I wanted to make something memorable to give to the senior football players at the end of season banquet. We have taken so many photos of the players throughout the season and I wanted to use those photos . . . so came the Photo Cube! They turned out fantastic! The players loved them and so did everyone else who attended the banquet. They were easy to make and very affordable! I had some help from my dear friends, Rhonda and Beth! I couldn’t have done it without their help! Beth took some of the pictures and Rhonda came through on some of the supplies.
4×4 wood blocks
Black spray paint
Credit card (or something like a credit card, you probably don’t want to damage a credit card, lol)
1″ sponge brush
Mod Podge (I used glossy)
You can go to any lumber yard or large home improvement store to buy a 4×4 wood post. I was very fortunate that Rhonda’s dad had some leftover posts after making a fence. Cut the wood into an even block. As most folks know, wood posts, planks, etc., are never truly the size they say they are. The are often smaller. So cut the post as close to an even block as you can. Sand down the corners, edges and all the sides. Rhonda’s dad did all the cutting and sanding for me! I couldn’t have made this without his help!
Spray paint the wood block with black paint. I used a cheap can of glossy black paint from the dollar store. Okay, I didn’t use it, the hubby did. He spray painted all the blocks for me ensuring he had an even coat on all six sides.
Print your 4×6 photos on normal copy paper using a laser printer. I of course don’t have one of those at home, I have an inkjet printer (like most folks do). The ink from inkjet printers usually run when any liquid gets on them (including adhesives). Inkjet printers use liquid ink sprayed through microscopic nozzles onto the paper, and laser printers use a toner cartridge (filled with fine powder) and a heated fuser. You can take your pictures to FedEx Kinkos and they will print color on normal paper for under 70 cents a sheet! Again, Rhonda came through and printed my pictures at her work using their laser printer. I also went ahead and cropped my photos down to a 4×4 size and was able to get 4 photos on one 8.5×11 sheet of normal copy paper. I just opened a blank word document and changed the margins to zero. The program auto corrects it to appropriate margins (the smallest margins possible). I then inserted the pictures into the blank document and was able to get 4 photos (4×4 in size) onto one sheet of paper. I recommend cropping your pictures to make it easier to use. Remember, the wood isn’t truly 4×4 in size, it is actually smaller so cropping it to 4×4 size ensures your picture will fit on the wood block.
After the black paint is completely dry, place your block on top of your picture. Using a pen or pencil, outline the block onto your photo. I have the photo upside down drawing on the backside of the photo.
Cut your photo about an 1/8″ inside of the line (so that a little of the black painted wood will become the edge of the photo). You will have to trim each picture this way because again, a 4×4 post is not truly 4×4 in size and your wood block may not be perfectly squared (meaning the sides could be longer than the ends or vice versa).
Using a 1″ sponge brush, brush on a light layer of Mod Podge on one side of the block.
Center your photo on to the block.
Using your credit card, press down the pictures making sure there aren’t any air bubbles and pushing out the excess glue. I used an old bingo card that I didn’t care if it got all scratched up and covered with glue. Allow this to dry for approximately 10 minutes.
Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge with the a sponge brush on the entire side covering over the photo. Don’t panic, it will dry clear and create a glossy finish. Allow to dry for approximately 10 minutes. Apply a second thin layer of Mod Podge. Allow to dry for approximately 10 minutes. Two layers of Mod Podge actually was enough to smooth out the edges of the photo. When you rubbed your finger across, you couldn’t feel the picture sticking out above the block. Repeat all the steps for the remaining 5 sides. After a couple of hours, the photo cube still felt just a tiny bit tacky. I put the photo cube on wax paper and allowed it to dry overnight. It was good to go the next day!
They really turned out beautiful. My picture above isn’t that great thanks to my camera. It has a mind of its own at times but the photos were crisp and glossy even though they don’t look that way in the photo, lol! The blocks don’t have to be perfectly shaped nor do the pictures have to be cut into a perfect square. As with anything home-made, the imperfections make it perfect! This would make a great gift to give to grandparents with the sides filled with photos of their grandchildren! The possibilities are endless and the senior table looked amazing at the banquet with the photo cubes on it!