It’s the most wonderful time of the year! These DIY photo cube ornaments have been my favorite item to create for our “family” Christmas tree. They have also been a great gift to extended family over the years. Want to make your own?
2 inch wooden blocks
*wallet size photos (2×3″)
scissors, pen, pencil
*I use Walmart “one hour” photo to upload and print wallet-size photos. They come in a set of 2, and then I cut them to fit, so be mindful that you’re making square ornaments.
Making Photo Cube Ornaments!
I typically make 8 of these each year, one for our family, and the rest for extended. One year, I made each of the kids their own version, and it was a little overwhelming so I started doing single ornaments for them, and it has worked out even better.
To begin making your wooden photo cube ornaments, you’ll want to start painting the blocks before anything else.
You can prep the rest of the materials while these dry. I painted multiple sides at one time before flipping them and doing the rest.
I like having a variety of paper options for the tops to make them each a little different. Each cube only needs one, so you could get away with just choosing one design.
Trace the back of the scrapbook paper with a pencil and cut.
The scrapbook paper is going to be the top, where the hanging piece will attach. You could also just leave it painted white, or have your kiddos write the year. We write the year in sharpie on the scrapbook paper after we are done.
Find the Center to Drill
Here’s the trick to finding the center point without measuring.
- Trace the wooden block onto a piece of paper you do not intend to use for the project.
- Fold it in half.
- Then, fold again.
- If you open it, you should see 4 squares.
- The spot where they all meet is the center point.
- Fold it back up again, keeping track of that center point.
- Cut that center spot to make a small hole.
- Place the paper onto your block and mark the hole with a pencil.
- Drill the holes on the top of each cube.
Cutting the Photos
If you order 2×3″ wallets, make sure you can cut one inch off and still maintain the photo you want to feature. Trace the block onto your photos and cut just inside the traced lines so you don’t see the markings.
At this point, everything should be prepped and ready to put together.
Time to Assemble
Don’t be shy with the modge podge. It will dry, and you can easily wipe off any that seeps out the edges. If you don’t use enough, you run the risk of creating bubbles without glue, and it will show itself in years to come. (I know this from experience!)
Wind the cut ends of the jute twine, and use glue on your fingertips to stick together. Set aside to dry for a couple of minutes.
Use a paper clip to poke the hole through the scrapbook “top.” You can clean up the hole in the paper with a very small cut and a pair of scissors.
After gluing the paper to the top, add a bit more glue into the hole. Insert the jute twine into the hole, topping off with hot glue to quickly keep it in place.
I use five photos–that includes the flat bottom.
“Paint” the modge podge onto the cube with a foam brush. Place the photo in place, sealing it with your fingertips. Use the same foam brush to paint a layer of modge podge over the photo.
To reduce paint streaks, I use another small sponge to blot the photo while the glue is still wet.
Just like the white paint, I paint the photos with glue–doing multiple sides at once to speed up the process.
How to Involve the Kids
This time of year, it can be hard to find the balance with making things with the kids, while maintaining your sanity with the mess. For these ornaments, my kids are getting bigger and can help. But, for many years, they were little. Scissors, paint, glue, HOT glue…the struggle is real. Here are a few things the littles can help with…
Let them paint the blocks white.
They choose the scrapbook paper for the tops.
Trace the blocks on the scrapbook paper.
As the kids get older, they definitely can help. It’s a great little activity to get them using craft supplies with a rewarding payout in the end because they are making gifts and ornaments that will last!
Are You Ready to Make Your Own?
I’ve been making these for a few years, but this year, I think I’m going to use screw eye pins instead of hanging with just the twine. We’ll see which look I prefer. See more on Instagram, and send me a message if you make these, I’d love to see your finished ornaments!