Monogrammed Photo Collage

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IMG_0233Spring is here! Which means flowers, warmer weather, colorful clothes and one other big thing: wedding season. Last year, I attended at least five weddings. This year, I’ll probably attend more. Which is great, except for the gifts! I never know what to give people for special occasions. I don’t like buying things off the registry and let’s face it, I’m 23 and not made of money. So when I received the invite to my friend’s wedding, I was racking my brain for a solid gift that I could make myself without breaking the bank. After several hours of brainstorming (and watching lots of dog videos), I had my lightbulb moment: Monogrammed Photo Collage. It was simple, easy and slightly original, which is pretty much my trademark for crafts. You can totally do this too! Here’s how:

What You’ll Need:

Wooden letters
Mod Podge (I used the glossy finish kind)
Paintbrush
Scissors
Copies of photos
Sharpies (whatever color you’d prefer the background of the letter to be,
I chose black)
Newspapers

Step 1
First, you need to figure out how big you’d like your collage to be. I went to Hobby Lobby and ended up choosing the biggest sized wooden letter they had (which was 18 inches tall). This gave me plenty of room for multiple photos, plus it had the added advantage of being big enough to hang on a wall or featured on a mantel. Whatever size you choose, just know you’ll be covering that space with photos; if you want more photos, choose a bigger size.

Step 2
Choose your photos! This part is fun. I wanted this gift to be a surprise, so I ended up taking photos from my friend’s Facebook page of her and her fiancé and having them printed at Target. This worked fairly well, but keep in mind Facebook doesn’t always save images in a high quality resolution, so sometimes the resolution isn’t the best or the dimensions of the photo look funny. I ended up throwing a few away that didn’t turn out great, but for the most part they looked good. The best way to get high resolution photos is to take the originals and make copies, but sometimes that just isn’t possible. I opted for black and white printing because I prefer the look of black and white photos.

*If you plan on printing these photos at home, please take warning! Printed photos off of a printer tend to turn green after they’ve been covered in mod podge. You’re better off making copies. I also recommended using a laser printer over an inkjet printer.

Step 3
Organize the photos around the wooden letter to your liking. Since my letter was an “H”, it was pretty straightforward for me (I chose an “H” because that was going to be the initial of her new last name, I’m so clever). But if you get a curvier letter, this will take some extra planning. I used my sharpie to mark the edges of where the photos would have to be cut.

Step 4
Fill the empty spaces! Once you figure out where you want your photos to go, make sure the areas of the wooden letter are covered in whatever color you want. I chose black, to keep with the black and white theme. I suggest laying some newspapers down underneath the letter so you don’t accidentally color your coffee table (this will also help for Step 5). I simply colored in the parts of the letter with my black sharpie that wouldn’t be covered with photos. You can also color the edges of the letter with the sharpie to give it a more finished look. To give my friend an extra personal touch, I added a favorite quote of hers in the middle, written in silver sharpie.

*Note: I had a friend do this same DIY and she opted for paint to fill the empty spaces instead of a sharpie, since she had more blank space than me. It turned out great! She used a basic acrylic paint from Hobby Lobby.

Step 5
Time to use the Mod Podge! Once your sharpie (or acrylic paint) has finished drying, lay your photos on the letter how you want them. Then take your paintbrush and apply the Mod Podge to the letter, making sure you use even strokes. Keep in mind you will probably be able to see the strokes of the paintbrush, so keep your strokes going in the same direction. I used two coats of Mod Podge to give it an extra glossy finish, but make sure you apply an even coat all the way around; if you end up with a heavy hand and have more gloss on one part of the letter, it will show. Let it dry for about an hour and then voila! You’re finished. Best wedding gift ever (in my opinion).


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Kalynne McIntyre

Kalynne McIntyre is the Digital Branding Specialist at M3 Group in downtown Lansing. She loves action movies, puppies and all things Italian.