DIY: Make a Scratch-Off Photo Valentine

Extra photos for bloggers: 1, 2, 3

Scratch-off cards sure know how to take you on an emotional roller coaster. First you’re filled with gleeful anticipation and then, womp-womp. It’s a dud!

Lucky for us, our buddy Brit showed us a sure way to always get a winning scratch-off.

She taught us how to turn Polaroids (or any photo) into the best scratch-off card ever.

You can make your own easy scratch-offs using dish soap and acrylic paint. It’s really that easy.

Give one of these away to your crush or BFF for Valentine’s Day! They’ll totally be impressed by your crafty photo skills, and who knows…maybe you’ll really hit the ultimate jackpot: true love. Awww.

Why Scratch-Offs Rule

That lucky person you give your scratch-off Polaroid to will think you gave them an unexposed photo. That is, until they read the message and scratch away. It’s a guaranteed way to give them the warm fuzzies.

What You’ll Need:


  • A Polaroid camera and film OR
  • A 3″x3″ glossy photo print
  • Black acrylic paint
  • Dish soap
  • Scotch tape
  • Paper plate (or surface for mixing paint)
  • Piece of paper
  • Paint brush
  • Black marker


paper-smGet creative and remember that your Valentine will have to do a small amount of work to reveal your photo. What type of secret message do you want to send?

The easiest way to get a Polaroid photo is to shoot one! (Psst, you can find Polaroid cameras here. Or if you need film, Impossible Project makes some!)

If you don’t have access to a Polaroid camera, you can always make a faux Polaroid by cutting out a 3″x3″ photo print and crafting a card stock border. Glossy photos work best! A Polaroid print is 3 1/2″ x 4 1/4″, so cut the border out to be that size and paste your print on top.


paint-smCombine one part dish soap to two parts acrylic paint and blend on a paper plate or whatever mixing surface you chose.

We used black paint, but you can use any color (red the color of loooove, mayhaps?).


paint-smUse your scotch tape to cover the white edges of your Polaroid photo. The tape will protect the edges from getting paint on them.

Use the same tape to stick your Polaroid down to a sheet of paper. This will be your paint surface.

Step 4 – PAINT

paint-smWith your paint mixture and brush, paint over the photo section of your Polaroid.

Use a similar stroke (sideways or up and down) throughout so that your paint dries better. Once dry (about an hour), paint a second coat to completely conceal your photo.


paint-smOnce dry, remove your scotch tape from the borders of your Polaroid.


paint-smUsing your black marker, write a note like “Scratch Me” on the bottom of your Polaroid.

Seal it in an envelope (and/or with a kiss) and get ready to surprise your Valentine!

Even More Ideas:

  • Create a series of photos with hints that lead to the next photo and leave it around your house. Your Valentine will be scratching away with suspense!
  • Try taping a penny or quarter to the photo so that your special someone has all they need to scratch.

Started by Brittany Morin, Brit + Co seeks to keep the digital generation up to speed with innovative technologies, consumer products and DIY ideas for creative living. Follow Brit on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest and watch more videos from Brit on YouTube.