This graduation party centerpiece, a photo frame luminary, shines bright with a flameless candle and makes great graduation party decor.
My daughter graduates from high school this May and I’ve been busy working on her graduation party ideas such as table decorations and on ideas for the graduation party decor. I’m trying to get a head start before the busy school soccer season begins! I decided to make this photo frame luminary as a graduation centerpiece for her graduation table. You’ll be seeing a lot of light blue, gold, and white in my projects over the months ahead as those are the graduation party colors that my daughter and her friends have chosen for their graduation party.
Supplies to make this graduation party idea, a photo frame luminary centerpiece, are listed below. I’ve linked up Amazon items for those of you wanting easy Amazon options. Note: This site uses affiliate links. This means that if you click on a link, I may get a little commission, which does not affect your price.
- Four 5×7-inch frames – I got mine from the Dollar Tree
- Four 5×7-inch pictures printed on vellum paper – I got my vellum paper at Hobby Lobby
- 8×8 mirror plate – I got mine at Walmart
- Spray paint (if you are painting your frames)
- Acrylic paint for painting numbers (if you use numbers) – I got my numbers at Dollar Tree
- Glue gun and glue sticks
- E6000 adhesive
- Mod Podge
Steps to complete this graduation party idea, along with photos are shown below. I’ve also embedded the YouTube video below for those that prefer to watch the video.
Step 1: Remove the glass and face paper from the four frames.
You will not be using the cardboard easel part of the frame. I packed mine away for a future project. Discard the face paper that came with the frame (the picture of someone else’s family).
Step 2: Remove the clips that hold in the glass and cardboard backing.
I glued my picture and glass into the frame so I didn’t need these clips. I used a pair of pliers to pull out the clips, which came out easily.
Step 3: Clean the four pieces of glass.
The glass will get glued into the frame so this is the chance to get both sides nice and clean.
Step 4: Paint the four frames.
I used spray paint and followed the instructions on the can to determine distance needed between frames and spray and to determine dry time. I started by spraying the back side first (you do see the back side in the completed project) and then flipped the frames over and sprayed the front. I applied two coats on each side.
Step 5: Print your pictures on vellum paper.
You can find vellum paper at the craft store by the sheet and in packages. I found mine at Hobby lobby at a time when packaged paper was 50% off so I got a package of 25 vellum sheets for $3.50.
The vellum paper printed in my home printer nicely. Beware that the ink is pretty wet on the vellum when it comes out of the printer so handle the sheets carefully and allow them time to dry before handling (or it will smear).
Step 6: Cut your pictures.
You can you use the frame glass to trace around your printed pictures. This will ensure your pictures are the correct size. I used scissors versus a paper trimmer to cut my pictures because I didn’t want to create any creases/marks in the vellum paper.
Step 7: Glue vellum pictures into the picture frames.
Use a glue gun or other adhesive (E6000 works well) to glue the vellum pictures into the frame, facing the front.
Use a thin line of glue. If you put too much glue on the frame, it will spill over onto the vellum and this is not good! Getting glue on the vellum creates a splotchy look on the vellum. It is worth it to go slow and get a nice thin line of glue on the frame!
Step 8: Glue the glass onto the frame.
Yes, the glass actually glues on the inside of the lantern. Once you put the flameless candle inside, it will shine through the glass and through the vellum.
Step 9: Glue the four frames together to create a square.
As you glue the frames together, you need to alternate which frame gets glued to the inside of the frame to make sure that all four frames join together as a square. This may be easiest to see in my video, but if you just play with it before you start gluing, you’ll get it figured it.
Step 10: Glue the frame to a base.
In the past, I’ve measured my finished product and cut a square piece from cardboard and glued in onto the bottom of the lantern. You can paint the inside of it if you feel it will be seen. I usually put felt underneath that to prevent any scratching on table surfaces.
However, this time I decided to glue my luminary to an 8×8-inch mirror plate. I got it at Walmart for a few dollars.
To adhere the frame luminary, turn it upside down and line glue around each side on the bottom. Then turn it right-side up and place it centered onto the mirror.
Step 11: Embellish your luminary.
I used gold glitter and small wood numbers showing the graduation year to embellish the centerpiece.
I used a foam brush to apply Mod Podge to the part of the frame that was connecting the frame on each side.
I then sprinkled glittered onto the line of glue. This created a nice vertical line of glitter and also hid some of the dried hot glue that was showing where the frames were connected.
I found small wood numbers at Dollar Tree (two full sets of numbers for $1). After gathering two sets of her graduation year numbers, I painted them with acrylic paint.
Once it dried, I applied Mod Podge and then sprinkled the gold glitter onto the numbers.
I glued one set of my numbers onto the lantern.
Step 12: Add a flameless candle.
I was surprised at how bright the Dollar Tree flameless candles are! For $1, this was the perfect candle for my project.
And it looked so awesome glowing in the DIY photo frame luminary centerpiece!
It was an easy project. In hindsight, I wouldn’t have chosen a beveled frame. The very thin frame sides made it difficult to connect the frames. I’ve done these with regular frames and they go together so much easier!
That said, I’m very happy with how it turned out and think that it will look great on my daughter’s graduation table! I hope you like this graduation party idea!
See my other graduation posts below:
- Photo Booth Backdrop Ideas
- Cotton Candy Station
- S’mores bar
- Graduation Senior Table Photo Poster
- Graduation Party Centerpiece (with pom poms and pictures)
- Graduation Photo Guest Book
- Another Graduation Photo Guest Book
- Dr. Seuss inspired Guest Book
- Card Box ideas, includes request for guests to address envelopes
- Graduation Card Box
- Graduation Centerpiece in galvanized tin
- Graduation Centerpiece in mason jar with pom poms
- Graduation senior board
- How to make a popcorn bar
- Frame Luminary
- Senior Table Photo Poster
- Photo Displays for Graduation Parties
- Hinged Frame with photo clips idea
- Graduation Money Gift Box
- Flower Pot Graduation Cupcake stand
- How to make a Donut Bar
- Graduation Party Sign Ideas – Easel Signs with Vinyl Letters
- DIY Cake Stands for your Food Bars