DIY Memory Game


My 3 year old son loves to play memory. I love it too so this Christmas I decided to make him his own set using pictures of our family.

I printed out doubles of all our family members, pulling from whatever photos I had of grandparents, cousins, and of course our own immediate family. I even threw in a few friends or special activities he loves to make a set of 25 cards.

It ended up being more expensive than I thought since I was paying for two of each so if I did it again I’d wait for one of those “50 free prints” deals thru Snapfish or Shutterfly. That’s my first tip, there are more to come.

I cut the photos into 3 inch squares, centering the picture around the person I wanted to highlight. To make this faster I used a 3 in square cardboard template.

Then I cut out a 3.25 inch square background from card stock. The backs of the cards is the tricky part. They have to look exactly the same or you will be able to “cheat” when playing. I used a plain card stock with no pattern for this reason even though I was tempted by all the pretty prints at A.C. Moore.

I used mod podge to attach the photos and to create a clear protective coating. However, I wouldn’t do that again. More on that below.

To keep things from being super messy I had saran wrap all over our preschool room so I could let the cards dry and not have them stick together.Now here comes a little dose of honesty. IT WAS SO MUCH WORK! Ack! I had my moments of doubt. In the end I decided to make a set for the cousins on both sides of our family so I made 150 cards in all. Yikes!

But my son’s face when he realized the cards were all people he knew…totally worth it. And the cousins loved their sets too. The best part was watching my son play the game for the first time, each card was such a surprise!

Even though it was totally worth the time it took I do have several suggestions for how you could do things differently. I realized all of this after I had made 3 sets of the game. So I wanted to pass it along to all of you so someone can benefit from the lessons I learned.

First, the mod podge didn’t do a good job of attaching the photos to the card stock. It did do a great job of creating a clear coating but qhat I didn’t take into account is how heavily used the memory cards will be. All that flipping and bending (because these are three year olds playing with it after all) made some of the photos detach and peel off. I was able to fix it with some tape, but it is a design flaw. I should have chose a more heavy duty option to attach the photos.

If I were to do it again I’d use one of these much simpler options:

  1. A Laminator. I decided against this originally because a laminator melts the photos. However, if you print them on paper or card stock you can avoid this problem. And then you’d have a really sturdy set of cards that would last for a very long time.
  2. Packing Tape and disposable coasters. After I had bought the card stock (which was more expensive than I thought it’d be) I discovered these disposable coasters:

Image result for set of 50 plain coasters

You can buy them on Amazon or at Walmart for cheaper than the cost of the card stock. And then you can use clear packing tape to attach the photos. It wouldn’t be as pretty and that kind of bothers me. But at the same time it makes the game super durable and that is probably more important so your child can actually PLAY with it.

OK, that wraps this up. Let me know if you try this out or comment below if you have questions.


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