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Make Photo Vases with the Most Unique Material

You won’t believe this genius Mother’s Day craft idea – David makes photo vases out of PVC pipe! He added personalized images to turn these DIY vases into the perfect gift.

Skills Required: Intermediate. You can opt to use a miter saw or have the pipe cut for you. Drilling into the wood plaque to seat your pipes is optional. Your only challenge might be Mod Podging the laserjet photo images to the pipes without wrinkles, so you should have some Mod Podge experience.

If you don’t have Mod Podging experience, it doesn’t mean you can’t try! But I would do a test on a small piece of pipe first.

Mother's Day Photo Vases from PVC Pipe

Everybody has a mom, even Man Podger David. No, he wasn’t brought down on a crafty alien spaceship, though sometimes his projects are out of this world! That was a horrible joke, by the way.

David’s decoupage gift for Mother’s Day is a collection of photo vases made out of PVC pipe, so even though my joke was bad, it was completely true. Here’s how he made these DIY vases.


I’m getting a lot of requests for Mother’s Day themed items at my Etsy store, so I had the holiday on the brain when I visited Home Depot recently. I found myself, as I often do, in front of all the PVC piping thinking “there must be something I can make out of this!” PVC pipe crafts for the win.

There are so many great shapes and sizes and it’s all so affordable, but I’ve never been able to come up with anything. And it suddenly dawned on me that I could use the various pipes to make DIY vases.

DIY vase from a pipe - supplies

And then I thought, why not decoupage the pipes in old pictures and make fun, nostalgic photo vases for a Mom’s Day celebration? For a total cost of about $12.

PVC Pipe Crafts: DIY Vases

Gather These Supplies

  • PVC pipes – various widths
  • PVC caps to fit the pipes
  • PVC pipe cement
  • Outdoor Mod Podge
  • Wooden plaque for a base, painted with the color of your choice (mine is from Michaels)
  • Glue (I used E-6000)
  • Laser copies of old photos
  • Foam Brush (not pictured)

Tools

  • Miter saw
  • Forstner Bit and drill (optional)

Gluing the Vase

Step 1. Cut the PVC pipe into various lengths. I cut my pipe in lengths ranging from 8″ – 11″ tall – just eyeballing what I thought was good. I used a miter saw, but any saw will cut through the plastic.

If you purchase your PVC pipe from the home improvement store, you can ask them to cut it for you there (then you won’t need a saw).

Using PVC pipe cement

Step 2. Next up (following the manufacturer’s instructions) I used the PVC cement to glue the caps to the bottoms of the pipes, and set them aside to dry. This guarantees that no water will escape the pipes through the bottom. If you don’t plan to put water in the photo vases (if you’re using fake flowers), you can skip this step.

Preparing the Images

Step 3. Gather and scan old family photos. I resized each photo to fit a specific pipe – I needed each photo to be tall enough and wide enough to wrap around its designated pipe. I also played a little bit with the tint of each picture to provide some contrast and a more vintage look.

Step 4. Print the photos out onto plain paper using a laser printer. The laserjet ink is key – I knew I was going to soak the images in water and inkjet ink will run. FedEx Kinkos or Staples can make a laser copy for you if you need.

Soaking the Images

Why soak images for these DIY vases? Because this is the best way to apply images printed on laserjet to round surface with no wrinkles. You’ll be surprised how well it works.

Soak the Image for Mod Podging

Step 5. I dropped the image in some water and, while it soaked, I coated the outside of the PVC pipe with Outdoor Mod Podge. I then removed the image from the water and gently ran my fingers down it to remove excess water.

Mod Podge the Vase

Then I applied the image to the pipe, using my fingers to smooth out bubbles etc. I decoupaged to seal where the ends of the paper overlapped (no top coat yet, just at the overlap). I did that for each pipe and then set them aside to dry.

Drilling into a wood plaque

Step 6. This next step is totally optional. I used two Forstner bits to drill holes into the wood plaque so that my DIY vases would be seated. It gives the project a more finished look and provides extra stability.

Step 7. I gave the photo vases a sealing coat of Outdoor Mod Podge and, when that was dry, trimmed away any excess paper from the tops and bottoms.

Gluing the pipe vases to the base with E-6000

Attach the Vase

Step 8. Next I glued the tubes to the base using E-6000. (NOTE: If you didn’t drill the holes in step 6, then just glue the pipes directly to the base.

