DIY Nailhead Photo Blocks

Hey guys! Happy Friday!

Many of you know that one of my very favorite things to decorate with is photos.  With my hutch newly revamped in the living room, I decided it needed a little something.  That leads me to this project!

I made my family some photo blocks a couple of years ago for Christmas.  I have been wanting something similar for myself.  I changed these up a bit, and I love the results!

These are super easy and cheap to make which make them a winner for me!

I started with some scrap board.  If you don’t have scrap, you can buy one 2×4 and one 2×6.  Your cost of wood will be under $6 and you won’t use hardly any of it, so you can make lots! 😉

I cut mine at different lengths because I like them all looking a bit different.  You may want to check the size of your photos before cutting your wood.  All of my photos are 4×6 that I printed from home.

I also cut a 2×6 piece at 18″ for my ‘family’ sign.

After cutting my wood, I sanded the corners a bit as well to make them look smooth.

I decided to use my favorite paint method on these.  I shared how I distress paint with Vaseline a while back.  You can see details HERE!  It’s a really easy way to achieve that perfect ‘shanty’ look! 😉

Here are all my blocks before their second coat!

I used Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch in Heirloom White for my top coat!  It’s our very fav and you can find it at Home Depot!

After finishing my paint method I started on my family sign.  I cut a piece of drop cloth 1″ shorter around than my block.  You can find these canvas drop cloths at HD or Lowe’s for around $5, or you can use scrap fabric.

Now it’s time for the nailheads!  I use these upholstery tacks that can be found at Lowe’s on the hardware aisle.  They are super cheap and I love the way they finish off this project.  They are sharp so be careful!

I put a nail at each corner to hold my drop cloth in place.

Once that was done I did my stenciling.  I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut my letters.  I used a font called Adobe Caslon Pro.

I used card stock to make my stencils.  If you don’t have a Cameo, you can make your own stencils by printing them and cutting with a craft knife.  This baby just saves lots of time!  I used a stencil brush and black acrylic paint to stencil my letters.  Make sure you dab your brush up and down.  Don’t brush your paint on.  This keeps it from going under your stencil.

And every blank space needs a rosette of course…

My last step was my pictures!  I just cut down my pictures so they were a bit smaller than my blocks.  Then, I hammered a nail in each corner to hold them in place.  I love the results!

That’s it!  Finished!

Here they are in their new home…

And the best part is you can move them whenever you want!

Hope you like them!  I love that I didn’t have to mess with Mod Podge or anything else sticky!  It was quick and easy!

I hope you like them!  If you do, I would love for you to PIN them below!!

Thanks so much guys!


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  • hollie

    How do u make the rosette?

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  • Sherri Rene Ruf

    Used your amazing idea for a graduation party with my own twist of using photos of the grad and then sayings in the middle…my pics are on my pins, they were too big to download.

  • Jean-Marie Breslin

    Made it and love it! I have received so many compliments. Thank you!

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  • Christen

    I love this! Is there a specific way that you make your rosette? Thanks!

  • Mary

    Cute project!

  • Heather

    These look great! I have a question, though. What kind of paper do you print your photo’s on? Your photo’s do not look shiny and I was wondering if you used a special kind of paper? Thank you!

    • Hi Heather!

      I actually use matte photo paper! It’s cheaper and you are right… Not shiny!

      Hope this helps!

  • Not only is this an excellent project (with easy to follow steps, thank you!) for family photos, but it’s also a great idea for holiday decorations. Thank you again, Jennifer.

  • Patty

    How did u make the super cute flower?

  • love it,, I’ve had your other version on my to do list forever,, i like this one better not having to do the modpodge . Thanks for sharing.

  • I was so in love with it I “pinned” it to my interest board 🙂 I think I have an inspiration to make these! Thank you for sharing this post,

  • What a wonderful idea, the nailheads and the black and white photos are a charming combination!

  • Absolutely adorable! I might just have to try this myself:) Thanks!

  • Oh my goodness I am in love love with this project !! Thank you for sharing because I am totally going to do this today 🙂

  • This turned out so nice. I love the use of the nails

  • You make it look so easy! It turned out beautifully and your photography is perfect. The tacks were a great choice and fit in perfectly with the black and white photo’s. I say job well done. Thanks for sharing.

  • I love them!! I love decorating with photos. It makes for interesting conversation! Thanks for sharing. I might have to copy this! ~Linda

  • I love that it doesn’t use mod podge! I will have to make this!!

  • I’ve been searching for Heirloom white! Our Home Depot doesn’t carry it. Neither does Lowe’s or Ace Hardware 🙁 Sigh….. I’ll keep looking. It looks like such a great color!

  • Oh my goodness, these look amazing! You are definitely one of Heirloom White’s biggest promoters with all your gorgeous projects!

    A little while back I used your mason jar planter box plan to create my own and it has been receiving lots of love in blogland. I would love for you to check it out if you get the chance –

    Thanks and have a wonderful weekend!


  • Debbie

    This us great!! I have some family pictures that i want to display at my daughters wedding – this will be a perfect and decorative way to do this!! Thanks for the idea!!

  • Absolutely Love this! So cute!

  • I love this project. It would make a great mantle decoration. Thank you for sharing!

    • Shanty2Chic

      Thanks so much! I appreciate it ;-)!

  • melissa mathews

    As you said, its great not having to mess with mod podge – and I *love the idea of using a cloth, I would’ve never thought of that! I also love that the color effect on your photos match your blocks perfectly 😉

    • Shanty2Chic

      Thank you Melissa!! I’m kind of over mod podge at the moment, so this was a good altnative :-)! Thanks again!

  • So cute! I love it!

    • Shanty2Chic

      Thanks so much Lisa!

  • Jennifer A.

    So cute!! 🙂

    • Shanty2Chic

      Thanks Jennifer!! 🙂