These photo blocks and photo holders are the first of a series of DIY Christmas Gift ideas featured on the set of Kansas City Live. This is by far my favorite project to date and yes…(SPOILER ALERT!!!) every member of my family will be getting these for Christmas.

Not only are these gift idea quick & easy to make (which is awesome) but they are so thoughtful and personal.



sample of photo blocks


  • Scrap 2 x 4” boards in different lengths ranging from 3-6”
  • Scrap 2 x 6” boards in different lengths ranging from 4-6”
  • Scrap 2 x 6” boards cut 18” long
  • Canvas, burlap or other material
  • Photos
  • Upholstery Tacks
  • Hammer
  • Stamps or stencil
  • Sanding Block
  • Paint in color of choice
  • (I used Rustoleum Camoflage Brown for the edges and Rustoleum Heirloom White for my top color)

 The Cut Wood for the Photo Blocks

This is what the block looks like when its cut

Sanding the Wood to soften the corners

Using a sanding block, sand edges slightly to soften the corners.

Painting the Corners of the Photo Blocks

Paint, Stain, or paint corners of the blocks. This color will be the color that comes through when sanded. Let Dry.

Rubbing the painted wood with a candle

Using a candle, rub all of the painted edges of your wood. This will keep your next layer of paint from sticking and make it much easier to distress.

spraying another color on the photo block

Spray your next color over the entire block. This will probably take 2 coats depending on the color. Let Dry

Sanding the layers to expose underneath paint

Take a sanding block and lightly sand the edges to expose brown paint underneath

Fitting it with a piece of cloth

After painting the blocks, cut a piece of your cloth to fit your 2 x 6 x 18” block. I used one of my old drop cloths I use for painting. Drop Cloths are cheap and you can get a TON of pieces out of one drop cloth

Using a stencil

I found this cute stencil at Hobby Lobby for $2.99. I loved the little scrolls on the letters. This is what i chose to use for my biggest block.

Applying the stencil

Taking a black acrylic paint, stencil “family” on the piece of drop cloth.

Letting it dry

Let Dry

Cutting Burlap for Photo Blocks

Cut a piece of burlap a little bigger than your stenciled drop cloth

Attaching the Burlap

  Attach  burlap & cloth to block using upholstery tacks and a hammer

Photo Blocks-Lee boys cropLee family crop

 Now on the smaller blocks, cut burlap and photos to fit.  Tack photos down with tacks

Photo Blocks Complete-Christmas Gift Ideas

Voila…now you can create a thoughtful, inexpensive, one-of-a-kind gift for everyone on your list.

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