365 Project – 358: Easy, frugal kid-friendly homemade keepsake ornament (December 23, 2012)

Shutter Speed: 1/50, Aperture: F/11, ISO: 1600

Shutter Speed: 1/50, Aperture: F/11, ISO: 1600

Since Nora was born I’ve been making these easy homemade decoupage ornaments. And, the last few years Nora’s been involved with this fun holiday craft project. You can use anything you want to decorate these ornaments but, we always use a photo and cut out the year and age to put on one side of the ornament. On the other we cut out words or pictures that either describe Nora at that moment or words/pictures she picks just because she likes them. What I love about this project is that it can be messy and sloppy and the ornaments still turn out adorable.  The Mod Podge works as glue as well as a waterbase sealer.  The only part where you may want to help your young child is painting on the photo.  The glue dries on clear but, you can see the grain so achieving even, uninterrupted strokes over the photo will give it more of a “clear coat.”  Nora is 7 now and it’s been fun seeing these homemade ornaments hanging on the tree, standing up to the test of time.  And, mod podge is non-toxic making this for a very kid-friendly project.  (you still may want to ask your kids to wash their hands before putting their sticky fingers in their mouths!)  My 16 oz. bottle of Mod Podge has lasted me 7 years so far and I think I have one more year to go with this same bottle!  Okay, put on some holiday music and enjoy this fun kid activity!

PROJECT TIME:  5 hours which mostly includes time waiting for each side to dry.  30 minutes: actual cutting, gluing, “painting” time for one side.  2+ hours for drying one side.

Note: So, we’re not actively waiting during the drying time, we make this a 2 day project, letting the first side dry overnight, starting the next the next side in the morning, then, waiting 2+ hrs or overnight to flatten/hang the ornament.


  • Mod Podge Matte-Mat (or any matte decopauge or waterbase sealer)
  • Foam brush
  • Photo (s)
  • Magazines for cutting out words/pictures
  • Old yogurt containers
  • Construction or scrapbook paper
  • Waxed paper
  • Hole punch
  • Ornament hanger
  • Optional: decorations such as glitter, stickers, etc.
Shutter Speed: 1/50, Aperture: F/10, ISO: 1600

Shutter Speed: 1/50, Aperture: F/10, ISO: 1600



  1. Design your ornament but, cutting our your pictures and words.  In my opinion, less is more on the photo side of your ornament.  I tend to lean towards just a photo, year, and age.
  2. For the back side of the ornament decorate as desired.  Cut out pictures of have your child draw a picture.  That’s a nice way to memorialize his/her artistry at that age.  Crayons or colored pencils are best for drawing.  Pens or markers tend smear when putting on the Mod Podge.
  3. Finalize your ornament design, front and back, including where you will place your hole punch.  Punch the hole before you start gluing and avoid punching too close to the edge.


  1. Lay out some waxed paper, pour a small amount (1/4 cup) of Mod Podge in a yogurt container, and start assembling the first side of your ornament.  Lightly paint the glue on the back of your photo, words, etc. and position them on your ornament.  Press on each piece to push out thick glops of glue.  It’s okay if your words get crinkly.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  Press evenly on your photo to push out excess glue.
  2. Now from top to bottom, left to right, apply an even coat of Mod Podge on top of entire side of the ornament.  When painting the photo try to make even, straight, uninterrupted strokes.  At this point, sprinkle on other embellishments such as glitter.  Let dry at least an hour (while you bake another batch of holiday cookies!).  I personally tend to make one side at night then the next morning I finish gluing the other side.
  3. Repeat steps 1. and 2. above for the other side


  1. After each side is COMPLETELY DRY and no longer tacky, I place the ornament between a clean piece of waxed paper and press a heavy, flat object on top (heavy phone book, cookbooks, etc.) to flatten out any curled edges.  30 minutes is plenty of  time for this.
  2. Add your ornament hanger through the hole punch and hang your keepsake ornament on your tree!!  🙂

Shutter Speed: 1/50, Aperture: F/3.5, ISO: 1600

See more of my 365 Project: Untouched photos from my Nikon D5000 with 50mm lens


2 comments on “365 Project – 358: Easy, frugal kid-friendly homemade keepsake ornament (December 23, 2012)

  1. Grayce Klass says:

    ModPodge is the crafters friend. Made many, many craft projects with kids with this amazing product


  2. meelswa says:

    And, I don’t consider myself very crafty so it’s great and very forgiving for not-so-crafty people like me! 🙂


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