Easy DIY Photo Display

Wood is the traditional five year wedding anniversary gift and so when our five year anniversary had rolled around my husband did not disappoint. He surprised me with this beautiful wood photo display of our wedding pictures. He had them made by a company called Woodsnap and they do amazing work!



I knew I wanted to preserve more of our special photos in this way, but couldn’t bring myself to take out a second mortgage to display all the photos I wanted. So I found some great DIY examples of how to transfer photos to wood, like here, but that required a laser printer which means a trip to Office Max since I don’t own a laser printer. Which means a minimum of two hours of my day gone.

And sometimes I just don’t have two hours to spare.

I tried another method I saw here, but after my printer and wax paper failed me several times (maybe you’ll have better luck?!), I decided to go another route.

Well, here it is and I’m so excited to show you how easy it is to make a display for some special photos!

Until now I had a whole lot of black picture frames on display. It got to the point where none of the photos stood out because all you saw were masses of black frames.

Not exactly what I was going for.

So I picked out a few special photos, ones I knew I’d want to display forever, and got busy making a way to showcase them.

To make the photo displays I used leftover 1×6 cedar boards. (You could use any type of board you want, this is just what I had on hand)

For the largest display, I used 5, 1×6″ boards cut to 32″ long. I assembled the boards using my kreg jig.

Don’t know what a kreg jig is? You can see here. It’s seriously one of my favorite tools!

I created pocket holes with the kreg jig, clamped the first two pieces of wood and screwed together. I repeated this with the rest of the boards…


…and two minutes later I had the unfinished photo display made!

This is what the back of the display looks like with the pocket holes.


I gave the wood a light sanding then finished it with a ‘weathered’ look. I did this by first white washing the wood by mixing four parts of water to one part white paint. The great thing about whitewashing is you can play around with the proportions to customize the look you want. Try 1:1 or 1:3 proportions if you find you want a little different look.

Here’s what the photo display looked like after one coat of whitewash.


I applied one coat of Minwax Jacobean stain, took a gigantic deep breath and wiped it off almost as quickly as I applied it.

See why I took that deep breath after applying the coat of stain? But after I wiped it off I was breathing a whole lot easier because I love the look it achieved!


It’s an incredibly easy way to make new wood look old!

I chose all black and white photos for a uniform look and applied them using mod podge.

I applied an even layer of mod podge to the back of a photo and carefully placed it onto the photo display.


Once all the photos were in place and the mod podge had dried, I applied an even layer over all the photos and the entire front of the photo display.


Don’t worry, it dries clear.

And gives the finish a unique canvas-like texture.

Once dried, I added pieces of leftover wood lath to the tops and bottoms of the displays using wood glue. I finished the lath strips to match the rest of the photo display.


It’s driving me nuts seeing that excess glue. Don’t worry, you can rest easy knowing it was wiped off right after I took the pic.

I repeated the entire process with the other two smaller displays, attached hanging brackets to the back and now have a beautiful way to display our special family photos!

Other than spending $28 to have my photos enlarged and printed (great excuse for a Target run!) and $6.67 on mod podge, I was able to make the photo display entirely out of leftover wood.


And see that plank wall peeking out behind the photo display? Well, I can’t wait to reveal it to you after the finishes touches are complete. Stay tuned to see where the plank wall was added!

Oh and I probably shouldn’t even mention this (because maybe you didn’t even notice it), but I just have to get it off my guilt ridden chest. Even though I swear to Hannah I measured and centered the photos on the large display, somehow I realized they weren’t quite centered, after of course the mod podge had dried.


If living with people under three foot tall has taught me anything, it’s that perfection is unattainable.

So get busy making some sawdust and building your stockpile of scrap wood! Then make these easy DIY photo displays!



About Amanda

I’m a Minnesota mama of three, wife of one, and human to our 4 legged canine friends Charlie and Jack. I’m a lover of all things DIY, coffee with cream, summer nights at the lake and good craft beer.


  1. This looks wonderful!! I will be revisiting this for gifts to family!! Thanks! #TotallyTerrificTuesday
    Sue at the Little Sahck recently posted…Measuring Up!- (a free kitchen conversion printable)My Profile

  2. I like how you did the wood backdrop for the pictures. You probably did have it centered perfectly :) However when you hang pictures it will give you the optical illusion that it isn’t centered. To compensate you’ll want to leave more room at the foot of the frame. How much room at the bottom depends on the size of the picture.

  3. those are simply beautiful! I am looking for more ways to display pictures and this could be lovely in the right room.

    found this On Display Thursday
    Audrey recently posted…New Orleans Red Beans and RiceMy Profile

  4. What size photos did you use for the smaller display.

  5. This is such a great idea!!! I love this. The pictures are absolutely precious too. Thanks for sharing at the Motivational Monday Link Party!

    Bethany from The Southern Couture
    Bethany @ The Southern Couture recently posted…Mini Pimento Cheese Balls with CrackersMy Profile

  6. Thanks for sharing on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday!! I’ve pinned this too!! Come back again next week and share your stuff!! I love having you!

  7. Absolutely gorgeous. I really love this. Thank you SO much for sharing with us at On Display Thursday!
    Bre @ Average But Inspired recently posted…Glitter Glue Valentines {Free Printable Valentines for Kids!}My Profile

  8. These look great, and your tutorial is really well-done. I think I could try this! :) Thank you for sharing this with us at Treasure Box Tuesday- pinned! :)

  9. P.S. This is one of my features at our party this week- we get started this evening at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time! :)
    Joy @ Yesterfood recently posted…Social Media Weekly 3My Profile

  10. Amanda…We love your photo display and sweet family photos. The tutorial is well presented – makes us feel like we can do it too! We have already pinned this to our group board. Can’t thank you enough for linking up to Something To Talk About Link Party! Hope to see you next Monday :)

    Vicki and Jennifer 2 Bees in a Pod recently posted…Easy Chalkboard Graphics…My Profile

  11. Looks great! Lovely pictures too :) Pinning. Thanks for sharing.

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