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Baby’s ‘Year of Firsts’ Photo Keepsake

So Rowan just turned one recently, and I. Cannot. Believe. It.  Where did this past year go??  How is he a toddler now??  HOW DID THE BABY STAGE GO BY SO DARN FAST???  My baby’s not a baby anymore….*sniffle*

So, to help me remember all the little milestones and special moments from his first year, I created a first birthday photo keepsake for him with my Silhouette Cameo.  Now I don’t have to flip through his entire baby book when I’m feeling nostalgic (although I still do that quite often)….with this little keepsake, I can see all of his big moments ina handy dandy mini flip photo album.

First Birthday Keepsake


Baby’s ‘Year of Firsts’ Photo Keepsake

Supplies for Baby’s ‘Year of Firsts’ Photo Keepsake

  • Photos (and lots of ’em!)
  • Cardstock (white and a variety of colors)
  • Adhesive (I used glue dots)
  • Scissors
  • Baker’s twine
  • Hole punch
  • Silhouette Cameo
  • Cutting mat


Assembling The Photos

Before I actually started designing anything in my Silhouette Studio program or cutting anything out, I first assembled all the photos that I wanted to include.  I knew I wanted all the major milestones (at least the ones that I had pictures of….things like his first time rolling over or first laugh I obviously didn’t have photos of…although I wish I did!), as well as all the holidays and other firsts.

Every month or two, I order prints of all the photos I’ve taken since the last order, so I already had his photos on hand, thank goodness.  I just had to dig them all out.

The photos that I used for The Cub’s firsts were his First (in chronological order):



Cutting The Frames

Next, I opened up my Silhouette Studio software and imported a polaroid frame that I downloaded for free from here.  I was able to fit four frames per 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of white card stock (the frames measured 3.9″ x 4.9″….don’t ask me how I ended up with those measurements).

I used the font called Noteworthy, and since I was cutting the letters OUT and using their negative space, I had to create counters (or connector lines) to keep the inner parts of the loopy letters (like a, b, d, e, etc.) from being cut completely out and no longer be part of my finished design….no bueno.  I did this by ungrouping the words and slicing off a sliver of the affected letters with my Knife tool, then smoothing the cut with my Editing Points tool.

The letters you see sitting off to the left of my mat are letters that I had to do this for….I kept copies sitting to the side and then just duplicated and substituted them as needed so I didn’t have to go through this process over and over again….I’m smart sometimes like that.

First Birthday Keepsake

I was able to fit four frames per sheet of card stock, and I left the letters I created counters for sitting to the side for future use.


Cutting The Backings

After all the white frames were cut, I then cut out the backings in colored card stock.  I went with bright colors….blue, red, green, yellow, and orange.  To cut them out, I simply changed my Cut settings to only cut the outside edge of the polaroid frames.

First Birthday Keepsake



Now it was time to assemble everything.  I debated what kind of adhesive to use for a while, then decided to go with Zots brand of glue dots for their ease of use and lack of giant mess (easy and clean is the name of my game!).  Plus I used a coupon at Michaels and got a box for just a couple bucks….score!

First Birthday Keepsake

All my supplies were gathered and ready for assembly: photos, frames, backings, glue dots, scissors, and baby monitor….ahhh, I just love The Cub’s nap time.


To assemble each page, I simply matched the picture to its corresponding frame and trimmed it down to size with scissors.  It was helpful to hold the picture up to the light to figure out where I needed to cut.

First Birthday Keepsake

Every time I see this face it’s a literal LOL for me.  So cute!  And so The Cub.


After the photo was cut to size, I placed glue dots around the back of the frame and attached the photo.

First Birthday Keepsake

First Birthday Keepsake


Then I trimmed down the photo some more so nothing peeked through the words (I remembered to do this step with the initial cutting on my remaining photos….practice makes perfect!).

First Birthday Keepsake


Next, I plopped down some more glue dots around the entire back edge (and also some along the middle for good measure) and placed a colored rectangle to serve as the backing.  I tried to coordinate the color backing with colors in the photo or to match the holiday (i.e. the St. Paddy’s Day photo of course was given a green backing).

