Can't wait to make these!
This would be a great gift for my clients!

Jenn said...

OMG! THESE ARE FABULOUS!
Can't wait to make these!
This would be a great gift for my clients!

Little Birdie Secrets said...

I just added an important note that I forgot. You MUST use a photo with a matte or lustre finish. Glossy photos or photos printed on an ink jet printer will not work well with the Mod Podge! :) Sorry to have left that detail out!

ba and the boys said...

my friend heather made these and at the top, put a cabnet knob! i cant find the post she did or i would put it here. but go to home depot and find a funky knob and put it on top! and if anyone asks-heather d white had the idea! not me.

Kat said...

Wow, you have just put all my crafty ideas to shame!! I must add this one to the list. Don't think I'll get it done in time for Christmas, but a must do for the future!

Suzanne said...

I just made two of them and plan to make several more, thanks for posting this before Christmas so we could all benefit. They make a great gift as office desk picture.

amanda said...

these are soooooooo great! i've been looking for that little extra super special something to add to our mother's & grandmother's gifts, these are right up my alley!!! soooo beautiful, thank you!!!

http://kindovermatter.com

Lizzy said...

I make these and there is a way you can use a picture printed from your computer...instead of decoupaging over the picture use a spray sealer , you can but this at walmart for about a 1.50. It actually gives it a nicer finish without the streaks.

Nobody Puts Mama In A Corner! said...

I adore this project!! I am featuring you in my post today!!! LOve it!!! Love It!!! Did I say LOVE IT!
Merry Christmas! Thank you for sharing your perky little project with us in blogland!
Mama Holli

Francheska said...

I love these! Would you mind sharing the colors and brand of Acrylic Paint and Stain you used?

Christine said...

Pictures are always the greatest gifts as they are personal, I love these. Thanks for the great idea!

Christine

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

Wow, these are fantastic! Thanks so much for such a giftable project. I'll be linking.

EvaForeva said...

One of the best tutorials out there! I mean it! This is awesome!

Andrea said...

So glad you guys did a post using my tiles. They look fantastic, plus I totally love the wood block it's stunning! Nice work as always ladies nice work! And thanks for the shout out with the link to my site. Have a Merry Christmas!

punkinseedproductions.blogspot.com said...

Those are so sweet! What a great gift idea!

Katherine marie said...

Beyond darling!!!!!!!

amelquist said...

I love these! I think I may try and make some before Christmas! Thanks for sharing!

Keep It Classy, Jen said...

These photo blocks are amazing!!!

Your site was featured today on Chicks Who Chat http://tobtr.com/s/783462

Tracie said...

I love these and made some last nite. You can see them here http://mycraftysideforyou.blogspot.com/2009/12/handmade-christmas-photo-blocks.html

Thank you for posting!!!

Deanna said...

Have you ever used coke pop tops as a buckle?

Kathy said...

I just found your blog through some other blog. . .you have TONS of great stuff. . .but those photo blocks! I can't stand how cute they are! Thanks.

Drew&Samsmom said...

ahhhh. this is adorable!!!! i cannot wait to make these!

Angie said...

What an awesome baby gift, etc these would make...adding them to my list of "must-do's"!

Karen said...

I've been following your blog for awhile now and I happened to fall upon this cute project. Absolutely love them.

abc baby said...

i am just seeing these i wish i had seen them for Christmas but there are plenty of holidays yet to come this year so i will be making these for everyone .... thank you so much for all your great ideas !!!! i have my husband searching for would !!! what type of wood did you use ?? pine???

Little Birdie Secrets said...

Hi ABC Baby--yes, just the regular pine.

abc baby said...

Thank you my husband cut me a few blocks tonite and i cant wait to start making them tomorrow ive already sanded them i just need to get some mod podge stuff !!!

Gina said...

I love these! I actually just made one. I will eventually post it on my blog.

The Duty's said...

I love these and I am making them for Christmas gifts. I am actually going to paint a few coats of magnetic paint and use covered buttons to make magnets that will stick to the wood. That way we can change out pictures. I linked to your blog! Love this idea. Thank you!

xtremeteamduty.blogspot.com

Twice The Work said...

Thank you so much for this tutorial. I followed your directions to make a slightly different style of photoblock and they came out so fantastic. All the grandparents got them for Christmas. I was really bummed to learn that the photos were bubbling. I just reread your directions and I think my photos may have been glossy. Do you think that is my problem?

The Shumakers said...

I also made these for most of my family members, they looked fantastic when Iwrapped them up, and then when the next time I saw them, they were all bubbled :-( I used some glossy photos and some lustre photos and I'm not sure which ones were the ones that bubbled....is that why you say not to use glossy?

Megan said...

I am having trouble finding plain ribbon slides like yours. Any suggestions?

ssw386 said...

Hey, I made photo blocks with mod podge, and they looked great, but after awhile the photo bubbles up... why would it do this? knot in the wood? Not the right kind of photo. I got them printed out at a photo shop and they said it was a type a Matte.... I just dont understand why they would be bubbling up. they are totally ruined.

renu wpi said...

Your words help a lot, thanks! It is extremely helpful for me.
Photo Gifts Delhi

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