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DIY Family Reunion Centerpiece with Rustic Flair

Make a DIY family reunion centerpiece to make your gathering beautiful! Looks perfect with a rustic or farmhouse decor style.

DIY Family Reunion Centerpiece with Rustic Farmhouse Flair

I’m on a Mod Podge photo transfer medium binge! After my breakfast tray project last month, my mind started percolating with other ways I could use MP transfer.

My Etsy shop and blog are pretty much all about home, family, and memories. I hit on this idea for a family reunion centerpiece (that could also be used for an anniversary, wedding, unique home decor . . . pretty much any celebration).

I thought it would be a fun way to celebrate a family’s history with names, street addresses, wedding dates, etc. I made it, I liked it, and photographed it. Then, as often happens, I thought, “Wait! I have a better idea!”

And once I started on the better idea, I suddenly realized, “Wait! I could do it this way!!”

Such is the nature of my creative process.

The issue is that in this instance, my creative process had a deadline because of the date of the party. So what follows is a tutorial on how I made my family union centerpiece, along with tips on how to augment it to make your own version.

Family Reunion Decorations

At the end of this post there’s a brainstorm of other variations that I hope you will enjoy. This project would look wonderful with rustic or farmhouse decor – and after the reunion it makes a beautiful decor piece. Here’s how it was made!

Mod Podge photo transfer medium, brayer, sandpaper, lumber, drill bits, and DeWalt drill
  • 4 x 6′ piece of lumber cut to 36″ long
  • A 2″ Forstner bit (to make it a tealight holder) or a 7/8″ Spade bit (for tapers)
  • Wood stain
  • Flat white paint
  • Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium
  • Electric Drill
  • Sandpaper
  • Laser copy prints of the family names
  • Glass tealight holders (from Ikea or Pier One) or tapers
  • Roller/brayer (optional)
  • Router (totally optional)

I gussied up the edges of my wood with a quick pass with my small router but I realize not everyone has those kinds of tools so it’s a very optional option.

Drilling holes in the lumber for candles

Step 1: After determining  where I wanted my tealights to go (math!), I used the 2″ Forstner Bit and my electric drill to drill the holes (alternately use a Spade Bit if you wanted to use tapers rather than tea lights).

  • Safety: Clamp or brace the piece of wood securely to your work table before you drill and wear eye protection!
  • TIP: To make sure you get all the candle holes drilled to the same depth just mark the bit with a piece of painters tape and drill down to that level every time.

Step 2: I lightly stained the edges and top of the wood and then painted the whole piece with flat, white latex paint. Once that had dried I sanded the edges and top for a slightly aged look.

Step 3: I designed my text to fit on legal sized paper (14″ long by 3″ high) using the Word Art feature in MSWord. With WordArt, you can resize and move the text around to create any layout you’d like.

I mixed fonts and styles and, once I had it all to my liking, I chose “flip horizontal” on the layout menu and flipped all the words backwards. I then printed it out on plain legal paper with a laser printer.

It took several pieces of paper to get all the way around the centerpiece, and I had different design for each piece – here is a sample of what it looks like before and after I flipped it:

Sample print sheet of what your transfer design could look like

You can do whatever type of design you like on your family reunion centerpiece. Mine above is just for inspiration!

Step 5: I laid down a good coat of Mod Podge Transfer on the face of the wood, then placed my paper on top. To ensure a good transfer, I used my fingers and the roller to press the paper down into the medium.

Rolling the paper down onto the lumber and photo transfer medium with a brayer

Step 6: After letting it dry overnight, I soaked the paper with a damp rag and rubbed it away. I used the transfer medium because, as you can see, even though a thin layer of paper remains you can see the wood and the texture of the wood through it.

Rubbing off the paper from the photo transfer

And it was time to get the party started.

Make a photo transfer family reunion centerpiece
DIY farmhouse style centerpiece
DIY wood centerpiece

Brainstorming:

As I mentioned I came up with a bunch of other ideas for this family reunion centerpiece.

  • Here is version with tapers rather than tea lights:
How to make a taper candle stand out of a piece of wood
  • I thought it would be cool to use the same technique, but on medium sized flower pots rather than wood. Each pot could be designated to a particular branch of the family and then they could be take-home gifts. OR perhaps small flower pots at each place setting with that person’s family names featured.
  • You could do the same thing with smaller blocks. Put them together in the center of the table to make the centerpiece and then, when the party is over, everybody gets to take one home.
  • The idea would also work for wedding table settings or rehearsal dinner favors.
  • You could also incorporate family photos into the design for some visual variety.

I hope this sparks some ideas for your next family gathering. And, as always, I will monitor the comments section so if you have any questions fire away!


I mentioned blocks as an option above, and I wanted to share these easy wedding decor blocks that could also be adapted for any kind of occasion.

These Mr and Mrs blocks are very easy wedding decor - they make great centerpieces or even table numbers, and you can personalize to match your palette.