You are currently viewing How to Make Personalized Christmas Ornaments with Nostalgic Memories

To express our gratitude for our blessings this year, we chose to create meaningful nostalgic personalized Christmas ornaments.

Certainly, gratitude for family is top on my list.

And what better way to honor and remember your family members than with unique, personalized Christmas ornaments on your tree this year.

Not only will these ornaments help us remember our loved ones, but also will evoke fond memories of those loved ones who are no longer with us and cherish Christmases past.

With this in mind, we hope you’ll follow along and learn how to transfer photos onto an ordinary ceramic tile to create a cherished personalized Christmas ornament keepsake.

Truly, we are grateful to have you here, following along on our blogging journey!

In fact, reading your comments and engaging with you excites us.

In particular, we wish the very best to each of you and your families as we enter the Holiday season of Thanksgiving and celebrating Christ’s birth.

We hope you’ll experience peace, joy and good health and join us in sharing our gratitude for all that have blessed our lives. #GiveThanks

Before we dive into the tutorial, you may also like to see how we made Vintage doorplate ornaments using grandma’s old costume jewelry.

Another quick and easy ornament you need to see are these vintage inspired Cameo Christmas Ornaments.

And if you like to upcycle, you need to see this Christmas decor DIY using toilet paper rolls!

You won’t believe the transformation!

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Personalized Christmas Ornament Supplies:

To create these unique handmade personalized Christmas ornaments you’ll need:

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Do you always feel that you’re running around with your head cut off during the holiday season?

There’s always so much to do!

Not only are there gifts to buy, parties to plan, and Christmas baking on your to do list, but you also want to enjoy the season.

After all it is the most wonderful time of the year.

To help you stay organized this Christmas we’ve put together a FREE printable Christmas planner.

Get a handle on all of your Christmas to-dos early this year.

Just click on the button below to download your planner today!

Cover image for Christmas planner, two decorated Christmas trees with traditional red and white colors.

Video: How to Make Personalized Ornaments

Ornament Base

White arebesque ceramic tiles on a mesh backing

If you’ve been following along for a while now, you know that we like to use things we already have on hand.

These arabesque ceramic tiles were left over from another project and we thought they’d be a darling base for our personalized Christmas ornaments!

Woman's hand holding an arebeque ceramic tile

In order to have plenty of ornaments, we bought a couple more sheets of tiles at Lowe’s.

In fact, the tiles come 15 on a sheet for $8, so that’s pretty reasonable per ornament.

First, pull each tile from the mesh tile backing.

BONUS: Click here for TOP TRENDING Gift Guide!

Prepare Photographs for Personalized Christmas Ornaments

Lazer copies of black and white vintage photos

To create a warm and cozy nostalgic feel this Christmas season, we gathered many old family photos from Christmases past.

Using a digital program, to scan the images and sized them each to a 2 1/2″ square.

Once sized print, black and white or color with a laser printer on regular printer paper.

Woman's hand holding scissors trimming lazer copies of photos to make personalied Christmas ornaments

It should be noted, the images can then be cut to any shape or size.

Most of ours were cut in a circle with a paper punch.

Woman's holding a circle paper punch cutting out lazer copies of vintage Christmas photos for personalized Christmas ornaments

NOTE: The images must be printed with toner for the photo transfer medium to work properly.

If you don’t have access to a laser printer, you can have your photos copied at your local print shop.

Images can be black and white OR color.

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Transfer Photos onto Ceramic Tile

Woman's hands holding bottle of photo transfer medium

After each of the images have been cut to size, we used photo transfer medium by Mod Podge to apply the images to the ceramic tile.

Woman'Woman's hand holding a paint brush applying photo transfer medium to a white arebesque ceramic tile making a personalized Christmas ornament.

First, apply a layer of photo transfer medium onto the front surface of an image.

Then press it into place onto the ceramic tile with the printed image against the tile.

Woman's hands pressing photo transfer to a white arebesque ceramic tile making a personalized Christmas ornament.

Rub the surface to release any air bubbles and wipe off any excess product that may squish out.

