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I’m pretty big on homemade Christmas gifts, and every year I try to include a photo ornament of my girls.  Because who wouldn’t want their faces all over their Christmas tree!? This year, since we’re moving, I wanted to include a little piece of where we live, so I decided to make discs from a tree branch, and I used a gel photo transfer medium to apply the photos.  I found a chunk of chopped wood and my wonderful husband sliced it into cute little discs.  They’re about 3″ in diameter and maybe 1/4 – 1/2″ thick, give or take.  The bark came off all of the edges, so I was left with these lovely little rustic circles.  photo_christmas_ornament_2Once I chose a photo (credit: BAMphoto if anybody is in the Detroit area), I used photoshop to create 3″ circles of it and fit 6 on a sheet (if you’re not photoshop savvy, you could cut whatever shape you want by hand). Be sure to flip the image, because you need the reverse.  It also needs to be printed on a laser printer, so I sent mine off to Kinko’s (okay, FedEx Office, but that’s still weird to me).  Then you just cut them out, and you’re ready to go.

I used Modge Podge Photo Transfer Medium, but there are others that will work just fine too.  Put a piece of paper, or something that you don’t mind messing up, on your work surface.  Then you just brush it on until it completely covers the photo.  It’s pretty opaque, but don’t let that scare you. photo_christmas_ornament_4

Apply the photo to the surface you want to transfer it to (there are lots of other really awesome options for this technique too), and use something with a hard, flat edge to smooth out any air bubbles that may be underneath.  photo_christmas_ornament_5

And now you wait.  24 hours.  I was so antsy to see how these were turning out, that I almost tried one early, but made myself wait.  photo_christmas_ornament_6

After your patience has been sufficiently tested, get a damp wash cloth and let it sit on the surface for 30 seconds or so until the paper is saturated.  Using circular motions, gently rub the paper off.

Keep going until all of the paper is off.

Give them a few minutes to make sure they’re completely dry, and then put a layer of regular modge podge over the photo to seal it.  On these, I made sure to get all of the edges extra well since they’re kind of odd shaped.  Then I just drilled a hole in the top, strung some raffia ribbon through, and I now have adorable, hand-made ornaments to give to our family members!  They do require some patience, but they were super easy to make, and I can’t wait to hang one on our tree too! photo_christmas_ornament_10