DIY Christmas Gift Ideas - Puzzle Piece Picture Frame


*This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience.

When I was in the classroom, I would help my students to make a DIY gift to give their parents for Christmas.  I always tried to do something that was low cost and relatively easy to make at school.  One of my favorite gifts was the puzzle piece picture frames.  There are so many ways to personalize this and it is a great way to reuse puzzles that have pieces missing.  After doing this with my daughters (good thing their grandparents don't read this blog - Christmas Gift SPOILER Alert!), I love it even more because it is totally manageable for preschoolers and toddlers but also something second graders can do and have fun with.  
This DIY Christmas gift idea is the perfect craft for kids to make for their family members.  I love the different colored puzzle pieces on the picture frame!

This post may contain affiliate links for your shopping convenience. View our full disclosure policy HERE.

Supplies Needed:


Puzzle pieces (use old puzzles that you have or grab some from a dollar store)
Acrylic Picture Frames 5x7 or 4x6 size
Washable Kids Paint
Paintbrushes or Foam Sponges
Kwik Stix Paint Sticks (less mess)  (the Metalix ones turned out the best)
Fine Glitter (optional)
Fast Grab Tacky Glue
Pictures of student or artwork/writing piece to put in the frame


The quantity of puzzle pieces needed depends on how big your pieces are.  We used a 650 piece puzzle and the pieces were about 1 1/4" long.  For a 4x6 frame we used about 25 pieces and a 5x7 frame was about 30 pieces.  When I did this project with my second graders, we did a couple layers of puzzle pieces so they were really overlapping.  Decide the look you want when you are estimating the amount of pieces needed.  

This DIY Christmas gift idea is the perfect craft for kids to make for their family members.  I love the different colored puzzle pieces on the picture frame!
 We spread out the puzzle pieces and turned them over so that the brown cardboard side was showing.  I gave each girl a paper plate with one color of paint and a sponge brush.  I figured this way it wouldn't turn into a mixing paint activity and instead we would end up with green, red, white and blue pieces.
This DIY Christmas gift idea is the perfect craft for kids to make for their family members.  I love the different colored puzzle pieces on the picture frame!
I'm not going to lie, painting this way got a little messy.  Mostly because my 3 year old loves sensory activities and touching everything so she finds a way to make it about painting her hands whenever possible.
This DIY Christmas gift idea is the perfect craft for kids to make for their family members.  I love the different colored puzzle pieces on the picture frame!
I added a little amount of glitter to some of the pieces while they were wet to give them a little something extra.  I like including blue and white because then it can be more of a winter/snow gift which is great for students who don't celebrate Christmas.  They can still participate and create something for their parents without it being exclusively Christmas gifts.
This DIY Christmas gift idea is the perfect craft for kids to make for their family members.  I love the different colored puzzle pieces on the picture frame!
We let these dry and I figured we were done with the painting part.  The next day, my 4 year old asked if we could make more but since I didn't want to deal with painting body parts, I got out our Kwik Stix tempera paint sticks.  You can read about our love of these easy, low mess painting sticks HERE and HERE.  I had a total DUH moment.  Why didn't I get these out the day before?  It took a little bit more time to paint each piece, but it was a much smaller mess with the same results.
This DIY Christmas gift idea is the perfect craft for kids to make for their family members.  I love the different colored puzzle pieces on the picture frame!
I loved how the Metalix Kwik Stix turned out because there was a little shimmer to them and they didn't need the glitter at all. A few colors needed an extra coat to cover up the brown cardboard.
This DIY Christmas gift idea is the perfect craft for kids to make for their family members.  I love the different colored puzzle pieces on the picture frame!
Once the pieces were dry I pulled them out and left them sorted by color.  We talked about different color combinations that we could do for Christmas - red/green, red/white, white/blue.  My girls instantly wanted to do it as a pattern.  I'm telling you, they are obsessed with patterns right now.  I figured gluing the pieces would be hard for my 3 year old but she actually did better than her sister who was in a mood that day and didn't want to cooperate.
This DIY Christmas gift idea is the perfect craft for kids to make for their family members.  I love the different colored puzzle pieces on the picture frame!
I put Fast Grab Tacky Glue around the frame and let the girls stick the pieces on.  You could use hot glue but I wanted to make it something the girls did, not me.  Plain old glue would work too but this tacky glue really holds onto the pieces right away and you don't have to wait for it to completely dry before you can move it around.  In the classroom, I think we used Elmer's glue and then had to wait for them to dry flat so we didn't have pieces sliding off.
This DIY Christmas gift idea is the perfect craft for kids to make for their family members.  I love the different colored puzzle pieces on the picture frame!
I loved how quickly we glued these pieces on.  With my 1st and 2nd graders we added a second layer of puzzle pieces on top that overlapped so you don't see the spaces in between the puzzle pieces.  It is totally up to you and how many puzzle pieces you have if you want to do that.  You can even get fancy and turn the pieces into Christmas trees and snowflakes.

I printed out pictures of the girls from our Christmas card photo shoot.  Some of them I backed with colored cardstock to add more color.  If you are doing this in the classroom, you could take pictures of each student with a specific backdrop or props.  You could also not use a picture at all and instead include a piece of artwork, a handwritten letter or a poem.  If you want to do artwork or something written, these acrylic frames also come in 8 1/2" x 11" size.  Just depends on your budget and what you want your end result to look like.

Happy Crafting!!!!

No comments

Back to Top