Photo Block Tutorial ~ Great Gift!!

Hey guys!!
We are gearing up to spend Christmas with my in-laws.  I love spending Christmas with them.  They are the most creative people I know and I hardly ever make them anything… Why make them something that I know they could make better :))??
But… I decided to brave it this year and make them some family photo blocks.  They love receiving new pictures of my kiddos and if you know me at all, you know that I love photo art!  Here is what I made them…
Want to make your own?  Here is how I did it…
I started with my wood.  I purchased a 2x4x8 and a 2x6x8 from Lowe’s.
You could just stick with one size but I liked the variation.
I cut my wood using my saw into squares.  Since the 2x4x8 is actually 3.5″ wide I cut each those 3.5″.
The 2x6x8 is actually 5.5″ so I cut those 5.5″.
I also cut a long piece of the 2×6 about 20″ long.
Then everything received a coat of my very favorite…
After spraying each of the blocks and letting them dry I used an 80 grit sanding block on the edges to shanty it up a bit.
Then I used some dark walnut stain on a sponge brush to darken my sanded edges.  I just barely painted it on like below…
And then used an old t-shirt to wipe all of my excess off.  This left my edges perfectly shanty.
Here they are ready for my next step!
I used a trimmer to cut my pictures down to size.  For my little blocks I do 4×6 photos and my larger ones I like to use 5×7 but I only had 4×6 so I used those for this project.  I cut each picture about 1/2″ smaller than the blocks.
I then used some 3M photo safe spray adhesive to attach my photos to my blocks.
This stuff is great! You can leave your blocks like that or add a little Mod Podge like I did.
I like to use Matte Mod Podge.
I used a paint brush to put a thin layer over each block.  I only did the side with the picture. It goes on white and dries clear.
Now I used my very favorite new tool for my next step!

“>Silhouette Electronic Cutting Tool

I know I have shown you lots of things my Silhouette Machine can do.  Here is another!
I used Silhouette’s Brown Vinyl to cut out the word Blessings on my machine.
Here is what my computer looked like.  I spaced the letters to get the most letters in the smallest space.
I then let the machine cut it out for me while I burped the baby 🙂
I peeled the letters up from the sheet…
And attached them to my wood block.  Cute… But missing a little something!
So I added a scrolly!
Yep… Much better!
After my photo blocks were all dry I stacked them on top and took a picture for you guys!
Another fun thing is that you can arrange the blocks however you want.
That makes them perfect for a fickle decorator like myself!
Hope you liked them!!  These were so fun to make!!  I can’t wait to make some for myself that I don’t have to wrap up.  I am excited to see their reaction when they receive it though.
So… If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet it’s time!  Go wink at Santa and tell him you need one 🙂

“>Silhouette Electronic Cutting Tool

Have a great weekend!

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  • Amanda van Erp

    For those of you interested in this font, I believe it is Adobe Caslon.

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  • Jocelyn

    This is a beautiful Christmas gift!!! Thank you so much for the idea 🙂 What font & font size did you use for this project? That would be really helpful. My friend & I don’t have a Silhouette machine & we are trying to get creative with the letters. Thank you so much.

    • Shanty2Chic

      Hey there! I am so sorry but I really can’t remember what font I used! I know when I sized them I made sure they were almost the same height as my wood… (hope that makes sense!)

  • Brandi Golemon

    I have created theses for Christmas, bu I dont want to glue the picture so that people can change out the pictues. I went to hobby lobby to look at corner pieces I could put on the blocks so that you can pop the picture in and out but its $3 for four pieces which defeats the purpose of trying to save money on gifts. Does anyone have an ideas on how to make some or where I can find cheap things that will hold the pictures?

  • Eveline

    This is adorable. Thanks for the tutorial!

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  • Lorrie

    Do you spray everything with a sealer when finished? Just made these and they turned out great!!!

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  • Liz in AZ

    Love these. I jsut got a Silhouette and would love to know what font you used on these. It’s so perfect for this. Thanks!! Liz

  • Hi, I love you wood pieces and am trying to do this myself…..on the staining….I think I must be doing something wrong…..I paint on….and when I wipe it goes everywhere!!!! and isn’t staying on the sanded bits….HELP!! 🙂

    • Shanty2Chic

      Hey Grace~
      How much stain are you using? I use just a tiny bit and make sure my edges are sanded pretty good before I do.

      • okay, I will try that, I was just trying to get it on the sanded bit, when are you wiping off, immediately or after it dries a bit?

  • I love this and can’t wait to get started on these for Christmas gifts! With two more grandkids expected in our family this year, my in-laws are going to love this! Thanks for sharing!

