Christmas is a wonderful time of year but it does come with its own stresses and pressures. Buying presents is not cheap and trying to come up with something unique and special Birthday or Christmas Gift can be a big challenge regardless of your budget.
Well, stress no more, as we have the perfect present that you can make yourself and ensure you are the talk of Christmas Day. This gorgeous Christmas Gift is a one-off gift that will make the day of anyone that receives it. It’s the present they won’t be expecting but the one that they will remember above all others.
Below you will find a guide to making this amazing Christmas Gift, that you will be able to personalise for whoever you design it for, maybe it’s for one of the Grandparents or if are like me, you’ll be making a gift with your kids for them to give to mummy, something that’s from the heart but looks good to! Imagine your wife or husbands face as they see the gift and then the joy of your kids when they realise how good a present they made.
The beauty of this gift is that it shows that you care for the person you are giving it to, plus it’s really not as hard to make as you might think! In fact, with our simple step by step guide you’ll have the ability to create not just one plaque but create a different one for each of your relatives. Or maybe make the kids personalised gift to go up in their bedroom, I know both of my children love having things up on the wall that has their own names on!
Above is an example of the finished product that we are about to build together. If you’d like to see what they look like in a real store, click on this link below to get an idea of what a great, personal present you are about to build.
Let’s Build the Cool Christmas Gift!
So, before we get going, let’s gather together all the materials we are going to need, and then we can start going through the step-by-step guide to your own unique Christmas Gift.
Materials & tools needed to build your Christmas Gift
- Black foam board or MDF wood (the size will depend on how many you intend to make!)
- Double sided-tape or spray adhesive
- Photo paper
- Cord or string
- Computer & Printer
- Craft knife
- Hole punch
- Black marker pen
Step 1 – Choose your design(s)
The first thing you need to do is to select the heart design that appeals to you most (remember, you can make more than one so you can use all the designs if you want!). I have created 4 for you to choose from, just click the one you want to start with. Once you have chosen the design, you need to select the family member heart which most appeals to you and download the template. (Hint : Use the left mouse button to download)
Design 1 Dowloads
Design 2 Dowloads
Design 3 Dowloads
Design 4 Dowloads
Step 2 – Load Template
Having picked your design, it’s time to open the website www.pixlr.com/x/, where we are going to add our photo and text to the plaque. You’ll need to open the template which you downloaded in step 1, to do this click on the ‘Open Image’ button as shown in the image below.
Navigate the folders on your device to find where you saved the template and once found, simply double click it, so it will open in pixlr
Step 3 – Add your photo
Next, we will add the photo. On the left panel you will see an icon denoting add image (see example below), simply click on this and browse your device to select the photo you would like to add to the plaque.
Once you selected your image you will be asked to ‘Create new’ or ‘Add currant’. It’s important that you select ‘Add currant’ as in the image below.
By clicking ‘Add current’, your photo will now open onto the top of your plaque so you are ready to start resizing it for the final product.
Step 4 – Resize and Position
Ok, we are now about to resize and position your image or photo into the best place on the plaque. In the example below, I have added an image to show you what it should look like.
Resizing is a simple process, hold the left mouse button down on top one of the blue squares in the corner of the photo and drag inwards until you have it smaller and can move it alongside the heart design. To move the image around, hold the left mouse over the image and drag it to its final position. Once you’ve placed it into the correct position on the plaque, and are happy it’s in line with the heart design, remembering to leave space below the image to add your magical text in.
Step 5 – Adding magical text
You are now about to personalise the plaque with the magical text. Going back to the left hand panel, you will now need to select the text tool which looks like the letter ‘T’ (see the example below) and once selected a box will appear saying ‘Add new text’, which you will need to click on.
Now you need to add your text into the box. You can write whatever you like but remember it has got to fit on the plaque and the more you write, the smaller the text will be. Once you have done this, the text will appear on the plaque. You can reposition just as you did with the image. If you look on the left hand side now, you will have options to change the font colour and size, so have a play around to see what you like – remember this is a personal gift from you, so you can choose whatever you think the person receiving the gift will like.
