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Painted Photo Portraits | Last-Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

Painted Photo Portraits

Total Time Needed: 1 Hour

With our clever tracing technique, your kids can turn any family photo into a realistic painting, creating a picture-perfect present in the process. We used vellum, which is sturdier and more elegant than tracing paper and is sold by the sheet or the pack at many craft stores.


  • 8- by 10-inch photograph or print of a digital image
  • 8 1/2- by 11-inch sheet of vellum
  • Masking tape
  • Pencil
  • Paintbrush
  • Acrylic paints
  • Craft glue
  • White paper


  1. On a sunny day, tape the photograph to a light-filled window and then tape the vellum over the photo. Using a pencil, trace the photo, making the picture as detailed as you'd like, then remove the tracing from the window.
  2. To paint each person in the photo, apply the skin color first. When dry to the touch, add facial features and clothing. Once dry, fill in the background.
  3. Glue the portrait to a sheet of white paper and slip it into a frame.