How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament: Baby’s First Trip to the Beach

If you couldn’t already tell, I love personalized items.  Always have, always will….even more so now that I’m a mom, too.  Any little thing I can buy (or even better, make!) that has my son’s picture, name, stats, or hand/footprint just warms my heart (check out my Project Gallery for proof!).  His baby book is literally bursting at the seams, and I’ve really been focusing on making keepsakes for each holiday and milestone over the past year and a half….I want to savor this special time where he’s so little and experiencing everything for the first time.

Well, a couple months ago, we took our first vacation to see family up in Maine, and while we were there, Rowan got to visit the beach for the very first time!  I of course had to create a little keepsake for this occasion, so while we were there, I scooped up some sand and then used it as part of a Christmas ornament, complete with Rowan’s cute little picture and some vinyl personalization.  Here I’ll walk you through all the steps (it’s super easy!) and show you how to make a floating photo ornament: Baby’s first trip to the beach edition!

How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament: Baby's First Trip to the Beach!
[Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.]

 

Rowan’s First Trip to the Beach!

My husband was born and bred in Maine and his family still resides there along the mid-coast region.  Our visit to Vacationland was back in mid-September, so it was cooling off and the leaves had just started to change colors.  My husband had to work for the first part of our visit (it was a work/family vacation trip in one….that way the company picks up the tab for his plane tickets, hotel room, and rental car!).  Therefore, Grammy and Grampy B were mine and Rowan’s tour guides for the day….yay!

One of our must-visits was the beach (of course!), and the name of the one we visited was….wait for it….Sand Beach.  [How original, Maine.]  It’s located in Acadia National Park and is just outside of Bar Harbor, which by the way is the cutest little town with lots of neat little shops and restaurants and whale watches and such….very touristy, but a must-see for sure.

While at the beach, it was WINDY.  And COLD.  Rowan therefore didn’t get in the water, but he enjoyed walking around on the sand and looking out at ocean:

How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament: Baby's First Trip to the Beach!

However, he did NOT want to play in the sand at all (despite the plethora of beach toys the grandparents had rounded up in preparation for our visit).  He HATED getting any sand on his hands.  When he did stumble while walking around and happened to touch the sand with his bare skin, this is the face he would get:

How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament: Baby's First Trip to the Beach!

Ahhh, his super sad face is still adorable….

What can I say?  My son’s a little diva and doesn’t like getting dirty (except for when he’s eating….yogurt and bananas and food EVERYWHERE!).  Even though he was not a fan of the sand, I scooped some up into a quart-sized plastic baggie that I brought just for this occasion.  It pays to plan ahead, and I knew in advance I wanted to create a keepsake ornament for this occasion and include some actual sand from our actual visit.  Way better (and cheaper) than buying some from a craft store, for sure.

 

Supplies I Used to Create this Floating Photo Ornament

Here’s what I used to make this {beachy} floating photo ornament:

  • 8.5″ x 11″ transparency sheet for an inkjet printer
  • Inkjet printer with color ink
  • Plastic disc ornament
  • Vinyl
  • Sand
  • Jute twine
  • Hot glue/gun
  • Ruler/scissors/marker/tape

 

The Plastic Ornament

For this ornament, I decided to go with a plastic disc-shaped one as opposed to the traditional round kind….it’s kinda like a giant clear M&M.  I think the flattened shape looks better with the floating picture inside, but it’s just a personal preference.

I went for the plastic variety as opposed to a glass one because: #1) I’m clumsy, #2) I’m not the most careful of packers/unpackers, and #3) I live with a rambunctious, curious, hyperactive toddler.  I’d like for this ornament to last for years, and I don’t envision that happening with glass (especially thanks to #3 up there).

So, a few days after Halloween, I visited my local Michaels store in hunt for an ornament.  It was waaaay down on the bottom shelf, and I had a 50% off coupon….ahhh, coupons bring such joy to my life.

How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament: Baby's First Trip to the Beach!

 

Prepping My Photo

Now that I had my ornament in hand, I needed to get my photo ready.   I chose to use a picture I snapped of Rowan looking out and pointing towards the ocean…his golden locks are all wind-blown and he’s wearing the cutest little light-blue sweater that was knitted for him by his Grammy (thanks again!).

He just looks so stinking cute here (and everywhere for that matter), and I love how awestruck he seems to be at the vast body of water in front of him….this picture just seemed to be perfect for a “Baby’s First Trip to the Beach” keepsake (I mean, for a trip that was too cold for any swimming or playing in the sand…but that’s Maine for ya!).

