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Are you looking for DIY gift ideas? I have a fun project you can make for just about anyone. It’s a DIY photo transfer serving tray. It won’t take you too long. Photoshop Elements sent me all the things I need to create my own photo transfer serving tray.

DIY Photo Transfer Serving Tray made with paper and Photoshop Elements 15.

What You Need (links are affiliate links)

Everything you need to make a DIY photo transfer serving tray with Adobe Photoshop Elements 15.

How To Make A DIY Photo Transfer Tray

Fixing & Printing The Photo

FIrst, you need to decide what photo you are going to use. I found one from our last trip to Hawaii. I’ve always liked this photo because it came out looking a bit like a painting.


Open the photo in Photoshop Elements 15 and use the Guided edits to fix the brightness, color and anything else that looks off to you.


Next, enter Quick Mode in PSE 15 and you can crop the photo to the size of your acrylic tray. Mine is 14″ x 6.25″ so I made my photo that size.


You can use the Spot Healing Brush Tool to remove anything you do not want in the photo. You can’t tell from this photo, but there were people in the water and I didn’t want to see them, so I used the healing brush to remove them. Easy peasy!


Next, you can add text or any other shapes you’d like. I chose not to add text to mine because I love the photo so much.


Last, I saved this as a PDF and printed it on my wide printer using 11″ x 17″ paper.


Then comes the fun part…the crafty part.

Adhering Photo To The Tray

  • Start by cutting the border off the photo with scissors.
  • Use the paintbrush to put a thin and even coat of the matte medium on the top of the photo and also on the bottom of the tray (turn tray upside down).


  • Allow both to dry for at least 30 minutes.


  • Once both the tray and photo are dry, put a generous and even coat of the matte medium on the bottom of the photo tray.
  • Immediately place the photo with the front side to the bottom of the photo. You will be able to see the photo when you place the tray upright.


  • Use the squeegee to get all the bubbles out.
  • Let the tray dry for at least 2 hours or more.


  • Once it is completely dry, wet the sponge with water and rub the paper in a circular motion to remove the paper. You have to rub harder than you would think you need to. I thought I was rubbing the photo off at first, but the photo stayed on the tray.

The image looks quite different than it did after I printed it, but I really like it. It has a watercolor feel to it. I believe the difference in colors is because the ink in my printer is very old. Good reminder to change the ink in your printer if you don’t use it often.

  • Once the paper is completely removed, let the tray dry and then put a coat of the gloss varnish over the bottom of the tray. This will prevent the image from getting scratched or scraping off.

DIY Photo Transfer Serving Tray made with paper and Photoshop Elements 15.

I love glitter so much, that I added some to the top of the tray. I put down the matte medium, sprinkled glitter over the medium and let it try. When the tray was done, I put a coat of the gloss varnish over the glitter so it won’t come off.

Glitter on the top of my tray

I’m going to put the tray in my office as a reminder of our fun trip to Hawaii.DIY-photo-transfer-serving-tray

Disclosure: I received the supplies to complete this project. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own. Affiliate links within post.