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Mother’s Day Craft Idea: Keepsake Photo Charms

by Richelle Shadoan
craft & maker


Are you looking for a DIY gift for Mother’s Day that’s extra special? Learn a handy new skill and make this super cool and personalized present that Mom is going to love!

Soldering is a skill that many people are wary to try. Don’t be scared! You need to practice a bit to get really good at it, but trust me, it’s not that hard. It is hot though, so be careful.

For the charms, you need:
– Soldering iron
– Lead free solder
– Lead free flux
– ¼ inch copper tape
– Glass squares, two per
– charm (1 ½ inch squares are perfect)
– Craft Knife
– Pictures cut to fit glass
– Pretty paper for backing
– Damp sponge
– Q-Tip or disposable brush
– Tweezers or pliers
– Heat proof surface
– Third hand or clothespin
– Masking tape
– Ribbon or string for hanging

red scorpio FT1

Print out some pictures that will fit the glass you’ve cut or purchased. Choose some nice paper for the backing. You could also use two pictures and make double-sided charms. Cut to fit slightly smaller than the glass. Make sure there’s no paper sticking out.

Clean the glass well! Once the charms are taped, there is no way to get rid of dust or fingerprints on the inside.

Sandwich the picture and backing between the clean glass and carefully wrap the copper tape around the edges, centering as best you can. Try not to smush the tape as you wrap. With a craft knife, cut the corners of the tape. This will make a nice box corner. Burnish the tape very well. I like to use a popsicle stick.

The tape is the only thing holding the solder to the glass so it needs to be super stuck on. Trim any jagged edges with your craft knife. Get ready to solder.

Make sure everything is in place before you start. Check again.

red scorpio FT4

Use a heatproof surface, like a silicone mat or metal cookie sheet. Clamp the taped piece in a clothespin, as it will get quite warm as you solder it, and if you have a third hand, clamp the clothespin in it. Paint the area you are going to solder with flux. Don’t over do it or the flux will burn up and leave black streaks.

red scorpio FT5Touch the tip of the soldering iron to the solder until a drop melts and clings to the tip of the iron, then immediately wipe the drop of solder across the fluxed tape. Flux and solder the top, front and back of each edge, rotating the clamp as you go.

Wipe the tip of the iron on the damp sponge between applications. Be careful, it may spatter. Avoid heating & reheating the tape, as it will weaken the adhesive. Solder hardens almost instantly, but the glass will be hot, so be patient.

Flux and solder a jump ring to the top edge. Hold the ring with pliers while you attach it. If you don’t have a 3rd hand, tape the clothespin to your surface for this tricky part. Finish with a little piece of pretty ribbon or twine for hanging.

To make the centerpiece, you need:
– Flowerpot, or can or coffee cup
– Plaster of Paris
– Small dried twigs
– Masking tape
– Disposable containers for measuring & mixing
– Chopstick for stirring

red scorpio FT7

Gather some small dried twigs. (You can also buy twigs or something similar from the craft store.) The best ones will have small bumps or spurs on which to hang the charms. Bundle them up into a nice shape and tape the end to hold them together.

Set them aside for now.

If your pot has a hole at the bottom, tape it over. Mix 2 parts plaster with 1 part water. An old coffee can works great for this and you can put the top on and shake it if you wish. Wait a minute before you take the top off though, or it might get messy.

Pour the plaster into the pot, filling to about half an inch from the top. Stick your branches into the pot of plaster and tape into place while the plaster dries. It takes about 10 minutes or so.

Hang your beautiful charms! This makes a great gift for Mother’s Day, a lovely bridal gift or even a special centerpiece for a DIY wedding.


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Richelle Shadoan

Richelle is the Red Scorpio. Or, maybe, the Red Scorpio is Richelle... Both. She is DIY to the core and loves discovering new things to make so much, she wrote a book about it. You can find her at