Easy Photo Transfer Christmas Ornaments

Dec 3, 2015 By Kim Byers
Easy Photo Transfer Christmas Ornaments

I love making Christmas ornaments with my kids every year. This year, in addition to their sweet little handprints, needle art, and a collection of ornate bobbles that I just needed… I made photo transfer Christmas ornaments. They turned out  beautifully and I had so much fun making them that the boys are going to make some too using their favorite holiday photos!

Hi everyone! I’m Kim Byers of The Celebration Shoppe. I’ve always had pictures of family on my Christmas tree, but I may be a little addicted to making these glittery photo transfer ornaments. So much so that I’m going back and making a version for every Christmas year since my boys were born. Next year I think I’ll have two trees… one just for these ornaments in my studio!

To make these photo transfer Christmas ornaments, you’ll need:

Wood ornaments (or wood plaques and drill holes, this process also works on canvas)
White craft paint
Laser prints of family photos (super easy, see notes below)
Matte gel medium (I used Liquitex Matte)
Bone folder (or a credit card)
Fine sandpaper
Elmer’s spray adhesive
Martha Stewart ultra-fine white glitter
Optional: Wax paper


And these are the easy steps:

Step 1. Paint wood ornaments white. A light background is easier to transfer onto. If you want a red frame or other color, you can transfer onto a white background and decorate the edges.

Step 2. Select your favorite photos, place them onto a 8.5″ x 11″ sheet in your computer’s photo editing tool and reverse (or flip) the image so that when transferred it faces the right way. I put the same photo on the sheet a few times in case I messed one up. Take the file to an office supply store and print LASER copies. Your home ink jet won’t work and traditional photo prints won’t work. If this sounds scary, just take the photos on a card reader or USB to the office supply store and they will do this for you.

Step 3. Cut your photos out to the size of the ornaments.

Step 4. Brush gel medium on the front of the image and apply it to the wood. Using a bone folder (or a credit card) carefully smooth out any bubbles and set the image. Allow the ornament to dry overnight

Step 5. Using a brush and water, dampen the ornament and lightly rub away a layer of the paper with your fingers. It took me three to four tries with each ornament allowing the paper to dry for two or three minutes between.

Step 6. This step and the next are optional. If you’d like, lightly sand the edges of the ornament. It smoothes the images further into the grain of the wood and it helps remove any paper that might be left hanging at the edges.

Step 7. Place wax paper on your table (or go outside to the grass if your weather is good), lightly spray the ornament and sprinkle ultra-fine glitter all over it. It gives the ornament and snowy feel and it protects the image. This step isn’t necessary, but I love the look!

All that’s left to do now is thread your new very personal and very sweet ornaments with ribbon and hang!


Hop over to JOANN and shop this post:

Wood ornaments
White craft paint
Laser prints of family photos
Matte gel medium
Martha Stewart bone folder
Elmer’s spray adhesive
Martha Stewart ultra-fine white glitter
Ribbon (wide variety available in stores)

As always, I hope you’re inspired to craft, bake, create and celebrate with JOANN! Happy holidays everyone!

Addtional Info