DIY: Creative Photo Gifts

With cold weather upon us and a resurgence of COVID in many parts of the country, you may find yourself with extra time on your hands. Now is a great time to start thinking about creating terrific holiday gifts your friends and family will cherish more than store-bought presents. And creating DIY photo gifts is easier than you may think! Whether you’re looking to create extraordinary Christmas photo gifts or something special for Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, here are three clever ideas to try at home. For all of these projects, it’s a good idea to print multiple prints/copies in case you make a mistake.

Polaroid Ceramic Coasters 

You don’t need actual old Polaroid photos to create these nifty, nostalgic coasters. If you want to create something truly unique, use prints of antique photos that have been digitized and professionally restored.


  • Digital photos printed on matte or regular paper (a laser printer works better)
  • 4 x 4-inch white ceramic tiles
  • Mod Podge
  • Sponge paintbrush
  • Clear acrylic finish spray
  • Small adhesive felt circles 


  1. Trim the photo prints to 3.75 x 3.75 inches
  2. Paint a thin layer of Mod Podge onto the tile and then place the photo on top, with more room on the bottom and equal amounts on the sides and top
  3. Eliminate bubbles or wrinkles, then paint another layer of Mod Podge over the top of the photo
  4. Let the first layer of Mod Podge dry, apply one more layer, and allow to dry
  5. When the tiles are dry, spray them with a clear acrylic finishing spray, allow to dry, and spray a final coat (do this with adequate ventilation and wear a mask)
  6. Apply one felt circle to each corner on the bottom

Personalized Wine or Champagne Glasses 

Adding a unique touch to glasses is a wonderful way to ring in the New Year! Gather a set of four glasses and think about the story you want to tell. You’ll need digital prints for this project, so if you haven’t digitized the photos you intend to use, that’s the first step. 


  • Digital photos printed on regular or matte paper (a laser printer works better)
  • Mod Podge
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Paintbrush


  1. Place the wine glass over the print until you have it centered 
  2. Trace around the edges with a pencil
  3. Carefully cut out the circle
  4. Apply Mod Podge evenly to the bottom of the glass
  5. Place the photo on the bottom of the glass and rub it until it is firmly in place
  6. Flip the glass over to make sure no air bubbles or wrinkles are showing
  7. Apply several layers of Mod Podge to the blank paper bottom
  8. Always hand wash these glasses

Family Photo Candles 

This cool candle is easy on the pocketbook, fun to make, and quite attractive! This technique works much better if you use a photo with a light-colored background. Laser printed photos or color copies work better than photos from inkjet printers. 


  • Glass jar candles that measure about 4 inches tall
  • Laser printed photos or color copies
  • Heavy-duty clear packing tape (Duck or Scotch) 


  1. Print photos to 2 x 3 inches at home if you have a laser printer or at a local copy shop
  2. Pull off a piece of packing tape and tape it down across your photo, ensuring the tape completely covers the photo
  3. Use the edge of a credit card to smooth the tape down and eliminate any bubbles
  4. Cut out the photo
  5. Completely submerge the photo in a bowl of water for 10-15 minutes
  6. Remove and peel the paper off the back, rubbing off any paper residue with your fingers
  7. Dip back in the water to remove any stubborn fibers
  8. When it looks clean, place face down on a towel and let it dry until the tape is sticky again
  9. Position it down carefully on the glass and press down until it adheres

There are so many creative photo gift ideas for transforming digital prints into distinctive mementos. Digital scrapbooks also make wonderful gifts for Christmas or any other occasion!

Posted in: DIY