8 Simple, DIY Photo Collage Gift Ideas


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Technology is something of a blessing and a curse when it comes to photographs. People can take great photos right from their smartphones. But these photos often stay on phones or online and never end up getting printed out.

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Photo collages can be a perfect excuse to get these photos off your phone and into the real world. They're also a great way to give new life to old photos you don't know what to do with. Here, we break down some fun ideas for DIY photo collages you can give as gifts.

Photo Collage Gift Ideas for a Partner or Spouse

When you’re in a relationship with someone, it can be fun to look at photos taken throughout the course of your time together. Couples all change and grow both as individuals and as a pair.

While you might know that intellectually though, it’s different to see it all laid out in front of you. Put together thematic couple photo collages to celebrate how much your relationship has grown over time.

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1. Romantic photo collage featuring photos from throughout the relationship 

What you’ll need: LED light strand with photo clips, sticky putty, an assortment of photos from throughout your relationship

How to execute it: This photo collage has it all. It looks elegant and romantic. It has a sweet nostalgia to it. It tells the story of your relationship.

And it’s very inexpensive to pull off! You can order LED string lights with photo clips from websites like Amazon for under ten bucks. Collect photos from throughout your relationship. You can print your photos from Facebook and Instagram. Some websites will frame your photos to look like Polaroid-style prints for as low as $0.37 a print. This adds cool retro flair to your design.

Once everything has arrived, hang the light strands up on the wall. Then hang the pictures up on the photo clips in chronological order from the beginning of your relationship to the present day.      

2. Photo magnet collage

What you’ll need: Magnets with adhesive on one side, photos printed to fit magnets

How to execute it: Want to put together a sweet photo collage on a budget? You can make your own refrigerator magnets featuring photos of you and your partner. You can get magnets with adhesive on one side, and place photos on the sticky side. Mount them on your refrigerator.

As a bonus, get a set of magnetic poetry to display on your fridge, too. You and your partner can write each other silly love poems to go along with your magnet collage.   

Photo Collage Gift Ideas for Mom or Dad

If you’re of a certain age, your parents have probably embarrassed you in front of a date by dragging out your childhood photo albums. Parents just get a kick out of showing off the cutest and/or most embarrassing photos of their progeny. Indulge in their love of nostalgia by putting together a DIY photo collage as a gift for them.

As a bonus, you can pick out the best photos of yourself - and the most awkward ones of your siblings. 

3. Holiday photo compilation

What you’ll need: Family holiday photos from over the years, large collage-style photo frame  

How to execute it: There are two kinds of families: those who take family photos for holiday cards, and those who don’t know how those other families get it together every year. If you fall into the first group, gather up some of the best family holiday photos from years past.

Arrange them in a large photo collage frame. This is a super simple photo collage to pull together, and it makes a perfect holiday gift for parents.  

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4. Family tree photo collage

What you’ll need: Large tree-shaped wall decal, list of immediate (and possibly extended) family members, several sheets of wall decals of letters of the alphabet, an assortment of family photos, picture frames for all the photos, hooks for hanging pictures

How to execute it: This is a pretty intensive project, that actually requires redoing a wall in your parents’ home. So you should definitely clear it with one of them in advance to make sure they think the other parent will appreciate it. You’ll also need a few hours to install this. But if you can pull it off, it’s really something spectacular. 

To make it work, you’ll need to apply the large tree decal to the wall. This forms the base for your family tree. Frame photos of the family members you wish to include in the family tree and hang them up near the branches.

Then, apply the alphabet decals under each photo to spell out the family member’s name. This is more than just a photo collage: it’s a major decorative statement. But it is still eminently DIY-able. 

Photo Collage Gift Ideas for a Birthday, Graduation, or Another Milestone

When we hit important milestones in our lives, we sometimes like to look back at the moments that have gotten us to our present place in life. When people celebrate birthdays, graduation, or other milestones, photo collages make a great gift. They allow the recipient to remember the moments leading up to their achievement.

5. Birthday photo collage decor

What you’ll need: An assortment of photos of the birthday person, sticky putty for hanging them  

How to execute it: Want to infuse a birthday celebration with nostalgia? Incorporate photos right into the decor. Collect printed photos featuring the birthday person.

Depending on how big you want to make this collage, you may need hundreds. Be sure to reach out to friends and family members to get their help collecting copies you can use. Make sure they know they won’t be getting them back.

Stick some kind of putty, tape, or adhesive to the back of each photo and stick them directly to the wall. Arrange the numbers so they spell out the age of the birthday person.

If your friend is turning 21, you can arrange some of the photos in a giant wall collage in the shape of that number. You can also gift the birthday person with an empty photo album and allow them to collect as many photos as they want from the mural to hang onto as a memento.  

6. Graduation photo collage in digital frame

What you’ll need: An assortment of photo files from throughout the graduate’s life, digital photo frame

How to execute it: Even the least crafty person can make this simple gift work. Collect photos of the graduate from the course of their life. Include photos of them with friends and family members.

Load them into a digital photo frame. This gift takes up very little space, so it can accompany them to a dorm room. It’s a great way to compile hundreds of memories in a way that won’t take up too much room. 

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Memorial or Funeral Photo Collage Gift Ideas

When a friend or family member passes away, it can leave a huge void in everyone’s lives. It’s difficult to wrap your mind around the absence of someone who has been an important part of your life.

Many people cope by going back and revisiting images of their loved ones from throughout their life. Mourners at funerals and memorial services can get some comfort from photo collages of the deceased. Here are some ideas to make tasteful DIY photo collage tributes.

If you're interested in other unique ways to honor a loved one, you can consider a custom urn from a store like Foreverence or even have a memorial diamond made from ashes with a company like Eterneva.

7. Memorial photo collage board

What you’ll need: A large piece of foam core board, decorative cardstock, photos of the deceased 

How to execute it: When people pass away, it’s fairly common to have some sort of photo tribute to them at their funeral or memorial service. Many funeral homes will put something like this together for you if you provide them the photos, but it often comes with a hefty price tag. You can still put together an elegant photo tribute on a budget.

Get a sturdy piece of foam core board (poster board is too flimsy). Cut decorative cardstock to serve as backing for the photos you feature. Cut the cardstock so about an inch is visible around each side of the photograph, so it looks like it’s framed. Use the spray adhesive to mount the photos to the cardstock, and then mount the framed photos to the foam core board. 

8. Online memorial photo collage

What you’ll need: An internet connection, a social media account, and photos from your friends and family

How to execute it: When someone dies, it’s not always possible for everyone to travel to a funeral or memorial service. But you don’t have to be in the same location to come together and celebrate someone’s life.

Set up a closed Facebook group or memorial website. Let people submit photographs of the deceased from throughout their lives. Crowdsourcing images like this can give people a whole new insight into their late loved one.

Categorize all images you collect into an online photo collage or slideshow. It will serve as a kind of digital memory book that can be accessible to all. 

Simple DIY Photo Collages for Any Occasion 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So a photo collage must be worth at least a novella. A photo collage is more than just an art piece. It can tell a story.

It might be the story of a couple’s relationship. It might be a story of someone’s accomplishments. Or it might tell the story of a life well-lived. These simple DIY photo collages can make an already momentous occasion even more memorable. 

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