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Viewer Call: How to Make Photo Star Ornaments

Viewer Suzanne Jacob shows how to make your own holiday photo ornaments and give them as gifts.

It was fun speaking with Suzanne "Jake" Jacob of Plainsboro, N.J., on the phone and having her guide me through the making of one of her cardboard and crochet thread ornaments that she has been making for friends and family for years and years and years. I particularly got a kick out of it because I first saw the basic idea when a viewer sent me a similar ornament back in 1977, and I made a bunch of them then. The main difference was that the viewer's ornament was wrapped with yarn and held a picture of a kitten that had been cut from a greeting card. Jake wrapped hers with crochet thread and placed snapshots in the center. She said that some friends have ornaments with photographs of their children that show them from grade school through high school graduation! You can make these any size you prefer, but for hanging on the tree, the 2-1/2-inch squares work well.


two 2-1/2" squares of mat or illustration board (non-bendable)
crochet thread
double-stick tape
small photograph
sequin pins


1. Stack the two cardboard squares on top of each other, lining them up perfectly. Turn the top square one quarter turn to the right. You should have eight points. Note: It is important that all of the corner triangles are the same size. The cardboard pieces must be held together tightly until you get around the squares at least once. It sometimes helps to either tape or staple the squares together so you do not need to worry about them slipping.

2. Push a sequin pin into each corner of each square. This will help to prevent the last wraps of the thread from sliding off.

3. Place the photo in the center and hold in place with your thumb.

4. Tape the end of your crochet thread to the back of the bottom cardboard piece and bring it up at the top right inside corner. Bring it straight down and bring to the back at the bottom right inside corner.

5. Holding the squares tightly together give them one quarter turn to the right and once again bring the thread up at the inside right corner, straight down and to the back at the bottom right inside corner. Continue to wrap in this manner turning and wrapping until you have gone around the entire squares once.

6. At this point you should see if you have positioned your photograph correctly and make any changes necessary. You may want to unwrap everything, tape the photo in place, and start over again. Or perhaps it will be just fine where it is. If so, then just remove one strand and place a tiny piece of tape behind the picture to hold it in place.

7. From this point on you will wrap three times around at each corner instead of just once. It gives an entirely different look to the finished piece. Continue to wrap until you cannot get one more piece of thread around a corner. End by bringing thread to the back and taping to hold. Cut off excess.

8. Insert a hanging loop or ornament wire.

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