Did you know that you may dress someone from head to toe in pictures and top it up with photo jewellery? Newly-weds may be given dishes and other utensils with their wedding photos. And you may remind workaholics of their family and friends with photos printed on various tools and gadgets. Especially for you, I listed photo gifts that you have probably never heard of!
Before the times of digital cameras, photo gifts were limited to framed pictures or pictures pasted in albums. Developed photos could also be used to create a collage, but it was still only a decorative 2D object. Once digital cameras have become popular, we have gained access to many more uses of photos.
In the list below, I present the gems I discovered on the Internet. At the beginning of each section, you will find the most popular photo gifts in each category, and in the end those that have taken me by surprise.
Stationery poto gifts
1. Photo book
Owing to modern technology, you no longer have to glue your fingers while trying to create an artistic photo album, and once you have designed your photo book, you may print it in as many copies as you wish and give whomever you want to.
2. Photo Calendar
The same goes for the photo calendar: you need to enter important dates only once, and the editor will save them for subsequent years.
3. Photo card
Instead of looking for the best fitting greeting cards at a stationer’s, you may design them on your own at home.
A real treat for people keeping a diary or writing down their ideas on paper. Each year, I spend a considerable amount of time looking for the perfect thick notebook to keep a family chronicle. Maybe next year I will design it on my own?
A pleasant and practical addition to a book gift, saying, ‘Remember about me when you read it!’. (You may read about other means of personalising bookmarks here).
6. Photo sticker
A great way to mark your property or to substitute your signature on a card, a letter or in a guest book. As regards their gift potential, I have recently found out that kindergarten and school children are crazy about stickers. I believe that if they saw themselves on these stickers, their happiness would swell even more!
Photo gifts for interior decoration
We are finally no longer limited by the available photo sizes. If you need a really big photo (e.g. for the purpose of a hen night game that I described here), you may send it to the printer’s just like any other picture as long as it is of sufficient quality.
Your photo may also take the form of a painted canvas and make a perfect photo gift for a wedding anniversary.
A photo printed on a clock face is probably a picture that is most frequently looked at. The best pictures for this purpose are landscapes or photos with a lot of free space. Make sure the background is not too dark, and the picture’s highlight is not situated in the centre where the clock hands meet.
10. Snow ball
The ball may be used as a paperweight or a chimney decoration. If you give it to grandparents, they may replace the photo each year to rejoice over the growth of their grandchildren.
11. Magnetic board
It’s a perfect gift for all those who like to order their life and surroundings, plan and visualise their ideas. Remember that the picture should only be an ornament and should leave enough place for notes! (If you want to find out how else you may use a magnetic board as a gift, read here).
12. Ceramic flower vase
A white cylindrical vase decorated with a photo is an interesting idea for a wedding anniversary gift. We also have such a vase, but it is made of glass, and our photo – printed at home – decorates it from the inside. As you can easily guess, we only keep artificial flowers in it 😉
13. Christmas decorations
Ceramic plates in the shape of bells, stars, Christmas trees or hearts and glass baubles. You may use this gift idea annually and watch the children on grandparent’s Christmas tree grow!
14. Framed personalised magazine cover
A gift I have already described in more details here. It is perfect for a hen night, a stag night, as well as birthday. The choice of magazines seems unlimited.
15. Personalised journey map
A great way to immortalize a round-the-world trip. While designing the map, you may add any number of places you have already visited or wish to visit as well as pictures taken in these places.
16. Family tree on canvas
Such a family tree seems to be a good idea for the time when a family has temporarily stopped to grow (all the children are grown up, but don’t have their own families yet).
17. Movie poster
This time it’s not your original photo enlarged to poster-size, but an original movie poster with real characters replaced by your pictures and names. Example: ‘When Thomas met Sophie’ poster may be a great wedding gift.
18. Photo crystal, photo granite, photo tin
These strange names refer to decorative objects made of various materials that you may adorn with a photo and give someone as a gift.
Photo gifts for the kitchen
Mugs have already established themselves as popular photo gifts. I especially recommend so called ‘magic mugs’, which show the picture only after they have been filled with a hot drink. (You may read about other types of mugs to be given as gifts here).
Apparently, not only mugs can be adorned with pictures. You may also order frosted, transparent or ceramic vodka or wine glasses.
