Creative Photo Mugs

Learn how to make these easy and inexpensive photo collage cups

creative party favors

Make your own photo mugs right at your computer. When we were planning our first high school graduation party, I was wracking my brain for a small gift/favor for all the graduates. I had seen photo mugs at the kiosks at the mall, but they would have run about $15.00 a mug minimum and I needed at least 40! YIKES! So, I started searching the web. I came upon these great snap-in steins that companies use for promotional give-aways. Their logo is inserted. I looked at them on the sites and thought, I could make a collage of all the graduates and insert those instead! Thus, the photo mug idea was born. That first year, I made about 10 different photo mug collages so I could make sure all the graduate guests were in a collage. They were such a hit, that our friends asked if there were any extras or if I could make them one. I knew I had a super idea if both the kids and the parents were loving these photo mugs!


Step 1 Get these Snap-in steins. These have worked the best for this project as they are big enough to fit lots of pictures. They are also available as coffee mug size too. Best of all, they are plastic, so no worrying about them breaking during the party! Even if you don't need 50.. buy them. You will find lots of uses for them as gifts throughout the year. You can make these cups for Mother's Day, as a Sports Award Banquet favor or as a way to personalize any special occasion.

You can order these 16 oz Snap Photo Steinsdirect from Amazon.

Step 2 Make your collage. First go through your digital photos and find at least 10 per collage. If you don't have any, ask the kids. They have a zillion pictures on their computers. Either ones that they have taken or they tag them from Face Book. They can email you a file of whatever you need.

Once you get your file of photos together on your computer, I use Microsoft Publisher or Power Point to make the collage. The collage is made with Page Set Up to "Landscape". The dimensions of the collage are: 9.25" wide and 5.75" tall. This is important, if you make your collage any bigger, you will lose some of the photos when you insert it into the mug. Just hit the Insert Icon from the toolbar, go to the file with the photos and insert. You can resize (rescale) and crop them to get them to fit. Make sure if you are resizing that you do not distort the photo. I always use the "rescale" option so that doesn't happen.
If you are feeling a little "computer challenged" on this project, a word of advice. Ask your kids for help. It is unbelievable what they learn in their computer classes. My seventh grade niece is a whiz at Power Point.. so don't be put off if you feel you are not "computer literate" enough to attempt this project. Trust me, you'll do it once and you become a pro!

Here are some of my past "collages"!

As you can see.. there's so much you can do! Add clip art, logos and personalize the photo mug even more! Our family favorite has always been the "friends photo mug" with the logos of their colleges that I made for the high school graduation parties.

Step 3 You're almost done. Print these on your color printer and trim off the excess paper. I use white card stock to make them. It is about the half the price of photo paper and they come out great. You can get it at any craft or office supply store. If you want, you can actually laminate them before you insert them. I use GBC Self Seal laminating sheets from Office Depot. Do not use a laminating service, the paper will not bend when you go to insert. These sheets are like high quality contact paper and do the trick.These cups are not meant to go into the dishwasher. I will tell you that ours have accidentally been put in over the years and thanks to this laminating, they have not been ruined.

Step 4 Assemble your photo mugs. The mugs come with a clear lucite outer mug which includes the handle. Then there is a white center piece that is the actual drinking cup. Take your collage and fit into the clear outer mug. Make sure it is pushed down all the way to the bottom and is properly center. Also check that none of the photos on the end will be obstructed by the mug handle. Once the mug is assembled, you cannot re-open it to make any changes to your collage position.Now, find a hard surface like a countertop. If you do this on a wood table, make sure you place cardboard underneath so you do not ding or dent your tabletop. You're ready now to insert the white center piece. Place it inside the clear mug and check to make sure your collage did not move. Then using the heels of both hands, push it in hard. You will hear a "swoosh" as it clicks into the clear outer mug. This is a vacuum seal. You're DONE!! Doesn't it look great?
Here are some I made for the Univ. of Michigan boys.

sports team gifts

What would you make these creative photo mugs for?

Look at how one of our creative visitors made these as gifts for her team and gifted them at the  End Of Season Team  Awards Banquet

More FUN ideas for  photo mugs

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