How to Transfer Your Photo onto Wood

George C By George C, 27th Apr 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Crafts>Paper Crafts

Photo transfer is a crafting technique that provides an easy and enjoyable way to transfer images onto a wooden surface.

How to Transfer Your Photo onto Wood

Photo transfer is a crafting technique that provides an easy and enjoyable way to transfer images onto a wooden surface. The project allows me to personalize the pieces in a way that reflects my visual and artistic preferences. The simple DIY task can be handled by anyone with a desire to add a personal touch to their photo collections. The image can either look super-clean and smooth or distressed and textured. I have previously handled transfers to painted surfaces and fabric but nothing beats the excitement and anticipation associated with wood transfers.


It is important to note that images printed on an ink jet printer are not well suited for this gig. The ink ruins the finishing by smudging the surface. However, this effect is ideal for impressionist or artistic style pieces. To get a high-quality photo finish, I use a laser printer or photocopied image (color or black and white, depending on my plans). The image needs to be properly-sized (in relation to the wooden piece) and reversed. I always make use of thin paper because it’s easier to rub the fibers off.

Supplies required

• Hanging brackets
• Simple photo-editing program
• Laser printed photo
• Butter knife or flat instrument
• Scissors
• Wood stain (optional) and rags
• Gel medium (preferably acrylic gel medium)
• Brush
• Soft wax or mod podge for sealing print
• Towel rag
• Pigment (optional)
• Sander or sand paper

Step 1

The project begins in earnest with the cutting of the laser-printout. To achieve a perfect placement, I cut as neatly as possible.

Step 2

The next stage involves applying gel and flattening the cut-out. I cover the wooden surface with scrap paper before spreading matte gel medium on the photo. Once that is out of the way, I place the image cut-out face-down onto the wooden surface. I then flatten the cut-out using a bone folder or any other suitable object to eliminate air bubbles. This is followed by the cleanup aimed at removing any excess gel seeping at the edges.

Step 3

The piece is now ready for an 8-hour drying process. When the piece is dry, I soak a towel rag and place it on the cut-out making certain the paper gets wet.

Step 4

Once the cut-out is wet, I remove the rag and start rubbing the fibers off the piece to reveal a glorious image that looks as if it’s part of the wooden surface and not glued on. Rubbing the fibers with my fingers produces a super-clean and smooth finish. When rubbing is complete, I let it dry once again before applying the mod podge to seal the image. This final step means my work is ready for the limelight.


Craft, Photo, Wood

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author avatar George C
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