First Birthday Keepsake


Before I started this project, I had planned on using the pictures as a decoration at Rowan’s first birthday party….I was going to make a big ‘Year of Firsts’ sign and have all his framed photos scattered beneath it on some foam board.  It was beautiful….in my head.  However, as you can see below, I had too many photos for the foam board that I had on hand, so this project skipped the decoration step and became a book straight away.

Oh well….it still made a nice addition to the dessert table that party guests flipped through in between eating their hamburgers and cake.  I think it would have looked really nice having all the photos strung up on a jumbo open frame with twine and mini clothes pins, but alas, I didn’t have a frame available and didn’t have the time to go on the hunt for one.  Why aren’t there ever enough hours in the day?!

First Birthday Keepsake

See…too many photos for my board. Sigh….


The Cover

To assemble the cover of the booklet, I cut out the words from white card stock just like I did for the frames.  To make the dotted lines, I simply used the Line function in Studio and it worked beautifully.  Then using more colored card stock (hooray for using up scraps!) and scissors, I eyeballed and cut out shapes that would be used as backings to the cutout words.  Then I attached them with glue dots and used a solid white piece for the backing over the whole frame.

First Birthday Keepsake

First Birthday Keepsake


Making The Album

Now that all the photos and the cover were ready, it was time to assemble them into a booklet.  For this, I just grabbed a simple hole punch and punched a hole in the top left corner of each item.  Couldn’t be easier!

First Birthday Keepsake


I thought about using a metal book clip to bind everything together, but since I didn’t have any on hand and didn’t feel like making a trip to Staples, it was baker’s twine to the rescue.  I simply cut a strand of red and white twine that was about 3″ or so in length, fed it through the holes, and then tied a knot.  BOOM.

This batch of baker’s twine was picked up at Michaels a couple years ago, and it has come in handy for so many projects!  Like this banner, and this wreath.  I love having it on hand, and it seems to be lasting forever!

First Birthday Keepsake


The Finished Product: Baby’s ‘Year of Firsts’ Photo Keepsake!

And it’s FINISHED.  I am SOOOO happy I made this little photo book.  It’s such a quick and easy way to flip through Rowan’s first year and hit the highlights….and it’s personalized, which is a double bonus.  Instant happiness.

First Birthday Keepsake

I love how quick and easy it is to thumb through…..almost as much as I love the little boy on its photos. No, scratch that….not nearly as much.


First Birthday Keepsake

Even when he’s upset, he’s still absolutely adorable.


First Birthday Keepsake


You certainly don’t need a Silhouette machine to make a keepsake like this.  Similar results could easily be accomplished with a pair of scissors and some stickers.  Or you could simply handwrite all the memories on the frames like I did with the pictures for our family growth chart ruler.  But I’ll look for any excuse to bust out my Silhouette Cameo!

Make sure you check out my Project Gallery for lots of other keepsake ideas you can make for your little one!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Where The Smiles Have Been | Crafts. DIY. Home. Mom Life.



Wednesday 16th of March 2016

I need some help with fixing the font so it cuts correctly. Could you expand on that?

Kelly of Simply Kelly Designs

Wednesday 8th of July 2015

This is an amazing idea Christine! I think sometimes people are so overwhelmed by documenting the first year but this is so simple and doable. What a treasure for you and Rowan!


Friday 10th of July 2015

Thanks Kelly! Yes, even today, I'll flip through this little book and smile (and sometimes almost cry) at how little Rowan once was. But life is all about growing up. :) I sure am glad I have this little keepsake though.


Tuesday 30th of December 2014

You write the BEST tutorials!!! The level of detail you include is perfect so I can really follow along. Thank you for sharing all of your projects!!


Tuesday 30th of December 2014

Oh Grace, you have no idea how happy your comment just made me! I often wonder as I'm writing up tutorials if I'm being too wordy and making them too long and drawn's nice to hear that my high word count and numerous photos are actually worth it! :) I'm so glad you've found them helpful!

Thanks so much for checking out my slice of the web, and again for your kind words!