How to: B&W wood photo ornaments and keepsake gift tags!

I recently did a guest post on the FedEx Out of Office blog, with a tutorial on making personalized wooden ornaments and gift tags from photocopies of your photos and drawings. It’s pretty cool, go check it out: Personalized Black & White Wood Ornaments for all the step by steps.

It’s a really neat technique that just uses acrylic gel medium from the art store– no toxic chemicals or anything like that.  The toner from the photocopy remains on the wood, so the white areas of your photo become wood colored, which is a really nice natural effect.   I’m planning on make a bunch using some wood veneer cards to use as keepsake gift tags for gifts this year.

For the tutorial I used one of my squid watercolors — in the example above I used a photocopy of a photo of The Boy, perfect for grandparent gifting! And it’s easy to do, though I will warn you it does take a little practice to get the timing exactly right, so plan on practicing on some scrap wood first.

I didn’t really go over how to use photos for the ornaments in the tutorial, and there’s a few things I’ve learned.  Pick a photo with a lot of contrast, and ideally use photoshop, or some other photo editing software, to turn it black and white and bump up the contrast.  In Photoshop, use play with the layer Levels to get a good effect.  Remember to reverse it, especially if you add text!  Make a bunch of copies on the same page (try different sizes). Then print it out, and photocopy.  For the ones shown here, I actually printed out the text separately, and put in on first, then put the photo on top of the text, so I get the ‘white’ background behind the text.

Wanna do it yourself? Go get the instructions…

(Past ornament tutorials: Resin Stars, Easy Gift Card Holder, Champagne Chairs, Sweater Photo Frames, Shrinky Dinky Santa)