The rice paper becomes transparent when wetted and effectively disappears, leaving only your design on the wood.
Step 1: Rice Paper
Step 2: Printing
Printing the design on the rice paper is the hardest part of this process. Delicately feed the rice paper into the printer. Sometimes it wrinkles and doesn't feed correctly.
Step 3: Poly
Step 4: Application
Paint the poly on the wood and gently place your design in the spot you want it.
As soon as the rice paper gets wet you will not want to try and move it as it gets fragile.
Smooth out wrinkles and bubbles with fingers and more poly on your brush.
Be careful to brush too much as you will start to lift the ink from the paper.
Step 5: Finished Product
In case you are wondering a color photo as applyed using the same technique, I don't think it's as nice of an effect.
Step 6: Simple, Easy
That process uses epoxy fiberglass, and creates a similar effect.
The waterbased polyurethane in this method is so much easier to use than the epoxy.
The most difficult part of this process is getting your printer to print on the delicate rice paper.
No need to reverse the image and no need to wait 24 hours or run paper off.