How to Print on Wood (Better Than Mod Podge)

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This method of printing/transferring your laser-printed or photocopied image to wood (and other materials) is the best I have tried. These are the other methods I've used:

  • Mod Podge Photo Transfer
  • Liquitex Gel Medium
  • Citrus solvent (rub-off method)

The method demonstrated here uses Acrylic Polyurethane as a transfer medium and has these advantages:

  • Clear (not milky white like Mod Podge)
  • Dries Fast (I got away with 45 minutes in the demonstration, though 2 hours or more is ideal)
  • Cheaper
  • Durable (Less likely to rub off during paper removal process)

3 People Made This Project!

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63 Discussions

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arun3254

2 months ago

Awesome technique. Thank you for sharing. Your passion is all over the way you talk in the video! Great work. I do have a question. What if I wanted to stain the wood as a finish. Since I am applying the poly to the image transfer part, I doubt the stain will take in that area. Best I could think of was to sand the wood first then use laser printer copy and heat transfer method to transfer the image then stain. Even then I think subtle hints of wood browning or darkening due to the heat will show and may affect the final stain.

Any ideas??! Thank you again.

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DesireeS20

9 months ago

I have to tell you I love, love your method and the tutorial; the crispness of the image I used came out amazing. I first painted the wood with off-white acrylic paint, then used the poly acrylic with a laser print on plain white printer paper. It turned out great, now I want to go back in and shade a few areas on the print and finish with a final coat of the poly acrylic. Watching your video gave me so many ideas. Thank you for an awesome tutorial I will be following you for future techniques!

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Aseeah

11 months ago

Will this work with an oil based polyurethane? I'm going to use Woodoc... Hope it's fine

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AyushiK4

Question 1 year ago on Introduction

Hi! I love your videos.. they are very helpful.
I have a few questions for my profect-
1. How is minimax water based polycrylic for photo transfer
2. Can i transfer photo on a colourful acrylic painted wood. My wood base will be of acrylic paint and i want 1 colourful design on it
3. How is mod podge for transferring on small wooden pieces

Thank you

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TheCrafsManAyushiK4

Answer 1 year ago

Thanks for watching! 1. Minwax brand acrylic poly can work as well. The key is to be sure it's acrylic/water-based, and not regular oil-based polyurethane. 2. You can indeed transfer to acrylic painted wood! In fact, that's a good way to incorporate white (which doesn't print) into your design. 3. Mod-Podge can work for transferring as well. I just found it to be less transparent than Acrylic Poly and Liquitex. (Acrylic Poly is the clearest I've used.)

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stamperln

1 year ago

Thank you for this information. I have 2 questions: Will this process work with wood painted with chalk paint? If I seal the design with the Acrylic Plyurethane will the finish me matte or glossy?

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craftyleigh

1 year ago

yes yes yes! thank you sooo much for this tutorial. it's the first one i've found where it actually works! i ruined a good piece of wood and spent days trying to figure out the modge podge technique and also the 100% acetone method to no avail so i'm so happy this worked. thank you!

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flopes9

1 year ago

I used minwax polycrylic and regular paper and it came out very good. I've also used a hot air gun to speed up the process and got decent results in 20 min.

Definitely a lot better then mod podge. Great info. Thanks

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BrandyI

1 year ago

This was great! I loved the commentary! Great job!!

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mxx

2 years ago

Great instructable! I'm going to try it out immediately!

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TheCrafsManmxx

Reply 2 years ago

Thank you! Hope you enjoy it!

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theresaburrows

2 years ago

Hi, I enjoyed your video on the use of polycrylic.

you also mentioned a type of paper starts with the letter v which you get from france. I would like to check if this can be found in the USA. Also must this be printed on a laser or that special paper can do inkjet.

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TheCrafsMantheresaburrows

Reply 2 years ago

Hi! The transfer paper I used was "Tom Palissade's Transfer Paper". If you search for it on Etsy, it should come right up.

Due to the fact that it's only available in France, and numerous questions about DIY alternatives, I've been experimenting and have discovered you can use wax-free parchment paper, but it is a little tricky to feed through your printer. (I was going to do a video on it, but am still holding out for a better quality method, because I don't want it to be a hassle for people.)

This transfer method is for laserjet prints only. InkJet can be done using citrus solvent and a different "rubbing" method. Have a look at "citrus solvent inkjet transfer" for more info. :) Hope this helps!

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MudaVenom

2 years ago

Hello! I did this project using 'varathane diamond wood finish, water based' this was what the Home Depot rep referred me to when I asked for water based polyurethane. Everything goes well except when the wood dries, the image takes on a very ugly foggy white look from the paper. What am I doing wrong? Please help, I would love to use this technique for a Christmas gift. Thank you! :)

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TheCrafsManMudaVenom

Reply 2 years ago

It could be that you simply need to gently rub the image more. ALSO note that you can eliminate much of the leftover white "fuzzies" when you apply your topcoat finish.

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Goods21

3 years ago

Hey . I am from India. I loved ur method its awesome. But i m nt able to get the product name n specification properly. Please can u help me out with d same. Is the poly urethane a paint or a coating thinner. Please help i want to make this project asap. Also if u can tell me some other brand apart from ace

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hypere1Goods21

Reply 2 years ago

just to the local hardware store and ask for this https://www.asianpaints.com/product/wood-finishes.woodtech-aquadur-pu-interior.html costs way less Approx 600inr for 1 kg

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TheCrafsManGoods21

Reply 3 years ago

I did some looking around and this is the closest thing I could find on Amazon India:

http://www.amazon.in/Liquitex-Satin-Varnish-236-Ml/dp/B00PP6TYHE/ref=sr_1_fkmr2_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1458592151&sr=8-1-fkmr2&keywords=acrylic+poly+finish

BUT I am not 100% sure if it will work. I searched for "acrylic polyurethane" and "acrylic finish". Sorry I couldn't find something I know for certain will work!