    • Shanty2Chic

      Glad you like it! They really are fun to make and grandparents love receiving them 🙂

  • Aubrey

    I just made one of these today and have the wood cut for more. What font did you use and how big were the letters? I can't seem to get it right.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve recently started a blog, the information you provide on this site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.


    This is fabulous!!!!!! LOOOOOOOOVE it!

  • Crystal

    Love this! I am in the middle of making it right now, except with a cricut (which I would trade for a silhouette any day!. I have run into a snag though, the photos I printed at home smeared badly when I coated them with mod podge, so I am on my way to pick up some more from the photo lab, crossing my fingers they don't smear!

  • Nif @

    I LOVE this idea! I want to make these for all my friends and family! Thank you for the inspiration. You two are our feature today at Come visit us! 🙂

  • The DIY Show Off

    What a cute project and perfect gift idea! Love your creativity! 😉

    Have a Happy New Year you two!


    That's beautiful! I love all the projects you have this week! I'll be linking.

  • Valerie

    So very sweet and simple! I know what my next project is! 🙂

  • The Scrappy Cottage

    I am so going to be making some of these. Love it……

  • sherryberry079

    Love it that is so clever!! Thanks for the idea.

  • The only and only Lady:

    Love it!

    Come by this week…I will be posting a new blog with something that is made with 2X4's also!!!

  • Stephanie

    I want to make these NOW for my mom for xmas.

    Any of you crafters have suggestions for what to use for the 'Blessings' if I don't have the Silhouette (yet!)??

  • Natalie

    This hast to be the best tutorial I've seen all year!! What a fabulous idea!

  • taradara

    Great tutorial!! Thanks for putting so much time in to it!

  • Rugrats & Royalty

    Gorgeous! Since I've already done my Christmas shopping, I think this would be great to do for Mother's Day or something! Definitely doing this!

  • she wears flowers

    I was in need for one more "just the right gift" until I saw this–done! This is darling and just what I needed–thanks!!

  • Brittany

    My silhouette just came in and I cannot wait to start using it. I wondered if you are able to use other vinyl other than ordering off the site? The reason I ask is that I just got one color with it and I would love to make some Christmas presents but I know the vinyl will not get to me in time.

  • Kim

    WOW!!!!! I wish I could make this for my SIL for Christmas!!

  • Stacie

    LoVe it!! What a fun idea! Thanks for sharing!

  • Jamie @ Happy House, Happy Home

    oh my gosh, i just LOVE this! what a wonderful idea, and it turned out beautiful! thanks for sharing, and for the tutorial!!

  • Lynn

    As a grandma myself I would love to get this for Christmas:-)

  • Denny Family

    What font did you use??? This is so cute. I'm wanting to make one!!! 🙂

  • Laura Ingalls Gunn

    This project made me all merry and bright!

  • Kassi @ Truly Lovely

    What a lovely idea!!! I want a Silhouette Machine SO bad!! I've heard they're great!

  • Jen

    Oh my gosh! I love it. I always get so many great ideas here. I made my mom & mother in law your "JOY" project last year – now making a red version for my aunt. Now this – EEEKKK! Thank you for your creativity. :)Wishing you all a very blessed Christmas.

  • Lori Katies Rose Cottage

    Oh my gosh that is soooo awesome!!
    Thank you for the wonderful


  • Debbi

    Gorgeous! Your in-laws are going to LOVE it.
    Can't wait (!!) to get my Silhouette, so I can make cool stuff, too.

  • Shelly

    Okay, I love it! I want to make EVERYTHING you post! How do you do it with 4 kids? You're my crafting Super Hero!
    Thanks for the great ideas!

  • pk @ Room Remix

    Super cute idea! I love that you can rearrange them.

  • lynn

    adorable project–and kids! tfs!

  • Cindy

    Thank you so much!! I love this!

  • **Amy**

    I love this!! Cute kids! I liked this so much I had to stumble it 🙂

  • Brenda

    AWESOME! I LOVE IT! Your MIL will LOVE it..who wouldn't?!

    Adorable kids!
    Happy Holidays!
    Love, Brenda

  • Dana

    Absolutely lovely!

    I should do this project–I already have a Silhouette!

    Dana in IN

  • CBH

    Hard to decide which one is more adorable: the fantastic project or the fantastic kids… Thanks for sharing.

  • ~ Regan

    VERY very cute. Another terrific idea!

  • Kate

    L.O.V.E it! I got a Silhouette for Christmas (scored an awesome cyber monday deal!) Now I am trying to find stuff to make with it. And I'll be making this!!

  • Kodi and Kaci

    I know your MIL and she is going to love them! She and I were at the same school last year….love everything you guys do!

  • Gremma

    That is so beautiful! I know your in laws will love it! I know I would if I got it. You did a great job!

  • Rob and Sara

    That turned out so cute! I love it.