How I Created a Personalized Children's Story Photo Book Gift for Mother's Day for Less Than $10
Family,  Mommy

How I Created a Personalized Children’s Story Photo Book Gift for Mother’s Day for Less Than $10

Make an adorable personalized children’s photo story book gift for less than $10 with Groupon and a smartphone app for Mother’s Day! 

With Mother’s Day rapidly approaching, have you picked out the perfect gift to show your loved one how much they mean to you?

This year I wanted to make a personal gift for my mother-in-law for all that she does for my family.  She has taught my boys some very valuable life skills and lessons.  My boys always come home from her house having learned something new!  She’s has taught them a lot about the outdoors like gardening, hiking, and wild life among many other things.  My boys love to help out in the yard whenever they get home and that’s always great because I want active, smart boys that spend time outside instead of in front of the TV or phone.

I’m hardly ever worried about my boys coming home loaded with sugar, not getting enough sleep, or picking up bad habits because she’s an amazing grandmother and caretaker that knowing my boys are in her care puts me at ease!  She has brought so many wonderful things to my boys’ lives that no one else could ever do and as a parent, I’m so thankful for that!  I know that my boys are so much better off knowing and spending time with her and that they will have better lives and futures because of it!  

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I wanted to do for her on Mother’s Day because sending flowers just didn’t seem to really grasp the appreciation my family has for her but I also didn’t want to spurge on money either.  I came across the idea of creating my own story book when my 4 year old tried to read one of his books to me.  I thought, “Wow wouldn’t that be cool to write a story about my boys’ relationship with their grandma?”  I just didn’t know how to do it yet.

When my husband and I got married 6 years ago, I created a photo book for our families and sponsors as a “Thank You” for all they did to support us.  I had used Groupons then to purchase deals to make 25 different photo books and I saved tons of money doing so!  I wanted to make a book that looked like a children’s cartoon so I searched for available iOS apps that would turn my photos into cartoon-like sketches!

How I Created a Personalized Children's Story Photo Book Gift for Mother's Day for Less Than $10

How I Created a Personal Children’s Story Photo Book Gift for Mother’s Day for Less Than $10

Here are some FREE iOS Apps to get that look I wanted to achieve:

For this project, I used the Photo Sketch app that has 10+ free sketch styles, 15+ textures, and the ability to modify each style’s brightness, transparency, stroke width, contrast, etc.  After turning my camera photos into beautiful sketches, I then used a simple photo editor app to adjust each photo for remove hard lines and allow for flow and smoothness.

Effects I recommend for this project: 

  • Blurring – Blur the hard lines with the background to soften transition of photo to background
  • Vignette effect – works great on black backgrounds and some apps even have White Vignette which is what I used for this project
  • Frames – Add a frame around each photo to erase hard lines

Here are some of the iOS Apps I’ve used to edit my photos:

  • Effects Studio ($1.99) – I got this when it was available FREE for a limited time – What I used for this project
  • Filterra – Free! One of my favorites to use
  • Effexy ($0.99) – Also a wonderful app that I got when it was available for free

After I completed edited each photo, I used a creative design app to add my children’s story, blend images together, and to adjust dimensions to fit the photo book (for this project I needed 8×8″ photos).

These are my two favorite creative design apps:

These also have a websites you can make your creative content which is what I recommend.  Sometimes it’s really hard to get your phone’s touchscreen to do exactly what you want!

Create a Personalized Children's Story Photobook 4 Mother's Day > Less Than $10! #MothersDay #Giftideas Click To Tweet

  • If you don’t have a photo of exactly what you need, you can always use Amazon product photos (which is what I used) or stock photos from multiple free websites like Unsplash.

Lastly, I went onto Groupon and searched for their latest deals on photo books and was able to find many different deals with companies like: Shutterfly,, Printerpix, Photobook America, Snapfish,, and York Photo.  I recommend finding a deal on hardcover photo books and definitely check out the fine print and each website before purchasing to browse what they have available beforehand.

For this project, I purchased a Groupon for a 20-page 8×8″ hardcover photo book for just $5.00 (originally $27.99) from York Photo!  An alternative website to try and find a great deal is LivingSocial.

The design process was very simple and had a step-by-step guide on how to use your photo book maker.  You can preview the photo book and you must Approve it before purchasing.  Don’t forget to add your Groupon Voucher and you’ll only have to pay for Shipping & Handling Fees!

This is a slideshow of how our children’s story book turned out:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The best part of this gift is the fact that my boys helped me put the story together! They’re going to be as excited as their Mimi when they see it!  I think I definitely found a worthy gift for a wonderful person!

Can you believe I made this for less than $10.00?!
If you’re a mother or grandmother, what was the best gift you ever got on Mother’s Day?
Did you like this gift idea for Mother’s Day?
What ideas do you have for a Mother’s Day gift?

I would love to hear from you! Please share with me your thoughts by leaving me a comment!

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Wife, Stay at Home Mom of two boys, and blogger. Friends and family call me Kaye but my personal favorite is "Mom." I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to be at home with my two baby boys. As an engineer by career, and stay-at-home mom by choice, I write about how to “Invent. Innovate. Design. Mommyhood” and what that entails.


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