Fast, Easy, Inexpensive, Cute Photo Ornaments: A Tutorial

I’ve taken on a fundraising task for K’s school. We’re making ornaments to sell at the upcoming Holiday Bazaar. I’ve spent a while trying to come up with a recipe for ornament-making that required little financial investment and a reasonable amount of time with awesome results. That’s the goal, anyway.

And while thinking about making ornaments of my kids for the year, I realized that the way I’m making ornaments for the school would work just as well for my personal project. I’ve gotten a trillion e-mails since Thanksgiving offering 50% off of ornaments, but even at half-price they feel expensive to me. And this is super, super inexpensive if you already have a few supplies on hand.

Card stock
Sewing machine/thread
Mod Podge
Double-sided tape

I did the layout with the Silhouette software. I’ve posted this before, but it’s worth repeating– the software is free and can be downloaded from the Silhouette site. You don’t have to buy anything to get it. You can print to your regular printer. Whether you’re planning to get a cutting machine or not, I think the software makes layout simple. You could also use PowerPoint, Gimp, Photoshop, Picnik… lots of ways to do it.

At the edge of each ornament I added a very thin grey line to use as a cutting guide at the end of the process. This line will help guide you to keep your stitched line straight and even.

Cut out your ornament and a matching back-side piece of card stock. Give yourself plenty of room to manipulate the ornament under the presser foot. Then cut three pieces of card stock that fit inside your ornament shape with at least 3/8″ all the way around. Your sewing machine can probably handle sewing through two layers of card stock and ribbon, but more card stock than that under the needle could be problematic. If you’re concerned about your machine, needle, try it first on some scraps by advancing the needle with your hand control.

Use double-sided tape or scrapbook adhesive to stick your 3 smaller card stock shapes together. Stick the ribbon in there too to make a hanging loop.

Put your back-side shape on. You’ve got a sandwich with a front and back, three pieces of card stock and a ribbon in the middle.

Put your ornament under the presser foot. On my machine, the general purpose foot has marks that make it easy to choose a guideline to follow. I haven’t studied other machine’s feet, but I’m guessing they’re similar. Or you could mark your foot with a bit of tape or something. You just want the distance between your stitch line and cut line to be consistent.

Now it looks like this.

Cut! Just be careful as you approach the ribbon. Don’t want to cut that. You’ll have to peel back the sides and cut them separately.

Mod Podge it! I thought glitter podge was appropriate here. But really, when is it not?

Not sure where to hang it to dry? How about on the tree! Once they’re dry they’re surprisingly rigid and sturdy.

These photos have captured the girls, I think. M is in full-time playful and silly mode, and K is in somewhat reserved thoughtful smirky mode. Daily. And now it’s Mod Podged for posterity.


  1. Tiffany Whaley says

    I’m feeling quite ashamed that I didn’t know Glitter Podge existed. How have I missed this wonderful stuff?!

  2. says

    Thank you and I love this!! Great to give along with Christmas cards. I also love the fact it’s combining my fav things, Christmas, sewing, Silhouette and Mod Podge!!! Thank you for the idea of painting printed craft paper with Mod Podge, the ink didn’t smudge? Must try this soon!

Leave a Reply