Father’s Day Desk Set

Dads are the hardest people to shop for. Whatever they don’t buy for themselves, they end up making in the garage. How can kids compete with that? The trick is to make something cool, classy and 100% functional that Dad would never think of. It has to have timeless appeal and be memorable too. Before I set you into a panic attack the day before Father’s Day, know there is crafty hope!

Every dad has some kind of office or workspace, right? How about a nice desk set sporting dozens of mini-images of the family? This project is inspired by the many print ads on the market that make use of tiny thumbnail-sized pictures to cover a large area. From far away, the letter tray, file sorter and pencil cup will look an ordinary desk set, but up close, Dad will see all kinds of happy faces.

My cousin has three kids (including a new set of twins!) and I knew they would be the perfect subjects for this project. I asked her to send me a few photos, and within minutes I had dozens. I used all of them! It made me think how this idea is a great way to make use of all those “outtake” shots that don’t make it into frames, a wallet, or scrapbook pages, but are still cute and show-worthy.

The best way to tackle this is to make one collage sheet of images, and then make copies from it. Keep the original in a safe place for future projects. If you aren’t into making a desk set, here are some other ways you can use the collage paper:

– Cover a flat picture frame.
– Use it in your scrapbook layouts.
– Print it on larger-sized paper and use as wrapping paper.
– Laminate it and use as a placemat, or drink coasters.
– Line a photo album, notebook or journal with it.
– Cover a filing cabinet with it.
– Add to the sheet by applying stickers, or have the kids put their handprints or write sayings.
– Print out a large sheet and hang or frame as a poster.

Decoupaged Desk Set for Dad


1 wood tray
1 wood file folder sorter
1 pencil cup
Assorted pictures of kids
Color copier
Decoupage medium
Brush-on varnish, brush
Silver paint pen


1. Using a photo computer program, scan in the pictures and arrange them in small (thumbnail) squares on the page. You can repeat the images as much as you want. If you don’t have a computer, you can shrink the pictures using a color copier and make a collage on a piece of typing paper.

2. When the entire page is covered with the pictures, print it out and then make about 5 color copies.

3. Brush on a thin coat of the decoupage medium to the outside areas of the tray, sorter and cup. Carefully apply the paper. Smooth out any bubbles. Neatly trim off excess with the scissors. Let dry.

4. Coat the decoupaged surfaces with brush-on varnish, let dry. Use the paint pen to draw on a nice, straight border around all the edges.

See more crafty ideas in The Crafty Chica Project Library! All content/photos copyright, © Kathy Cano-Murillo, 2008.

Love & light,

One Response

  1. Kathy, can you come up with a project for my 86 year old daddy. Actually he turns 86 on Father’s Day. Double Whammie!

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Kathy Cano-Murillo

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Hi, I’m Kathy, The Crafty Chica! My specialty is creative motivation. I’m an artist, author, and speaker and this is where I share my craft tutorials, artwork, articles, books, product lines, and workshops!

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