40th Birthday Collage

One of my more popular posts is often the one from my husband’s 40 Rocks Birthday Party. I like seeing that because it reminds me of a really fun night with family and great friends. I’ve also had quite a few questions on the 40th birthday collage I did. I think it’s the only project from the party that I didn’t actually write a post on at the time, so here goes…

40th Birthday Collage - 40 Rocks

Since the party was at a winery, I needed to do virtually everything before hand so we could set everything up in about an hour that afternoon. The process was fairly simple for the 4-0 collage I made. The most time consuming part was sorting through all of the pictures and deciding which ones to use.

Here’s what I used:

  • Large pieces of cardboard
  • Pencil and black marker
  • Ruler or carpenter’s square with ruler
  • Exacto Knife
  • Photos
  • Clear tape

First I started out with a large piece of cardboard. We had just bought a new TV for ourselves as our family Christmas present, so I used the box from it. I cut it apart using the knife so I just had the front and back pieces.

Using a carpenter’s square I drew out my numbers. I tried to get them fairly perfect when I drew and cut them out, and then I later realized it didn’t matter quite as much since I was covering them with pictures and just needed the general shape. I drew them in pencil first to get my proportions down and then when over it with a Sharpie in order to be able to see the right lines to cut.

Luckily we had just removed our hardwood floor in the kitchen, so I was able to do the cutting there. I carefully used the Exacto knife to cut along the traced lines.

After that I was ready to start placing my photos. First I selected all of the photos I thought about using and then started to lay them out without using any tape at this point. I separated them somewhat chronologically and grouped together the pictures of my husband growing up and with his family, his high school years, his college years, our wedding and life since. After I had most of my photos in the places I wanted them, I started taping them down. I used regular clear tape to affix them to the cardboard. I made tape loops and used about 2 per photo.  

These were pretty heavy and the winery didn’t want us taping directly to the walls. I took one of them to there the week before the event to figure out how we were going to put them on the wall. They had some very heavy magnets for us to use on their metal walls, so we were able to use duct tape to tape the magnets to the back of the numbers and then the magnets stuck to the walls.   Several loops of duct tape in various places on the back of each would have secured them though. We also considered stapling a rope or ribbon to the backs and hanging them. I would highly suggest testing out the hanging mechanism prior to the day of your event.

40th Birthday Collage - 40 Rocks

Since the party was a “40 Rocks” theme, I just created a little “Rocks” sign to hang next to the photos. I wish I had made this a little bigger, but I knew there wasn’t a lot of extra room in the area we were hanging it. I found a blow up guitar at a local party store to round it out. After the party, I took the photos off of the cardboard backing and removed the tape. We did keep the 4-0 cutouts for now.

Linked Up At: Uncommon Designs; Skip To My Lou; Naptime Creations; Not Just a Housewife; Someday Crafts; DIY Showoff


  1. Love it!I will attempt to do this for my husband’s birthday party.Thank you for the step by step tutorial.Question: about how many photos did you use?What were the sizes of the photo?Thank you

  2. Hi Cindy – I used mostly 3×5 and 4×6 photos but there were a few bigger and a few smaller (school pictures). There were about 90-100 photos I think. 40-ish in the 4 and 50-60 or so in the 0. Hope this helps!

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