Step 6 – Save the plaque file
Once you are happy with how the plaque looks, it’s time to save your masterpiece. To do this, click on the big blue ‘SAVE’ button at the bottom of the page. It will open a pop up save screen like the one below. Important – before saving make sure you have selected that the ‘File type’ is JPG and that you have set the quality to 100%, only then should you click the large blue ‘DOWNLOAD’ button.
Step 7 – Printing and cutting out the plaque
It is now time to print off your design. Obviously, everyone has a different printer, the only thing to check is that the printer is set to print the design in the size of 20.5cm x 10.5 cm. If you don’t, it will not fit onto the foam board or MDF. In terms of the type of paper to print onto, you can print this onto any form of printer paper but for the best possible finish I would recommend a semi-gloss photo paper as it gives a stunning finish. This is a brand I use CLICK HERE
Once your image is printed, you will need to carefully cut out the design. It’s important not to rush this and take the time to ensure this looks good.
Step 8 – Selecting and cutting your backing
You now need to choose the type of backing you want for the plaque and cut it to size. As mentioned before, you have two options.
Option 1 – Foam board. This is easier to cut but not as strong.
Option 2 – MDF. This is much harder to cut but will give you a much stronger and firm backing. If you decide to use MDF, note that you can buy pre-cut MDF plaques on Amazon, just CLICK HERE
Whichever backing you decide to use, ensure it is cut to the size 20.5cm x 10.5cm. Once cut, it should look like the examples below.
For the remainder of the steps, I will be using MDF, but apart from step 9, each step is exactly the same if you choose to use foam board.
Step 9 – Colouring or laminating
If you are using MDF, I’d highly recommend painting the back and sides of it black. You could potentially go one step further and purchase some black wood effect laminate, Wilko in the UK sells them, CLICK HERE to look at an example ( Amazon Link) . You can then laminate the back of your plaque and it will add more of a professional look. This is what I have done in the example below. The laminate comes with an adhesive backing, so just stick it on and gave it a trim.
But it’s important to remember these are just extra touches you can apply but it will still look fantastic with just painted MDF and of course if you are using foam board, that will be black already so won’t need these finishing touches.
Step 10 – Mount your design
In this step we are going to mount our design to the MDF or foam board plaque.
You have two options at this stage, choose the one that you have easiest access to. The first is using a spray adhesive, the alternative is to use double-sided tape. In the example below we are using double-sided tape, but if you use adhesive spray, just spray the back of the plaque.
Simply put your double-sided tape over the back of the plaque until it covers it, then trim the edges.
Now pull the tape backing to expose the sticky side and placing your design upside down, place the sticky backing on top of the design and push down. It should look like the example below.
Now you’ll want to trim the edges with a craft knife on a safe surface (not straight onto the dining table!), then flip it over and it should look like the image below but of course with the details you entered.
Step 11 – Punch in the holes
Now it is time to punch some holes into the plaque so that we can add our string or cord. The easiest way to do this is just using a large hole punch as you see in the example below.
Step 12 – Adding the strong or cord
The next step is to add our cord or string, whichever you have chosen to use. Both work really well, but in this example I use thick cord, as I find it looks slightly better. Mine was purchased in a local shop for just £2.99 but is available in most supermarkets or easily purchased online. Cord ( View Amazon best price ) String ( View Amazon best price )
You will now need to thread it through the holes from back to front. If I’m using think cord I would always wrap a bit of tape around the end of the cord, as that helps it go through the hole better, almost like creating the end of a shoe lace, as you’ll see in the example below.
Once you have threaded the cord through the holes, pull it through enough so you can tie a couple knots (just large enough so it cannot come back through) and cut off the ends, so it looks like the example below.
Step 13 – Finishing touches
As a final measure. I suggest going around the edges with a black marker pen, this will hide any white edges of the paper and give it a polished finish.
Before wrapping the present, if you have some clear protective sleeves to keep it safe, that’s a nice extra touch, then you are ready to wrap and make someone’s Christmas Gift!.
Hopefully, that has helped you design a unique and special present for someone close to you. If you have any questions, feel free to put something in the comments below or maybe upload an example of one you’ve done.
If you do struggle for any reason or you simply don’t have the time, then visit our Etsy store and order one that will be homemade and delivered in time for Christmas Gift.