Instructables
This instructable is all about printing onto surfaces other than paper. It could be plywood, metal, timber, or a painted surface. The results aren't as crisp as you would get on paper but is perfect if you want something that looks like it has a bit of age to it.
The process is fairly simple but does take a little practice too get the feel of it, so don't be to disappointed if your first attempt  is not as good as you hoped. After 2 or 3 attempts I'm now quite good at the the process, and it is ideal for making reproduction vintage tin and timber signs, or printing graphics onto wooden boxes or other objects you want to look aged.
 
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Step 1: Stuff you will need

You don't need to much stuff, you may even have it on hand.
  • A surface, plywood is good to start with
  • computer with an image you would like to print
  • laser printer, I haven't tried it with other types of printer but I'm pretty sure it will still work.
  • water proof PVA glue
  • fingers
  • water
  • clear coat lacquer in a spray can
  • 24 hours
For a tin sign you will also need
  • A solvent to clean off the oil or grease
  • wet and dry sand paper
  • good quality white spray paint
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Deltic11 months ago
I can reply to Prasmussen's query by confirming that this method doesn't work very well with an inkjet printer. However, after doing quite a bit of research on the net I have come across a number of slightly different methods & will report back after a period of experimentation. In the meantime, as promised, here is my first effort, which I have to admit I'm pretty chuffed with;
DSCF3492.JPG
liquidhandwash (author)  Deltic11 months ago
Thought you might like this box.
P9112493.JPG
I do, I do, I do! Anything with Minions is great (that's not dissing the box BTW).
I've got a load of leftover wood laminate flooring & am wondering if I would have problems getting this to adhere (& also the lacquer). Perhaps seal it first with a dilute PVA mixture, any ideas?
liquidhandwash (author)  Deltic11 months ago
Im not sure what type of laminate flooring you have got, but if you give it a good sand first the glue should stick to it
liquidhandwash (author)  Deltic11 months ago
that looks awesome, you want to make another one now right? :-)
Already looking for suitable boards in car-boot sales, charity shops etc, the one I used in the pic cost me €2 in the market. I might try printing the picture lighter next time as it's quite a bit darker than the original after transfer.
Deltic12 months ago
Excellent instructable, will post pix as soon as I have finished my project. Being a Brit, & having the advantage over our American cousins of being able to speak the lingo properly, I know exactly what tin, timber & PVA glue are whereas I am continually frustrated by the use of trade names for American products in other instructables. Perhaps someone could come up with a glossary of terms with alternatives available in other countries? In the meantime thank you & keep up the good work!
liquidhandwash (author)  Deltic11 months ago
Thanks Deltic, once you get the hang of it it becomes quite addictive, Ive got to post some more pictures too, I look forward to seeing your project
dchall81 year ago
Just a couple of thoughts on why your Instructable might have been overlooked in December.  I don't work for this site, but I was a professional technical writer for decades.  These are my thoughts which might help you with future efforts. 

Christmas is one thought.  Very little work gets done in December. 

Nobody in the US knows what a 'tin and timber' sign is.  Up here the word timber has very limited use.  We call it wood.  Timber is just not in common use. 

Tin refers to sheet steel for people who are either older than 50 or they live in out in the country and use it on their tin roof.  Other than that, tin is not a word in common use. 

Nobody in the US knows what PVA glue is.  We call it Elmer's Glue or white glue.  Elmer's is not waterproof at all, so that would be confusing. 

You said, "This instructable is all about printing onto surfaces other than paper."  She said, well, nothing!  She never said anything to summarize her project.  Oops!  Both projects are about transfer of laser printed material (images or text) from paper to something else.  To call it 'printing on surfaces other than paper' is awkward at best, but at least you did summarize. 

