Thursday, October 21, 2010

Photo Blocks

I bookmarked this super cute idea quite some time ago. I thought they would be fun to make for mine or Nolan’s moms. Fast forward to this week… my mom was visiting from Annapolis, Maryland, and I asked her if she’d like her birthday gift now, when I could give it to her in person, or in November on her actual birthday. She thought now would be nice. I really wanted to make her something sweet involving the pictures from our trip to the pumpkin patch as well as some family pics my brother took of us on Sunday, but wasn’t sure what to make. Then I remembered my bookmark from way back. Only problem—this realization didn’t come until 9 pm on Tuesday. I’d be saying goodbye to her on Wednesday. I thought I’d blown it by offering a gift while she was visiting and then not actually having one. Not sure which is worse—that or shipping her a gift a week after the actual day (which I’ve also done). I think the late gift is worse.

But then, a wonderful thought crossed my mind! Nolan bought all the materials to build me a chase lounge this summer. He got as far as cutting the boards to the lengths he needed and giving them a coat of black spray paint. In those boards was the perfect 2x6. So I ran upstairs to Nolan who was getting ready to work out. Flashed a sweet smile (even though I know it really doesn’t make a difference), and asked if I could use the budgeted money for my mom’s gift to buy a board and some paint off of him. Oh, and could he cut the board into blocks too? He agreed (oh, how I love him). I love having a husband with tools and wood. When I told him that, he gave me a look and said, “Oh fun. I get to use them to make crafts.” [Make sure you read that with a really dry tone.]

Here’s the final product (I let my mom pick the pictures):

2010-10-20 14.32.35

How I did it:

We cut the wood into 6, 8, and 10 inch lengths. Spray painted the newly cut ends, and then sanded all the corners and edges.

Because I didn’t have the scrapbook paper I liked enough for what I was making, I used free digital scrapbook paper and embellishments, and designed each block using Publisher. Printed them off. Sprayed them with hairspray to seal the ink (I was out of varnish and thought maybe hairspray would have the same effect… it did!)

I painted a layer of Mod Podge on the boards and put the pictures on. I smoothed out the air bubbles and let them dry for a little while. In the process of drying, several more air bubbles appeared. I’m guessing maybe air that was in the wood or gas being released as the paint dried more? Painted another layer of Mod Podge (following the instructions for a canvas look from my inspiration blog) and hoped the air bubbles would magically disappear over night. Most of them did, some of them didn’t. I would have liked for them to have turned out a little better, but my mom still liked them, and the flaws won’t be super noticeable when the blocks find their home in her house. 


  1. What a great gift! I bet your mom will treasure them! This idea is going on my "Maybe I can make his for Christmas" list :)Thanks for sharing.

  2. Super cute! I love them!! I have seen them done on other blogs that I read. Its cool that they are fairly simple to make. I might have to do some for gifts this year as well! :) Thanks for the idea!! :)


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