Mugs and glasses may be completed with a set of plates, where a photo could serve as a reward for eating the whole dinner. Such a plate could be a wonderful gift for a fussy eater, yet I don’t recommend giving it to children because the only plates in the offer seem to be ceramic.
22. Table mat
If you are not opposed to the idea of placing plates on a photo, it could also be a very practical and frequently used gift. I have seen such DIY table mats at a friend’s house. She helped her three children to prepare colourful pictures for their daddy on A3 sheets of paper, laminated them, and gave them to her husband on the Father’s Day.
Another idea for a photo mat, recommended particularly as a house-warming-party gift.
24. Glass cutting board
It seems to be an interesting gadget, but be careful! What you need to take into account is that a knife that hits such a board makes a loud noise. Therefore, I don’t recommend it as a gift for young parents who prepare meals when their children are having a nap.
A magnet may be used to hold shopping lists or other important notes. Why shouldn’t it smile with a photo?
26. Bottle opener
A gift for beer lovers. It will look best with a photo from a barbecue or other party that brings back good memories.
27. Oven glove
The time you spent abroad on the search for souvenirs may be used to take magnificent photos. It is these photos that I recommend printing on the oven glove and giving as a souvenir.
28. Wooden tray
A serving tray adorned with a family photo may be a great addition to the kitchen equipment. It is another excellent gift both for the household members and the relatives whom you dine with only occasionally.
29. Ceramic cookie can or glass jar with a photo on the top
You may fill it with home-baked cookies. After they’re eaten, the recipients (e.g. a child or newly-weds) will be able to fill it with new sweets or use the gift in a different way, e.g. as a container for good memories noted on small sheets of paper. I can also envision it being used during various games at a hen night.
30. Bottle stopper
A reusable bottle cork, i.e. a bottle stopper with a picture.
31. Sink plug
This idea has made it to my top 5 weirdest places to put a photo. My imagination failed me when I tried to think of a possible occasion on which it could be used as a git. Yet I promised myself to search for the most unheard of photo applications, so here it is 😉
Clothes and other textiles + jewellery
You may also print a photo on a shirt and give it to your Super-granny, Super-daddy, etc. You only need to remember that the graphic design should fit into A4 page, and the shirt will unlikely be fit for frequent washing in high temperature.
33. Rompers and body
If it is possible to personalise an adult shirt, why not design a photo outfit for a child.
34. Teddy bear
When discussing textiles,we shouldn’t forget about a photo pillow. It is a very practical gift especially for a dear one living far away.
36. Beach towel
It will look best with a photo from a joint trip to a tropical country, but if you want to experiment, you may also pick a skiing photo 😉
A perfect photo gift for a chilly person.
A photo bag should also be mentioned here. If you want the recipient to use it on a daily basis, think about your choice of picture carefully, and consider adding a funny text.
Most photo gift merchandisers don’t have photo umbrellas in their offer, yet some umbrella producers do.
It can be a cute baptism / first birthday gift.
41. Kitchen apron
Owing to a photo apron, the recipient will never feel lonely in the kitchen. Note! Although the picture on the apron may seem big, also in this case it cannot exceed an A4 sheet.
42. Baseball cap
Remember that a photo printed at the front of the baseball cap will draw attention. If the cap is to be used for a particular sport, you may use a photo that is directly linked to it.
43. Chef’s hat
44. Eye mask
For the tired eyes it will serve as protection against light while the people looking at it may see a soothing picture, a rebuking look or a funny text.
Apparently, elegance does not preclude personalisation ;).
Either for a football fan or for a chilly person. To be personalised at will.
If you really want to, you may dress somebody in photos from head to toes, starting with a baseball cup and finishing with flip-flops.
48. For the car: headrest, wing mirror cover and window curtain
A gift for car-gadgets lover. While others adorn their cars with national flags, the recipient will be able to boast about gadgets with photos showing how he personally supports the national team during important games.
Photo pendants, hair clips, hair-bands, earrings, rings and bracelets of various shapes, sizes and colours will make a beautiful gift for a friend. Lest the men feel wronged, some merchandisers also offer tie pins and cuff links with photos.
Photo gifts for school and work
50. Laptop or notebook case
A personalised case will be a perfect gift for people who often travel with their electronic devices. Given to grandma, it will soon be covered with dust, yet the group of people who cannot part with their laptop for more than an hour is on the rise.
