Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday - Photo Marbles

This week's tutorial comes to us from Tricia at HowSweeterItIs:

Have you ever seen a fridge without a photo on it? They are kind of sad and lonely-looking.

Here's a way to spice up your fridge! These would make great gifts for Dad on Father's Day, for a high school grad moving away from home, or for your kids' teacher to say Thank You!

What you need to make Photo Marbles:

digital photos
printer paper
clear, flat marbles*
Mod Podge
paint brush
magnets (make sure they're smaller than the marbles)
hot glue gun or superglue

*Note on the marbles: I got mine in the floral section of Michael's but they're also available here and here. Pick any size you want, but make sure they're clear and not iridescent. See the difference here? The two on the left are iridescent and the two on the right are clear:

First you'll need to figure out how big your photos need to . Using a photo editing program, do a trial run (or two) and print some small, cropped photos. Make sure the whole face fits under the marbles!

Then, print up a page full of the correct size photos. If you're making this for a gift, you can keep it a surprise by "borrowing" pictures from their Facebook page. (Since the printed size is so small, even low quality/small photos work great for this project--just make sure the color and lighting are decent.)

Now you're going to cut the photos to fit the marbles. I like to just hold the paper in place while I cut. You could also trace an outline but it takes longer and I tend to be a lazy crafter sometimes. We don't need perfection here. =)

Time to Mod Podge. Paint a thin layer of Mod Podge on your marble, then lay your photo right-side down onto the glue. Press down firmly to adhere photo to marble and look at the front to make sure there aren't globs of glue anywhere. Try not to move the photo around after you lay it on the glue (if you move it too much, the color from the printer ink will start to smudge), just press straight down.

If the photo edge extends past the marble, trim it up. Then Mod Podge another thin layer and lay upside-down to dry.

Now it's time to add the magnets. I put a dollop of hot glue on one side of the magnet and adhere it to the back of the photo marble.

Side note on the magnets: I used super-strong magnets which was probably a mistake. Since I was mailing them as gifts and packaging them together, the magnets kept getting stuck together and the magnets were coming unglued. An obvious solution is to not buy the super-strong ones. Or you can put them in a magnetic box or on a magnetic strip when mailing so they stick to that and not each other.

All done!

Think about all the other things you could do with these marbles:
  • Use patterned cardstock and make cute generic magnets to have on hand for a quick and easy gift
  • Print up the letters of the alphabet in a cute, easy-to-read font for kids to practice spelling
  • Use photo marbles to hold up important papers for each member of the family (a fridge filing system?)
  • Buy giant marbles and make paperweights or coasters
  • Print words and your families' names and make your own set of "magnetic poetry"
Originally posted HERE by HowSweeterItIs.

Thank you for stopping by! I hope to see you next week for another great tutorial from the SAHM of Etsy Team!

Monika, My Lovebug Baby


  1. Thank you so much for posting my tutorial for the other SAHMs of Etsy!

  2. These are awesome -- I'm thinking Christmas gifts for great-grandparents! Thanks for sharing! -Cori