Photo Ornaments


I love making these ornaments. LOVE IT. They are wonderful for family, friends…and even clients. But when I put this idea together it was for my own use. I have been doing genealogy since 1993. I have met countless relatives and people I had no idea that I was related to. They graciously shared information, copies of records and most importantly, copies of old photos.

In 2012, I created albums with those photos for my great aunts who were well into their 80’s. I received a call from one of my great aunt’s daugters-in-law. She told me “Mom has been in tears all day, but they are good tears.” and she went on to explain how my great-aunts house had burned in the 1950’s and some of those photos had been lost to her since that time. In the album I had photos of her mother and father, her grandparents, her great-grandparents, aunts & uncles, great-aunts and uncles and one of her great-great grandfather.

Now for the ornaments,  Martha Stewart made these using Christmas Cards and since I am a genealogy nut, I thought they would be better with family photos. I can’t find Martha’s tutorial where I originally saw this either, so I found one that was close.I did find a similar tutorial HERE….

But I am going to tell you how to change it so it looks more like mine.

You will need:

  • Template (do not use the size recommended in their tutorial….read on..I have a size listed that’s better.)
  • Glue (Elmer’s Craft Bond-blue label)
  • Photos (printed on card stock)
  • scissors
  • jewelry wire, ribbon or whatever you want to use for the hanger
  • any embellisments you want to add to the hanger


Clear flexible cutting board. You can outline your circle  and even the triangle in Sharpie and cut them out. It helps to line up the photos a lot easier!

How To:

  • First, make your template for your circle. Mine is about the size of a half dollar. (If you have a half-dollar, use that as your template!).  I made my template using the flexible clear cutting boards from Wal-Mart, they also have these at the dollar stores. I made about 4 of them so if I lost one or if someone needed one, I had a few spares.
  • You will also need to make the equilateral triangle. I made my triangle template out of the clear flexible cutting board too. The nice thing about using the clear cutting board pieces is that I can use them to see what I want in my pic and cut accordingly!
  • Your photos:  Copy the ones you want to use onto card stock. Make sure that they will fit your template. Don’t make them too small. You will need a total of 20 photos for the ornament (5 for the top, 5 for the bottom and 10 for the middle). You can make a few repeat or they can all be different ones…your choice. I usually will print out about 2 or 3 extra just in case something gets messed up or doesn’t look right.
  • You will make the triangles on the back of the pics and then fold them forward. So make sure what you want to show in your photos is in the center of your triangle.
  • You are going to have 10 triangles that sit with the tip at the top and 10 with the tip sitting at the bottom. I always make sure that I draw my triangles on the back and sorting the ones with the tip at the top and then the tip at the bottom.
  • Put the in order! Before I glue anything…I put them in order. (I use Elmer’s Craft Bond for gluing. I get it at Wal-Mart. The glue has a blue label!)
  • You will use 5 triangles with the tips at the top for the top of the ornament.
  • You will use 5 triangles with the tips at the bottom for the bottom of the ornament.
  • The center portion of the ornament is alternating the triangles with the tips at bottom with the top.
  • Make the top portion first and then make the bottom portion.

Before making the center portion create your hanger hanger. You can use jewelry wire, any type of cord, ribbon…whatever. Just insert it in the top part and glue it from underneath. If you are going to embellish the hanger with a charm or anything, you should do that at this point so you can see if you are going to like it. The hanger in the top photo is metal that is twisted and tucked inside the ornament and glued from the inside of the 5 top triangles. You just need to make sure that it is long enough to support the inside of the ball. I have used twine, ribbon, etc. and I just always glue them to the inside seam of the top of the ornament!

After the top part is all dry…begin to add the center section. You will have to start with a triangle down piece and affix it to your starting point. Then the next piece is a triangle down piece. You will use 10 pieces total for this. (And if you sorted them like I do, you won’t even have to count them!)

Once I get my center section done…I reinforce the glue from the inside and let that dry for a few minutes and then glue on my bottom part.

I let it set for about 10 minutes before touching it again.

If you see that some of the white parts of your paper are showing you can get small scissors and just trim them.

I suggest reading the tutorial I provided a link for, but don’t use a glass as your template unless you want a HUGE ornament.

Using a half dollar you will end up with an ornament that is nice in size. But the cool thing is that you can use any circle to make them…you can make them as little or as big as you want.

I have used color photos, but my favorites are the ones using black and white.

You can hang them on your tree or buy an ornament stand and display them all year.

I make these for friends as Xmas gifts and they LOVE them. The only problem is getting their pictures! (I usually just ask because they know that I make them!)

And for a visual of the triangle up…on the ornament in the tutorial the pic of the faces is a triangle up and the one underneath it is a triangle down piece!

It will sound confusing until you actually start working…but you will get it I promise! Read the tutorial I linked up before you even pick your pics!


And then when you are done you will have something like this…I love mine!


 And that sweet little baby in the middle of that one is my mother!)

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