Easy 1-2-3 “Frame” Ornament

Do you have a photograph of someone special?

Perhaps it's of a grandchild, loved ones, a beloved pet, or a memorable vacation spot.

With these easy instructions, that photo can become the focal point of a beautiful Christmas ornament.

This is a photo transfer of my parents' 1954 wedding photo.



and back.


The Easy 1-2-3 "Frame" Ornament, is very much like the Easy 1-2-3 No-Sew Ornament, with a few changes.

Easy 1-2-3 "Frame" Ornament

By Diane Worden

The Lookout Mountain Quilter, LLC ©2018

You will need:

Choose two fabrics that coordinate, but, are distinct from one another. (Fat quarters work well for this project.)

Photo Transfer paper. You will need to make two photos, one for the front and one for the back. If only one photo on the front is desired then, choose a third coordinating fabric for position A on the back of the ornament.

3” Styrofoam ball (the kind with a rough exterior, not the smooth, hard kind)

Dressmaker Pins 1 1/16” long. Appx 150 pins per ball

A thimble

1/8”wide satin ribbon (a color to blend with the fabrics; or cream colored) (appx. 3’, cut into three 12” sections) (For this tutorial, I'm using black ribbon, just so you can see it better.)

½” – ¾” wide ribbon, appx. 11”

Follow the manufacturer's  instructions for transferring your photo. Make sure that your photo is at least 3" square, with the focal point within 2 1/2" from center on all sides or fussy-cut a 3" motif from your fabric of choice. (Like the baby Jesus in the Nativity toile  used in the example.) This will be used for the center (A), Choose two coordinating fabrics, one for the middle (B), and one for the outside (C) rows. (In this tutorial, the Fabric A section is the transferred photo or motif, Fabric B is a blue, and Fabric C is a blue/white Nativity Toile print.)

Cutting: (If using strips.)

From your photo transfer paper or chosen fabric motif, cut two 3" squares with the focal point centered. (For ornaments with only one photo on the front, cut four 1 1/2" squares of Fabric A.)

From fabric B, cut one 2” strip. Sub-cut into sixteen 2” squares.

From fabric C, cut two 3” strips. Sub-cut into sixteen 3” squares.

(If using fat quarters.)

(Cut four 1 1/2" squares of Fabric A if using only one photo.)

From fabric B, cut two strips 2” x 18”. Sub-cut each into 2” squares. Total 16 squares.

From fabric C, cut three strips 3” x 18”. Sub-cut each into 3” squares. Total 16 squares.

Preparing the supplies:

Stack all fabric B squares exactly on top of one another. Wrong side up.

Stack all fabric C squares exactly on top of one another. Wrong side up.

(Fabrics in the photos above and below are from The Easy 1-2-3 No-Sew Ornament tutorial. The folding, stacking, and pinning process is the same for both.)

Fold the top square of stack C vertically and horizontally to find the center. Place the square back onto the stack, wrong side up. Insert a pin in the center all the way through the stack.  Wiggle the pin in the stack to slightly enlarge the hole. Leave the pin IN the stack. Set aside. Repeat the process with stack B, and, if applicable, stack A.

Prepare the Styrofoam ball:

1. Pin one 12” section of the 1/8” ribbon around the center of the Styrofoam ball.  Overlap the ends appx. 1/2". Trim and pin in place.

2. Lay another 12” piece of 1/8” ribbon cross-wise to the first ribbon and pin it around the center of the ball. Do not place the pins in the center of the crossed ribbons, but, rather off-set them as shown below.

This makes a ribbon X on opposite ends of the ball. Make sure the ribbons are spaced evenly apart on the sides.

3. To find the center of the photo squares, remove the paper backing and fold the photo in half vertically. Lightly crease the fold. Fold it in half horizontally and lightly crease it.

4. Insert a pin in the center of the RIGHT side of the photo.

Insert the pin into the center of the crossed ribbons on the Styrofoam ball. The center pin will be removed later, but, for now, leave it in.

5. Align the folds with the ribbons on the top, bottom, and sides. Pin all four sides in place, smoothing as needed.

Pin the four corners in place, again smoothing as needed.  Any edges of the photo square that are not smooth will be covered by fabric squares.

6.  Take a pin from the box and a fabric square from stack B. Insert a pin from the wrong side into the center hole.

7. Measure 3/4" from the center pin, straight down along the ribbon. Insert the pin with Fabric B at the 3/4" mark. Fold the fabric square in half.


8. Fold down the corners to the center. Align the center line of the triangle with the ribbon, and pin in place. Two pins at the center and one at each of the side corners, as in the second photo below. Notice that the raw edges of the triangle don't line up perfectly? That's okay. The triangle shape is what matters. The uneven, raw edges will be covered later.

(This photo is from the Easy 1-2-3 No Sew Ornament. The pins are easier to see on the gold fabric

9.  Repeat Steps 6, 7, and 8 on opposite the first triangle and on both sides, lining up the center fold of the triangles with the ribbons..

10.  Insert a pin into the center of another stack B square. Measure 3/4" from the center to between the points of two previous triangles. Insert the pin halfway between these two triangles. fold the square into a triangle as before and pin. Repeat Step 10 three times. Remove the pin from the photo's center.

11. Take a square from stack C. Insert a pin into the center hole on the wrong side as before. Measure down about 1/2" from the center tip of the first B triangle and insert the pin. Fold down both corners to the center to form a triangle as before. Pin each center fold and both corners.

12.  Repeat Step 11 until all eight Fabric B triangles have a Fabric C triangle folded and pinned in them.

13. Repeat Steps 3 though 12 on the back of the ball.

14. If you do not want to have a photo on both sides of your ornament, follow Steps 3 through  19 of The Easy 1-2-3 No-Sew Ornament for the back of this ornament.

The side of your ornament should look something like this.

19. Trim the corners of the last row of triangles slightly so that they do not go past the center (vertical equator) of the ornament.


20. Take the ½” or ¾” wide ribbon, and, beginning appx. 1/4” past the center of one triangle, pin the end in place. (I made my own "ribbon" by cutting a 1" by 10" strip of fabric and folding the long sides into the center and pressing.)



21. Snugly wrap the ribbon around the center of the ball, covering all of the exposed fabric edges and pins. Cut the ribbon appx. 1/4” - 3/8"  past center. Fold under the raw edge and pin in place. I put two pins in the ribbon on the opposite side of the "equator" to hold the ribbon in place.



22. Take the last 12” section of 1/8” wide ribbon, and make a loop for hanging by tying the cut ends in a knot. Pin the loop in place.