This past summer I took a class at the Photo Center Northwest in Seattle on mixed media photography. We learned several transfer techniques for applying photographs to cloth, wood, paper and ceramic. My favorite technique, by far, was photograph pendants using resin. I had always wanted to try resin but was intimidated. While it’s not super simple, it is straightforward enough that anyone can use it to add a little permanence and polish to their favorite photo project.
For day 9 of 25 days of crafts, we will apply a resin finish to photo gift tag ornaments. Choose your favorite photos from the past year and include a note on the back about when and where the picture was taken. This is a fun way to preserve your favorite memories from as well as give yourself a chance to revisit them each year you trim the tree.
As a special bonus, today Krafty Kath has a different DIY ornament project so make sure to check out her post too.
DIY photo gift tag ornaments
Give yourself two days to create the ornaments. One day to apply and set the resin, allowing it to dry for at least 24 hours. On day two you can add your message and ribbon.
- Modge Podge
- Resin kit
- Wood gift tags (approximately 3.5″ x 2″)
- Photographs, color copies work great (a little bigger than your gift tags)
- Disposable cups for mixing resin
- X-acto knife
- Sponge brush
- Popsicle stick or tool with dull, flat edge to spread resin
- Ribbon (optional)
- Gold Sharpie (optional)
With your sponge brush, apply a thin layer of Modge Podge to the front of your gift tag.
Using backlight, align your photograph as you’d like it positioned on the gift tag. Choose an image that covers the entire surface of the gift tag.
Tip: Make sure to avoid putting any important section of the photograph near the hole of the gift tags (especially a face!)
With a brayer (or metal spoon), smooth out any bubbles.
On a cutting mat, place the gift tag face down. Using the edge of the tag as a guide, cut off the excess paper with an X-acto knife.
Apply a second coat of Modge Podge. As it dries you may see some light streaks. Don’t worry, they will not be noticeable once the resin is applied.
Follow the instructions on your resin kit to mix the resin and hardener. In general, it’s a 1:1 ratio and it’s critical they truly be equal amounts otherwise the resin will not set well. Use one disposable cup to measure each part. Then, combine both parts into a third, clean cup. You’ll need to stir the parts for up to two minutes.
Once your resin is mixed, it will be usable for between 20 and 30 minutes. If you plan to make several ornaments at once, you may want to create your resin in batches as it will start to harden and be more difficult to work with over time.
To apply the resin to your ornament, pour a small amount in the center of the tag. It’s easier to add than remove resin, so start with less than you think you need.
Tip: It’s helpful to work on a portable surface for when you want to set your ornaments aside to dry. I used a scrap piece of wood but any sturdy, flat surface will work. This way you don’t have to worry about transferring the tags to another surface once you’ve applied the wet resin.
With a Popsicle stick (or equivalent tool) begin to spread the resin across the surface of the tag. Starting from the center, push it toward the edges of the tag.
The first time I used resin, I was certain it would immediately spill over the edges but surprisingly enough it will create it’s own barrier as long as you don’t over apply it.
You want an even layer of resin across the entire surface of the tag. If you need more resin in a particular spot, dip your Popsicle stick into your batch of resin and use it to apply small amounts where needed.
Tip: If small bubbles appear, breathe hot air on the resin to disperse them. They also tend to dissipate during the drying stage. The resin will also spread and smooth out on it’s own so don’t worry about small imperfections.
Once your resin is applied, store it in a clean, safe place for at least 24 hours so it can cure and harden.
Now that your ornaments are dry, it’s time to add a note. With a Gold Sharpie, write a short message on the back of your tag that describes when and where you took the photograph.
Tie a ribbon on the tag.
Perfecto! You just made a photo gift tag ornament.
Visit Krafty Kath for more 25 Days of Crafts!