Class Photo Collage Teacher Gift | Laguna Lane

Photo Collage Teacher Gift & FREE PRINTABLE

My children’s preschool teachers are awesome!  My kids love school, learn a ton, and come home with the cutest crafts.  For an end-of-year teacher gift from the class, I wanted to give them something even a fraction as cute and sweet as the memories they’ve made for us.

I was inspired by collages on TutusAndTurtles.blogspot.com and this photo on Pinterest, and decided to tackle this teacher gift project.  Here’s a sneak peek of my finished product.

Class Photo Collage Teacher Gift | Laguna Lane

Now let’s get started!

Print Letter Signs

The first step is to create the letter signs each child will hold.  I’m saving you this step and providing a free printable!

 

I printed these on regular printer paper, and as long as I had the kids hold them right in the middle of the page on each side, it worked. If you’re working with 2-3 year olds, I’d highly recommend printing on card stock to keep the letters as flat and unwrinkled as possible.  Depending on the number of students in the class, you can make a number of variations that I’ve listed below.

  • 6 letters  – THANK U
  • 7 letters – THANK U!
  • 9 letters – THANK YOU
  • 10 letters – THANK YOU! or THANK YOU {heart} or THANK U WE {heart} U
  • 11 letters – THANK YOU! {heart} or THANK U WE {heart} U!
  • 12 letters – THANK YOU WE {heart} U
  • 13 letters – THANK YOU WE {heart} U!
  • 14 letters – THANK YOU WE {heart} YOU
  • 15 letters – THANK YOU WE {heart} YOU!

Class Photo Collage Teacher Gift - Free Printable | Laguna Lane

If there are more than 15 kids in a class, consider doing a “When I grow up” photo collage.  Each child holds a chalkboard with their dream job written on it.  Check out this example from WeAreTeachers.com.  This would be great for elementary classes!

CAPTURE INDIVIDUAL PHOTOS

The next step is to coordinate a place and time to snap a photo of each child holding a letter.  To get a great photo, make sure the child isn’t in direct sunlight.  A shaded area outside makes for great light.  Be consistent with where each child stands so that the background is similar across all photos.  I usually snap 2-4 photos of each child to be sure I get a good one.

Once you’ve taken all of the photos, choose the best one of each child.  Use photo editing software (picmonkey.com is free) to crop each photo similarly.

CREATE THE COLLAGE

I created this teacher gift photo collage using free and pre-installed software, so anyone can do this!  I typed my steps out in detail, so I apologize for the length.  But I promise it’s not complicated!

Go to PicMonkey.com and follow the steps below.

  1. Select the “Collage” option at the top.
  2. Upload all of the final photos of the kids.
  3. Under the Layouts tab on the left, select “Create Your Own” at the top of the list.
  4. On the Background tab on the left, select either white or black.  Optional: change the corner rounding to 5 or 10% for rounded corners on each child’s photo.
  5. Underneath your collage area, hit the padlock button to unlock the dimensions.  Change the left box to 2800 and the right box to 2240, and then click the padlock button again to lock it.  This makes your collage an 8″ x 10″.
  6. Start with the “Thank” word and drag the photo of each letter in order on to the collage.  The “T” photo will take up the whole collage, then drag the “H” photo to the right of the “T” photo until you see a tall vertical bar appear.  That tells you that the “H” photo will be placed next to the “T” photo.  Repeat for the rest of the word.
  7. For the next line, drag the “Y” photo below the “H” photo on the collage until a horizontal bar appears below it.  When you release, the “Y” should be below the “H”.  Finish the whole word.
  8. To even up where there aren’t letters on the second line, drag either the white or black JPG swatch (downloads available below) into those spots.
  9. Repeat steps 7 & 8 for the bottom line (WE {heart} U).
  10. Click the Save button at the top of the screen and choose the “Sean” option for the highest resolution.

 

Here’s what my collage looked like after the PicMonkey steps.

Class Photo Collage Teacher Gift - Step 1 | Laguna Lane

CENTER THE COLLAGE (Optional)

To center the bottom line…

  1. Open the file you just saved in Paint (pre-installed on all Windows computers).  Yes, I know I’m old school!
  2. On the View tab, zoom out to see the whole photo a little better.
  3. Back on the Home tab, cick on the dotted line rectangle (Selection button).  Draw a rectangle around the bottom line.  The click within the rectangle and drag it over until it’s centered.
  4. If your background is black line mine, you’ll need to fill in the white area that appeared in the bottom left corner.  To do that, click the black color at the top, then click the fill button (dumping bucket icon), and click in the white area.
  5. Click File > Save As and name slightly different than above.  That way, if you decide to change something later, you don’t have to start all over again.

Here’s what my collage looked like after the Paint steps.  So much better, right?

Class Photo Collage Teacher Gift | Laguna Lane

Add Finishing Touches to the Collage

Let’s add a couple of final touches…

  1. Start a fresh PicMonkey.com session and click the “Edit” option at the top.  Open the file you saved from Paint (or from PicMonkey before if you didn’t need to do any manual centering).
  2. To ensure that the kid photos don’t get covered up when you frame it, click the Frames tab on the left.  Set the outer color to black or white to match your background.  Change the inner thickness to 0.  Change the outer thickness to about 80 and click Apply.
  3. Click the “Text” tab on the left to personalize the photo with the school name and school years.  I like the PicMonkey font “Shadows Into Light Two,” since it’s compact and easy-to-read.
  4. Save the photo with the Sean option.

Here’s what the collage should look like now.

Class Photo Collage Teacher Gift | Laguna Lane

FRAME IT!

You’re done!  Send your photo to your favorite photo printing shop as an 8×10, and pop it in a frame.  I snagged these cute frames from Home Goods, or this is a pretty and inexpensive option on Amazon.  [I removed the school name from my photos for this post, but the teachers will have the school name and years on their copies!]

Class Photo Collage Teacher Gift | Laguna Lane

Class Photo Collage Teacher Gift | Laguna Lane

I’m going to write the names of the children in the same order as the photo and put them on the back of the frame for when the teachers reminisce years down the road.

What do you love to give for a teacher gift?  If you make this collage, I’d love to see a photo!  Please share in the comments below.

 

Class Photo Collage Teacher Gift | Laguna Lane

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