Best Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Photo Gifts and Ideas

Best Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Photo Gifts and Ideas

Trying to find simple photography projects to give as gifts? We´ve collected a list of the best do-it-yourself photo gift ideas.

When it comes to photography gifts, there are more choices available than could possible be listed in a single article. Sites like Photo-Opps, Martha Stewart and HP offer numerous project ideas and tips for creating one-of-a-kind gifts that will wow family and friends. Ideas for teens include tote bags with images and unique frames to show off pictures of them and their friends. Adults tend to appreciate items they can use such as photo quilts and personalized keepsake boxes. Once you get started on a few of these do-it-yourself photo projects, you´ll find that your creativity kicks in and you will come up with new ideas for gift giving.

Simple Projects

If you’re looking for a quick gift, then these simple projects offer a personalized solution. These projects are so easy that a child could complete most of them. A few require adult supervision.

  • Glass Paperweight: offers a nice collection of plain glass paperweights to which a photo can be added for a custom gift. There are detailed instructions on their website for how to add the photograph and finish the weight.
  • Shadow Box: FujiFilm has instructions on how to create a simple shadow box with the photos of your choice. This type of gift would be ideal for a birthday or family gathering. Collect photographs of great memories and piece together.
  • Picture Tray: Purchase a plain wood tray from a craft supply store. Paint it the desired color. Gather photos and create a collage in the bottom of the tray. Cover with a piece of custom cut glass or acrylic.

Moderate Projects

These projects take a bit more time, but cover other gift-giving occasions, like the holidays. In most cases, you will need a computer to create these more advanced projects.

  • Personalized Paper Doll: Snap a full-length photograph of the child and print it out on photo paper. Use scissors to cut the figure out and create clothes in a photo editing software program or out of colored paper. FujiFilm offers detailed instructions on creating photo dolls.
  • Tote Bag: Teens and adults love tote bags. Personalize the bag with a photo transfer of a favorite animal, two best friends or a vacation memory. Martha Stewart’s website lists the steps and materials needed to create a photo tote.
  • Keepsake Box: Purchase a wooden box from your local craft supply store. Stain the box, if it is not already stained. Copy the photograph of your choice onto photo transfer paper. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for using the photo transfer paper and apply to the to of the box. Cover the entire project with several coats of acrylic spray paint, allowing to dry completely between each coat.

Complex Projects

If you have a bit of time on your hands and want to tackle a bigger project, these gifts create a lasting impression. Although they are time consuming, they are worth the effort involved.

  • Photo Quilt: A photo quilt is a gift filled with memories that keeps the recipient warm inside and out. You’ll need to choose a size, color theme and layout for your quilt. There are quite a few options. June Tailor offers a free pattern for a simple memory quilt and JoAnn Fabrics has an idea for a small keepsake quilt.
  • Photo Soap: Soap making is not a simple process, but these photo soaps are so cute that we had to include this idea. These soaps would make nice gifts for school teachers. Simply include a photograph of the class or an image of the school. Photo Opps lists instructions on making a photo glycerin soap. Don’t forget to wear goggles!
  • Stroboscope Pictures: MAKE Magazine has a page devoted to how to make a stroboscope. Make this mechanical strobe, take a digital picture and enjoy the unique results. The images can be used as part of a collage or placed in a frame and given as a one-of-a-kind photo with the person in motion.

DIY Photography Gifts You Can Buy

If you enjoy giving personalized gifts, but don’t have the time to create something from scratch, you can still make something by using various online services. Below are a few of the options available:

  • iLovePhotoGifts: Consider ordering photo jewelry such as bracelets with acrylic photo charms. You’ll also find some other unique items at this site like a photo stone, photo ties and photo lollipops.
  • Personal Ways: Choose from personalized photography gifts like candles, lunch bags, stepping stools, towels and even tea pots.
  • allPopart: Turn any photo into a cartoon and have it printed on canvas. You can also have regular photographs printed on canvas or print in art nuveau style quads. These are so cute, you might want to order some for your own house.
  • Light Affection: Turn any photograph into a night light. When the light is off, it looks plain, but when it is illuminated, the picture appears.
  • Kimbra Studios: Turn a belt buckle into a photography gift. Kimbra also offers necklaces, rings, charms, key rings and money clips.


Crabby Housewife

AuthorCrabby Housewife

Lori is a full-time housewife and writer, living in the Midwest with her husband of 27 years - they have two daughters. They have a house full of pets and her house is never quite perfect.