Monday, December 5, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Ornaments - Day 3: Photo Bulbs

Every year since we got married I've bought a tiny frame and added a family picture to our Christmas tree. When I saw these adorable bulbs from Lowell and Son on Etsy, I decided to make my own "frame" this year. 

I printed my favorite family photo from our recent trip to New Orleans, and followed the directions on Leslie's blog (scroll down to the comments) on how to put together your own photo bulbs. All of my other frames have a date on them, so I added the year with a permanent glass marker.

I would love a whole tree filled with these! Maybe next year…


Apparently the instructions are no longer available where I found them, so here's what I did...

1. Print your photo on vellum or transparency paper. I just used a picture printed at the lab on regular photo paper.  Seemed to work fine, although I am aware it may start to curl after awhile - vellum and transparency paper shouldn't. Also, I tried this with a photo I printed on Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper and found that it was a little too thick. When I rolled it to insert it in the bulb it ended up with a lot of wrinkles and creases. 

2. Once you have your printed photo, you need to figure out where to cut. I used a 3 inch spool of ribbon as my cutting guide. (Not all bulbs are 3 inches, so make sure to cut your circle to the size you need!) I simply held my photo up to the window and moved my guide around until I liked where it was positioned. Then I laid them on the table and traced around the guide to get my circle.

3. Cut out your photo. It's not completely necessary, but I included a little tab at the top to prevent my photo from rotating in the ball.

4. Roll your photo (picture side out) around a pencil and slide into glass ball.

5. When you pull out the pencil you will need to pop the photo open.

Use a bamboo skewer or chopstick to uncurl it, gently pressing the edges until they seem snug against the glass.

6. Replace the metal topper and attach a ribbon to hang from your tree!


  1. Could you please post the instructions? They are no longer on her blog :( Thanks!

  2. Please provide link to instructions, would love to make these ASAP! Thank You!!

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  4. Sorry about that. I just updated my post with a photo tutorial. Enjoy!

  5. I have been doing this since 1995, the best way I found to keep the picture from curling inside the bulbs (which they will with time) is to put tinsel behind the picture.

  6. I know this post is a year old, but I am having trout le getting the pic to unroll. Any suggestions?