The Winter holidays have just passed, and Valentine’s Day will arrive soon. This is the perfect time to learn how-to make personalized photo gifts for your family, friends, and significant others. In 2021, I decided to make personalized photo frames and trays as Christmas gifts for some of my family members. When we took a semi-family trip to the Grand Canyon, two of my sisters were not in attendance, but they have always wanted to go. In addition, my grandparents and great grandpa have not been either. I decided to print out some photos I had taken during our adventures into Sedona and Grand Canyon National Park and frame them up to share in our experience. Instead of buying picture frames, I used wood trays to create these gifts. You can do the same with your own personalized pictures as gifts.
- Wood Trays
- Wood Blocks/ Frame
- Paint Brushes
- Two Part Epoxy Resin or UV Resin
- UV Light, if using UV Resin
- Cardboard or Newspaper
First, select the photos you want to use and decide which photo will go to which person. If you are in a relationship, then select a photo of your significant other and yourself that you both like. If you have children, then select a photo of your kids that your partner will appreciate. If you are creating this gift for siblings or friends then select a photo that shows the type of relationship you have, an adventure you’ve experienced together, or something that you know the recipient will like.
Second, choose which type of object you will give to the recipient of this gift. Will it be a picture frame or a tray? What about a magnet instead? I mention magnets because I actually took a picture of my sister’s son and placed it in resin, then I attached magnetic tape to the back and gave it to her as a Christmas gift. Now, she and her boyfriend have a magnet of their son’s face on their refrigerator. While this post is about creating picture frames and trays, you can use your imagination to create whatever object or item you want.
Third, choose the paint colors you think will go best with the gifts and begin painting your frames and trays. Make sure to put down newspaper or cardboard before painting so you don’t ruin your table, floors, etc. I used some paint that I already had on hand in my arts and crafts bin. I bought it from my local dollar store a while back because I do not paint enough to buy the expensive stuff. You will want to paint about 2 – 3 coats, making sure to cover every surface from front to back. Let the objects dry fully for about 10 – 20 minutes.
Fourth, place your pictures into or on the objects you have chosen and play around with the layout/orientation. You might have to cut your pictures to size if they do not fit into the space you have. I had a lot of photo paper in sizes 4×6 and 5×7, but not smaller, so my pictures were too big, and I had to cut them down a little. Use your scissors to trim the edges of the photos, or you can even use the silly, crinkle cut scissors to cut curved edges if you want to change things up. I do have those types of scissors, but I wanted a sleek design for this project. Once you figure out the orientation, you can move on to the final step.
Fifth, pour your epoxy on the photo for a beautiful finish. The resin will be used as a glue to hold the photo in place, and it will also be a protective cover to keep the photo from getting damaged. If you are using two-part epoxy, then you will mix equal parts A and B, before pouring the resin onto the photos. Pour the resin in the center and let it self-level before making sure to pour it in every corner. Once you pour the resin, use your lighter to pop any bubbles that arise. Now, the most important part! If you are using two-part epoxy, cover your object with a box or even paper towels and let the object cure for 24 – 48 hours. It is important to let the resin complete its chemical process fully. Also, you don’t want to let dust or anything settle into your wet resin so make sure to keep it covered. If you are using UV resin, make sure to go over your object with a UV curing light about two or three times to make sure it is fully cured.
Your project is now complete! Hopefully, the recipient of the gift will love it.