I checked and it will work – my suggestion is that you cluster the pipes closer together so they touch each other to provide a little extra stability.)

After everything has had time to fully dry (24 hours), fill the pipes with water and insert flowers into your photo vases.

pvc pipe crafts

If you like PVC pipe crafts, I’d love for you to give this a try! Some further thoughts on this project:

  1. I think next time I will paint the tops of the PVC pipes for a more finished look.
  2. It occurred to me that this could become a very adaptable thing. If you used a thicker base and drilled deeper holes you could skip gluing the tubes in place and just let the base hold them.
    Then you could then decoupage other tubes with colorful graphics or fabric or what have you and, when you wanted to, swap out the tubes to suit your mood!
How to make photo vases

I hope you enjoy my DIY vases. Don’t forget to visit me at my blogEtsy, or on Facebook!

pvc pipe crafts

Make Photo Vases

Yield: 1 centerpiece
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Difficulty: Intermediate
Estimated Cost: $5

Learn how to make a personalized photo vase with simple materials from Home Depot! This is the coolest project, with unique results.

Materials

  • PVC pipes – various widths
  • PVC caps to fit the pipes
  • PVC pipe cement
  • Outdoor Mod Podge
  • Wooden plaque for a base, painted with the color of your choice (mine is from Michaels)
  • Glue (I used E-6000)
  • Laser copies of old photos

Tools

  • Miter saw
  • Foam brush
  • Forstner Bit and drill (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cut the PVC pipe into various lengths from 8" - 11" using a miter saw.
  2. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, use the PVC cement to glue the caps to the bottoms of the pipes. Set them aside to dry.
  3. On your computer, resize each photo to fit a specific pipe. You want to make each photo tall enough and wide enough to wrap around its designated pipe. You can also play a little bit with the tint of each picture to provide some contrast and a more vintage look.
  4. Print the photos out onto plain paper using a laser printer. 
  5. Soak the images in water. While the images soak, coat the outside of your first pipe in Outdoor Mod Podge.
  6. Remove the image from water and gently run your fingers down to remove the excess water.
  7. Apply the image to the pipe and use your fingers to smooth out bubbles. Add Mod Podge to seal the ends of the paper where there is overlap. Repeat for each pipe and let dry
  8. This step is optional. Use two Forstner bits to drill holes into the wood plaque so the each pipe is seated. It gives the project a more finished look and provides extra stability.
  9. Paint the wood plaque with acrylic paint and let dry.
  10. Give the photo vases a sealing coat of Outdoor Mod Podge. When that's dry, trim away any excess paper from the tops and bottoms.
  11. Glue the tubes to the base using E-6000. Add some glue between the pipes for stability if necessary.
  12. After everything has had time to fully dry (24 hours), fill the pipes with water and insert flowers into the photo vases.

Did You Make This Project?

Please leave a rating or share a photo on Pinterest!

If you enjoyed this project, you’re going to love these vintage Mod Podge photo transfer vases. You’ll be making glass clings. it’s really fun! Click on the image below to get the tutorial:

Mod Podge photo transfer to glass
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Danielle

Thursday 7th of November 2013

These are amazing!! I really want to make them! I have been trying to think of some different crafts to do and this is perfect! I was wondering if you have tried it with colored photos as well?

Amy

Thursday 7th of November 2013

Hi Danielle - you can definitely do these with color photos. They would look so cool!

laura@printing-instagram

Monday 7th of October 2013

Hey! I blog about tips for displaying printed instagram photos. I often look around to find cool and different ways to display photos so I can blog about it. The idea that you have got here is awesome, thank you for sharing and thank you for the inspiration!

Ryan Donovan

Wednesday 5th of September 2012

That's very resourceful of you David. I have leftover pipes from my renovation last week and I'll really try to do this for my aunt. I'm also planning to do business with this, I'll probably search for pvc pipe suppliers to get discounts.

Anonymous

Saturday 9th of June 2012

Love this idea! They would make great centerpieces for many events from weddings to reunions. Thanks for the great idea!

Jenn Henriquez

Thursday 2nd of August 2012

I was just going to say that these would make pretty awesome centrepieces for a wedding :)

cheltenhamroad

Tuesday 29th of May 2012

You can use the glossy mod podge if you'd like. I purchased all the PVC at Home Depot. The plugs/caps were in the same section and an associate should be able to help you find the right match. Another alternative is to use cylindrical glass vases that you can sometimes find at the dollar store.Hope that helps.david

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