Antique-Look Photo Plaques

Yes, I have gotten sucked in to the major time-killer that is Pinterest.  And yes, I have been inspired to do a gazillion different crafty projects… Alas, I actually tried one out!  Here is my tutorial on how to make some simple and inexpensive photo plaques:


Unfinished Wooden Plaques (I made 6.)

Primer (I used Killz)


Wood Stain

Sand Sealer



Mod Podge

The reason I made these the way I did is that we already had all of the paint/stain/lacquer supplies.  You could improvise and make up your own finish to save costs if you’d like.

First, I took these unfinished wood plaques (they cost between $1-2 each at Hobby Lobby; I would’ve liked to make bigger ones and use all square-shaped, but I just got what I could find), and I primed them:

After the primer dried, I painted them a pale cream color:

After that dried, my husband brushed a coat of Sand Sealer on them for me (avoiding the toxic fumes during my pregnancy 😉 ).  Sand Sealer prepares them for the “antique” finish:

Once the Sand Sealer is dry, I sanded on them and roughed them up a bit.  There is no right way to do this.  It is supposed to be random and imperfect!  Pay special attention to the edges, they look the best when sanded and stained!

Once they were sufficiently “roughed up” I applied the stain.  You can use any color of stain your prefer, but I would suggest a relatively dark stain to make the most impact.

It just takes a little bit of stain on a rag.  I simply rubbed it over the entire plaque.

The sanded areas will absorb the stain, while the other areas will just take a wash of the stain, darkening the entire plaque.

Next, I added the pictures (I just had some cheap 4 X 6 and 5 X 7 prints made at Wal-Mart of our most recent family pics).

I chose which picture I wanted to add to which plaque, then cut them down to size:

I would definitely suggest laying them all out on the plaques you plan to apply them to before you begin attaching them.  I changed my mind several times about which picture fit on which plaque best.

Then, I began attaching the pictures to the plaques with Mod Podge:

I put a good coat of Mod Podge on the bottom of the picture, then placed it on the plaque.  I followed with a couple more coats over the top of the picture, taking it to the edge of the face of the plaque.

Once the Mod Podge was dry, I finished the plaques with a coat of lacquer.

Again, this is pretty toxic stuff.  Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area.  You can use a spray lacquer or one that you brush on, but I like the convenience of the spray type.

Once they are all dry, find a place to display them!

Next time, I’d like to do some bigger ones, and stick with the square shape!  Otherwise, they do look really cute hanging in my kitchen, and even match the finish my husband recently put on our cabinets!


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