Create a custom photo or pawprint ornament for $1

customornament If you want a little something extra to give family & friends, you must try this DIY. My tutorial on how to create a photo canvas has been incredibly popular, especially around the holidays, after being featured on the San Francisco Globe and several other media sites. It was clear to me, many people want a way to both display and preserve their memories, from photos, to maps from special events to furry friends paw prints…so I decided to come up with a Photo Christmas Ornament that can be made for under $1!

Check out the video for this DIY; It shows just how easy this is to put together.


In addition to the video, here is the breakdown of how to create these ornaments as well as some tips & ideas at the bottom.

Supplies Needed: 


  • Blank Wood Ornaments. You can find these at Hobby Lobby & a variety of craft stores(though I can’t say if they have the heart shape in stock)  The exact one I used I found HERE at Oriental Trading Company. (these are about 3.5 inches)
  • Picture/Map/PawPrint- Make sure to print these on either cardstock or photo paper (needs to be thicker paper to hold up to the ModPodge)
  • ModPodge
  • PaintBrush
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Twine or Ribbon


  • Place Ornament on top of picture & Trace outer edge. 
    Make sure the hole won’t go through an important area when lining it up

fullsizerender-17 fullsizerender-15 **Note: If using a photo, make sure it’s not a close up to ensure the hole doesn’t go through their face. I advise printing a photo that has some room above & below the subject to give you plenty of room to work with. Since this ornament is 3.5 inches, I printed off photos & maps that were size 4×6

  • Cut out the traced shape (I cut slightly inside the line, you don’t want it to be exactly not the line or it will be slightly too big)


  • Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the ornament with a small paintbrush


  • Press image onto the wood-I line up the bottom of the heart first to make sure it’s on correctly. Press around edges, smooth the front with a credit card or your fingers so there aren’t any bubbles. Let Dry (give about 15 minutes )


  • Poke hole through the image where twine will go  (I used the end of a paintbrush, but anything round with a slight point will work)


  • Paint a thin coat of ModPodge over the top of the image. I start with the sides to seal it & then paint a coat over the top. I then set on top of an upside down cup to dry (so the wet edges don’t touch your table)


  • String Ribbon or Twine through the hole & hang. 


Print these on either Card Stock or Photo Paper, not regular printer paper
(it’s too thin when trying to work with ModPodge & avoid bubbles) 

  • Maps: I love making map ornaments; they’re a unique gift for someone a special location on a map & using that for this ornament. Map Ideas: New Home, Wedding Location, New Baby Hospital Location, Memorable Vacation, Family Home etc.
  • Photos: Wedding Photos, Baby Photos, Vintage Family Photos
  • Paw Print: This is a great way to preserve your furry friends paw print.

Adding Text, Hearts onto your image:

I saved the maps (or did a screenshot of them on my computer) and then uploaded them to PicMonkey, which is a FREE editing site.

  • To do this, you’ll need to create a free account (they also have premium accounts)
  • Then click  “EDIT” and upload your photo.
  • Once uploaded, click the butterfly shape on the left for “OVERLAYS”. If you scroll down a bit you’ll see heart shape options, click on of those & place over the area on the map you want to highlight.
  • Then you can add text to include names & dates of special events.


Paw Print Ornament: 


I made one of these just recently using my dog, Jacksons, pawprint knowing he was sick, I wanted to make sure i had his print.  Last week, just days after I made this, he passed away. I’m SO glad I took the time to make this as I’ll now have his print forever.

I found Jack as a stray 16 years ago & we’ve experienced many of life great highs and lows together. Being a former stray, he was always incredibly loyal and protective; a friend until the very end and I’m so grateful we had so many years together. RIP my boy; until we meet again one day xoxo

How to make a PawPrint Ornament: 

I actually squeeze some non-toxic craft paint onto an old stamp pad to create Jack’s print but you can also do this using a foam brush. Here is a tutorial from DecorByTheSeashore on how to do this. I didn’t use his actual print to make the ornament but rather a copy to ensure the original was ok.

You just need one good print, then scan it & make copies. When you make a copy, make sure it’s on heavier paper (I mentioned earlier regular printer paper is harder to work with than card stock or photo paper). You then use the copy to make the ornament following the same steps I used above.

Notes: With my scanner, I actually scanned this into my computer & then cleaned it up a bit in Photoshop  (you could use PicMonkey again) by painting some white over the areas with extra fur.

Hope you enjoy making this for family & friends. I’ll be taking some time off to spend quality time with family but will be back with more money saving ideas & DIY’s in the New Year.

Merry Christmas Everyone! 

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