51. Smartphone case
Those that can do with a much smaller smartphone screen may be presented with a personalised photo case. Pre-designed templates help to avoid obscuring the central piece of the photo with the camera lens.
A gift that will be used even more often than table mats. Besides, the mouse never obscures the entire pad and moves all the time. If you want to remind your loved one that there is a life apart from work and that there are other sources of entertainment than computer, this photo gift will be spot-on.
53. Mouse cover
Until recently, I was convinced that photos can only be printed on mouse pads. Yet it turns out that they may also adorn mouse covers.
It will be a practical gift for people commuting to work, as long as they take their lunch with them, as well as for kindergarten and school children.
55. Lesson plan
It may be adorned with a photo of the pupil or the child surrounded with its friends taken at a birthday party or the last school trip. It will be a perfect gift for the beginning of school, as well as for any change of school if it features the child’s friends from the previous one.
56. School bag
An excellent gift for a pupil, as well as a teenager or a college student as long as you choose a photo or picture they’ll like or let them design it themselves.
57. Pencil case
Another interesting gift for a school child, owing to which it may feel a little less lonely in the new environment.
58. Measuring tape, folding measure, padlock
Contrary to appearances, all of these tools may be personalised with pictures: either of the DIY-man or his loved ones, which will remind him that there is a world outside his workshop.
59. Jigsaw puzzles
One of my favourite photo gifts, not least because you may do it yourself. If you want to find out how, read here.
60. Memory game
I have once given the Memory game with our photos to my Husband for the Father’s Day. I could have made it myself, but I knew that our child would also play with it, so I needed to have it durable. Apart from the rather unsatisfactory box, the game serves us very well as a great tool for practising perceptiveness, exercising memory and bringing back good memories.
61. Pack of cards
An excellent gift for card players. Currently, only one picture (or a self-made collage) can be picked to be placed on the back of the cards. I am waiting for the day when I will be able to paste the pictures of my relatives and friends to serve me as kings, queens and knaves.J
An original gift for outdoor fun enthusiasts.
This seems an interesting gift for a boy who has much space at his disposal. A goal with a picture of your choice sized 80 x 50 cm, with two holes and a fitting soft ball will delight any young football fan.
Other photo gifts
64. Piggy bank
Owing to the photo printed on its side, it will remind of the goal and support saving efforts. With the smile of a loved one, it may also reward denying oneself guilty pleasures (sweets, cigarettes…).
65. Key ring
We rarely look at it, but we always have it with us. This usually suffices to feel someone’s presence. Choose a photo with a big silhouette and not many details since it will be very small by default. Some photo key rings also act as flash disks, jackknives or bottle openers.
66. Pocket mirror
A little knick-knack that every woman will find useful. Since a mirror often gets lost or breaks, and it is nice to have one in each bag, it will be highly valued by each grandmother, mother, wife or girlfriend.
Lighteners also frequently get lost, so it is worth having more of them.
68. Portable bag hanger
My first association is grannies comfortably hanging their bags in the church. Yet there are plenty of other occasions when we don’t know what to do with a heavy bag, and we don’t want to drop it on a dirty floor. I recommend this gift in particular for superstitious people who believe that by placing their handbag on the floor they will let their money ‘walk away’.
A photo wallet won’t be mistaken with any other, and the picture placed in it may encourage profitable financial decisions or – as in the case of a photo piggy bank – discourage wasting money foolishly.
70. Pill box
A round metal box with three compartments will come in very handy during a journey. Your photo placed on it will remind the recipient (granny or grandpa) that you care about their health.
You may award someone a medal at the hen party / stag night, wedding anniversary or any other important occasion.
Contrary to what I imagined upon seeing an advertisement in the pastry shop, it will not be a cake with an edible photo made of chocolate or icing, but a cake in a box with the picture on it.
73. Chocolate bar / lollipop
In this case, the photo will be printed either on the chocolate band or on a round sticker placed inside the lollipop’s wrapping. Merchandisers recommend such personalised sweets e.g. as thank-you gifts for wedding guests.
I am curious which photo gifts surprised you most. I was definitely most astonished by the sink plug, the measuring tape and the goal. Have you heard of any other photo gifts? I would love to learn about them, too!
– Remember that photo gifts may be adorned not only with your photos, but also with other pictures you may come up with (e.g. edited photos, photos with added texts, just texts, logos or drawings).