I have seen some awesome examples of personalized photo letters and because I have a major love for mod podge and photographs I knew that I wanted to make some for my son's graduation party! I am going to walk you through how to make DIY Paper Mache Photo Letters and you will see that it is not as complicated as you may think!
Supplies Needed for DIY Paper Mache Photo Letters
Paper Mache Letters in your choice of sizes
Photos printed on plain copy paper
Spray paint or acrylic paint
How to Make DIY Paper Mache Photo Letters
First you want to spray paint your letters. I personally think this is quicker and easier than using acrylic paint, but it is up to you. I painted my letters black because I am using black and white photos for this project. You can paint your letters any color you want!
You need to get your photos printed off on regular copy paper. This can be a time-consuming part of the project depending on how organized your photos are! If you are using photos already on your computer it will save time. I used really big letters….15 inches tall. Even with big letters…you will want your pictures to be printed off small. Here is the process I used to save time.
- I picked out all the pictures I thought I might want to use. I put them all into a new folder on my computer. TIP: pick out MORE than you think you will need!
- I went to Picmonkey and clicked on Collage and uploaded all the photos from my folder.
- Click on the layouts tab and choose Square Deal with the 16 or 25 boxes depending on size or you can mix it up and do some of each size. Change your dimensions to 850 x 1100 so it will print off on a regular sheet of paper.
- You can also use the Jigsaw Layout to change-up shapes and sizes of the photos.
- Drag and drop each photo into one of the boxes. When you put your photo into a box you can hover over the photo in the box and you will see EDIT as an option. If you click EDIT you will have the chance to FIT TO CELL or FILL CELL and this may be helpful for some of the pictures.
- Once all the boxes are full of your pictures you will want to click on Background and adjust your spacing so that there isn't much space between photos. I did about 5 for mine.
- If you want your photos to be all black and white or all sepia, etc you will click the EDIT button in the bar above your photos. This will take you into the editor mode.
- You click on the “magic wand” also called EFFECTS and scroll down to black and white and click APPLY. You can adjust it to your liking. You can also choose any other effect!
- Now you can save your page of small photos and print them off. You can make as many of these sheets as you want. I think I did about 5 sheets of photos.
Once you have your photos printed off on plain white copy paper you will want to use your paper trimmer to cut each photo out. I cut mine all out in the shape they printed off in, but you can cut around objects in the pictures if you want!
If the paint on your letter is dry then you are ready to start arranging your photos. This is kind of like a big jigsaw puzzle. I kind of laid them out for a section of the letter until I liked the outcome and then started to glue the photos down. It is okay for paper to hang off the edge because we will deal with that later!
When you are ready to start gluing the photos down you will brush a small amount of mod podge onto the BACK of the photo and slide it where you want it. Smooth it out and let it dry. You can continue to glue photos down and overlap, etc. but only glue the backs at this point.
After this first glue step had dried I had some photos that weren't stuck down as well as I wanted due to the paint on the letter. I reapplied some mod podge to the back of the photos and smoothed again and allowed to dry.
Then I went along the edges and trimmed the photos down nice and evenly along every side with my sharp craft scissors.
Now it is time to go ahead and brush on a thin coat of mod podge over the entire top of the letter. Be sure to watch the corners and sides for drips.
Let this coat dry well and then do one more coat.
You can put photos on the front of the letters and the sides and even the back if you want. I only did the fronts of my letters because I felt like that was the only part that would really get a good look!
I was thrilled with how the DIY Paper Mache Photo Letters came out! I hope these will be a great keepsake for my son during college plus they were fun to make! Have you made any crafts with paper mache? Be sure to check out some of my other DIY projects! I would love to connect on Facebook too! Head over to my page and check out all the great family friendly posts I share!!