Image Transfer to Wood

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Introduction: Image Transfer to Wood

About: With tens of thousands of cabinet doors to choose from at our shop ($5 ea!) the real question is...what to make next?! Want more crafty inspiration? Follow us on Pinterest: Pinterest.com/cabinetdoorguys

No fuss method for transferring an image onto wood using minimal supplies! I have tried several other methods with mixed results, but THIS WORKS!

Step 1: Supplies

You will need:
1. A piece of raw (unfinished) wood - lighter woods work better
2. Coarse grit (60 or 80 G) sandpaper
3. Paper cutter, or scissors and a ruler
4. Freezer paper (much more "printer friendly" than wax paper)
5. Printable mirror image of what you want to transfer
6. Inkjet printer (DO NOT TRY THIS WITH A LASER PRINTER)
7. Clear coat (Lacquer has been used for this project)

(and not pictured, a credit card or something similar to use for smoothing the paper onto the wood)

And...you will want your phone, because immediately after you make this, you will want to take a picture to text to your mom, your sister...and especially that super-crafty friend.

Step 2: Choose a Piece of Wood

Ideally, a lighter wood, as the ink will show up better. Mine measures 5 1/2" wide x 11" tall. The size of yours is up to you!

Step 3: Sand the Surface

Using 60 or 80 grit sandpaper, rough up the surface of the wood. Go with the grain. Don't skip this step, or the ink won't absorb into the wood!

Step 4: Cut Freezer Paper to 8 1/2 X 11 In.

Using your paper cutter (or scissors and ruler), cut a piece of freezer paper to 8 1/2 x 11 inches (or to any size that your printer recognizes). Crooked cuts often lead to paper jams so try to be very accurate here!

Updated: Several have commented having also had success using transparency paper (it is already the correct size, more easily feeds through the printer and can be wiped clean and reused) as well as the leftover paper that address labels are stuck to.

Step 5: Choose an Image and Reverse It

Design your image (or choose from a free printables site). Using a program such as "Paint," reverse the image so that you have a mirror image. Feel free to use our image! :)

Step 6: Print the Image Onto Freezer Paper

Feed the freezer paper into your printer so that the image prints on the shiny side. Print. The paper holds your ink in place but will not absorb it. The slick surface is the trick to making this method work.

(I tried at least a dozen times with wax paper on 3 different printers and paper jam every time. So, try wax paper at your own risk! If you are still getting printer jams with this, try taping or glueing the freezer paper to a standard sheet of paper.)

Step 7: Place the Paper Ink Side Down Onto the Wood

Careful here - it is a one shot deal! Lay the freezer paper ink side down onto the wood. Do not re-position once placed. Using a card (and holding the paper in place with the other hand), smooth the card over the entire surface of the paper, taking care not to move the paper.

Step 8: Remove the Paper

Pull off the paper - the image will remain on the wood!

Don't like how it looks? The ink is superficially absorbed into the surface - just sand it off and give it another go!

Step 9: Apply a Clearcoat

Once ink is dry to touch, apply a clearcoat (spray is recommended to reduce smudging/bleeding) and let dry. If surface remains rough once dry, rub down with a brown paper bag (this smooths the surface without lifting the clearcoat) and apply an additional clearcoat. I applied black paint to the edges prior to clearcoat.

Step 10: The Possibilities Are Endless!

Broom parking is my original design - feel free to use it! Trick or Treat is available at graphicsfairy.com for free!

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245 Discussions

0
Raf828
Raf828

7 months ago

I used wax paper taped (blue painters tape) to a piece of regular printer paper. I taped the top and bottom edges - folded over the edge. Worked like a charm! Will post image when I finish.

0
Raf828
Raf828

Question 7 months ago on Step 10

I'd like to add at least one coat of stain over the image. Any recommendations on how to go about that?

0
dkramsey99
dkramsey99

10 months ago on Step 10

After trying carbon paper, artist transfer paper (very expensive!) and freehand drawing(very poor:() your method worked like a charm, thanks!

0
brucenadams1
brucenadams1

4 years ago

Instead of freezer paper, I use the carrier sheet from a page of sticky-back address labels. It was designed to go through printers and the shinny side holds the ink until you can transfer the image to the wood surface.

0
dbcheco
dbcheco

Reply 10 months ago

What printer setting you used for this? Glossy or plain paper?

0
natandpaul2012
natandpaul2012

Question 1 year ago on Introduction

It says not to use Laser Printer. That is what I have. Can I use it at all?

0
BrianB382
BrianB382

Answer 11 months ago

I just saw a video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7FKdW5ndLw) where he used a very similar technique and used a laser printer. While I haven't tried it, I think it should work. I will be trying it out this week.

0
gopros
gopros

Question 1 year ago on Step 5

I have a Ink Jet printed picture which is printed on 120gsm thick paper. How can I transfer that onto wood?

0
MichaelB1317
MichaelB1317

Answer 12 months ago

Modge podge

0
AnnaH135
AnnaH135

2 years ago

I need a transfer larger than 8-1/2 x 11 and onto a chalk painter surface. I'm thinking it can be done but am somewhat unsure how to piece together the image accurately. Any ideas?

0
CharlesC269
CharlesC269

Reply 2 years ago

Ugh, I know this is really late, but you could use Rasterbator. It will print an image onto a grid of papers.

0
cavitarbo
cavitarbo

Question 2 years ago on Step 4

Since paper finish needs to be glossy, would glossy photo paper work for this type project?

0
steffu
steffu

Question 2 years ago on Introduction

Will this rub off nicly on light painted wood, have good color?

0
Egret03
Egret03

2 years ago

i cant wait to use this to put a dragon on a wooden box for my partner

2
GKindred
GKindred

Question 2 years ago on Step 3

Do you know if this would work on a rough painted surface?

0
RonE44
RonE44

2 years ago

What setting do you have the printer on? My Epson I set to glossy inkjet, because of the shiny finish on the paper and the solid colour came out with a 'crackle' finish. When I placed it on the wood the finished item had the pale wood 'crackle' all over the solid black.

0
CandyH13
CandyH13

2 years ago

Can you use the Freezer paper that says "Reynold's Kitchens plastic coated"? I tried it and though it didn't jam in the printer, it floated completely on top. 15 minutes later it smeared. One of them was smearing as it printed. :-(

1
CrazyCase
CrazyCase

2 years ago

Will this process work the same on painted wood?

0
AmandaK110
AmandaK110

3 years ago

What printer settings do you use?