Then allow to sit for 24 hours.

Revealing the Photos

Woman's hand holding sponge as she transfers black and white photo to a white ceramic tile for a christmas ornament.

These personalized Christmas ornaments really start to come to life with this next step.

After they have dried for 24 hours, take a wet sponge and ring out as much water as you can.

Then firmly press the sponge in a dabbing motion to penetrate the paper.

Woman's finger rubbing photo transfer as she transfers black and white photo to a white ceramic tile for a christmas ornament.

Allow to sit for 2 minutes.

Then take the sponge, again removing any excess water, gently rub the paper surface in a circular motion.

The paper will start to pull up and peel off of the ceramic tile.

Woman's hand holding completed photo transfer personalized Christmas ornament with black and white photo.

For best results, this step may need to be repeated a few times, removing thin layers of paper at a time.

After working on the first layer, we’d let ours sit for another minute or so.

Then again dab the tile with the sponge, using our fingers, we were able to rub the excess paper off of the tile surface.

NOTE: This process may be easier to see in our video tutorial.

Through trial and error we found that the less wet the paper is in this step we achieved better results.

If the paper was too wet, some of our ornaments resulted in a few torn looking edges.

Which in our case does look kind of cool seeing that we’re going for a vintage feel.

Attach Hanger to Personalized Christmas Ornaments

After each image has been revealed, the hanger for each personalized Christmas ornament can be attached.

We used a large paperclip cut in half to create a loop on the top edge for ribbon. Initially we used gorilla glue to attach each paperclip, but that didn’t adhere well enough to hold the weight of the tile.

So then we used E6000 adhesive, which worked much better! Finally, allow it each to dry for 24 hours.

Another option for creating a hanger for your personalized Christmas ornament would be to drill a small hole at the top of the tile with a ceramic tile bit.

Then a small cord or monofilament line can be threaded through the hole.

Embellish Personalized Christmas Ornament

Woman's hands tieing ribbon to the personalized Christmas ornament. Black and white imate of little girl sitting on Santa's lap on a white arebesque ceramic tile

Last but not least, we embellished our personalized Christmas ornaments.

First we looped a piece of white satin cord through the paperclip to create a hanging loop.

Then we embellished each with a little red ribbon.

The Best Sentimental & Personalized Christmas Ornaments

Completed personalized Christmas ornament of black and white vintage photo on ceramic tile hanging on Christmas tree

Creating these personalized Christmas ornaments are really pretty simple.

However, they do require a bit of wait time because of the cure time for the photo transfer medium and glue. 

Overall, I must say I LOVE the way they turned out.

Not to mention the fact, that they’ve become quite a conversation piece around my Christmas tree.


They looks so beautiful on my Christmas tree and would also be great package topper.

And who wouldn’t love to receive a few of these heirloom personalized Christmas ornaments as a gift this year.


Certainly these personalized sentimental Christmas ornaments are a treasured keepsake!

Personalized Christmas Ornament decorate the flocked trees. A peddle fire truck is placed in front of the tree with Christmas pillows.

You’ll find more ideas for decorating your Christmas tree with a cozy traditional feel here.

And for more decorating ideas for your home this Christmas see my Christmas home tour.

Also you’ll want to check out Steph’s family room decorated for Christmas.

She has definitely put her personality into decorating her home for Christmas!

If you’re looking for some festive ideas for your yard then you’ll want to see the best outdoor Christmas decorating ideas made easy.

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Looking for more DIY ornament ideas, then see how to make stunning Glitter Ornaments.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial for making these personalized Christmas ornaments. 

Please comment below and share how you would like to use them this Christmas.

We’d love to know if you have other ideas using tiles for Christmas ornaments too.

Of course, we are always look for new and creative ideas to decorate our homes for Christmas.

If you’re new here, WELCOME! We love having new readers and friends!

You can learn more about us here.

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Thanks for stopping by and as always here at Sunny Side Design 


Pinterest image, personalized Christmas ornament hanging on a white flocked tree with red plaid flannel ribbon.

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