Replace Characters with Emoticon Icons Array Tutorial
Learn to use PHP to change character sequences into emoticons or icons by using the str_replace function. You will want to alter the string data as it comes out of the MySQL database for display, not when the data is being inserted into the database.
$db_str = "Show me some <3 right now. It is raining today [umbr], that gives me peace [peace].";
echo "<hr />";
$chars = array("<3", "[peace]", "[umbr]");
$icons = array("❤", "☮", "☂");
$new_str = str_replace($chars,$icons,$db_str);