About: I am a self-taught Finisher (furniture, automotive and faux) for over 10 years and ran a Finishing shop concurrently. I also have basic experience and training with cabinetmaking, home crafts and even electric…

With Valentine's Day fast-approaching, the "heart contest" seemed a perfect one for us all.

I saw the post and had the urge to do a quick photo print on wood, then shape it like a heart. Two instructables in one: print a photo on wood and also make a heart-shaped piece of wood, itself worthy of gifting to a loved one.


Piece of wood (in this case, I had a piece of purple heart wood sandwiched between two 1/8" thin piece of maple hardwood), so this worked well. Photo printed on a laser printer, Gel Medium from any art store, water, brush, squeegee, sponge, and a waterbase clearcoat in the end.

Step 1: PREPS

You don't have to do this, but I trimmed the photo first (because some guy in the back ruined the photo, so I photoshopped him out with some good 'ole scissors!)


Brush on a thin but thorough coat of the gel medium over the photo, then turn it over and place it on the wood and gently squeegee out the excess medium. Try not to repeatedly go over the paper with the squeegee or too hard as it can easily rip. Be quick, don't press too hard but enough to squeeze out the extra.

Then let it dry for a good 8 hour, or overnight.


Wet the paper with warm water. You can brush it on or gently wipe it on with a sponge. Just get the paper wet and let it soak in for a few seconds.

Then using your fingers, gently roll the paper off. The paper is dissolving and you are removing it by gentle rubbing, a bit at a time. I like to do the main layer of paper so you can see the photo, then let it dry under a fan, then repeat the process and remove gently even finer pieces of paper.

You have to be careful as you could rub off the ink. The trick here is to remove as much paper as you can so the image gets clearer and clearer as you go. It will look good when it is wet, so stop when you are happy. If it dries, it will look white again, but don't worry - that will disappear when you put waterbase clear on with a brush, or an aerosol spray with lacquer works as well. Your preference. I personally like the brush strokes to be ever so visible when it is done to give it some character.

Step 4: CUT IT OUT

I drew a heart shape and then cut it out. If I had a bigger board, I could have made the heart better shaped (sorry). But it still worked out in the end and the wife LOVED IT - that's all that matters in the end. :)

Have fun!

Heart Contest

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Heart Contest