A simple tutorial to transfer a photo onto wood. An easy project anyone can do with just a few key supplies.
- A piece of wood
- A laser printed copy of your photo on copier paper, the copy should be the mirror image of how you would like it to appear on the wood. This ONLY works with laser copies. It won't work with ink jet. (Make sure this is printed on regular paper, not photo paper.)
- Modge Podge
- Gel Medium (I used Martha Stewart's Gesso. You can find Gel Medium at any Michael's or Joann's stores)
- A sponge brush
- Scissors to cut out your photo
- A rag to soak your photo
- A cup or plate to pour your gel medium and modge podge into
- A boning tool or plastic card to get the air bubbles out with
How to make it
Step 1: Print out the image you would like to transfer using a laser printer. Unfortunately ink jet printouts won't work for this project. Most copy stores (Kinkos, Staples) use laser printers. You may want to mirror your image as the transfer will make your image the reverse of how it is printed.
Step 2: Trim your image to the size that you want it to be on the wood.
Step 3: Put a layer of gel medium on the printed side of your photo.
Step 4: Put a layer of gel medium on the wood, then lay the paper photo side down onto the wood. Use your plastic card or boning tool to remove any bubbles of gel medium from between the paper and wood by smoothing the card over the paper pushing excess to the outer edges. Make sure all of your corners are stuck to the wood with the gel medium. If it's not stuck it won't transfer.
Step 5: Wipe away excess gel medium from around photo then leave to dry for at least 4 hours.
Step 6: 4 plus hours later, once the paper has completely dried, dampen a rag with warm water and and lay it over top of your photo. Leave for approximately 5 minutes.
Step 7: Once the paper is damp stand over a sink, wet your fingers and slowly start rubbing your finger over the paper, almost using your finger like sand paper. The photo copy is going to appear to split in half. The white part of the paper will start to lift away and the paper with the ink will stick to the wood. Take this part very, very slow. If you go to fast the ink will lift away from the wood and you will be left with bare patches.
Step 8: Leave your project to dry for about an hour then look at it to see if you are satisfied. Grab your boning tool and rough up the edges a bit if you like. You can take a gray sharpie marker and lightly dot in areas where the transfer doesn't look quite right.
Step 9: When you are satisfied with the look of your transfer put a small amount of modge podge into a cup, and using a sponge brush apply a thin layer of modge podge all over your photo, including the edges. Use smooth, even strokes. Allow to dry for at least 15 minutes then repeat 2 more times.