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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Photo Blocks

This is one of my favorite crafts to make. They are beautiful, simple, and interactive. They just call out to be picked up and enjoyed over and over again. 

These are super easy and inexpensive to make.. all you need is:
  • a wooden block (the bottom one in the pic is 3.5 inches, and the top one is 3 inches but you can do whatever size you want)
  • 6 pictures (keep in mind the size of your block when you are choosing pictures)
  • Mod Podge
  • sanding paper or block (I use a drywall sander available in the paint section of a home improvement store)
So, first things first. You HAVE to use professionally printed pictures for this project. The Mod Podge doesn't treat your home printed photo paper very well. Sorry. :)

Trace your block right on your pictures. You'll sand the line off so you can do it right side up. Cut your squares out.

Adhere the picture to the block with Mod Podge. To save time, I usually do two at a time - opposite each other on the block. This way you can place something heavy on top of the block and it will put pressure on both sides (top and bottom) while it's drying. 

After those two pictures are dry, sand all of the edges smooth. Again, I like to sand two pictures at a time, because if you try to adhere all the photos at once, your sand paper catches edges of the adjacent pictures and drives you batty. Just trust me, do two at once - opposite each other so there are no adjacent pictures to catch.

I like to have a sanded white edge around the pictures. I think it adds to the charm.

Repeat: add the rest of your photos, two at a time with Mod Podge, and sand when dry.

When all of your pictures are on the block, put a final layer of Mod Podge on top so your blocks can be handled and cleaned. It will dry clear but you will still see the texture, so paint straight lines starting and ending off the blocks so you don't have any weird smudges or spikes.

I usually do three sides (side by side) at a time, so I have a non-sticky grip on the other three sides.

After it dries - you're done! Super easy...

Here are some ideas:
  • I plan on making one every year with my 6 favorite shots from our professional family photos. Then I can arrange them in a decorative bowl on my coffee table.
  • If your pictures don't "match", print them all sepia or black and white.
  • I made this one of baby Harvey for a shelf in his bedroom.
  • You could feature one child on a whole block or put one child on each side.
  • Don't have pictures? Make a Christmas Countdown or Baby Name Blocks the same way.


  1. I did a variation on a photo block for Father's Day a few years ago. Use 6 blocks (mine were about an inch) and cut up each of your photos into six pieces to fit the blocks. Adhere with modge podge or double sided adhesive (great stuff by the way!) and you have a block puzzle with six of your fave photos! Kev keeps his at work and it gets played with pretty regularly.

  2. Super cool, SuperMama! thanks for sending me the links to your blogs! they're way fun to read :)

  3. I love these blocks. I hope to make one for each of my kids. you will have to see them some day.

  4. Do you suggest Matte or Gloss photos?

  5. Kimmydawn,
    Hmm.. I'm not sure it would make any difference once you add the Mod Podge on top, but I used matte. :)

  6. Does anyone know what kind of wood this is? Do you cut the blocks yourself or do you buy them somewhere?

  7. Kasey,
    I bought my blocks from a store called The Wood Connection. It's a little locally owned store in Utah, for wood crafts and such.

    If you were making quite a few, or recruited a few friends to join you, a fence post from your local Hardware store might work the same. They might even cut it into blocks for you as well!

  8. Did you sand over the whole picture or just the corners?



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