Photo Food Tags: A Thanksgiving DIY Project

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Thanksgiving at your house. You know how it goes.

Poppa Bob has to have rolls with real butter, Uncle Dave made a vegan pecan pie, Cousin Michelle brought vegetarian green bean casserole.

You’ve got enough on your plate! Try photo food tags this year, a clever photo project for easily identifying dishes.

Pre-empt any unseemly food confusion with your camera, a few slices of cheese and a set of alphabet cookie cutters!

Make DIY Photo Food Tags

p.s. We’re on Twitter tweeting all kinds of amazing photo stuff everyday, like these absolutely amazing photo recreations. Don’t miss out!

Why It’s Cool

ingred-smGuests will appreciate your care and consideration of their chosen dietary lifestyle with this impressive photo display.

They’ll be pulling you aside to ask where you found those charming photo food tags and you can say loud and proud: “I made them myself!”.

We all like to feel our host has thought of every little thing for our comfort plus a few special extras! With tiny alphabet food pictures, you’ll win them over.

Aunt Ethel dropped a glob of mushroom gravy on a food tag (and the front of her dress)? No worries, they’re reusable! Another amazing bonus: after the turkey’s out, your photo food tags will make a good excuse for potlucks.



  • Camera
  • Set of small alphabet cookie cutters
  • 1 block of extra-firm tofu
  • Lunch meat slices
  • Cheese slices
  • 3 dessert plates
  • Scissors
  • Wooden clothespins
  • Glue gun or craft glue
  • Self-adhesive laminating sheets or access to a laminating machine

Step 1: Make a Food Alphabet

paper-sm With alphabet cookie cutters, carefully cut letters out of corresponding food category: VEGAN = tofu, VEGETARIAN = cheese slice, MEAT = lunch meat slice.

Place words on plates.

TIP: Have a chopstick or other object with a blunt end on hand to help ease food out of the cutters.

Consider using non-marbled, relatively hard cheese such as Cheddar; and ground, sliced meats such as bologna work best for achieving crisp, clean cut-out letters. Fancier meats and cheese may look prettier but can crumble and be difficult to cut out.

Step 2: Photograph Your Edible Letters

Photograph each plate individually. Use a plain plate (no distracting patterns) and lots of evenly distributed light.

Download photo, crop to 5” x 7” and save.

Need lighting help? Never fear, get pro advice at our guide to shooting at home!


Step 3: Print and Cut

paint-smPrint photographs out at 5” x 7″. Trim closely along the edge of the plate or tray in the photo.

Next, you’ll laminate your cut-outs. You can get your photos laminated at any copy store.

There are also laminate kits you can use at home or clear adhesive book covers.

Laminate your cut-outs and trim them again leaving a border of extra laminate around the edges. It should be approximately ¼” wide.

Step 4: Glue It Together!

Run a bead of glue down the middle of a clothespin then center sign and attach (you may have to hold the sign in place for a few seconds while the glue takes hold).

Let dry overnight.


Step 5: Assign Your Tags

Become hostess extraordinaire when you use your new food identification tags!


Take It Further

  • Make personalized place cards using a photo of each guest monogrammed with their cut-out initials.
  • After dinner attach the place cards to each person’s leftovers to avoid mix-ups!
  • Create name tags for each specific dish being served.
  • Keep glasses with their owners by making numbered tags which can be attached to wine stems.
  • If you are a guest bring tags as a hostess gift!