It used to be that to be featured you had to have an immaculate Instructable.  Original pictures were required.  It had to be well written with excellent grammar and perfect spelling.  All were needed to be considered.  You are lacking a little on grammar and spelling.  For example you misused the words, too and to, in the following sentence, "The process is fairly simple but does take a little practice too get the feel of it, so don't be to disappointed if your first attempt...."  Yes, they are that picky.
liquidhandwash (author)  dchall81 year ago
Thanks for taking the time to give me some feed back, I will say that US English, is a little different to Australian English, which is a little different to New Zealand English, even so I some what surprised that "PVA, timber and tin" are not words that are common in the US.
live and learn
thanks.
Stone the crows! We must be from behind the black stump.
liquidhandwash (author)  dchall81 year ago
Just out of interest, what do you call "tin snips"?
We call them, tin snips.
prasmussen1 year ago
Looks awsome. but was wondering if anyone Tried this using a inkjet printer. Thanks.
liquidhandwash (author)  prasmussen1 year ago
I haven't but it will probably work, give it a go you only have paper and glue to lose
blanchae1 year ago
Can you coat the plywood instead of the paper? Just thinking that it would be easier.
liquidhandwash (author)  blanchae1 year ago
You can, I found it works better if you coat the lest porous surface.
triumphman1 year ago
I went to your suggested image site (graphics fairy). No vintage motorcycles there! Where did you find yours ?
liquidhandwash (author)  triumphman1 year ago
Google images "vintage indian motorcycle advertisement"
rverdi1 year ago
I just love this instructable! Very cool idea with the tin, and I'm thinking of all sorts of tin and cheap wood stuff that can be repurposed with images... cheesy cheap stools and ikea type furniture, banged up old cpu cases... options are endless with some sandpaper and glue. Love decoupage, so this idea is one I've done before with other things, from glass to clear packing tape (just basic idea of rubbed off printer image), but your steps are fantastic and will save a ton of money with bad trial and error attempts. Thanks so much for the inspiration!
Hey, love this instructable.. sorry yours didn't get featured until after the OTHER person.. there's is VERY similar to yours.. maybe you should ask them to edit and give you some props. im not sure if they had an original idea or just repurposed yours.. both favorites but I do like your process more.. you also I like that you show how metal works as a printing medium.
Since I'm the author of the other instructable, I thought I'd chime in. I didn't repurpose this instructable (I wasn't even a member when this was originally posted). Neither I nor this author invented the processes of making wood transfers, it's been around for a very long time. I merely went through and broke down the steps that I use and shared the little tips I've figured out that allow the process to be successful. However, I think this instructable is also quite awesome and I'm glad he got featured since I hadn't even had the chance to think about doing them on sheet metal until I saw this. :)
liquidhandwash (author)  biskies1 year ago
Thanks for the feed back, i was a little disappointed that it wasn't featured back in December, as I thought it maybe "it wasn't good enough" so I asked and they said it was overlooked and then featured it.
No matter, Im happy, and you made a great instructable.
Thanks, I think yours is pretty fabulous as well. You've inspired me...this week I'm going to use metal and a modified version of your technique to make some nerdy image transfer coasters :)
liquidhandwash (author)  biskies1 year ago
Hi again I just put a little update on the end here it is if you missed it
If you want to make the tin signs look really slick and glossy, after the clear coat has dried wet sand with 600 grit clean and dry it and give it another couple of coats of clear.
Mod Podge would work well for this step too (this is what I planned on for the coasters...Mod Podge, sanding, Mod Podge x 2) :)
Sorry Biskies, was not trying to offend. Just good to make sure that credit is given whenever someone may have been an influence (papers, programming, etc..). I do understand you did not "invent" the process, you both did however put it in a easy to follow guide. Anyway, love both your instructables.. and keep up the nerdy stuff- maybe you'll get a subscriber ;). Have a great night!
You didn't offend me at all :) I just wanted to clear that up. Thanks for the compliments!
liquidhandwash (author)  Wolfbane2211 year ago
Im not worried about it. It is nice to get it featured, as it one of my favourite pieces of work. I sometimes use a hair dryer or paint stripper gun to speed things up a bit, but I use PVA glue and have not tried to speed things up with gel medium.
M3G1 year ago
Wow, those Indian signs are awesome. I'm gonna have to make one.
I love decorating my room with tin signs. They look so cool, but they're pretty expensive in Germany (about 10€ each) Thanks a lot for that great idea, I will definitely try it!
kcli1 year ago
Wow...this is really interesting. I will have to try this!

Where does one get tin sheets...at a place like Home Despot?
trad50 kcli1 year ago
Many of the local hardware stores around here (Central Vermont) have limited amounts of galvanized steel and/or aluminum sheet stock. The Mom & Pop places can often order it for you if you don't mind waiting a little while. I avoid the big box stores.
liquidhandwash (author)  kcli1 year ago
im live in Australia, so im not familiar, with US shops, but have a look in in the yellow pages, under steel suppliers. Ask for 0.6mm or 0.8mm (24 or 21 gauge) sheet steel and see if the can cut it to size for you.
Wonderful idea...thanks!
amena41 year ago
Very good !! I'll try with some pinups pictures.
Outthnk1 year ago
I stumbled upon your work after seeing the feature. Wow, really amazing! I was looking to do something exactly like this for our community (Thinkerton). The colors and tin really caught my eye. I think they missed the real feature. ;)
liquidhandwash (author)  Outthnk1 year ago
Thanks Outthink
I'm thinking of doing a sheet metal vintage Apeture Science one, with laser cut stencils and spray paint. Good job!
That should look great
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