Last Christmas, my best friend Melissa gave me an amazing 90s-themed load of awesome.
First of all, it was in a Caboodle.
Stored inside was a handwritten note, as if we were pen pals in 1997. It was folded into a triangle, very authentic to the era.
The Caboodle was stuffed with the following goodies:
- An assortment of Christmas themed hair scrunchies
- A bunch of slap bracelets
- A JTT unofficial biography
- 4 classic 90s movies: Blank Check, Heavy Weights, Camp Nowhere, Tom and Huck (R.I.P. Brad Renfro)
- To round it out and include one adult gift, she threw in a flask.
Needless to say, my best friend is kind of a big deal.
We try to be creative and fun when gift giving so I wanted to think up something fun for her birthday this year. I went scrolling through Pinterest for ideas.
And I had to bypass some crazy but found this and decided that this looked pretty cool:
As is often the case with Pinterest, the pin does not link to anything connected to the image. In this case, it linked to Hello Giggles. But a quick Pinterest and Google search found a few other sources.
Their instructions helped get me started but many seemed complicated and required Photoshop, which I don’t have access to. I created mine using Facebook, Fotor and mod podge.
Step #1: Gather Materials
Find a “Guess Who” game board with all pieces and cards intact. I was lucky enough to have one at home that I didn’t mind parting with but I’d recommend scouting Goodwill or eBay for a classic board.
The newer editions just aren’t the same. They’ll still work, with some tweaks, so if that’s what you’ve got to work with, head to Target (or some inferior store, whatever) and buy one.
Keep in mind that my instructions are based on the 1987 original “Guess Who” board.
Step #2: Choose Your Cast of Characters
Pick 24 characters. For Melissa’s gift, I selected a mix of family, friends and some wild card inside jokes.
- 3 family members
- 12 mutual friends (including myself and the birthday girl)
- 6 friends of hers, that I know of but don’t know well/haven’t met
- 1 pet cat, Morris
- 1 Pigeon
- 1 member of Hanson (Taylor)
This includes a variety of ages, races, genders and distinguishing features. I was debating doing a board of just celebrities and musicians but this time around (ha, Hanson reference) – I used mostly people that Melissa knew in real life.
Step #3: Facebook Stalk
Find close up head shots of your 24 subjects. I used Facebook and searched through profile pictures. If I didn’t find anything there, I went looking through individual albums. This was one of the most time consuming steps. It was especially a long process for the people that I am not Facebook friends with, since I was relying solely on pictures available through their public profile (often very limited or non-existent) or pictures that Melissa had taken of them.
This would be much faster if you chose to use fictional characters or famous people, since a Google Image search should sufficiently do the job.
Step #4: Format
Take the saved files from your computer and using a photo editing program, size them down to around 2 in. x 1 in. rectangles. I was not very specific about this process and the measurements are probably different depending on what edition of the game board you are using.
For my purposes, I found it easiest to work with the free photo editing site Fotor. Using the Collage feature, I selected Template > 8+ and chose the 3 x 3 grid template that looks like this:
I added photos from the saved folder in my computer and started dragging and dropping into the squares.
But I didn’t want the pictures facing that direction so I used the editing tools to rotate the images and zoom in, where needed. You can also add a few special effects (like Instagram filters), if that’s what you’re into.
There’s a fancy “T” button to add text so I dropped in names on each tile. Once complete, you can manipulate the image so it’s rotated in the direction you want and save it to your computer.
Here’s what my finished product looked like:
I know. No puppy superstar Captain Boots, Hipster Little Mermaid or President Whiskers here like you saw in the example screenshots but look – There’s me in the top right and the birthday girl in the bottom left! The rest in this grid are some of our beautiful best friends – including my husband in the bottom right. 🙂
Repeat this process 3 times so you end up with 24 pictures. You only need 6 images for the last grid (or you can include 3 extra people, if you want some backup options.)
Step #5: Print
I created these on a Windows computer so instructions would need to be adapted for Mac users.
Open the first grid picture in Windows Photo Viewer. Select Print and choose your printer, paper size and quality. I left mine all at the defaults (main printer, letter, 600 dpi). You may want to print on a firmer paper like a low grade cardstock. However, I printed on regular printer paper and it worked fine for me.
In the right column, change the setting to 4 x 6 in. (2). At the bottom, change “Copies of each picture” to 2 and make sure that the “Fit picture to frame” option is unchecked.
Print 2 copies of each page. Repeat process for other grids. You will end up with 6 pages of printed pictures, with 2 grids per sheet.
Step #6: Cut
Cut out each person’s tile. I found it helpful to create 4 piles to sort the tiles as I was cutting:
- Red board
- Blue board
- Yellow cards
Make sure that each person ends up in all 4 piles so when you’re finished cutting, you’ll have 24 faces in each pile.
Step #7: Paste
Using an adhesive (I used an adhesive roller that I had left over from assembling wedding invitations), secure the “yellow card” face pile to the yellow draw pile of cards that players will choose from. You’ll find that the grid is not identically sized to the faces on the cards but it should cover up the cartoon characters sufficiently. Paint a thin layer of Mod Podge on top of each yellow card to help seal the picture in place. I’d recommend using a Mod Podge for paper, nothing too heavy duty or spiffed up (no glitter Mod Podge needed here).
Gently remove the Who-vians… Wait, sorry, that’s something totally different. I mean, gently remove the cartoon Guess Who faces from the red and blue game boards. You should be able to slide out the little cardboard pieces from the plastic holders pretty easily. Use the adhesive to affix your printed faces onto the game pieces. If there is any overhang, you may need to carefully trim the edges to make it fit. The only real troubleshooting I had to do was when a picture was slightly off center and came close to cutting off part of someone’s eye or if they had a long name and it was cutting it close trimming so I didn’t cut any letters. I didn’t Mod Podge the game board pieces because I felt like they weren’t ‘man handled’ as much as the yellow cards or face the wear and tear like the outside of the box.
Speaking of the outside of the box, the leftover pile of pictures are extras. Here’s how I would use them:
- If you’re using the old edition of the game like I was, you can cut out your pictures to cover the cartoon characters you see on display on the front. Here’s what my box ending up looking like:
- In retrospect, I think I also would have liked to create a “Master Cast of Characters” insert sheet, with pictures of each person.
- Or you can just throw the extra away! Or stick them on your calendar to mark their birthday. Or throw them up in the air like confetti. Do what you want. Your call.
Crafty side note: I also Mod Podged the outside of the box. As a general rule when working with Mod Podge, make sure to allow time for things to dry properly before stacking (for example, don’t pile up the yellow playing cards when they are still wet) and watch out for wrinkling edges or air bubbles.
Step #8: Gift and Enjoy!
Whether it’s a gift for a friend or family member; a classroom tool; or just some fun for yourself – enjoy! Mix up questions like, “Does your person wear glasses?” with “Can your person recite all of the Presidents in order?” and “Does your ‘person’ really really really want to drive a bus?”