Recently, I was looking around online for apartment decorating ideas. I was tired of the basic photo frames being hung around the apartment. The look is old, and I was wanting something new a fresh for our place. Recently, my husband and I took wedding photos because we realized we didn’t have ANY wedding pictures of just us from our wedding day. We got married in 2014, so we were long overdue for some formal wedding pictures. I found some cool ideas about photo transfers onto wood and thought it was PERFECT!
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These wood transfer pictures are so incredibly easy and addictive to make. They make wonderful gifts as well! I must admit, I made these pictures for family and friends this past Christmas. Handmade gifts are so special and I know your friends and family will love them too! All you need for this DIY project are a few supplies and about 8-24 hours of time.
DIY Wood Transfer Pictures Supplies
- Laser printed photo of choice (Make sure it is mirrored/reversed) –
Make sure the photo is laser printed and NOT INKJET. I simply went to my local Staples store and used their handy xerox machines to print out the photos. Make sure they are high-resolution because the wood will age your photo – so any low resolution picture will not come out looking good.
- Wood plaque or surface
- Gel Medium. I used the Liquitex Gloss Heavy Gel Medium
- A Sponge Brush
- Mod Podge if you’d like to seal the pictures afterward. I used the gloss finish
Photo to Wood Transfer Tutorial
1. Prepare the Surface
Start the process by applying a generous coat of the Liquitex Gel Medium to your wood surface. Do not apply the medium to the entire plaque, just focus on the areas where your picture is going to be transferred to. Use your brush to smooth out the gel as you do not want any obvious clumps or bunches of the gel.
2. Position the Mirrored Image
Once you are satisfied with the gel medium application, position your picture and press it down onto the plaque. Don’t worry about any bits of paper that may be hanging off the plaque as you will remove that once it is dry.
3. Eliminate Bubbles and Smooth Surface
With your fingers, smooth and press the paper down as much as possible, eliminating any bubbles or wrinkles. You can use a credit card or something with a flat surface to smooth it out further. Don’t be too harsh on the paper as you do not want it to tear.
4. Let Dry 8-24 hours
When you’re satisfied with the application process, set the wood plaque aside to dry. It’s best to wait overnight for it to completely dry, but you will know it’s dry once the paper looks completely white and opaque. When it’s wet, you should see some of your photo peeking through the paper.
5. Remove the Paper
When your wood transfer picture is dry, take a wet washcloth and start to rub the paper gently. You will see that pieces of paper will start to shave off, revealing your photo! You may need to do multiple rounds of this as some paper could be stubborn and not remove as easily. The water does dry rather quickly so it will be easy to see any spots that you miss. Continue to scrub the paper off of the wood surface until it is completely removed.
For finishing touches, I took some sandpaper and scraped the edges of the photo off to blend in any harsh edges and to give it a more rustic, antique finish. This step is completely optional. At this point, once the water has dried from the wood, you are welcome to paint the edges if you’d like to add some color. For me, I liked the rustic look of the bare wood, so I left it as is.
When you’re satisfied with the finishing touches, add a layer of Mod Podge to seal and give it a gloss (or matte) finish and you’re done!
Have you tried this DIY tutorial? Let me know!
Rissa is a freelance illustrator and graphic designer alongside with managing her blog, So Very Me. She also runs a YouTube channel making family style vlogs and videos. When she’s not working, she’s usually playing video games with her husband and hanging out with her two pups, Kiba and Zoey.