This is a simple easy method to put your printer design on wood and allow the wood grain to show through.
The rice paper becomes transparent when wetted and effectively disappears, leaving only your design on the wood.
Step 1: Rice Paper
Buy some rice paper preferably flat and sized for your inkjet printer so you will not need to cut it into 8x11 sheets like I did
Step 2: Printing
Printing the design on the rice paper is the hardest part of this process. Delicately feed the rice paper into the printer. Sometimes it wrinkles and doesn't feed correctly.
Step 3: Poly
Waterbased polyurethane, this is the type I had so this is what I used.
Step 4: Application
I'm using pine 1x8 board.
Paint the poly on the wood and gently place your design in the spot you want it.
As soon as the rice paper gets wet you will not want to try and move it as it gets fragile.
Smooth out wrinkles and bubbles with fingers and more poly on your brush.
Be careful to brush too much as you will start to lift the ink from the paper.
Step 5: Finished Product
This poly drys so quickly it's done in 30 minutes the label says 2 hours.
In case you are wondering a color photo as applyed using the same technique, I don't think it's as nice of an effect.
Step 6: Simple, Easy
I first got the idea for this process on Instructables when researching creating long boards.
That process uses epoxy fiberglass, and creates a similar effect.
The waterbased polyurethane in this method is so much easier to use than the epoxy.
The most difficult part of this process is getting your printer to print on the delicate rice paper.
No need to reverse the image and no need to wait 24 hours or run paper off.