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Mother’s Day Gift Idea: Best Family Collage Ever

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We are already thinking about great gifts for Mother’s Day and here is the best idea if you have a mom like mine. I’m sharing this idea with you early because with everyone’s busy schedules, it does take a bit of work to get your family all on board and to get this one done. That’s how the family photo collage came into play.

family collage photo for grandma

Here’s the thing, my mom has been hounding my siblings and I for a big family picture with EVERYONE in it for years. Secretly, I think she just wants a photo with just her 14 adorable grandchildren in it but she says “everyone”. 🙂 The problem is that she has 5 kids and we live all over the country. No two siblings live in the same state. We all have young kids and are extremely busy so each holiday, somebody is always missing. One is having a baby, another one is on military assignment, one may have a sick child, or it just comes down to scheduling conflicts. It’s hard but the nagging continues. God love her, but my mom would constantly say, “I need a picture with everyone in it. Our last photo didn’t have the baby.” Gah!

One year, just to appease her, we had the dumb idea to Photoshop a picture together of all the grandchildren. Yeah, that turned out horribly because regardless of how great your Photoshop skills are, trying to form one photo with 14 babies and children and make it look natural is nearly impossible.

Plus, even if we could all get together and get one great big photo, it never turns out perfectly. There are 21 of us! When you take a photo of 21 people that includes 14 kids here is how it turns out: someone is always looking away, babies are crying, a toddler (or 9-year-old!) is pouting, you decide you look fat, someone wears an obnoxious jacket that throws off the entire photo, another is over-posing, and the list goes on…

It just never turns out well.

This year I found the BEST idea ever and we pulled it off beautifully for my mom’s 65th birthday last month. As I was browsing Pinterest, I saw the coolest family collage ever! Seriously, I can’t believe I hadn’t seen it before. It was perfect for a family like mine and the way it works out was just meant to be. This would be a PERFECT gift for Mother’s Day!

Here’s how it works: Each sibling and their family takes their own photo holding a giant letter and you make a family collage out of it. If you have single siblings (not married and no kids!), they just hold their own letter. While the original idea post suggested you could spell out “love”, “forever” or things like that depending on how many separate families you have, I love the idea of spelling out your family name. Ours worked out perfectly because my maiden name is “Beach” and we have 5 kids. Each family holds a letter from “Beach”! Seriously, so brilliant!

As soon as I saw it, the emails to my siblings went out. I showed them the original photo, told them we were going to go oldest to youngest and verified that they knew their letter. I told each one to gather their family and take a family photo holding their letter. To keep the letters relatively the same size, I told them to cut out a white letter using an entire sheet of white poster board. One other requirement for the photo was that it had to be in portrait mode and NOT landscape. Also I suggested that everyone wear dark enough clothes so that the letter stood out. Easy enough.

The best thing about this was that each family could take as many photos of themselves as they wanted and submit the best one. No one had to be pouting or crying or looking away or looking fat or anything. It is always easier to take that near perfect shot of 5 people instead of 21, right?!? Plus, we didn’t need professional photos. Just casual – set the timer on the camera and everyone get together and say cheese type of shots. I took my family to a cool wall in front of an abandoned train station, set up the camera on a tripod, turned on the timer and we just had fun. Here is my family photo:

family photo holding an e

It took about 2 weeks for everyone to get their photo taken and they emailed me the best one. I then turned each photo into sepia tone with Photoshop and then had them printed into 5x7s. I took the five 5x7s and headed to Hobby Lobby to get a frame. The frame part was tricky because five 5x7s is not a standard size but the great people at Hobby Lobby helped me pick out a frame and cut a matte to make it perfect. Each photo was set directly next to each other with no space in between so that they all blended together.

family photo in a frame

Here’s how it turned out.

family photo collage

My mom was over the moon with our family photo collage gift. I have to say it was seriously the best gift ever and didn’t even cost that much. $10 for the photos since I had a coupon at Walgreens and $30 for the frame with a 50% off coupon at Hobby Lobby.

Original idea came from My Mix of Six.

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judy mckerlie

Tuesday 3rd of May 2016

Thanks for the great ideas

Adrienne Katzman-Stashin

Wednesday 11th of December 2013

i want to thank you for posting this. when i read it, I loved the idea immediately and we did it for both my parents and my husband's parents! For my parents we spelled Love and it was just 4 pictures of my son (b/c I have no siblings). But for my husband's parents, we spelled his last name with my SIL and her husband, each of her kids, my BIL, my husband and I and my son. And it looked awesome. LOVE this idea.

Hollie Schultz

Thursday 12th of December 2013

Ohhh...I'm so glad you liked the idea and did it with your family. :)

Cool Baby Gifts

Wednesday 17th of April 2013

Thank for posting this, it is such a great idea!!


Thursday 11th of April 2013

Holly that is brilliant! And my family we have 6 kids also all over the country and 20+ grandchildren! Thank you for posting this, it is such a cute idea!!

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