Picture Ornaments Tutorial

100_2658I am sure these are a dime a dozen out there and I am certain someone has made tutorials for these as well, but I haven’t found (or looked for for that matter) any so I’m going to share my particular version of these. Actually this is more suggestions and a trial and error list of lessons than tutorial with step by step instructions.


White cotton or linen fabric amount varies but you’ll need a square slightly larger than each one of your photos

iron on transfer paper- I used Avery and was very pleased with the results


printer and computer

digital pictures or old photos and a scanner or both


embroidery floss

scissors and a needle

a little stuffing for each photo to make a little ornament pillow


I started by cropping a selection of each photo that I wanted in my free photo editing software, Gimp. I don’t save the changes to the original photo but instead transfer the changes to a new empty document. However you choose to go about this part is up to you. I saved all my pictures into documents with a page size of 8 1/2 by 11 so that when it came time to print they would all fit on and use up one sheet of the iron on transfer paper.

I changed all my photos to black and white and lightened some of them that were darker. I then tinted them to give them a sepia tone but you could print in full color, black and white or even crazy Warhol inspired tones- its entirely up to you.

Once you have all your pictures edited to your liking print the pages out onto the special paper. I went into my printers preferences (on the print screen) and set the paper type to Photo Transfer paper but I don’t know if this makes a difference. We’ll assume it does and say thats an important step. Also since you’re using photos for this project set the quality to best or photo or whatever is the optimal print setting so that these babies come out looking fabulous.

Once they’re printed separate your photos, cutting off any parts of the picture that you don’t want included in the finished project.

Prepare your surface and read the instructions on the back of the transfer paper packaging. I did make sure that there was no water in my iron and shut off the steam but I didn’t check to make sure there were no bits of string stuck to my fabric and a couple of my photos have blue spots on them from random stuff in my craft room. Make sure that there is an even surface under your photo- if you have a pillow case under it, make sure that it is all the way under the picture- the reason being that uneven surfaces equal …. unique textures that aren’t quite right in the finished project.

It took about 45 seconds per photo for the ironing and in case you’re wondering, no you can’t reuse the photos- the whole sticky side comes off on your fabric and thats that. Allow the photos to cool fully (about 2 minutes off the hot surface) before trying to peel the backing from the fabric. Don’t iron on a surface that might be ruined by high heat i.e. that antique sewing cabinet that belongs to your step mother. (learned this at 6 am one Saturday when I was in High School- serves her right for waking me up to do something she should have done the day before)

Now to the ornaments. I made a couple of these that were larger, but as they say, hindsight is 20/20 and I would make the pictures wallet sized or just slightly larger. 100_2660Trim around the outside edge of your photo leaving an edge of about an 8th of an inch-ish. Cut a piece of felt to the same size while you’re at it. Place your felt and picture together with the right sides out. Arm yourself with needle and embroidery floss and blanket stitch around the outside edge till you have only a small opening left. Stuff the little pillow shape lightly- just enough to give it some dimension or more if you wish- and finish sewing the opening shut. For a hanger you can do several things. you could attach some ribbon and go that route, you could use some extra embroidery floss to make a loop as I chose to do, or you could even take a metal hanger and hook the little end through your blanket stitches and hang it that way.

I am making these with pictures of my nieces and nephews for my MIL and SIL, my brothers and I for my parents my step mom, and even a couple of family pets for our own tree. The subject matter options are endless. I may have one of each of my nieces and nephews on the tree for them to take home from Christmas this year so that they have them as keepsakes. In addition to family photos you can add sayings to these in a photo editing software- just go wild and have a blast.

100_2668My beautiful camera assistant


5 thoughts on “Picture Ornaments Tutorial

  1. I wish you’d have posted a picture of these. I get a picture of what you’re making, but my very uncrafty mind plays tricks on me sometimes. I’m going to share this with my wife . . .

  2. I wish you’d have posted a picture of these. I get a picture of what you’re making, but my very uncrafty mind plays tricks on me sometimes. I’m going to share this with my wife . . .

  3. I agree with Karen! Where do you get the energy to do all of this? Those ornaments are really cute and such a great idea. You’re creativity is overwhelming me!

    It’s now the 12th and I still have NOTHING done. I’m going to be gone on business next week so that’s out. Normally this would stress me to no end. This year I could care less. I don’t know what is wrong with me! I need some of your energy and spirit.

    • Well you have to remember that I’m a housewife so thats where a lot of my extra energy comes from. I don’t work a paying job and those ornaments are going to be Christmas presents or I wouldn’t have made more than 2 or 3. As it is, I’m getting so sick of Christmas ornaments that I may never make another one so long as I live once I finish the 20 or so I have left. AAAAGHHHH! Make them go away! *grins*

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