Here’s the original unedited iPhone picture:

How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament: Baby's First Trip to the Beach!

To get my picture sized and scaled correctly in a circle shape, I fired up one of my all-time [digital] loves, Photoshop Elements (it’s the cheaper but just as awesome cousin of regular Photoshop).  I used my Cookie Cutter tool to crop the picture into a perfect circle, then adjusted some of the color and level options to enhance it a bit (hey, it was snapped with an iPhone for crying out loud!).

How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament: Baby's First Trip to the Beach!

 

Sizing My Photo

Now that my picture was ready, I needed to get a final size of the ornament to determine the print size.  Even though the shelf label stated the ornament was 100mm across, I’m an American and my brain (and printer) works in inches!  So, I grabbed my ruler and got to measuring.

It was a little difficult to get a precise size because the plastic caused a sort of optical illusion whether I placed the ruler above or below the ornament, and I couldn’t tell if I was measuring the inside dimensions or the entire ornament, but it was roughly 3.75″ across (although a Google search now tells me that 100mm is actually 3.93701″….maybe that’s the entire size….see what I mean about optical illusion!).

I first printed out my son’s picture on a piece of plain printer paper [*Peter Piper picked a….*] at 3.6″ to test the sizing out….it looked a little too roomy when placed under the ornament (again, more optical illusions), so for my final print on the transparency sheet, I would need to increase the size a tad.

How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament: Baby's First Trip to the Beach!

 

The Printable Transparent Plastic Sheet

Instead of printing out the photo on regular photo paper (which you certainly can), I thought it would be more interesting to use a transparency sheet.  I used one of these computer-printable transparent plastic sheets for the insert….and it worked perfectly!

How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament: Baby's First Trip to the Beach!

I grabbed some Scotch tape and attached a plastic sheet to a piece of printer paper, making sure the rough side was facing out since this is the side that needs to be printed on.  This was to give the printer something to grab onto….the paper was just going to guide the plastic sheet through the printer.

Then I placed it in my printer (I have an Epson XP-600) taped-edge first, and set my printer settings to ‘Photo Glossy Paper’ since there was no option for ‘Transparency.’

How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament: Baby's First Trip to the Beach!

A few seconds later, out came my little beach babe, all shiny and transparent!

How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament: Baby's First Trip to the Beach!

 

Making the Tab

Before cutting out my picture, I first needed to add a little rectangular tab at the top.  This tab would remain inside the opening of the ornament once the picture was inserted and keep the image upright and centered…..ya know, that whole “floating” part of a floating photo ornament.  To do this, I just measured the opening’s width and height (1″ and .5″, respectively), then marked off that size shape on my transparency sheet with a marker.

I could have created a little rectangle in Photoshop Elements and printed it out as part of my image, but I found this way was easier….and I’m all about easy.

How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament: Baby's First Trip to the Beach!

 

Cutting Out The Image & Tab

I then just grabbed a pair of scissors and cut out the picture and tab by hand.  My Silhouette Cameo could have been used for this job as well, but that would have involved several extra steps, and once again, easy is the name of my game.

Don’t worry though….I still got my Silhouette fix with this project with some vinyl personalization….keep reading!

How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament: Baby's First Trip to the Beach!

 

Floating Ornament Template

So, basically, here is the template that I used for this floating ornament:

Floating Photo Ornament Template

 

Personalizing The Image with Vinyl Details

Now that my son’s beach picture was cut out and ready, it needed to be personalized.  I of course will look for just about any excuse to use my Silhouette Cameo (unless it involves a handful of extra unnecessary steps as described above….my crafting addiction is often held in check by my laziness).

So, in Silhouette Studio, I created a little message to attach to the plastic sheet in vinyl so we always remember why this ornament has sand in it as well as when/where it came from (although it’s not likely that I’ll ever forget these special details).  And oh buddy, those tiny dots of the “i’s” were almost the death of me!

[In case you are curious, the font I used is KG Empire of Dirt, and the vinyl is white Oracal 651.]

How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament: Baby's First Trip to the Beach!

 

Inserting the Image Into the Ornament

Now it was time for assembly!  Inserting the picture was super simple: I just rolled it up from side-to-side, then stuck it down into the ornament.  Once it was inside, it popped right into place, and the tab up top kept it there.  If it didn’t open up on its own, I’m sure a pen or pair of tweezers would easily nudge it along.

