How to Print on Wood (Better Than Mod Podge)





Introduction: How to Print on Wood (Better Than Mod Podge)

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This method of printing/transferring your laser-printed or photocopied image to wood (and other materials) is the best I have tried. These are the other methods I've used:

  • Mod Podge Photo Transfer
  • Liquitex Gel Medium
  • Citrus solvent (rub-off method)

The method demonstrated here uses Acrylic Polyurethane as a transfer medium and has these advantages:

  • Clear (not milky white like Mod Podge)
  • Dries Fast (I got away with 45 minutes in the demonstration, though 2 hours or more is ideal)
  • Cheaper
  • Durable (Less likely to rub off during paper removal process)

2 People Made This Project!


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1 Questions

Hi! I love your videos.. they are very helpful.
I have a few questions for my profect-
1. How is minimax water based polycrylic for photo transfer
2. Can i transfer photo on a colourful acrylic painted wood. My wood base will be of acrylic paint and i want 1 colourful design on it
3. How is mod podge for transferring on small wooden pieces

Thank you

Thanks for watching! 1. Minwax brand acrylic poly can work as well. The key is to be sure it's acrylic/water-based, and not regular oil-based polyurethane. 2. You can indeed transfer to acrylic painted wood! In fact, that's a good way to incorporate white (which doesn't print) into your design. 3. Mod-Podge can work for transferring as well. I just found it to be less transparent than Acrylic Poly and Liquitex. (Acrylic Poly is the clearest I've used.)


Thank you for this information. I have 2 questions: Will this process work with wood painted with chalk paint? If I seal the design with the Acrylic Plyurethane will the finish me matte or glossy?

yes yes yes! thank you sooo much for this tutorial. it's the first one i've found where it actually works! i ruined a good piece of wood and spent days trying to figure out the modge podge technique and also the 100% acetone method to no avail so i'm so happy this worked. thank you!

I used minwax polycrylic and regular paper and it came out very good. I've also used a hot air gun to speed up the process and got decent results in 20 min.

Definitely a lot better then mod podge. Great info. Thanks

This was great! I loved the commentary! Great job!!


Great instructable! I'm going to try it out immediately!

1 reply

Thank you! Hope you enjoy it!

Hi, I enjoyed your video on the use of polycrylic.

you also mentioned a type of paper starts with the letter v which you get from france. I would like to check if this can be found in the USA. Also must this be printed on a laser or that special paper can do inkjet.

1 reply

Hi! The transfer paper I used was "Tom Palissade's Transfer Paper". If you search for it on Etsy, it should come right up.

Due to the fact that it's only available in France, and numerous questions about DIY alternatives, I've been experimenting and have discovered you can use wax-free parchment paper, but it is a little tricky to feed through your printer. (I was going to do a video on it, but am still holding out for a better quality method, because I don't want it to be a hassle for people.)

This transfer method is for laserjet prints only. InkJet can be done using citrus solvent and a different "rubbing" method. Have a look at "citrus solvent inkjet transfer" for more info. :) Hope this helps!

Hello! I did this project using 'varathane diamond wood finish, water based' this was what the Home Depot rep referred me to when I asked for water based polyurethane. Everything goes well except when the wood dries, the image takes on a very ugly foggy white look from the paper. What am I doing wrong? Please help, I would love to use this technique for a Christmas gift. Thank you! :)

1 reply

It could be that you simply need to gently rub the image more. ALSO note that you can eliminate much of the leftover white "fuzzies" when you apply your topcoat finish.

Hey . I am from India. I loved ur method its awesome. But i m nt able to get the product name n specification properly. Please can u help me out with d same. Is the poly urethane a paint or a coating thinner. Please help i want to make this project asap. Also if u can tell me some other brand apart from ace

3 replies

just to the local hardware store and ask for this costs way less Approx 600inr for 1 kg

I did some looking around and this is the closest thing I could find on Amazon India:

BUT I am not 100% sure if it will work. I searched for "acrylic polyurethane" and "acrylic finish". Sorry I couldn't find something I know for certain will work!

Thanks for the tutorial and suggestion using Polyurethane, I have tried this, and I am wondering how to clear off the edges (like if the paper is cut out), I seem to get an edge and can't rub it off.....otherwise total awesome results ;)

2 replies

Without having to do sanding/feathering, the easiest way to deal with this is to apply paper over ALL of the wood, even where there is no design. Then when you remove the paper, it has the same appearance throughout and you don't see any edges where it was cut. (This is easy on wood pieces smaller than 8.5x11" copy paper, but on larger pieces of wood, you simply apply blank pieces of paper over everything.)

Or, if you cut out the design, cut it out so that it follows the edges of the design. For instance, I recently applied a design to wood in the shape of my home state, with some words within the state. I cut around the state and applied that to the wood.

Thanks! I have actually tried so many things since first seeing this instructable.... but I have zero luck it seems. I have been using color laser....

seems the I always seem to get parts coming off.

Do you have a recommendation on the best type of paint to put on prior to adding the design? Or should I try on plain unfinished wood?

Love your presentation and idea! I've done transfers to wood for years and really disliked the "milky" finish or effect I would sometimes get! This is genius and I know it would work on painted surfaces! Thanks! Keep crafting!

1 reply

Thank you for checking it out! :)