DIY Photo Ornaments in 15 Minutes or Less

Eggnog, gingerbread houses, Santa Clause, Sinterklaas (for our Dutch friends), “Christmas Man” (any Germans in the house?), holiday cards, endless holiday shopping, and lots and lots of holiday cheer.

We love the holidays.

Just in time for this year’s festivities, we’ll show you how to make beautiful ornaments using your photos in just 15 minutes. They look great on a Christmas tree, but they’re just as awesome as decorations to hang from your mantle or from the ceiling.

Better yet, they can be sent easily through the mail and make great gifts! Let’s get started…

Photo ornaments are incredibly easy to make, and they’re a great quick-and-easy way to decorate your home or make gifts for friends. Follow our simple instructions and you’ll be whipping ’em out in no time flat.

Ingredient List

  • 4″x6″ Photograph – horizontal photos work best

  • Scissors

  • Single hole punch

  • Two Paper Fasteners

  • String – pick a color that complements your photo

Step 1: Pick a Photo

Almost any photo will do. A 4″x6″ photo will result in an ornament that’s about average size. For smaller or larger ornaments, use a smaller or larger photo. Horizontal photos work better than vertical ones.

For a virbrant ornament, pick a photo that’s predominantly a single color, or one that captures an interesting pattern, shape, or texture.

Step 2: Slice your Photo

Cut 1/2″ wide strips as shown; about 10-11 strips in total. These strips will form the ribs of your ornament. Each must be wide enough to have a hole comfortably punched in it.

Step 3: Punch Holes in the Photo Strips

Take your strips four at a time, and use your hole puncher to make a hole at the top and bottom. Repeat until all your strips have holes in them.

Step 4: Fasten the Strips Together

Stack all your photo strips in order and stick a paper fastener through the hole on one end, as shown. Repeat with the other hole, then bend back the fasteners on the reverse side to complete the bundle.

Step 5: Bend the Bundle

Take your bundle of photo strips and bend it gently to give the strips some curvature, as shown in the photograph to the right. This will give your ornament its spherical shape when it’s fanned out. Do this a few times until the strips hold the curve.

Step 6: Fan out the Strips to Form the Ornament

Pull out each strip and evenly distribute them around the globe of the ornament. When you finish, your ornament should look almost finished. Now we just need to make it ready to hang!

Step 7: Reshape as Needed

If the shape of your ornament isn’t as round as you’d like, gently squeeze the ornament to bend it to the shape you want. (Hey, some of us prefer our ornamments squat and donut-shaped!)

Step 8: Attach String

You’ll use a loop of string to hang your ornament from a tree, mantle, wall, ceiling, or wherever you decide to put it. Pick a color of string that goes well with your photo and cut off about 6-8 inches.

Loop the middle of the string around the top fastener a couple times to fix it to the ornament. Tie a simple knot to join the two loose pieces of string to make the loop.

Ta-da! Your ornament is finished and ready to hang! :-D

Extra Credit

Wanna make your ornament extra awesome? Here are some ideas to make it even better:

  • Before you start cutting, color the back of your photo with some vibrant acrylic paint or marker. Your finished ornament will show this color on the inside!

  • Use an 8″x10″ photo to make a mega globe ornament!

  • Gather the photo strips that make up your ornament together and fold the bundle flat. Your ornament can be sent through the mail easily in this fashion.