Introduction: Transferring Images to Wood

This is a guide to how to transfer images to wood using a wood burner and a laser printed image.

Some uses for this guide are to add weathered looking images to your project. You can also use this method to transfer a pattern to cut out on the scroll saw or other tool. I plan on using this on electronic enclosure projects to label the knobs and status lights

Step 1: Things You Need

Wood. We need something to put the image on.

A Wood Burning tool. I use a Weller WSB25WB. It was about 15$ on Amazon and comes with multiple tips. I use the disc shaped tip.

An image printed on a laser printer (I have also verified that it works with something printed on the office copier). I think anything that uses toner would work well. Make sure to horizontally flip the image before printing. Otherwise it will be backwards when we are done. I learned this the hard way.

Step 2: Transferring the Image

Tape an edge of the paper to your wood. This helps prevent it from moving around.

Now with the wood burner slowly go over all of the image. This may take some practice to get it good. Dont worry about burning the wood, the paper protects it from that. You can lift the corner and check your work slightly to see if the image is transferring well.

Using the Instructables Robot took me about 10 minutes.

Step 3: See Your Results

Now you can remove the paper. If you find that it stuck too well to the wood you can use a razor or knife the scrape off the paper bits left.

If it didn't come out as well as you liked you can sand it off and start again.

Comments

author
rossemo (author)2016-08-17

Have any of you tried the same sort of thing with a heat gun? I'm not at home right now or I'd try it and let you know.

author
antioch (author)rossemo2016-08-27

Probably ot enough pressure on the paper to transfer the toner but it would be great to test this out.

author
rossemo (author)antioch2016-08-31

Thanks for the response! I'll reply if I ever get around to giving it a shot.

author
lclaiborne (author)2016-08-08

Very cool!

author
The Blue Skywolf (author)2016-08-03

I used instead of a wood burner an eletric iron. That worked out very well and took only 5 min.

author

What temperature?

author

Nice to know. The wife wont let me use her iron on my projects.

author
Don Butler (author)keebie812016-08-03

Heh, heh.

My Wife gave me her old iron when she got a new one!

Don Butler

author
Mark 42 (author)2016-08-05

Why not use clothes iron? a

author
lclaiborne (author)Mark 422016-08-08

If you poach somebody else's iron, be prepared for ramifications... It should work, but if you get crud on the iron clean it! Properly. Good irons are pricy, and if you even scratch up the sole plate it can mess it up.

This is what thrift appliances are for...

author
Battlespeed made it! (author)2016-08-02

This method works very well. One thing, the smoother the wood surface is the sharper your transfer will be. This is a picture I took of one I did using this method. Not being a great photographer, the picture makes the wood look about 2 shades darker than it actually is...it's a very light pine board.

GOTforWeb.jpg
author
Battlespeed (author)Battlespeed2016-08-02

P.S. I should mention this image was printed on an ordinary HP Laserjet. Also, keep the heating element moving, not frantically but steadily, to avoid scorching the wood. You can come back and revisit areas where you don't get a solid transfer - just don't keep the iron in one place for long.

I also have done transfers to wood using acetone. I believe you can find YouTube videos about this method.

author
Battlespeed (author)Battlespeed2016-08-02

Yup - here's the 1st of a 2-part video on image transfer using acetone:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkQOHpZESAE

author
lclaiborne (author)Battlespeed2016-08-08

I did a lot of acetone trabsfer in grad school, but it only works on certain toners and nobody knew the chemistry. It's really cool with the right machine...

author
ChoyaC1 (author)2016-08-04

Thank you very much for this. I'm going to try this on a piece of leather as that is what I work with. I've used my woodburner on leather with some success and have seen others work that is extraordinary, so I am hopeful that this will work.

author
keebie81 (author)ChoyaC12016-08-04

Cool idea. Let me know how it works. I have been interested in trying leather work out eventually.

author
ChoyaC1 (author)keebie812016-08-04

You bet! Like a lot of crafts, leather work is highly addictive. ☺ And can get expensive, you always have to have one more tool LOL But learning new ways to work with it keeps me addicted. Now I have something new to try.... this is worse than crack.... I would imagine ☺☺☺

author
tassie2 (author)2016-08-03

I did the pic transfer another way. Go to a signwriter and get their waxy backing paper from vinyl signs. They throw tons of it out. Or use a stripped off label sheet . Cut into eg A4 sheets. Design pic on eg photoshop etc. Reverse it if you want words to read properly. Run through a normal Inkjet printer. Print on the shiny side of paper.Carefully lay onto wood and rub in from back. Works fine. The waxy backing keeps the ink wet . Made things like calendars where clear numbers needed etc. Clear lacquer. Main thing needed is the paper.. Get the sign stuff and easy as. Can even wipe clean and re use a few times.. Gives the weathered look if print output is low quality if you want that style..

author
ILykMakin (author)tassie22016-08-04

Do you get the same image clarity? I've accidentally printed on that surface and it's never as sharp as a proper printable surface.

author
lazemaple (author)2016-08-04

Not all laser toners work - I use this method to transfer images to metal and the Brother Laser copiers don't work while HP and Samsung do - it has to do with polymers [plastics] in the toner itself. Temperature used has to be enough to soften and transfer the toner without over heating the polymers so it runs which is a big problem on metal, and perhaps of little consequence on wood.

author
keebie81 (author)lazemaple2016-08-04

I used a Brother HL-3170CDW for this guide

author
lazemaple (author)keebie812016-08-04

The colour could be different content from the mono - I use mono for etching and Brother doesn't work for that.

author
EbenosWoodShop (author)2016-08-03

Realy nice dude ! I don't have a laser printer, but I'll keep the idea in my mind.

author
keebie81 (author)EbenosWoodShop2016-08-03

It also works with a print from the copier at work since that also uses toner

author
EbenosWoodShop (author)keebie812016-08-03

oh nice to know you ! And can we re-use the sheet with the picture ?

author

You can go to an office supply shop like Office Max and they'll do a laser print for you.

author
i_djon (author)2016-08-03

Based on comments, I also tried m'wife's iron, and I did it too long, BUT... kept washing it with a wet cloth and it turned out ok. I'll wait to see if the wood gets all puffy, but, worst case I'll sand it and try again (or, the puffy will make it look that much more weathered on and I'll leave it). Much easier than what I've been doing to image wood.

author
Like_no_dukes (author)2016-08-02

Would using a clothing iron work for a heat source? I'm assuming it would be easier to heat the paper more evenly as opposed to using the wood burner.

author
keebie81 (author)Like_no_dukes2016-08-03

Yes it should, member Parkyngel said it did

author
THEFIRSTBDC (author)2016-08-02

Very kewl...thx for posting

author
Stonecrafty87 (author)2016-08-02

Must try this. Very nice thank you for sharing.

author
MrBuggles (author)2016-08-01

That's pretty cool. I'm going to have to try this out.

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