Doesn’t it look so cool when held up against the light?!  You can’t get that with regular photo paper!

How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament: Baby's First Trip to the Beach!

 

Adding the Sand

Next up came adding the sand that I hauled back from our trip.  I simply made a makeshift funnel from a sheet of paper and inserted it into the ornament on one side of the picture insert.  Then I poured a small amount of sand in, removed the funnel, then repeated the steps on the other side of the picture.

How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament: Baby's First Trip to the Beach!

The tab and the sand help keep the insert in place….and now it looks extra super cool because:

  1. It’s got the cool transparent look since it’s printed on a plastic sheet and not regular photo paper.
  2. The floating effect is there thanks to the tab and remaining centered inside the ornament.
  3. The sand makes it appear like Rowan is walking on the beach….and brings a little bit of Maine into our home.

So neat!

How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament: Baby's First Trip to the Beach!

Also, thanks again to the transparency, the ornament looks totally different when held up to the light….it’s like two ornaments in one!  This will be really neat to see on our Christmas tree when the lights are turned on at night versus the day.

How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament: Baby's First Trip to the Beach!

 

Making the Ornament Top More Beachy

The ornament was basically finished now, but I wanted to jazz up the beachiness of the whole look.  For this, I grabbed some everyday jute twine (the same kind I used for the little banner on my Sassy Witch printed burlap Halloween decor), and I just started attaching it to the silver hanging cover with some hot glue.  I covered the whole top as well as the hanging loop, then I cut off a small strand and made another loop for hanging.

I also had my husband use some wire cutters to trim up the little inside wires….this isn’t necessary, it just makes them a little less noticeable once inserted back in the ornament.

How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament: Baby's First Trip to the Beach!

 

Rowan’s Completed Baby’s First Trip to the Beach Floating Photo Ornament!

I LOVE how this turned out!  It’s such a unique little keepsake.  I’m really happy I decided to use the transparency sheet instead of regular photo paper too….it just gives it a little something special.  Plus, the white vinyl personalization really pops, the sand will bring some Maine back every Christmas, and the jute twine amps up the beachiness while also making it look a heckuva lot less like a generic plastic ornament.

When I showed the final ornament to my husband, he stared at it for a few seconds, then a slow grin spread across his face as he said “That’s coooool.”  And with that, I knew I had a hit (it’s a much better reaction from his regular “Yep, looks great, babe.” as his eyes briefly flash away from then immediately back to whatever game’s on TV at that moment.).

How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament: Baby's First Trip to the Beach!

How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament: Baby's First Trip to the Beach!

How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament: Baby's First Trip to the Beach!

How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament: Baby's First Trip to the Beach!

And here’s how it looks at night with just the tree’s lights shining….

How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament: Baby's First Trip to the Beach!

How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament: Baby's First Trip to the Beach!

You of course could use just about anything to fill one of these floating ornaments besides sand, depending on your particular keepsake…..glitter, fake snow, sugar, dried flowers, potpourri, Legos, baby newborn’s hospital hat & bracelet (which I’ve also done!)….so many possibilities!

 

Like Personalized Keepsakes for Kiddos??  Check These Out!

If you have a little one, check out some of these other personalized keepsakes I’ve made for my little man!:

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Where The Smiles Have Been

 

About Christine

I'm Christine, a SAHM to a spunky blonde, blue-eyed two-year-old boy and married to the best guy you'll ever meet. We live our lives in the Deep South, and I spend my son's nap times getting my craft on. I blog at Where The Smiles Have Been about my adventures in craftiness, DIY decor, Silhouette projects, and life as a new mommy.

Comments

  1. Any chance you would make this for me if I sent you the sand and pictures? Name your price :)

  2. You knock it out of the park with all your keepsakes. What a great way to preserve a fun memory. Love that you added sand from the actual beach to it too.

  3. Christine, this is AWESOME!! The transparency paper is genius! And it gives the finished ornament such a cool effect. Pinning :)

  4. Thanks for sharing. I have pinned this to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Board.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Your child’s first Christmas, or their first trip to the beach can be preserved in this great idea by Where the Smiles Have Been. […]

  2. […] Stewart Painted Ornaments 4. DIY Vintage Paper Ball Ornaments 5. Glitter DIY Star Ornament 6. DIY Floating Photo Ornament 7. Gold Ruffle Ornament 8. Winter Woodlands DIY Ornaments 9. Recycled Laundry Scoop Ornaments 10. […]

  3. […] How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament from Where the Smiles Have Been […]