Fun Photo Gifts Made with Adobe Photoshop Elements

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My daughter and I have been playing around with the Adobe Photoshop Elements software this past month.  You may recall, Adobe Photoshop Elements was highlighted in our Top 10 Tech Christmas Gift Ideas for Moms.

Smartphones make it so easy to capture the moment, in fact many moments.  If you’re like me you have thousands of wonderful (and not so wonderful) pictures on your computer, filed away in neat little folders.   But after they are digitally filed away, how often do you see them? 

With the kids out of school, my daughter and I decided to work on a couple of crafts together to utilize some of our favorite pictures we’ve taken over the years.  With some craft supplies and ideas given to us by Adobe, we created some fun projects, adapted with our own sense of style and whimsical approach.

Now here’s the thing.  I’ve dabbled around in the new Adobe Photoshop Elements software enough to see what it’s capable of.  In fact, to test it out thoroughly, I enhanced a number of pictures.  But to achieve the real possibility of what’s possible, it’s best to have a project in mind, so we created these fun photo gifts.


Fun Photo Gifts

My kids are great at creating made-at-home gifts, so these projects were right up their alley.  Here are the fun photo gifts we created…


Frameworthy Puppies

For Christmas last year, we got the kids two puppies, they’re sisters.  We named the pups Piper and Curly, they are Maltipoos and bring us a lot of fun and laughter.  


My daughter took this picture of the pups last year.  I left my chair to get something and Piper took my seat.  We now call her a “dog with a blog,” since she swiped my seat at the computer.

We love the way the pups look in this photo so we thought we’d frame them separately.  To do this, we used Adobe Photoshop Elements’s “Replace Background Effect” guide to select each dog to separate her from the rest of the picture. 


The Auto-select tool made it fairly easy, but we had to use the Refine tool to clean up the selection to make sure we captured just what we wanted.


After removing the background, we changed the background to black so our white pups’ pics would pop more.


photo gifts

Then we took plastic photo frames and spray painted them with a template for a unique design to dress them up.  Now each of our kids has a fun picture of their favorite pup.


Lighted Picture Cube

photo gifts

For this project, we used the Shape Overlay guide to place a heart over the picture of my in-laws and turn the rest of the picture into black and white.  We printed their picture on clear sticker paper, adhered it to a glass block, and added lights inside. 


photo gifts

For an added artistic element, we added a piece of paper with crisscrosses behind their picture.  Nice sentimental photo gifts my mother-in-law will enjoy.



A friend of mine told me about her Christmas card of her family.  She couldn’t get her two sons home from college so she had a friend photoshop one son in.  They left space in their family portrait so this could be done more easily. 

When her Christmas card arrived in our mailbox, our whole family couldn’t wait to see who could spot which son was photoshopped.  It was so hard to tell.

Now we can do the same thing with Photoshop Elements.  I was bummed that our Christmas card this year didn’t include our two puppies, as it was taken when we were on vacation.  But next year, I’ll just photoshop them in!  


Ideas for Using Photoshop Elements

  • Photos:
    • adding a person missing from a photo
    • cropping out distractions from a photo
    • replace backgrounds
    • open eyes
    • restoring ripped or old photos
    • adding artistic effects like watercolor, neon glow, dry brush, and more
    • adding a shape or text
    • creating a collage
    • and way more!


  • Photo Projects/Crafts: 
    • photo bookmark
    • Christmas, birthday, and other greeting cards
    • DVD or CD cover
    • photo albums/scrapbooks
    • photo slideshow
    • recipe cards
    • name tags
    • stickers
    • framed pictures
    • coloring pages

And so many more photo gifts.  See Digital Photo Guide for more fun ideas.


Adobe Photoshop Elements is available from Amazon for $67, including free shipping.




A Mom’s Perspective

Adobe Photoshop Elements was created with the home user in mind.  With its new Guided tutorials, the software tells you what to do with your picture one step at a time.  This makes it so much easier and less overwhelming. 

And you can zoom in on your picture easily to clean up small blemishes or sharpen the edge of a person (or puppy) that you removed from a picture.  While I will admit Photoshop Elements is not for the lighthearted, it certainly is an amazing tool to correct and enhance photos, and so much easier than Adobe Photoshop.

Photoshop Elements opens up so much possibility for unique photo gifts that are personal and heartwarming.  Perfect for pictures of the grandkids, Christmas photo cards, or capturing the best portrait of your family (without eyes closed or kids looking elsewhere), Photoshop Elements is a handy tool for your photo and crafts arsenal.


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